Name of the Temple
Sri Kodungallur bhagavathy amman temple
Period of origin
Before 1500 years
Name of deity
Moolavar: Sri Kurumba Bhagavathi
Sthala Virksham: Jack fruit
During the reign of Kulasekhara dynasty, Kodungallur was the capital of Kerala and one of the most important parts of the region. It is said that sixth avatar of Vishnu, Sage Parasurama has built this temple for the prosperity of the people. According to the old chronicles, this was the Bhagavathi temple created in the heart of the towe many centuries ago to serve a special purpose
Legend says that after the creation of Kerala by Parasurama, he was harassed by a demon called Daruka. In order to kill this evil demon, Parasurama prayed to Lord Shiva for help. As advised by Shiva, Parasurama constructed the shrine and installed the Shakti Devi as Bhagavathi. The deity in the temple, it is believed, is Parashakthi herself. According to legends, it was Bhadrakali who killed the evil demon Daruka. According to popular beliefs, the temple in the olden days was a Buddhist monastery. But according to Kerala historians, Kodunganallore, Trikkanamthikam and the neighboring areas were Buddhist and Jain centres during the Chera period. Legends say that Palliband Perumal, a ruler from that area embraced Buddhism and as a result of which, he had to abandon the Perumalship owing to severe opposition from the Hindu community.
According to another belief, the temple was built by Charan Chenguttavan. Elango Adigal, younger brother of Chenguttavan, wrote his monumental work ‘Shilappadikaram’ residing at Kodungallur. He later embraced Buddhism and spent the rest of his life in the Buddhist monastery at Trikkanamthikam. From time immemorial, persons wishing to earn merit have been offering animal sacrifice. Countless fowls and goats were also sacrificed to the deity as vowed gifts for the protection and fulfillment of desires. At the intervention of many social reformers, the Government of Kerala has banned animal sacrifice in any form at this place. At present, only red-dyed dhoties are offered to the deity. Many devotees offer rich presents and gold ornaments.
The people of Kodungallur believe that this temple was, in the olden days, a Shiva Shrine and it was Parasurama who installed Sri Kurumba Bhagavathi in close proximity to the idol of Shiva. Although this is a small town and has several temples, most of them are Shiva Shrines. The poojas are conducted under direct instructions from Sri Bhagavathi Herself. Five ‘Sri Chakras’ installed by Adi Shankaracharya, are believed to be the main source of the powers of this deity. The priests are Namboodiris and Adikas (Madhu Brahmins) who have a right to perform ‘Pushpanjalis’ to the Goddess.
Bhagavathi being the patron of the Royal family of Cranganore, the Raja plays an active part in the celebrations of the festival. Standing upon a rostrum built around a banyan tree, the Raja spreads out a silken umbrella soon after the door of the Devi shrine is opened. The peculiarity of the event is that it denotes the giving permission for all castes to enter the precincts of the temple for worship. This is known as ‘Kavu Theendal’. Devotees run round the temple thrice with sticks in hand before they enter the shrine. The legend goes to prove that the killing of the Demon has taken place and the sticks are substitutes for the arms and swords used in olden days.
The temple is situated in the middle of a plot of land about ten acres, surrounded by banyan and peepal trees. The magnificent idol of Bhagavathi, facing north is 6 ft tall and carved out of a single jackfruit tree.The srikovil is facing north. The western chamber of the inner temple is the seat of Sapthamatrukas (Seven Mothers) who also face north. The idols of Ganapathi and Veerabhadra are found in the chamber, one facing east and the other facing west, respectively. The idol of bhagawati is about six feet high and made of wood, carved from a jackfruit tree. The idol has eight arms that carry weapons and symbols. The idol of Shiva faces east and that of Kali north. The practice in the temple is to offer pooja and naivedyam first to Lord Shiva and then to the Devi. To the left of the temple is the walled enclosure which has a peculiar ‘Samadhi of Vysoori’, perhaps a medieval shrine deity for small pox, chicken pox, mumps and other contagious diseases. Devotees offer auspicious turmeric powder which gives credence to the influence of the Goddess and the legend. Its widespread fame is evident through its clean and well-kept sanctuaries. About fifty meters away to the left is a sacred pond (Pushkarini), where devotees bathe before entering the main shrine. It is believed that this pond was created by the goodness by striking the ground with her sword.
Bharani festival:- The Bharani festival is a month of festivities from the Bharani asterism in the month of Aquarius to 7 days after the Bharani asterism in the month of Pisces. The festival usually starts with the ritual called ‘Kozhikkallu moodal’ which involves the sacrifice of cocks and shedding of their blood, which forms an important feature of this temple. The members of the Kodungallur Bhagavathy temple are allowed to participate in this ritual. It is to appease the goddess Kali and her demons who take delight in blood offerings. Traditionally the temple (especially during the Bharani festival) has been associated with a lot of animal sacrifices. These customs have been done away within the 20th century. The blood of the sacrificed used to be spilled over two stones in the prakaram, and as mentioned above, this practice is now stopped. ‘Kavu Theendal’, another important event of the festival, overseen by the King of Kodungallur where a horde of Vellichapads (oracles) make a madrush around the temple waving their sabres in the air while the members of their retinue throw objects (including cocks) over the inner quadrangle . Thalappoli festival:- is in the month of Makaram (January–February). The four day Thalappoli commences from the evening of Makara Sankranthi with religious rituals.Makara Sankaranti coinciding with Pongal in Tamilnadu. Makara Sankranti brings with it 4 days of colorful fanfare, with processions twice a day on elephants to the accompaniment of music, fireworks. The final day’s procession is marked by the accompaniment of several women carrying plates of rice and coconut. In fact, the centermost entity in the procession is a plate containing these offerings, on an elephant. A grand reception is offered to this procession when it reaches the temple. The procession leaves from the original location of the Bhagawati temple, (the Kurumbayamma shrine in Kodungallur). Big procession headed by richly caparisoned elephants are taken out to the accompaniment of Pancha Vadyam, Paancari, Paandi, etc.
Temple is easily accessible from the nearby towns, cities and districts of Kerala. Nedumbassery International Airport in Cochin.There are frequent buses from Thrissur along NH47 to different destinations.The nearest railway station is at Irinjalakuda 20 km from Thrissur
4 am and remains open till 12 pm. The temple reopens in the evening at 4 pm to 8 pm.
Temple Telephone Number:
Sree Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple,