About and History of Chengannur Mahadevar Temple, Kerala
Chengannur Mahadevar Temple, Kerala is one of the famous and oldest temples located in Alappuzha district. The place where the Chengannur temple is situated was said to be under the control of Vanghipuzha Thampuran.
This place was leased to one Nayanaru Pillai. One day while the maid servant (Kurathi) of Nayanaru Pillai,was working in this place, she saw blood coming from a stone on which she was sharpening her weapon. This fact was reported to Nayanaru Pillai and Vanghipuzha Thampuran.
Vanghipuzha Thampuran on the advice of Thazhamon Potty showered 36 para (measurement in Malayalam) of Neyy (Ghee) on that stone in order to stop the blood.
The Thampuran in consultation with Thazhaman Potty and other veteran Brahmins decided to construct a temple there. Based on the plan of Perunthachan, a famous and respected Thachan (carpenter), the temple except the koothambalam was constructed. Though the temple was constructed in accordance with the plan of Perunthachan, the koothambalam could not be constructed by any of them. The whole koothambalam was constructed under the guidance of Perunthachan. The structure of the Koothambalam originally constructed by Perunthachan was in such a manner that the shadow of the performer would not fall on the stage if all the lamps were lit on each of the posts of the koothambalam.
On completion of the construction of the temple and koothambalam the Thampuran requested Perunthachan to make an idol of Devi. He pointed out a place and asked the workers to dig that place. On digging an idol of Parvathi Devi was found and this idol has investiture at the nearest auspicious occasion.
After some years Perunthachan Visited the place again and informed Thazhamon Potty that the temple would be destroyed in fire in due course and the Idol of Devi would be destroyed. He also gave an Idol of Devi made up of an alloy of five metals ( Panchaloham ) and asked him to keep a record of what he said. The Potty did accordingly. After some years the prediction of Perunthachan became true.
The temple was renovated after the fire and Devi’s Idol had been taken from the river with the help of some fishermen (Arayas) of Karunagappally, as recorded in the Granth written by Thazhaman Potty. As a mark of joy, Thampuran gave fruits and tender coconuts to those areas at the temple. This happened on Shivarathri and now also this day is celebrated with the same tradition.
Tiruchenkunroor is one of the five ancient shrines in the Chengannur region of Kerala, connected with Mahabharat. Nammalwar describes Chenkunrur as a town where the smoke emanating from the vedic ritual yagnas fills the sky and as a place surrounded by rich lush vegetation. (of bananas and coconuts). Legend has it that Yudhishthira offered prayers to Vishnu, seeking pardon for his act on the battlefield, where he uttered the words `Ashwattaama hatah kunjaraha` in an attempt to deceive Drona and lead him into a defenseless state where Arjuna brought Drona`s life to an end.
Legends in connection to the Sthala Purana
- Self Immolation of Devi Sati –
Devi Puranam: Once, Daksha, father of Sati Devi, Performed a Yaga (Yagam). For that he invited all the priests, Kings, Gods and all Relatives except his daughter Sathi and son-in-law Lord Shiva. Sathi Devi had a deep desire to attend the yaga conducted by her father. Though she sought the permission of her husband, he advised Devi not to attend the yaga as Daksha’s intention was to ridicule Shiva. Bhagvan at last yielded to the pressure of his wife and gave her the permission to go.
When Devi reached the Palace of Daksha, he not only ignored her presence but also ridiculed her husband in front of his invitees. She could not bear the teasing words of her father about her husband. She was overwhelmed with sorrow and in her anger she decided to destroy the yaga. Devi committed Suicide by jumping in to the yaga fire (Yaga Kundam). On hearing about the sad death of his wife, Bhagvan became very angry and sent his most powerful warrior Veera Bhadra to kill Daksha and destroy the entire dynasty of Daksha. Veera Bhadra Cut off the head of Daksha and destroyed the entire place where yaga was conducted.
Overwhelmed with sorrow Lord Siva went to the place where yaga was conducted. He took the dead body of Sati Devi and danced (Siva Thandavam). Knowing the pathetic condition of Shiva, Lord Vishnu with a view to console Siva sent his Sudharsana chakra and cut off the corpse of Sati Devi into a number of pieces. The parts of the dead body fell in different places on earth. Out of these the loins (Arakkettu) of Devi are said to have fallen here in Chengannur. The Kamakhya Temple in Assam also holds the same legend.
- Divine Marriage of Shiva Parvathi –
Aithihyamala: Once, Lord Vishnu, Brahma, Priests, Devas, Gandharavas, Sages, and all other Gods went to Himalayas in order to attend the auspicious marriage of Siva & Parvathi. The Trimurthis (Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswaran) requested sage Agasthya to go and sit on shronadri, Southern bank of Pamba river to Prevent the Earth from sinking to northern side due to the weight of all invitees who came to attend the marriage. Though sage Agasthya conceded the request, he expressed his concern about losing the chance of attending the marriage.
After the marriage Lord Shiva and Devi went to meet Agasthya muni at shronadri. There Devi became Hrithu (menstruate) and she could not go back. Devi remained there till the period of menstruation was over. The place where sage Agasthya meditated, is known as shronadri in Sanskrit and in Malayalam it is chen kunnu (Red hill). Later it is called Chen Kunnu Urru (Urru means place) and it has been abbreviated and called Chengannur.
The legend of Agastya’s vision of the divine marriage is associated with several temples in Tamilnadu such as Kutralam near Tirunelveli and Vedaranyam on the east coast.
- Penance of Kannaki Devi after Killing the King of Madurai –
Silapathikaram: Kannaki, who is said to be an incarnation of Devi Sati, after killing the king of Madurai Pandya raja, who killed her husband, went to Chengannur and penance at the top of a hill. While Devi was meditating her husband Kovalan appeared before her and they together went to Heaven.
The people who were living in the valley of that hill saw Devi meditating there several times. In Silapathikaram the place where Devi meditated is mentioned as Chen Kunnu. (ref: Page 62)
They constructed a temple there with the financial assistance of their king Cheran Senkuttuvan. The Chera monarch Senguttuvan is believed to have brought a piece of stone from the Himalayas, carved her image and consecrated it here as Chenkamalavalli.
The same legend is held at the Kodungallur Bhagavathy temple.
It is a sprawling temple complex with a circular Sanctum. Lord Shiva and Parvathi Devi are the main investors of this temple. Differing from other temples, there are two main Shrines in this temple. Lord Shiva facing East and Devi facing West. The main shrine is a conical copper plated one. Devi’s main Idol is made with an alloy of five metals (PANCHALOHAM). The Shiva Lingam, is covered with a gold plate bearing an image of Ardhanareeswara – or the Shiva-Shakti manifestation of Shiva.
The other sub-investitures of the temple are Ganapathi, Shasta (Lord Ayyappan), Chandikeswaran, Neelagrivan, Ganga, and Naagar. There is also a shrine of SreeKrishna nearby.
The temple was constructed centuries back in accordance with an architectural design evolved by the famous Perunthachan. In the 18th Century the temple complex was damaged by fire and renovated later by Vanghipuzha Thampuran except the KOOTHAMBALAM (Performance Hall). This could not be restored to its original position as it had been designed and constructed by Perunthachan. The structure of the Koothambalam originally constructed by Perunthachan was in such a manner that the shadow of the performer would not fall on the stage if all the lamps were lit on each of the posts of the Koothambalam. The mukha mandapam in front of the temple and other mandapams in this temple are full of exquisite woodwork.
TRIPUTHARATTU which is considered as a symbol of fertility. This festival is connected with a menstruation ceremony, which is observed periodically in the temple. That is why this temple is also considered as Shakthi Peedam.
Customs of the Chengannur Mahadevar Temple, Kerala
The Oath at Padinjare (Western) Nada – In early days there was a belief and custom related to a hole in the western gopuram (entrance) of this temple. The belief was that if anybody makes a false oath by putting his hand in that hole will be bitten by a holy snake.
The story related to this belief is like this. There was a Brahmin family named “Muringoor” in chengannur and were very famous for ‘Visha chikitsa”. They were the deep devotees of chengannur devi. Their name spread all over Kerala and southern part of India. One day an ‘Alwar’ came to chengannur and his main aim was to challenge and conquer the Muringoor family. At that time a boy of 12 years was the only male person of the Muringoor family. He was not able to accept the challenge of this Alwar. So he became very sad and prayed to chengannur devi. On that day, he got a vision in his dream telling that there is a brass pipe inside the ‘Ara’ which contains a snake. This snake will be under the control of the boy and move according to his wish. He took this pipe in front of the Alwar and asked him to take the snake out with his magical power. The Alwar tried his best to control the snake but failed. The snake now became furious and tried to attack the Alwar. The Alwar pleaded with the boy to control the snake and the boy controlled the snake with his prayers and sealed it again in that pipe. Later the boy made a hole on the walls of Western Gopura and put the holy snake into that hole. He told the people that if anybody tells a lie by putting his hand in this hole, will be bitten by the snake.
Viewing the tip of the sreekovil – The boy buried the medicines and instruments of Alwar in a hole, very close to the koothambalam, at the south side. Those who view the tip of the sreekovil by standing on it and praying to lord shiva don’t have to fear a snake bite for one day.
Timings to visit
04:30 AM – 11:30 AM | 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Daily Puja’s List
|Ravile Palli Unarthal||3:50 AM|
|Abhishekam||05:00 to 05:30 Am|
|Ganapathi Homam||5:30 AM|
|Usha pooja||05:45 to 07:00 Am|
|Sree Bali||7:30 AM|
|Panthiradi Pooja||8:30 AM|
|Mrithyunjaya Homam||9:30 AM|
|Navakam Kalasha Pooja||10:00 AM|
|Ucha Pooja||11:00 AM|
|Nada Adakunna Samayam||11:30 AM|
|Vaaikittu Nada Thurakunna Samayam||5:00 PM|
|Deeparadhana||06:30 to 07:00 Pm|
|Athazha Pooja||7:30 PM|
|Sree Bali(Nada Adakkunu)||8:00 PM|
- TRIPUTHARATTU which is considered as a symbol of fertility. This festival is connected with a menstruation ceremony, which is observed periodically in the temple.
- Main Festival (Varshikotsav): The main utsavam (Annual festival) begins on ‘Thiruvathira’ of ‘Dhanu’ (month in Malayalam Era) and ends on ‘Thiruvathira’ of ‘Makaram’. Special poojas will be there during these days.
- Maha Shivaratri
- Thulasamkrama Neyyattu (Ghee Abhishekam) – On every 1st day of Thulam (month in Malayalam Era). On this day 36 paras (measurement in Malayalam) of Ghee will be showered on the ‘Shivalingam’. This tradition was started in connection with the finding of the shiva lingam.
- Chitra Pournami
How to Reach
By Air: Trivandrum International Airport – 118 km,
By Train: Chengannur Railway Station – 1 km, Kollam Railway station – 67 km
By Road: Kottayam Railway Station – 37.4 km, Kollam KSRTC – 62 km, Chengannur – 500 mtrs
Chengannur Mahadevar Temple, SH 1, Kizhakke Nada, Chengannur, Alappuzha district, Kerala, 689121
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