Kumaranalloor Sree Bhagavathy Temple, Kottayam
Kumaranalloor Sree Bhagavathy ( Karthyayani Devi ) is considered as one of the most important devi temples among the 108 durgalayas (devi temples) in Kerala. This ancient temple has been identified by Sree Adi Sankaracharya as one of the five important centres in the whole of India for Durga Ardhana.
Lakhs of devotees throng here for worship during the annual festival in November-December (Vrischika month). Karthika is the most important day during the festival. Devotees come from far and near, as they are convinced about the power of DEVI, whose presence in the temple is felt by them. Thousands of devotees remember with tears the wonderful experiences derived from the worship of Devi here.
Kumaranalloor is four km North of Kottayam. The Legend asserts that there existed more than 2000 years ago a Siva temple at Kumaranalloor. The ‘Cheraman Perumal’ decided to build a greater shrine here for Subramania. At that time, Madura in Tamil Nadu was ruled by Pandian Kings Meenakshi was their Paradevatha. A very precious ornament adorned the Vigraha of Meenakshi was, one day found missing and the king had no doubt that the priest was guilty of theft. He ordered that the ornament should be traced within 41 days, otherwise the priest would be beheaded.
As there was no trace of the ornament, the priest was cursing his fate. On the 40th day, he heard a voice at night asking him to leave the place immediately. He was sure that it was the advise of Meenakshi. When he opened his eyes, he found a light in his front. He followed the light and ultimately reached the new Temple at Kumaranalloor. The idol of Bhagavathy, it is believed was installed by Parasurama.
The temple originally intented for Subramanya thus transformed for the worship of Devi. Then, Perumal shifted the idol of Subramaniya to Udayanapuram, near Vaikom. The perumal was displeased and did not give any material support to the Temple at Kumaranalloor. On the way to Udayanapuram in country boats, the Perumal and all others in his troupe became blind due to fog. His minister was wise enough to understand the cause viz, the displeasure of Bhagavathy. There the perumal vowed to give all the land within his vicinity to the Kumaranalloor temple, and poured some water as a gesture. A beautiful hand appeared there, above the water, and received the water poured by the Perumal. Then the difficulty was over. The place is called ‘Manjoor’ and the place where the hand of Devi appeared is still known as ‘Thrikkai Kandam’.
Festivals: Besides the Karthika festival in November-December; Navarathri also is celebrated in a big scale. The temple is auspicious for Vidyarambam. All the nine days of Navarathry are important Mahanavami is the most important day, followed by Vijayadesami, Sivarathri, Vishu, Meenappuram, Uthruttathi during Onam, where ceremoni;us snake boats do a pradakshin to the temple area in a procession and 41 days of Mandalavritha etc., are also observed auspiciously. Bhagavatha Parayana and discourses on various topics of Bhagavatha are main attractions during N avarathry.
The exuborant artistic style displayed here reflects the inspired and dedicated skill of the sculpture. The temple is famous for its mural paintings and wooden carvings and it has been a source of inspiration to the people of the region over the centuries. The centuries old mural paintings which adorn the walls of sanctum sanctorium depicts the stories from ‘puranas’. Chathusatham, Guruthy, Dhara, Thulabharam, Ahassu (a day’s pooja) are important offerings besides Pushpanjali and Turmeric Abhishekam.