From Aranmula we then reached Malayalappuzha Bhagavathi temple.
8. Malayalappuzha Bhagavathi Temple
Malayalapuzha Devi temple is situated 6 km east of Pathanamthitta town, the District Head Quarter. The Devi Temple is in the center of five hills namely Uppidampara mala, Pulipara mala, Cherukunnathu mala, Oottupara mala and Achakanna mala.
The temple is medium size with a majestic ‘Gopuram’ in the east. The inner sanctum is square shaped. In this temple the ‘Kaula’ Tantric method was followed earlier where animal sacrifices were done in olden days but now animal sacrifices are not performed.
The deity in this temple is an idol made up of many materials in a method called ‘Kadu Sarkara Yogam’ and of five and a half feet high. Several types of wood pieces several Ayurvedic herbs, Milk, Ghee, Jaggery, Turmeric, Sandalwood, Camphor, Gold, Silver, Sand, Natural glue etc are only some of the ingredients used to make it.
Though Bhadra Kali Devi in her fierce state is consecrated in this temple, she is a loving mother to the ingenuous flock of devotees and only the cruel, wicked type people need to be scared about her. The visitors will feel devotion and also fear when entering the temple compound, but when entered inside of the ‘Nalambalam’ they will experience a wrapping feel of protection and a soothing mental peace so that they will love to stay for some more time enjoying that feel.
There is a ‘Siva Linga’ idol in the temple in open which is believed to be self-manifested. People believe that this Shiva linga keeps growing. A flower bearing ‘Konna’ tree provides shade to it all year round. Usually “Konna tree’ which is ‘Casia fistula’ or ‘Golden showering tree’ bears flowers for two months, March and April in Kerala.(This tree flower is Official flower of Kerala). In this temple the ‘Golden Showering tree’ flowers all through the year. If unction of breaking several tender coconuts are performed on this Shiva idol it will rain even in any hot summer is a belief. Cobra snakes are seen lying round that ‘Siva Linga’ idol mostly.
Other sub deities includes Baby Ganapathy in the lap of Parvathi devi getting breast milk from her, Murugan, Sastha, Yakshi, Nagam, Madaswamy etc.
Just before entry to the sanctum, there is a small idol of Veera Bhadra.
- There are lot of prayers being done in the temple for various amounts and all are written in Malayalam inside the temple. So better know about all the prayers and the amount for each prayer before you go.
- The popular belief is that the Goddess is noted for getting the unmarried girls married, protecting the devotees from enemies, helping businesses flourish, getting employment and in general extending prosperity to all the devotees.
- To relieve the problems caused by enemies by black-majic or by any other evil methods, ‘Raktha Pushpanjali (floral worship using red color flowers)’ is performed.
- The sweetened rice known as ‘Chathussatham’ is done by the devotees for getting prosperity.
- For prophylactic purposes and for physical well being fowl bird is brought and set free in the temple compound is a ritual followed here.
- There are several other offerings in the temple like ‘Thoniyari Payasam (Sweet rice made as per the traditional method by which several ingredients are used), Ney Vilakku (Lighting ghee lamp), Nirapara (Offering of giving rice, Paddy, sugar etc in a measuring vessel known as ‘para’ in full measures) etc.
- Ladies offer Manjadi seeds (Adenanthera pavonina Linn.) to the Goddess for increase of breast milk. This same seed, after taking it round their hair is offered by ladies near the flag post for luxurious and thick hair growth.
- There is another very peculiar belief in the temple. It is believed that the soul of the devotees of the Goddess, after death comes and stays in the temple. So their sons/daughters come to the temple along with a piece of sandalwood packed in a red silk, make the soul enter that and take it out. This is called Chavirakkal (removal of death)
- People also worship the Brahma Rakshas which is on the east of the temple for getting rid of ghosts , devils and evil magic affecting them. Offering of Mangalya to the Goddess to get married quickly is also done.
The temple opens every day at 4 ‘o clock in the morning and closes at noon 12.30 PM and opens in the evening at 5 PM and closes at 8 PM. The temple closure time in the afternoon depends on the crowd. When we went on a Friday the temple was kept open beyond 1PM.
Tuesdays and Fridays are more important than other days and there will be heavy rush on those days. Since we went on a Friday, there was a heavy rush and our pooja took a long time. We were there from 11:45 AM to 1:30 PM.
The following photos are from our earlier trip in 2009.
Then came the miraculous and the last part of our trip – Pamba and Sabarimala.
9.Pamba and Sabarimala
About 20 kms before Pamba, we got the news from Chennai that the shutters of the Pamba dam had been released due to heavy rain and the river was heavily flooded. So the foot over bridge was closed and people were stranded on either side for many hours. There had been an incessant rain for the past 4 months in this region. Then only we realised that there was no vehicle movement in the opposite direction. We all were very sad and went into silent mood in a state of shock expecting that we are going to return empty handed without the dharshan of the Lord. In about 5-10 minutes we then saw a heavy rush of speeding vehicles in the opposite direction signalling that the bridge had just been opened. On reaching Pamba, we found that the bridge which was closed for many hours had just been opened. People were allowed through the bridge in one way and that too in a single row. Due to this restriction and the heavy crowd, it took us more than 45 minutes to just cross the bridge in a state of panic, commotion and rain. Once crossed, there was no problem since most part of the uphill from Pamba to Sabari is having roof now.
Normall, people take bath in the river and then start the climbing but no one was allowed this time. I didn’t take the photos while going and the photos are from the earlier trip (without any flood).
Pamba Ganapathy Temple from where the trekking starts:
The resting place at Pamba Ganapathy:
The complete photo set of Pamba is here
The photos are from earlier visit. Most part of the hill climbing route has now been covered with roof. While it definitely protects the devotees from rain, the aesthetic beauty of this route has completely been destroyed. In fact the route now looks very ugly!
Sabari peetam and Saramkothi:
The complete photo set of Sabarimala Hill Climbing is here
End of Hill Climbing and the resting place:
The complete photo set of the Sannidhanam with more photos is available here
We reached Sabarimala by around 6:45 PM and the sacred 18 steps were closed for “Padi pooja”. We waited in open under the intermittent rain till the Padi pooja was over by about 7:45 PM. We climbed the 18 steps and had a very nice dharshan of the Lord.
The sacred 18 steps and the Swamy Ayyappan – this is what we were waiting for the 45 days with untiring and really very difficult (atleast for me!) vradham is for this one only! What a feel which can’t be expressed in words especially when there was a situation that we might return empty handed without the Swamy’s dharshan…..
There are some goods and bads in Sabarimala.
The biggest good point being that there is no VIP dharshan or ticketed dharshan. There are two queues one behind the other, one slow moving to see the Lord from the closest distance and the other queue fast moving to see the Lord just 2 feet away from the other queue. In the fast moving queue, whatever may be the crowd, one can have the dharshan of the Lord in a very reasonable time under the normal monthly pooja times.
The biggest negative being an unbelievable and undigestible fact of pigs roaming around even near the sacred 18 steps!! Now that the eateries have been moved far, I have not seen them around this time. I am not sure whether the administration has done anything for it or not.
We could get only dormitory accommodation at Akil Bharath Ayyappa Seva Sangam and went to sleep by 11 PM. The day was hectic and we were on our toes right from 5 AM to 11 PM. Since we were only 4, no time was wasted anywhere and luckily we didn’t wait for dharshan at any temple.
What an eventful day it was!
On return, there was a delicious annadhana of Pongal, Vada and Sambar at Pamba. After the tiring trip, the breakfast was so delicious and we whole heartedly wished the people behind the annadhana. One of my other members wanted to take a little rest but we insisted on crossing the river at the earliest and taking rest at the car. We crossed the bridge at 9:17 AM as per the photo timing. On reaching the other end, we also took photos and the photo at 9:19 shows that the bridge was closed again, meaning it will be opened only after many hours, half a day or more – it means by the time we would have missed our train and would have been in shambles!
Photos @ 9:25 / 9:26 – Starting to cross the bridge
Photo @ 9:26 – On the bridge, crossing..
At 9:27 – After crossing
Video @ 9:30 – after crossing the bridge. The bridge was closed and we can see people stranded at the other end!
We reached Changannur station by around 1:30 PM and took a nap at the waiting room since our train was only at 4:40 PM hearing the stories of a part of a big gang been stranded at Pamba and missing the train!
The travelogue series is concluded.