Kumaranalloor Kathyayani Devi Temple
Kumaranalloor Devi Temple, located near Kottayam enshrines Bhagawati - the mother Goddess, is one of the most popular deities in Kerala.This shrine is located at Kumaranalloor, just 4-km from Kottayam town. Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya Swami has described Kumaranalloor Devi temple as one among the Pancha mahakshetrams(five main temples) in India where you will feel the full presence of Devi and he has given the first position to this temple.
Goddess Kathyayani is the presiding deity in this temple. This deity is worshipped in five different forms - as Saraswati ,Lakshmi,Parvathi,Durga and Vana Durga.Kumaranalloor is an ancient cultural center and is one among the 32 Brahmin gramams made by Lord Parasurama.This place was known as 'Thingalkkadu', before the temple came into existence. Later the name 'Thingalkkadu' changed and later came to be known as 'Indu kananam'.In some ancient scripts, the temple is described and known as Mahishari kovil (temple). This temple has yielded an inscription assigned to 11th century A.D. Local traditions indicate that this was a Siva temple, later converted to Durga temple.That is the reason for visiting the Shiva Shrine before visiting Kumaranalloor Amma
Kumaranalloor devi temple is considered as one of the most important devi temples among the 108 durgalayas (devi temples) in Kerala made by Lord Parasurama. It is said to be more than 2400 years old, as per historical and mythological evidences as well as other sources of information.Devotees consider this temple equivalent to Madhura Meenakshi Temple.
Cheraman perumal was the ruling emperor of Kerala when the construction of a temple at Udayanapuram to install the idol of goddess durga began; while he commenced the construction of another temple at Thingalkkadu (which is later known as kumaranalloor) to install the idol of lord Kumara or Subramanya. Mean while a disturbing incident took place at Meenakshi temple, Madurai in Tamilnadu. The gem-studded nose ring of devi was stolen or was missing. The King ordered an enquiry. At the same time, he ordered to kill the priest of the temple unless he could solve this problem with in 41 days. Because, the nose ring would not be misplaced without his knowledge. However, the priest was innocent. He was confused and perplexed in this dilemma. He took refuge at the feet of devi. As days and weeks progressed, the grief-stricken priest spent his days and nights crying and praying. On the night of the 40th day, he slept at the doorsteps of temple, meditating and contemplating his fate that his life would reach an end on the next day. However, he had a dream that night. Devi appeared before him and ordered him to quit the place at once. The perplexed and bewildered priest winked his eyes. He had seen a thejas (divine light) moving forward. He followed it without being aware of where he was going. The thejas(divine light) led him a long distance and finally reached the place which latter became known as Kumaranalloor. At Kumaranalloor, the temple was under construction to install the idol of lord Subramanyan or Kumaran.
The thejas entered into the sreekovil(sanctum sanctorum) of the temple. Moreover, it was at the prathista time (suitable time of installation) that the thejas entered the sreekovil. Then there was an asareeri (an inerporeal and divine voice), 'kumaranalla ooril', meaning, 'this place is not for kumara'. This is, kumari's or devi's place. Hence got the name Kumaranalloor. Perumal was disappointed and frustrated. He travelled to Udayanapuram to install the idol of Kumara, at the temple, which was under construction. On the way, Perumal encountered some obstacles but finally managed to reach Udayanapuram and install the idol of Subramanian at the sreekovil of the temple.
Later, Perumal returned to Kumaranalloor with the devi's idol and began the preparation for installing it there. Yet another thought striked him that the idol has to be changed. There was an idol lying in water at vedagiri a near by place. Perumal brought the idol from vedagiri. Maharshi Parasurama had supposedly made and worshipped the idol in past. At the time of installation, a brahmin sage with matted hair, came and entered the sreekovil and installed the idol in a second. As soon as the installation of idol was done he vanished. To this date people believe that the brahmin sage was Maharshi Parasurama. The brahmin priest, who followed the thejas from madurai, became the priest of the temple. His residence is known as Madurai illam. His successors worship the devi even today.
The architecture of the temple is notable for the unique structure of the nalambalam and sreekovil both of which have been built in the sreechakra style (ring like object with a handle, which is placed in the right hand of the devi). This kind of architecture is rarely found in temple architecture.The temple is situated in area of 15,000 square metres. The main gopuram (entrance) of the temple faces towards the east direction, and high walls surrounding the temple with other three gopurams (entrance) in each direction (south, west & north). While entering the temple, the temple view presents a divine picture. Getting into the temple through the main gopuram one can see the golden dhwajom (flag staff) and the balickal pura with carvings of many sculptures including those of Ganapathy and Shiva and other saints on pillars. Inside the nalambalam, sreekovil and the main mandapam are surrounded by paths made of carved stones. The temple of Shiva is on the right side of the main sreekovil. Bhadrakali temple is situated on the south of the temple along with the full stretched surrounding path on carved stones for the whole temple.
Mural paintings in Kumaranalloor temple are precious and rare. The outer walls of the sreekovil are decorated with paintings showing the different styles of gods, goddesses, and incidents from great epics like Ramayana and Mahabharatha. Natural colours and medicinal plants were used to colour the murals.
The idol of Devi is unique and is made of Pathalanjanshila(soft black stone).It is believed that Lord Parasurama worshipped this idol for thousand years and then immersed it in the Mokshasarassu in Vedagiri near Ettumanoor.Later Cheraman Perumal brought the idol from there and Parasurama installed it in this temple.The idol has four hands with Shamgha Chakra Varada Kadi Bandham.Since this idol is made of soft black stone there is no Vedi Vazhipadu(fire works) and Chandanam Charthal(Sandal cream pasting) in this temple.Instead of sandal, Manjal(turmeric powder) is used and hence the main offering in this temple is Manjal Abhishekam.Manjal Abhishekam is also used to strengthen the idol.
Upadevathas or Sub deitiesMahadevan (Shiva)
This Mahadeva shrine is believed to be one among the108 Shivalayas made by Sage Parasurama.It is the Ambilikkadu temple given in the famous 108 Shivalaya Nama Sthotram.At first in Kumaranaloor only Shiva temple was existed and Cheraman Perumal built the Devi temple along side of Shiva temple. Here Shiva is as important as Devi.Shiva has also full poojas daily.It is the custom that before offering prayers to Devi everybody has to offer prayers to Lord Shiva.Dhara and Koovala(Bilwa) maala are the main offerings.
Manibhooshnan or Shastha is located on the left side of the Namaskara Mandapam. Neerajanam and Pushpanjali are the main offerings to Shastha.
Aalinkal Bhagavathy (Bhadra Kaali)
Aalinkal Bhagavathy idol is located near the South Gopuram.The idol of Bhadra Kaali is on the bed of a Baniyan tree(hence the name Aalinkal Bhagavathy). Guruthy and Raktha Pushpanjali are the main offerings.
Sarppakkavu is located near the North Gopuram.Noorum Palum and Aayilyam Pooja are the main offerings.
Rule for Darsan
Namami Padambuja Pallavam Te
There is a special rule followed to visit Devi.Above Slokam points to that rule.Deevotees must enter into the temple Thirumuttam through the East Gopuram.Then offer prayers to Devi by standing infront of the Golden Dwaja.Also offer prayers to Ashtadikpalakas in the boottom of the Dwajam, Simha(lion) Vahanam on the top of the Dwajam and Ganapathy on the pillar near to the steps of Balikkalppura.Then start your Pradakshinam through the Pradakshina Veedhi(path).Then enter into the Nalambalm of the Shiva shrine and offer prayers to Lord Mahadeva.After completing three Pradakshinams to Shiva shrine enter directly into the Nalambalam of Devi temple through the door near to Thidappally.Then the devottes must offer prayers to Lord Manibhooshanan on the pillar of Namaskara Mandapam.Then its time to see the beautiful and powerful idol of Sree Kumaranalloor Bhagavathy in the huge rectangular Sreekovil.After offering your prayers to Devi do six Pradakshinams inside the Nalambalam and then leave the Nalambalam through the Valiyabalikkalppura.Then start the Pradakshinam from Aanakkottil and offer prayers to Aalinkal Bhagavathy,Rakshass and Nagadevathas and complete your Pradakshinam.
Ardent devotees of Kumaranallooramma
Adi Shankara, Vilwa Mangalathu Swamiyar, Thirumala Naykkan, Melpputhoor Narayana Bhattathiri, Kurooramma, Kunjan Nambiar, Swathi Thirunal Maharaja and Mahatma Gandhi were ardent devotees of Kumaranallooramma. All of them visited the temple and offered their prayers to Devi.
Main offerings to Kumaranallooramma
Divasa (Daily) Pooja, Manjal Abhishekam, Pantheerayiram Pushpanjali, Bhadra Deepam, Tali Pooja, Aymbara, Chathushatham, Chuttu Vilakku, Archana
AS PER THE HISTORICAL EVIDENCES, THE TEMPLE WAS BUILT BY THE GREAT KERALA KING CHERAMAN PERUMAL. DURING THIS PERIOD, THE TEMPLE WAS INSTALLED AND THE ASSETS FOR THIS TEMPLE WERE GIVEN BY THE KING PERUMAL. HE FORMED THE OORANMA AND OTHER NATTUKUTTAMS(GROUP OF VILLAGES) FOR THE DAY TO DAY ACTIVITIES OF THE TEMPLE AND FOR THE VILLAGES SURROUNDING THE TEMPLE . AFTER THE TEMPLE ENTRY PROCLAMATION ON 27 THULAM 1112, BY HIS HIGHNES CHITRA THIRUNAL MAHARAJA OF TRAVANCORE , KUMARANALLOOR TEMPLE WAS OPENED BEFORE THE HARIJANS AND ALLOWED THEM TO WORSHIP. DURING THIS PERIOD KUMARANALLOOR BECAME ONE OF THE MALAYALA GRAMAM(VILLAGE). KING PERUMAL BUILT THE NECESSARY ACTIVITY CENTERS BELONGING TO THE TEMPLE . THIS TEMPLE WAS THE EPIC CENTER OF SOCIAL, CULTURAL AND POTICAL ACTIVITIES. DURING HIS GENERATIONS IN POWER, KUMARANALLOOR TEMPLE AND VILLAGE HAD ALL THE PRIVILEGES AND HIS KEEN INTEREST AND FAITH IN KUMARANALLOOR DEVI MADE THE TEMPLE FAMOUS THE GREAT MALAYALAM POET KUNCHAN NAMBIAR WAS ONE OF THE GREAT WORSHIPPERS OF KUMARANALLOOR DEVI. HE WAS LIVING IN AMABALAPUZHA AS A ROYAL POET & MEMBER OF THE GREAT KING CHEMPAKASSERY'S KINGDOM. DURING HIS JOURNEY TO FATHER'S HOUSE IN KIDANGOOR AND DURING HIS VISITING IN CHEMPAKASSERI'S ANCESTRAL HOME IN KUDAMALOOR HE USED TO VISIT KUMARANALLOOR AND SPENT DAYS IN THE TEMPLE. DURING THESE VISITS, HE WROTE AND SUNG A LOT OF HYMNS AND LITERATURES. ONCE CIRCUMPULATING THE TEMPLE HE WROTE A HYMN ON DEVI KNOWN AS 'SREEKUMARALAYA STOTHRAM' AND THE DETAILS ARE AVAILABLE IN OLD MALAYALAM LITERATURES COLLECTIONS. THIS HYMN IS READ AND CHANTED BY THE WORSHIPPERS EVERY DAY. IN KUMARANALLOOR DEVI TEMPLE SANCTITY OF DEVI WAS DESCRIBED AS PARASHAKTHI WITH VAISHNAVA CHAITHANYAM. WHEN THE TRIMURTHYS (BRAHMA, VISHNU, AND MAHESWARAN) ALL TOGETHER BOWED AT THE FEET OF THE DEVI, DEVI WAS PLEASED AND GIVEN BLESSINGS TO THEM AND THE SACRED LIGHT OF DEVI IS DESCRIBED AS VISHNU CHAITHANYAM OF PARASHAKTHI (DEVI) AND IS FOLLOWED AS THE CONCEPT OF THE IDOL HERE. EARLY MORNING: SARASWATHI MORNING: SRI BHAGAVATHI OR MAHALAKSHMI PANTHIRADY POOJA: PARVATHI (A SERVICE AT THE SIN SHADOW BY THE SUN IS 12 FOOTSTEPS) NOON: DURGA NIGHT (DEEPARADHANA.): VANA DURGA
Main PoojasJagadguru Adi Shankara modified the Tantric rituals for this temple.Still the pooja style prescribed by Shankaracharya is followed here.
AdministrationKUMARANALLOOR IS ONE AMONG THE 32 VILLAGES IN MALAYALAKARA (KERALA). KUMARANALLOOR DEVI TEMPLE IS THE VILLAGE TEMPLE OF KUMARANALLOOR . IN EARLY DAYS PAZHUR PADUTHODU NAMBOOTHIRI AND VATTAPPALLI & KUNNATH MOOSATH HAD SOME SPECIAL RIGHTS IN TEMPLE ADMINISTRATIONS . OORALANS ARE FROM 28 ILLAMS IN AND AROUND KUMARANALLOOR. 'MUNNUSSERY NATTUKOOTTAM' (1000 NAIRS FROM PERUMBAIKKATTUSSERY, MALLOOSSERY,NATTASSERY KARAS) ALSO HAD SOME RIGHTS IN TEMPLE CUSTOMS AND RUNNING.
The temple also manages some Educational Institutions which are: 1. Devi Vilasam LP School 2. Devi Vilasam UP School 3. Devi Vilasam High School 4. Devi Vilasam Vocational HS School (Specialisation in Medical Laboratory Technology and Computer Application) 5. Devi Vilasam Public School (English Medium up to 7th standard)
The important festival of the temple is the 10 day long Thrikkarthika Utsavam celebrated in the month of Vrischikam (November-December).On the Karthika day it is usual to make a nivedyam (offering) in the precincts of the Udayanapuram and Thrissur Vadakkunnatha temples. The story goes that the Gods in these two temples, greatly charmed by the beauty of the Devi returning after her Karthika bath. They came out of the temples, got over the compound walls, and stood there looking amorously at the seductive figure of the passing Devi, and the temple priest who ran helterskelter in search of the Gods, finally met them on the walls at the southern end of the temples. Thenceforth, during Karthika, puja is performed over the walls of these temples. The display of lights in the evening, called Karthika Vilakku, is the highlight of this celebration.