Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chengannur- Vadasserikavu Bhagavathy Temple

Vadasserikavu Bhagavathy Temple is a Perennial Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali which is situated at Mundankavu Junction in Chengannur Municipal Town of Alapuzha District.
This temple is famous as one of the ancient Bhadrakali temple which is a prime venue of 'Padayani' festival, performed annually maintaining all its ritualistic traditions.
Padayani is seen  in Bhagavathy temples mainly in Central Travancore areas in the Districts of 'Alapuzha,Pathanamthitta and Kottayam'.This Dravidian ancient folk art form is celebrated for eight days annually in this temple.
The holy river 'Pampa' flows closely to this temple and two days prior to the world renowned 'Aranmula Snake boat race' , there is the famous 'Mundankavu (Erapuzha) snake boat race on 'Chathayam' star day which is a grand event in which several snake boats participates.The zonal area 'Mundankavu' of Chengannur is known as 'Mundankavu Kara'  which  owns a Snake Boat and a province of Mundankavu known as 'Kodiyattu Kara' also owns a Snake boat  which   participates in all these events every year during Onam days.(Aug-Sept).

The legend of the art form 'Padayani' is as follows.When 'Daksha Prajapathi' performed a gigantic 'Yagna'(Offering holy materials like ghee, sweet porridge etc in sacred fire chanting mantras), he invited everyone for that ceremony except Lord Shiva and Devi Sathi who was Lord Shiva's consort as well as  'Daksha's' daughter.Daksha was not in good terms with Lord Shiva.Sathi Devi participated in this event without  the consent from Lord Shiva but Daksha harassed her in front of other invitees.Sathi Devi could not withstand the insult and  she jumped into the sacred fire.
Hearing about this news Lord Shiva with his  powers created 'Bhadrakali Devi and Veerabhadra Swamy and sent to Daksha's palace for revenging Sathi Devi's death.Both of them created mass destruction there.
It is said that the nature of Bhadrakali Devi is that  she is fierce if gets angry or otherwise she is very pleasant and blesses her devotees to fulfill their desires.
Bhadrakali Devi Killed a demon by name 'Darika' who had tremendous powers and used to  cause harm to the  'Devas'(celestial beings) and humanity.The fight with the mighty Darika extended for three days and Darika who had magical powers fought with her on ground and in the sky.At last she was victorious by killing him but her anger and fury  persisted.To make her calm the 'Bhoothagana'(militants) of Lord Shiva danced before her wearing   face  masks of different divine and semi divine characters which amused her and her anger subsided.
The belief  that Bhadrakali Devi could also  be propitiated by this impersonations   dance  by using masks is therefore  performed  during the annual festival period  is mainly  known as 'Padayani or Padeni.Other than that there will be many more skillful display of physical activities and amusements,folklore drama like 'Kakkarissi Natakam' and many more but the performance of Kolam is rather much more important.
The impersonations and  apparitions are called as 'Kolams' and many varieties are there such as'Pakshi,Yakshi,Madan,Marutha,Pisachu,Kalan Kolam,Bhairavi,Ambara Yakshi,
Kanjiramala,Dhoomavathi,Bhadrakali kolam' etc.These Kolams are made by painting on  the spathe of the areca palm.All varieties of Kolam are manifested at Vadasserikavu Bhagavathy Temple every year and the special kolam  here is 'Bhadrakali Kolam' which is not usually performed in other Devi temples.
The performer of the Kolams  will be skillful persons  trained in this dance form  for all  the variety of Kolams  and dance to the tune of traditional songs meant for each variety and the only percussion instrument used is 'Thappu'.

The song sung by the 'Guru' which are ancient songs made by unknown poets  describes the divine, semi divine or evil characters of the Kolam in an eager to please them.In those songs to the evil characters they are requested not to do any harm to the natives of that  place and beg them to keep away from there  while to the divine characters they are requested to bless the natives and to make them wealthy,healthy and wise.
The Padayani at Mundankavu Bhagavathy temple is for eight days prior to Meena Bharani festival day during the Malayalam month of Meenam.(Mar-April).The last four days of the Padayani which are on 'Pooruruttathi,Uthrittathi,Revathy and Aswathi star days' are  celebrated in a spectacular grand scale by four kara (zonal areas) of Mumdankavu. These zones  are 'Vadasseri kara,Mundankavu Kara,Uliyanattuseri kara and Kodiyattu kara'.
Other festivals such as Shiva Rathri,Kumbha Bharani,Meena Bharani,Navarathri' etc are all celebrated at Vadasserikavu temple.Mandala Makaravilakku season is auspicious,Sundays,Tuesdays and Fridays are important.
In this temple the 'Pongala festival' is known as '101 Kalam'.In many temples the devotees (usually females) prepare the 'nivedyam' (sweetened rice usually)
themselves in the temple premises for 'Pongala' while in this temple the nivedyam is prepared by the temple priests.The devotees gather at 'Thrichittattu Maha Vishnu temple' which is also situated  at Mundankavu and proceed to Vadasserikavu temple in a procession holding new earthen pots containing ingredients for sweet porridge (Payasam) and present it at the temple. After preparing the 'Payasam' and performing  the rituals by the temple priests  the pots containing 'payasam' will be distributed to the devotees in their own earthen pots.

Usual offerings common  in Devi temples are done by devotees here also.'Kolam Thullal' is also an offering during Padayani festival days  by which the devotee has to give the expenses for their selected 'Kolam' which has to be manifested.
The main deity is Bhadrakali Devi and sub deities includes 'Ganapathi,Subramanya Swamy,Nagas and Yakshi Amma'.

The temple is situated beside Main Central Road (M.C.Road) and 2 km from Chengannur Railway Station and Bus Stand. 

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