Introduction To Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple

The Chotanikkara Bhagavathy Temple is located 17 km from Ernakulam in the town known as Chotanikkara. It is one of the important temples for the Goddess. The other name for the Goddess here is Durga Bhagavathy. She is also the presiding deity which is worshipped by everyone as the primary God of the Temple. It is believed that the deity is brought from another Temple located for the Devi in Karnataka’s Kollur district. The main attraction of this Temple is that the Goddess can be worshipped in three forms namely Saraswati, Lakshmi and Durga.

The Goddess in the Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple is famous for her special healing powers relating to mental health. The Temple is located in the hills surrounded by green farms that create an alluring atmosphere for the Temple. The deity has many names such as Amme Narayana, Devi Narayana, Bhadre Narayana and Lakshmi Narayana.

The Goddess is about 5 feet high and is always adorned with beautiful flowers and jewels. The multiple oil lamps surrounding the Goddess add to her ethereal beauty. The Goddess has four limbs with each arm holding a different tool such as a disc and conch, the hands on the lower side of the Goddess are in a mudra pose offering blessings to the devotees and the right hand on the lower side is in fearless posture.

The Devi is decked in different colours of cloth when she is in different forms. For example, it’s white in the morning for Saraswati, Red in the mid-afternoon for her Lakshmi form and Blue in the evenings indicating Durga. The idol here is believed to be a self-born one without any carvings by human touch. The original form of the Goddess is said to have been made of laterite stone which gives the Goddess a crimson tinge.

Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple

Legend of Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple

There are many legends associated with the Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple. One of the legends is associated with Kannappan who lived in the forest. It is believed that he sacrificed a buffalo to the Goddess and one day when he was about to sacrifice a calf, his daughter pleaded with him to stop. But the man lost his daughter after a few days. Kannappan suffered as the young cows suffered after he took their calves away for sacrifice. Kanappan prayed every day at the sacrificial altar asking for forgiveness. After Kanappan’s death, the legend was forgotten. Later the stones were discovered and after a devaprasannam, the stone was found devine and it was worshipped after that.

Another legend speaks of the Hindu saint Sankaracharya who prayed to the Goddess to appear before him as there were no temples for the Devi in Kerala. He went all the way to Kashmir to pray to Devi for an appearance and the legend says the Goddess appeared with one condition that Shankaracharya was not to look back. Shankaracharya followed the sound of anklets until it stopped at the Mookambika Temple and when he couldn’t hear the sound of anklets, he turned back. The Goddess disappeared for breaking the promise. He pleaded until the Goddess came with him to Kerala and she did.

The Architecture of Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple

Apart from the main deity, there are also temples for other deities such as Sastha which is the other name for Lord Ayappa, Lord Shiva, Nagaraja and other devathas. The Temple is an example of the Viswakarma architecture style of sculpting with wood. There is also an ugra form of the Temple in Keezhakkavu Bhagavathi.

Festivals of Chottanikkara Bhagavathy TempleTemple

Some of the important festivals celebrated in Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple are:

  • Makom Thozhal: This is the most celebrated and important festival at the Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple. It was on this day, the Vilvumangala Swamiyar saw the Goddess. So this day is considered auspicious and the same way devotees also worship the Goddess. The Goddess is given the sacred bath in the pond and then brought back to the Temple.
  • Kumbam: The Temple hosts the annual festival during Kumbam. Beginning on a Rohini day with the flag hosting, the festival is held for 7 days until the star Uthram.
  • Choroonu: This is a huge milestone for the baby and it is usually done when they are between 4 – 6 months old. This is the first time the baby is given rice and it is celebrated in the Temple with a lot of glory. Every day this is performed at 6 am and requires the parents and the baby to wear traditional clothing.
  • Vijayadasami: Vijayadashami is celebrated in honour of Goddess Saraswati. This is celebrated at the Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple with kids beginning their formal education on this very special day. Children between the ages of 3 to 6 are introduced to reading, writing and arithmetics.
  • Medam: Vishu or the new year falls on this day and there will be Ezhunellippu on 3 elephants along with the usual Sadya and Vishukani viewing. This is considered to be auspicious.
  • Chingam: The temple celebrates Thiruvonam by offering the devotees a Thiruvonam feast.
  • Vrischikam: The Vrischika is usually celebrated during the mandalam period. Anadanams are done across the temple and the areas surrounding the Temple. It is also said to be the birthday of the Goddess, so the prayers are offered for three days. The Lakshaarchan where the priest recites all the names of the Goddesses and on the day of the Makara deepam, lots of lamps are lit around the temple. The day is also celebrated by bursting a large number of fireworks.

Benefits of Worshipping in Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple

As mentioned earlier, the Goddess here is worshipped as Saraswati, Lakshmi and Durga. Therefore, people worship her seeking specific boons each Goddess offers such as wisdom, wealth and courage. It is mainly known for chasing away any evil spirits and for curing mental illness. Neem and chillies are to be taken home from the temple for protection from evil spirits.

How to reach Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple

The Temple is easily accessed via all modes of transport:

By Air: Via Cochin Airport

By Train: Via Ernakulam Railway station. (18 kms)

By Bus: Via Thiruvananthapuram (215 kms), Guruvayur (125 kms) and Pamba (60 kms)

Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple Timings:

The temple is open from 5:00 am to 7.30 am in the mornings. 12 – 8.45 pm after noon.