Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple
Kodungallur BHagavathy Temple or Sree Kurumba Bhagavati Temple is a Hindu temple at Kodungallur, Thrissur district, Kerala. This is one of the most ancient temples in India. The idol of supreme mother Sree Bhadrakali or Sree Kurumba (popularly known as “Kodungallur Amma”) in the temple is unique and fierce, as it has eight hands with various attributes.
One is holding the head of demon king Daruka, another a sword, next an anklet, another a bell, and so on. Bhadrakali is believed to be born from the third eye of lord Shiva to kill the demon king Daruka. ‘Bhadra’ means good and ‘Kali’ means goddess of time. So Bhadrakali is often referred as the goddess of prosperity, time and salvation.
Kodungallur Bhagavathy – Goddess and Myth
The temple is often accredited as the original form of Goddess Kali. Sree Kurumba Bhagavati Temple is where Kannaki, heroine of Ilango Adigal’s Tamil classic Silappathikaram attained salvation.During the reign of Later Cheras, Mahodayapuram (Kodungallur) was the capital of the Chera empire and one of the most important parts of the region.
Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple – Kerala
The temple is in the centre of Kerala and is referred as Malayala Bhagavathi by Tamil speaking communities. The Temple was built in a remote past and have ancient Dravidian customs which are rarely observed in contemporary kerala temples.
It is said that sixth avatar of Vishnu, Sage Parasurama built this temple for the prosperity of the people. According to the old chronicles, this Bhagavathi temple was created in the heart of the town 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.
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 / Bhadrakali. The deity in the temple, it is believed, is Parashakthi herself. According to legends, it was Bhadrakali who killed the evil demon Daruka.
Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple – Shrine
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 close 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 who have a right to perform ‘Pushpanjalis’ to the Goddess.
Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple – Kaavu Theendal
Bhagavathi being the patron of the royal family of Kodungalloor, 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.
Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple – Idols
The temple is situated in the middle of a plot of land about ten acres, surrounded by banyan and peepal trees. 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 seven feet high and made of wood, carved from a jackfruit tree. The idol has eight arms that carry weapons and symbols. The Bharani festival (Kodungallur Bharani) at the Kodungallur Bhagawati temple is one of the grandest in Kerala.