Monday, November 23, 2015

Sree Chakkulathukavu Devi Temple and Pongala Festival

Sree Chakkulathukavu Devi Temple is a very famous Hindu temple dedicated to  Goddess Durga Devi(Goddess Kali,Mother of the Universe)

 which is situated at 'Neerattupuram' on the border of Patthanamthitta District and Alappuzha District.The temple stands at Neerattupuram junction and rivers Pampa and Manimala flows on either sides of this temple and the place itself is a lovely beautiful one.
Neerattupuram is 92 km from Cochin International Airport and 95 km from Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.Thiruvalla and Chengannur are the nearby major Railway Stations.Buses are available from Chengannur and Thiruvalla to Neerattupuram and Chakkulathukavu.From Thiruvalla the temple is only 9 km away and frequent buses are available from KSRTC Thiruvalla Bus Station to Chakkulathukavu.

This temple dates back to about 3000 years and the legend is that the self manifested 'Swayambhu' idol in a linga form  of the Devi was consecrated by 'Sage Narada'.
The temple has earned tremendous popularity during the past fifty years and millions of devotees visit this temple every year to seek the blessings of the Devi.Chakkulathukavu temple was renovated in 1981.
Devotees belonging to any Caste, creed and color  are allowed to enter this temple to perform pooja rituals and the Devi bestows blessings to all those approaches her.Devotees call the deity lovingly as 'Chakkulathamma' considering her as the mother of the Universe.It is said that 'Chakkulathamma' loves children very much and bestows blessings for their overall prosperity.Devotees bring their children also while visiting this temple.
This temple has similarities to Attukal Devi temple of Thiruvanathapuram since this temple is also called as 'Sabarimala of Women' as in the case of Attukal temple.The 'Pongala Festival' of Chakkulathukavu Temple  has also earned worldwide popularity as 'Attukal Pongala' and the number of participants are increasing every year.
At Chakkulathukavu Bhagavathi Temple Lord Vinayaka,Lord Shiva,Lord Vishnu,Sastha,Murukan,Serpent Gods,Navagrahas etc are Sub Deities.
Ganapathy Homam,Archana,Pushpanjali,Raktha Puspanjali,Navagraha Pooja,Kumkuma Pooja,Chowa Pooja,Muzhukkappu,Kadum Payasam,Kalabha Abhishekam,Karthika Pooja,Mrityunjaya Pooja etc are some of the rituals and Offerings available for devotees to perform at this temple.
All Hindu festivals are auspicious at this temple also and are celebrated.
The first Fridays of every Malayalam month is very important and special ceremonies are performed on that day.Drugs and liquor addicts can save themselves from that habit by making an oath by touching the sword of the 'Devi' on that day.It is a fact that they could not continue that bad habit any more in their life.
'Thrikkarthika Festival' in the Malayalam month of 'Vrichikam' is well celebrated in this temple.That day is the 'Festival of Lights' celebrated by the Hindus by decorating their houses and premises with small oil lamps.
It is the birthday of 'Devi' is the belief.On Thrikkarthika Day the 'Pongala Festival' at Chakkulathukavu Devi temple is performed by millions of women devotees.
For the 'Pongala ' women devotees prepare sweet rice in earthen pots at open places and offer to Devi.Rice,Grated Coconut and Jaggery are mainly cooked as 'Naivedyam' (Offering) to the Devi by arranging hearths made of bricks at open grounds and roadsides  leading to the temple.The number of participants has increased tremendously and now a days the array of 'Pongala Pots' on either side of the roads are extended to about 50 km around the temple.Other than sweetened rice devotees may  prepare some more  sweet items like 'Therali' and offer to Devi.
By these offerings  the devotees are blessed by the Devi and their griefs,misfortunes and sufferings are removed or lessened and Devi will guide them to a more happier life.
The 'Chakkulathukavu Pongala' of this year is on November 25,Wednesday 2015.
On this day there are some celebrations at the temple such as 'Laksha Deepam'  and 'Karthika Pillar'.
An arecanut tree erected at the temple premises covered with straw,plantain dry leaves and such materials are set to fire as a symbol of eradicating evil and this ceremony is known as 'Karthika Pillar'.
The temple and premises will be then  decorated with more than one lakh small oil lamps as symbolic of spreading wisdom and prosperity.This will be a splendid sight and it is known as 'Laksha Deepam' which are performed on 'Thrikkarthika Day' at this temple.By shredding away the devilish thoughts and evils from one's mind, the brightness of wisdom and goodness enters there which in turn will be fruitful for the whole society that will eventually  glitter with prosperity and joy. 
The annual festival of this temple is in the Malayalam month 'Dhanu'(December).  

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