An Ode to Faith – Kerala - Palakkad

article by
mahesh

(Photo from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sree_Poornathrayeesa_Temple)

India is a 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.

A sheer heaven on earth, Palakkad is a land enclosed by misty mountains and precious evergreen tropical forests that house beautiful rivers, rare birds and animals. This picturesque destination offers an easy escape from the scorching summer heat of Kerala.

Palakkad has several centres of pilgrimage that make the city one of the most preferred tourist places in Kerala. Here are the most important temples in the Palakkad district of Kerala, India.

 

Kalpathy Heritage Temple Complex

(Photo from: http://www.trawell.in/kerala/palakkad/kalpathy-vishwanatha-swamy-temple)

Temple Deity: Sri Visalakshi Sametha Sri Viswanatha Swamy

Location: Kalpathy is around 3 kilometres away from Palakkad City.

Brief History: Kalpathy also known as Dakshin Kasi or the 'Varanasi of the South is an early Tamil Brahmin settlement (Agraharam) in the Palakkad District of Kerala state, south India. Kalpathy is very famous for Kalpathy Rathotsavam (Temple car festival), held annually at the Sri Visalakshi Sametha Sri Viswanatha Swamy temple where the deity is Lord Siva (Lord Viswanatha).

This ancient temple nestles by the banks of the serene Kalpathy River (Nila Nadhi). Dedicated to Lord Siva and his consort Visalakshi, it dates back to early fifteenth century. The similarity to the Varanasi Kashi Viswanatha temple on the banks of Ganges is responsible for the name Dakshina Kashi associated with this temple.

The temple is built of stones below the ground level.  The temple is known as Kundukkul Koil as there are 18 steps downward on south and east sides.  As in Kasi - now Varanasi, there are steps to reach the river from the temple.  There is also a pathway to Kalpathy River from the temple.

Kalpathy has the distinction of being the only Heritage Village in Kerala, proposed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in India.

Temple Timings: 5:30 AM to 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Accommodation: Palakkad is a good place to stay.

 

Thiruvalathur Randu Moorthy Temple

(Photo from: http://travel.india.com/articles/kerala-temples-11-hindu-shrines-in-gods-own-country/)

Temple Deity: Sri Mahishasuramardhini and Sri Annapurnneswari

Location: Thiruvalathur is around 7 KM away from Palakkad City on the Chittoor Road and can be easily accessed by public or private transport. Tourists can take a direct bus to reach this spot.

Brief History: Known for its grand architecture and sculptures, the Thiruvalathur Randu Moorthy temple is believed to have been founded by Parsurama. The temple is a shrine to two goddesses — the passionate Mahishasuramardhini and the peaceful Annapurnneswari — and is spread over two hectares.

The temple is protected by huge stone walls, with four main entrances facing North, South, East, and West. On the Kartika day of Vrischika (falls sometime between November and December), the temple hosts a festival and comes to life.

Traditional temple art forms are presented on the specially designed stage called Koothamabalam inside the temple.

Temple Timings: 5:30 AM to 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

Accommodation: Palakkad is a good place to stay.

 

Sri Emoor Bhagawathy Temple

(Photo from: http://sreeemoorbhagavathy.org/gallery.php)

Temple Deity: Sri Hemambika

Location: This temple is about 8 kilometres from Palakkad town on the road to Malampuzha Dam. The temple also is called Emoor Bhagawathy temple or 'Kaipathi' Ambalam (temple of the hand) or also Hemambika temple. In this temple only the hands of the Bhagawathy are consecrated.

Brief History: The chief deity here is Goddess Hemambika, but the idol worshipped here is an "upraised hand," behind which there is a legendary tale.

The Goddess once agreed to appear before a devotee on the condition he will not disclose it to anyone. But the excited devotee, told everyone. When the goddess appeared before him, seeing the small crowd that had gathered there, she vanished immediately, and all that the devotees could see were her upraised hand.

The specialty of the temple is in its unique idol and also the fact that it is surrounded by water on three sides. The Garba Griha is at the same level as the water in the pond that surrounds the temple, signifying that the deity emerged from there.

It was Sri Aadi Shankaracharya who brought an order in the mode of daily worship and decided upon the different offerings to the deity. The Goddess is worshipped as Saraswathy in the Morning, as Lakshmi at Noon and as Durga in Evening. The very old Shiva Temple of Chendamangalam and the Shiva and Shastha Temple of Easwaramangalam are in the vicinity of Hemambika Temple which have greatly contributed to the sanctity of place.

Temple Timings: 5:00 AM to 11:30 AM and 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Accommodation: Palakkad is a good place to stay.

 

Sri Ramaswamy Temple (Dakshina Ayodhya)

(Photo from: http://thinkingparticle.com/image/4-sri-ramaswamy-temple-dakshina-ayodhya-karimpuzha-palakkad)

Temple Deity: Sri Rama

Location: The temple is around 36 kilometres from Palakkad City, which is well connected with road to other nearby villages and towns. One can easily access this place by public or private transport.

Brief History: With Kunthipuzha River silently flowing on one side and lush green valleys of Palakkad spread on the other, the Karimpuzha Sri Ramaswamy Temple, is a place worth visiting. This is one of the rarest Sri Rama idols in India. The idol depicts the ever sacrificing Lord Rama on the shores of the Sarayu River before his ascent to heaven. He is accompanied by his ever obedient companion, Hanuman.

The pilgrims coming to the temple are given sumptuous food from the two Agrashalas, or kitchen. Every noon there is a Namaskara Sadhya for feeding the Brahmins. This has now become one of the main offerings in the temple. It signifies our gratitude for the accomplishment of any of our desire. In the evenings Vaara Sadhya is also offered.

Temple Timings: 4:30 AM to 11:30 AM and 5:30 PM to 08:00 PM.

Accommodation: Palakkad is a good place to stay.

 

Panniyur Sri Varahamurthy Temple

(Photo from: http://thinkingparticle.com/image/5-panniyur-sri-varahamurthy-temple-kumbidi-palakkad)

Temple Deity: Sri Varahamurthy

Location: This magnificent temple is located around 80 KM away from Palakkad City and on Thrithala- Kumbidi Road, Palakkad District.

Brief History: This is the oldest temples in Palakkad District India, which is believed to be the first ever temple consecrated by Parsurama around 4000 years ago. It is a popular tourist attraction in Palakkad, visited by hundreds of tourists every day.

It is also said that for an approximate period of 1300 years ranging from 800BC to 600 AD. Sri Varahamurthy, the reigning God of Kerala’s renowned village Panniyur, was worshipped as the supreme god of Kerala.

Accommodation: Palakkad is a good place to stay.

 

Sri Chinakkathoor Bhagavathy Temple

(Photo from: https://www.keralatourism.org/event/chinakkathoor-pooram/4)

Temple Deity: Sri Chinakkathoor Bhagavathy

Location: This place is easily accessible from Palakkad City, which is only 40 km from here and is located near Ottapalam, Palakkad District.

Brief History: Sri Chinakkathoor Bhagavathy Temple is at Palappuram and about 5 km from Ottappalam, Palakkad, north Kerala. The temple is in the middle of a huge ground where the Chinakkathoor Pooram is conducted every year.

There are two shrines namely ‘Thazhekkavu’ and ‘Melekkavu’. The upper shrine, ‘Melekkavu’ is believed to be older than the lower shrine, ‘Thazhekkavu’. The priests of the upper shrine traditionally come from the Kulangara Nair family of Palappuram. Namboothiri priests do the pujas in the lower shrine and for the ten days of Pooram, they are in charge of the upper shrine as well.

Chinakkathoor Festival is celebrated every year in February-March. The highlight of the evening festivities is a grand procession of 28 tuskers. Traditional performances of the Panchavadyam or the temple orchestra and various other art forms like Vellattu, Theyyam, Poothanum Thirayum, Kaalavela, Kuthiravela, Aandi Vedan and Karivela are shown.

The Tholppavakkoothu, a ritualistic shadow puppet show, is performed at the temple premises every evening for the 17 days preceding the concluding festival. The festival starts with kuthira (horse) game and ends next day with Ratham.

Accommodation: Palakkad is a good place to stay.

 

Sri Ayyappan Kavu Temple

(Photo from: http://thinkingparticle.com/articles/16-must-visit-ancient-hindu-temples-palakkad-kerala)

Temple Deity: Sri Ayyappan

Location: This temple is around 40 kilometres away from Palakkad City and is located in Cherupulassery.

Brief History: This ancient temple is believed to be more than 1000 years old with great historical importance and is a prime tourist attraction in Palakkad. The temple is also known as Malabar’s Shabarimala and Valluvanad’s Shabarimala. This temple is a very major Sri Ayyappan Temple with main festivals like Mandala Pooja and Theeyattu.

Accommodation: Palakkad is a good place to stay.

 

Sri Thirupurakkal Bhagawathy Temple

(Photo from: https://www.tourmyindia.com/blog/ancients-temples-in-palakkad-kerala/)

Temple Deity: Sri Bhadrakali

Location: The temple is located within Palakkad city limits.

Brief History: Puthur Sri Thirupurakkal Bhagawathy Temple is one of the most beautifully constructed temple in Palakkad and is a temple of great importance. It is considered to be one of the ancient and most powerful temples of Shakthi in the entire Malabar.

The temple is dedicated to Bhadrakali, who is the main deity worshipped here. Lord Vishnu, Goddess Durga, and Lord Ganesh, are the other deities present here. This 100 year old temple is only 2 kilometres away from the town of Palakkad.

Every year during the month of April, the temple administration organizes dance & musical festival, which is attended by many popular artists from all over India.

Temple Timings: 5:00 AM to 11:30 AM and 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM.

Accommodation: Palakkad is a good place to stay.

 

Sri Manappulli Bhagawathy Temple

(Photo from: http://thinkingparticle.com/articles/16-must-visit-ancient-hindu-temples-palakkad-kerala)

Temple Deity: Sri Bhadrakali

Location: The temple is located around 2 Km away from Palakkad City and is located in Yakkara.

Brief History: Sri Manappulli Bhagawathy is Lord Shiva's daughter and she is Bhadrakali. She was born out of the sacred Jada of Lord Shiva during the Daksha Yaga. Sri Manappulli Bhagawathy is black in colour. She has four hands, each one having Soolam, Kapalam, Gadkam and Khedam.

In the Moolasthanan of Manappulli Bhagawathy temple, the Goddess is facing north and the idol is made of the trunk of Jackfruit tree. There is a small stone idol facing west below the Goddess. The idol facing north is very ancient as per the findings of the Ashtamangala Prasanam. Chanda Abishekam and special Alankaras are done on this idol.

Temple Timings: 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Accommodation: Palakkad is a good place to stay.

 

Sri Ramapuram Vishnu Temple

(Photo from: https://www.tourmyindia.com/blog/ancients-temples-in-palakkad-kerala/)

Temple Deity: Sri Vishnu

Location: The temple is located about 3 kilometres from Palakkad.

Brief History: Sri Ramapuram is one of the most ancient temples of Kerala installed by Ramapuram Variath family around six centuries back. The most important feature of this temple is that the deity here, is installed in the ‘Shadadhara Prathishta’ (open ground), which is rare to find in Kerala.

Other deities present here includes Ashtadikpalakas, Sapthamathrukkal, Mahaganapathy and Dhanwanthara.

Accommodation: Palakkad is a good place to stay.

 

Sri Nellikulangara Bhagawathy Temple

(Photo from: http://thinkingparticle.com/articles/16-must-visit-ancient-hindu-temples-palakkad-kerala)

Temple Deity: Sri Nellikulangara Bhagawathy

Location: The temple is around 35 kilometres away from Palakkad City and is located in Nemmara, Palakkad District.

Brief History: Sri Nellikulangara Bhagawathy temple is a beautiful temple in Nemmara village in Palakkad. Nemmara and Vallangy are two neighbouring towns in the south part of Palakkad district, which is in the valley of Nelliyampathi hills.

The green carpet of paddy field turns into a festival ground during the first week of April. The festival falls on 20th of 'Meenam' according to the Malayalam Calendar (2nd or 3rd of every April). This is the Festival of Colours, Art forms, Firework, Elephants. Panchavadyam, Pandi Melam are the cultural arts forms of Kerala which performed here with its best players of the state.

Temple Timings: 5:00 AM to 11:30 AM and 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

Accommodation: Palakkad is a good place to stay.

 

Sri Thiruvegapura Shiva Temple

(Photo from: https://www.keralatourism.org/destination/thiruvegappura-sankaranarayana-temple/346)

Temple Deity: Lord Shiva, Lord Sankaranarayana and Lord Vishnu

Location: The temple is 65 kilometres away from Palakkad City.

Brief History: The Temple in Thiruvegapura has Lord Shiva, Lord Sankaranarayana and Lord Vishnu as the main deities. This temple is also called as Moonnu Moorthy temple as there are 3 deities here.

This temple was built in 14th century. A specialty of this temple is that there are 3 separate Sreekovils for all three deities with 3 flag masts, 3 Balikallu and 3 separate set of sub deities.

There is a Koothambalam in this temple built in 15th century and is in typical Kerala style architecture. The main festival celebrated here includes Vaikkathashtami held in Malayalam month Vrishchikam, Sivarathri held in Kumbham.

Temple Timings: 9:30 AM to 7:30 PM.

Accommodation: Palakkad is a good place to stay.

 

Sri Ongallur Taliyil Shiva Temple

(Photo from: https://www.keralatourism.org/destination/ongallur-taliyil-shiva-temple/156)

Temple Deity: Lord Shiva

Location: The temple is around 58 kilometres away from Palakkad City.

Brief History: The Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Temple is famous for its sculpturing. The famous festival is Shivarathri. Situated near Pattambi, this temple has some of the most intricate laterite sculptures in Kerala.

Accommodation: Palakkad is a good place to stay.