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Kodungallur Bhagavathy.

Sree Bhuvaneswary Temple, Valamchuzy is one of the oldest temples in Pathanamthitta, also known popularly as the town of temples. Valamchuzy temple is in fact considered one of the most renowned temples in South India.

Contents

Location

The temple is situated at a distance of 3 km from the city centre. The temple is surrounded by the sacred river Achankovil, which has its origin in the Achankovil mountain ranges. The very name "Valamchuzy" derived from the fact that the river circumvents the temple on three sides. Due to the constant fury of the river over the past 3000 years large tracts belonging to the temple have been washed away. The temple presently is well protected from the ravages of floods. Formerly this area was under dense forests and its remnants can still be seen in the "Sarpakavu" that presently exists there. The sarpakavu is also home to a large variety of rare medicinal herbs. Constant threat due to illegal sand mining from the river is posing a danger to the Sarpakavu.

As elsewhere, the great floods of 1096 had its repercussions in Pathanamthitta and it had caused severe damage to the temple. However, after the floods had receded a lot of reclamation and maintenance work had been undertaken by the temple authorities with the active participation of the government and the landlords within the vicinity of the temple. A bund was also constructed to make access to the temple easier. The temple continued to be under the patronage of the velluvettuvelil madam family till the year 1974. They also served as the priests of the temple all this while. Later on, the administration of the temple passed on to the senior members of the 14 Karas hailing from Pathanamthitta municipality, pramadam and Mylapra Panchayats. A Devasom council and a team of 14 members of executive are elected every two years from this 14 karas. These representatives are the pillars of the temple administration. The administration of the temple is presently on the lines of the Indian Parliament.

Legend

Legend has it that a devotee brought along from Kodungallur temple, a flower that was the very incarnation of Goddess Bhuvaneswary. He made a frantic search to locate the most suitable spot to install the flower. It was then that the devotee received a divine inspiration that he should install the flower at Valamchuzy where the river Achankovil circumvents the place from three sides. The devotee then informed the residents of what had transpired. It was then that the residents of the surrounding areas gathered together and finally decided that a temple should be built in this very place to install Goddess Bhuvanaswary. The devotee and his long line of successive generations continued to act as the torch bearers of the temple even to this day. The sword and the Chilambu bought from Kodungalloor and displayed at the temple, is a standing testimony to the veracity of the whole episode.

Similarities with Kodungalloor Temple

The Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple and Valamchuzy temple are similar in several aspects. It is believed that animal sacrifice existed here at one stage.

Festivals

Rudrapongala held in the Malayalam calendar month of Kumbham on the Bharani days constitute the main offering to the deity. Innumerable number if devotees from all over the country throng to this shrine during the Makarabharani festival. It is also believed that if "appindy" is ceremoniously carried by the devotes, it will cure them from all forms of incurable diseases and sorrows.

The Padayani held in the Malayalam calendar month of Meenam is also celebrated with utmost devotion and fervor. New born babies are brought in cradles and placed in front of the goddess. This ritual is specific to this temple and it attracts devotees from every corner of Kerala and outside. The birth day of the Goddess is celebrated on the Bharani day in the Malayalam calendar month of Makaram. The flag hoisting signalling the start of the festival is held on the Pururuttathy day of Makaram and concludes with the Aaraattu on the 10th day. The most auspicious day, however, is on the fifth day of the festival that coincides with the birth day of Goddess Bhuvanaswary. This particular day is marked by a lot of fervor,celebrations and festivities.

See also

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