Sabarimala Trip and Visit to Kerala Divya Desams
Normally I go to Sabarimala with a group of 30+ (mostly Malayalees) with Mr.Menon as Guruji but since he has now settled in an ashram near Trissur, I along with 3 of my relatives planned for Sabarimala trip this year on our own. We also planned for 6 Divya desams around Chengannur.
We got down at Kottayam railway station around 5:15 AM. Thanks to blog friend Mr.Kalyana Sundaram, who recommended a cab driver Mr.Rajan @ 09447172654. Since the driver was running an Innova which was very big for 4 of us, he sent another driver who was promptly standing with a placard ‘Raju-Chennai’ at Kottayam railway station. We took his Tata Indigo and straight went to a road side Coffee shop. There was a slight drizzle and it was just wonderful to take (Bru) coffee at the early morning hours of Kerala under a drizzle (By the way, don’t take normal Coffee anywhere in Kerala since they don’t know the concept of filter coffee at all. They make coffee in the same way as Tea and without even filtering the coffee powder! even in big hotels!!). Throughout our trip we tried only Bru coffee and even in one big hotel, when we tried normal coffee, it was pathetic.
Thanks again to Mr.Kalayana sundaram, we drove straight to Brahmmana Samooham at Kottayam which provides all amentities free for the Sabarimala pilgrims.
SRI DHARMASASTHA ANNADAANAM TRUST (SDAT)
Kottayam Brahmana Samooham
Srinivasa Iyer Road, Near Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple
Kottayam – 686 001 (Kerala)
Phone: 0481 – 256 6926
SDAT is a public charitable trust formed with the primary object of providing amenities to the SABARIMALA PILGRIMS without regard to religion, caste, creed, riches etc. For about a decade the trust is doing yeoman service to the devotees proceeding to / from SABARIMALA. The most important service undertaken by SDAT is provision of FREE SATVIK FOOD (breakfast, lunch and dinner) to the devotees.
Also, for accommodation and food at Kottayam; and travel arrangements from Kottayam etc., please contact the Samooham office.
The Brahmmana samooham has a big hall where many Ayyappas were seen taking rest. There are about 5 Western toilets and 5 Indian toilets, all with attached bath. There are also taps for open bath. I didn’t take tooth paste thinking that any one of the other 3 might bring it but how amazing it is when all the 4 of us thought the very same way. So we had to borrow it from other Ayyappas! There was a free coffee also available at that time and the smell of Pongal for breakfast was kindling us but the free breakfast was scheduled only for 7:30 AM. So we started off for our trip.
Primarily we planned for the 6 Divya Desams in the Kottayam – Chengannur region. Out of which 5 temples were created by Pandavas and they have now been come to be referred to as ‘Anj Ambalam’ (Five temples) to the people in this area. Divya Desams / Azhvaars / 108 temples are not references understood in these places. Our driver even didn’t know of Anjambalam! It is important to note that most of the Divya Desams in this region open very early by 5 AM and close at 11am and open again at 5 PM only. The things I like in Kerala temples are that they use only natural lights inside the sanctum; the priests in the temples are very sincere and non talkers. Shirts are not allowed inside these temples.
The sequence in which we undertook the trip and the timing (from the photos):
Landed at Kottayam railway station by 5:20 AM
1. ThiruKadithaanam – Divya Desam; part of Anjambalam; worshipped by Sahadeva (6:30 AM)
2. Thiruvalla – Divya Desam (7:30 AM)
Breakfast at Hotel Aryas at Tiruvalla
3. Thiru Van Vandur – Divya Desam; part of Anjambalam; worshipped by Nakula (9:00 AM)
4. ThiruChittaru – Divya Desam; part of Anjambalam; worshipped by Dharma (9:30 AM)
5. Puliyoor – Divya Desam; part of Anjambalam; worshipped by Beema (9:50 AM)
6. Aranmula – Divya Desam; part of Anjambalam; worshipped by Arjuna (10:40 AM)
7. Bhagavathy temple at Malayalappuzha (11:45 AM)
Started from Malayalappuzha temple by 1:30 PM and reached Pamba by 4:30 PM
I didn’t take my new Canon 6D DSLR camera and took only the old Canon Digi that served me all these years for the temple trips. So the pictures may not be of great quality.
1) Arputha Narayanan Divya desam at Thiru Kadithanam
Out first stop was Thiru Kadithanam near Chenganacheri. It is located in a fantastic landscape, a typical Kerala village in a rainy area, with the tall temple walls covered with green algae and the very beautiful temple tank.
- One of the 108 Divya desams
- One of the five Pancha Pandava temples (Anjambalams)
- One of the three Kadigai Kshetrams in India, the other two being Thiru Kadigai in Sholingur (Chennai) and Thiru Kandam (Kadinagar) in Devapriya (North). Stay here for one Kadigai (24 minutes) to attain Moksham.
- Sahadeva created the Krishna Idol and built this Arputha Narayana temple
This Divya Desam is located at 4 kms east of the Chenganancheri Railway Station.
Wikimapia location is here
Deity: Arputha Narayanan East Facing Standing Posture
Goddess : Karpagavalli
Azhvaar : NamAzhvaar- 11 (3502-12)
Temple Time : 5am-11am and 5pm-8pm
Priest : Vasudevan Namboodari
Tel No. : 94972 22107 or 0481 2435711
- Legend has it that those who visit the Arputha Narayana Perumal temple in Changanachery and stay here for at least one Kadigai (24 minutes) will be liberated from all sins/curses.
- This is one of the special Krishna temples in India specifically dedicated for moksham.
- King Rukmangatha, who belonged to the Surya Dynasty is said to have passed on the fruits of his Ekadesi penance to the Devas and sent them back to their abode (Deva Logam).
There are separate Sannidhis for Narasimha (on the Western side behind the Arputha Narayana Sannidhi), Krishna and Chandra.
There is a festival of dance here at this temple. The belief is that ladies dancing with buckets on top of their head and undertaking prayers to Lord Arputha Narayanan would help them conceive. PeriAzhvaar has made a reference to the above ‘dancing’ in one of his famous verses.
Statue of the servant:
There is an interesting story of the temple servant being cursed by the presiding deity to turn into a stone as he delayed the opening of the temple and made the devotees to wait. The statue of the servant can be seen in front of the temple.
The complete photo set is here with more photos
Then we proceeded to Thiruvalla.
2) Thiruvazh Marban in Thiruvalla (Thiruvallavazh)
Thiruvalla is about 11 kms South of Thiru Kadithanam (Chenganacheri ) Divya desam and the temple is about 3 kms from the Thiru Valla Railway station.
Wikimapia location is here
- One of the 108 Divya Desams
- There are references to the Thiruvalla Lord in Garuda Puranam and Matsya Puranam.
Deity : Thiru Vazhmarban, Srivallapan Kolapiran East Facing Standing Posture
Goddess : Selva Thirukozhunthu Nachiyar, Vaathsalya Devi
Azhvaar : Thirumangai Azhvaar (1808-17, 2674(118) and
NamAzhvaar(3205-15) – 22 Paasurams
Temple Time: 5am-11:45am and 5pm-8pm
Priest : PK Unnikrishnan Pothi/ Govindan Namboodhari
Contact number : 0469 2700191
- A spinster by name Shankara Mangalathammai used to observe Ekadesi penance and feed one Brahmmachari on the Dwadasi day. She was constantly disturbed by an asura and so she did penance. Pleased with her prayers, Lord Vallbhan killed the asura using his chakra and the Chakra is said to have fallen at the place where the temple is situated currently. The Lord, disguised himself as a Brahmachari, came for her feast and gave dharshan with Goddess Lakshmi adorning His chest, thus gained the name Thiruvazhmarban.
- It is believed that the Lord here protects all the devotees from evil forces.
- Another story goes that KandaaKarnan, a Shiva devotee, undertook penance invoking Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Vishnu appeared before Kandaa Karnan and provided him darshan as Vallabhan.
Interestingly, the sanctum has been constructed in such a way that one cannot see the feet of the Standing Thiru Vazhmarban.
The Moolavar Lord is also known by the names of Vallabhan and Kolapiran. This place is referred to as the ‘Vallabha Kshetram’. The other Thiru Vazhmarban temple in Malai Naatu Divya Desam is in Thiruvan Parisaram
Kathakali Festival is the most popular festival at this temple
The 50- feet high flag post is of stonework with an icon of garuda, vehicle of Lord Vishnu, atop.
Thirumangai Azhvaar, who has not sung praises of too many of the Malai Naatu Divya Desam Lords, has dedicated 10 verses to Thiruvalla Lord and has referred to the Lord as ‘ Valla Vaazh’.
Every Saturday morning, there is a special pooja at this divya desam similar to the one at Thiruvanparisaram.
Prarthana Sthalam for childless couples:
Performance of Kathakali: Childless couples who offer their sincere prayers at this temple are said to be blessed with children. As part of this prayer, it is a tradition to organise Kathakali to invoke the blessings of Lord Vallabhan. Another tradition is that the Lord is presented with 12000 ripe bananas, half of which is distributed to the devotees.
We then took breakfast at Hotel Aryas at Thiruvalla town and the food was good.
Our next temple was Thiru Vanvandur Pambanai Appan temple
To be continued…….