An Ode to Faith – Temples of Kasaragod, Kerala

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India is teeming with places of worship. There are places of worship at every street corner in this vast and diverse nation.

As a traveller, one is forced to select a few because of the constraints of time and convenience.

Here are the most important temples in the Kasaragod district of Kerala, India.


Sree Adoor Mahalingeswara Temple

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Temple Deity: Sree Mahalingeswara

Location: Sree Mahalingeswara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is located in the scenic village of Adoor, 45 kilometres east of Kasaragod. This 13th century temple on the southern bank of river Payaswini is believed to have been founded by Arjuna.

Brief History: As per legend, it is held that it was in Adoor that the' Kiratha Yudham', the battle between Lord Shiva and Arjuna took place, and Arjuna is supposed to have built the Adoor Mahalingeswara Temple.

Another legend says that a Harijan came upon the Shiva lingam when he was on his way to work. The Makara Sankramam Festival held annually commemorates this event: the discovery of the lingam by a common man.

Adoor Mahalingeswara Temple has some exquisite carvings and colourful paintings on its temple walls along with depictions of scenes from Holy Scriptures. You can also see the converted inscription of Sanskrit in Kannada script in the temple which indicates that the temple is in some way connected to the Western Chalukya king, Kirthivarman II (745-755 AD).

The landscape around the Sree Mahalingeswara Temple is restful and beautiful. River Payaswini is where pilgrims take a holy dip during the Makara Sankramam Festival.

The annual Jatra or festival of the temple starts with Dhwaja Arohanam (hoisting of the temple flag) on the 27th of Kumbham month (February, March) and concludes with the Avabhritha Snanam (holy dip) in the water of the Payaswini on the fourth of Meenam (April) every year.

Accommodation: Kasaragod is good place to stay.


Sree Ananthapura Ananthapadmanabhaswami Temple

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Temple Deity: Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswami

Location: This temple built in the middle of a lake in the little village of Ananthapura, Kasaragod District of Kerala, South India, at around 6 km from Kumble. This is the only lake temple in Kerala.

Brief History: Dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Ananthapadmanabhaswami), this 9th century temple is considered to be the original abode (Moolasthanam) of Vishnu and the idol of the deity is in sitting posture. The temple is positioned in the middle of a picturesque Ananthapura lake and its sanctum sanctorum can be reached by a foot-bridge built across the lake.

Legend has it that Divakara Muni Vilwamangalam, the great Tulu Brahmin sage, performed penance and pujas as result of which, Lord Vishnu appeared before him as a child. The boy informed the sage that he was an orphan and had no place to call home.

Vilwamangalam felt pity for the boy and allowed him to stay there. The boy proposed a condition that whenever he feels humiliated he will leave the place at once. He served the sage for some time. But soon his juvenile pranks became intolerable for the sage and he reacted violently. Humiliated the boy left the place and settled down in Thiruvananthapuram. There is a cave near the lake that is supposed to lead to Thiruvananthapuram.

The temple has another interesting legend associated with it. A crocodile named 'Babia' is said to inhabit the lake which is supposed to be the guard of the temple. It is said that when one crocodile dies, another mysteriously takes its place. Every day after the Uccha Pooja (noon worship), Babia is fed with the Prasad (a kind of gruel made of rice and jaggery) offered by the devotees to the deity.

Everyday free lunch (Prasada Bhojanam) is provided to the temple devotees.

Temple Timings: 05.30 AM to12.30 PM and 05.30 PM to 07.30 PM.

Accommodation: Kasaragod is good place to stay.


Sri Manjeswaram Anantheswara Temple

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Temple Deity: Sri Anantheswara, Sri Bhadra Narasimha and Lord Subramanya

Location: Located at Manjeswaram (15kms from the town), Shrimad Anantheshwar Temple is traditionally renowned as Manjula Kshetra. It is enclosed by hills on three sides and river Manjeswar on the other side.

Brief History: The known history of this temple dates back to 8th century AD. The main feature of the temple is that it has three presiding deities, Sri Anantheswara (Lord Shiva), Sri Bhadra Narasimha (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) and Lord Subramanya in the same sanctum sanctorum. The image of Shiva is believed to be an 'Udbhava' or 'Swayambhoo' (Self emergent) and the image of Narasimha is made of Panchaloha (five metals).

On entering the temple from the Mahadwara, on the ceiling is a ‘Navapada’ carved in wood. There are 81 small squares, each one having a unique pattern. There are 81 patterns in all. This is supposed to be highly potent arrangement and ideal for meditation. It is said to attract and concentrate cosmic energy at its centre.

Accommodation: Guest houses are available in the temple premises.


Sreemad Anantheswara Vinayaka Temple

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Temple Deity: Sri Vinayaka and Sri Madhanentheswara

Location: The temple is located just 8 kilometres from the Kasaragod Town. The temple is famous for its rich architecture and copper plate roofing. Situated on the banks of River Madhuvahini, references of this ancient temple can be seen in the Skanda Purana and Brahma Purana.

Brief History: The Madhur temple was originally Madhanentheswara (Shiva) Temple and as the lore goes, an old so called "low caste" lady "Madaru" discovered an "Udbhava Murthy" (a statue that was not made by a human) of Shiva lingam.

The Ganapati statue was drawn by a priest's son, a small Brahmin boy, on the walls of the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) while playing. Day by day it became big and fat; so that the boy called Ganapati as "Boddajja" or "Bodda Ganesha".

Devotees usually offer prayers to Maha Ganapati in the form of "Udayastamana". "Appa", Madhur's famous Prasad, is a very tasty preparation. This is prepared daily and anyone offering prayers can avail these at the counters.

There is also "Prasada Bhojana" arranged by the temple authorities where a free meal is served to the devotee.

Temple Timings: 05:00 AM to 1:30 PM and 05:30 PM to 08:00 PM. During the rainy season, a river adjoining the temple overflows and spills onto the temple campuses and thus this is not the best time to visit the temple.

Accommodation: Kasaragod is good place to stay.


Palakkunnu Sree Bhagavathi Temple

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Temple Deity: Bhagavathi or mother goddess is the main deity. Bhagavathi is worshipped in two forms as Mootha Bhagavathi (Durga) and Elaya Bhagavathi (Saraswathi). Besides these two Goddesses, Vishnumoorthi, Ghantakarnan and Dhandan Devan are the other deities.

Location: The Temple is situated just 50 meters away from the Kottikulam Railway Station and 3 km away from the Bekal Fort.

Brief History: The annual festival Bharani Mahotsavam is performed during the month of February- March every year, which is basically connected to the festival of Trikkannad Sree Shiva Temple. The sparkling fireworks and competitive colourful procession from different areas are the highlights of this festival. Poora Mahotsavam will be performed in a traditional manner. The Temple art of Northern Kerala, Poorakkali is performed on every day of Poora Mahotsavam by the Poorakkali Panikker.

Maruputhari festival, during the month of December-January, Kalam Kanippu Mahotsavam during the month of January and 'Poorolsavam' of March-April, are the other festivals of the temple.

Accommodation: Kasaragod is good place to stay.


Sri Irival Mahavishnu Temple

Temple Deity: Sri Mahavishnu

Location: This temple is situated in Irival on the Kanghangad-Pinnathoor route in Pulloor-Periya Panchayat at Kasaragod district.

Brief History: The presiding deity is Vishnu. According to the epic, the deity is believed to be Lord Krishna who has appeared in the form of Vishnu and gave vision to the Devi who was in Jail. The idol here faces east, and three Poojas are performed a day, referring to the tantric text known as Irival.


Sree Varadaraja Venkataramana Temple

Temple Deity: The presiding deity is Sri Varadaraja Venkataramana, facing west. Hanuman, Ganapati, Laxmi and Garuda are in the role of sub-deities.

Location: Sree Varadaraja Venkatramana Temple at Kasaragod was established in 1772 AD, by Kasaragod Pattanashetty Family. This temple is located near the Kasaragod Railway station.

Brief History: Established as a temporary structure in 1772 AD, by Kasaragod Pattanashetty Family, a permanent structure was built and Punarprathistham was carried out in early 1799 A.D.   Arrangements were also made for permanent Sevas at the temple and the management was left to the priests.

Accommodation: Kasaragod is good place to stay.


Trikkanad Sree Tharayambakeswara Temple

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Temple Deity: It is one of the most important Shiva temple and the only one in the district which faces to the west.

Location: Devoted to Lord Shiva, Trikkanad temple popularly known as Dakshina Kashi is located on the shores of Arabian sea, about 1km from Bekal.

Brief History: It is the sacred place blessed by the presence of great sages and swamis. The temple is known for its various customs and rituals performed for the well-being of the souls of the dead. On the new moon days, thousands of devotees flock to this temple to pay homage to their forefathers (Pithru Tharpanam) with idols made from gold and silver. They perform rituals and take a dip in the sea.

The annual temple festival that lasts for one week is held in the month of March- April. The festival starts with the Kodiyettam (flag hoisting). The festival celebrations include performances of Theyyam and Thitambu Nritham, a ritual art form of North Kerala more than 700 years old.

Ashtami Villakku and Pallivetta are the two rituals associated with the festival. Pallivetta or the hunting expedition of the Lord takes place on the last day of the festival. This hunt is symbolic of the destruction of Kama (desire), Krodha (anger) and other such evils that plague us in our life. Thousands of devotees from all over the district attend the festival.

Accommodation: Kasaragod is good place to stay.


Mallam Sree Durga Parameshwari Temple

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Temple Deity: Sree Durga Parameshwari

Location: The Mallam Durga Parameshwari Temple is located in Muliyar Village near Bovikanam, in Kasaragod District of Kerala.

Brief History: The Mallam Durga Parameshwari Temple is Centuries old. The presiding deity of this temple is Goddess Durga Parameshwari. Sri Malla Durga Parameshwari temple is a famous shrine near Kasaragod.

Navaratri, Kartika Hunnime, Vasanthotsava and Kalabha are special days at the temple. The special feature of the Malla Durga Parameshwari Temple is daily Annadanam which consists of distributing food among the devotees.

Temple Timings: 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM.

Accommodation: Kasaragod is good place to stay.


Kanipura Sri Gopalakrishna Temple

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Temple Deity: Sri Gopalakrishna

Location: Kanipura Sri Gopalakrishna Temple at Kumble is an ancient temple situated eight miles due north of Kasaragod town.

Brief History: Kanipura Temple was the original seat of the Raja of Kumbla, which was later on shifted to Mayipadi (Mayapuri). Even to this day one can see the ruins of the fort at Kumbla or Kotekar and Arikadi, which bears testimony to the political importance of Kumbla in the days gone by.

According to local religious beliefs, the Krishnashila Idol of the Lord Bala Gopalakrishna, having the features of a child, is believed to have been presented by the Lord Krishna to the sage Kanva Maharshi in Dwaparayuga, who in turn installed the same at its present location.

Accommodation: Kumbla is a good place to stay.