Kadakkal Devi Temple
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Kadakkal Devi Temple is situated at Kollam District, Kerala, India. Kadakkal city is in the eastern part of Kollam District, Kerala. Kadakkkal is well known for the social revolutionary activities held in the pre-independent period of India. Kadakkal is an agriculture village and its known for its spice production. Main agricultural cultivation include rubber, coconut, and pepper.
Kadakkal Devi Temple is one of the foremost Devi temples in Kerala. It is renowned for its unique mythology and belief. It is believed that one who worships and offering rituals to Devi (Kadakkalamma) will be protected from evil and their life will be filled with prosperity and wealth.
Kadakkal Temple has three main temples situated equal distances in three directions from the Temple Pond (Kadakkal Chira): Devi Temple, Siva Temple and Taliyil Temple.
The uniqueness of the main Devi temple is that there is neither an idol nor a pujari. The temple festival 'Kadakkal Thiruvathira Mahotsavam' is very popular. During the festival thousands of devotees come to Kadakkal to worship 'Devi'. On the first day of the festival, thousands of ladies offer Pongal to Devi at the temple ground. The festival starts with 'Kuthirayeduppu' which is a grand procession followed by 'Kuthiyottam' and pageants. The festival ends with 'Guruzi', a spiritual ritual performed on the last day.
Kadakkal temple has a very unusual mythology related to its existence. It is believed that Kadakal Devi came from Tamil Nadu with her four sisters. Kadakkal Devi situated in Peedika (a small kind of trade shop made of wood) near by Kadakkal and Anchal Devi situated in Kadayattu Kalari near by Anchal, karavalur devi in village of Karavalur, and Kariyara Devi at Kariyara. The four temples are called the same name: Peedikayil Bhagavathy Temples.
Another story is related with Panayappan, a Tamil trader who have been killed by Kadakkal Devi as a revenge for exploiting her family. After that she moved to Kadakkal Peedika; that became the sanctum sanctorum of the present Kadakkal Temple.
The Nettur Kurup, who was the eyewitness of this incident, got the permission from Devi to do offering and Pooja for Devi in the Peedika. Every year Devi's holy birthdate "Thiruvathira" of Kumbha (according to Malayalam Calendar) is celebrating as Thiruvathira Festival. Devotees celebrate it as the regional festival of Kadakkal.
Festivals of Kadakkal Temple
The very important days of Kadakkal Devi Temple is Thiruvathira Nakathram (star) of the Malayalam month Kumbha. This day celebrating as the holy birth day of the mother goddess "Kadakkalamma". The important events are listed below:
Thiruvathira's day in Kumbham celebrates the holy birthday of Kadakkal Devi. Kadakkal Thiruvathira attracts a large number of devotees from far and near. People celebrate it as the festival of Kadakkal. Thiruvathira comes in February or March.
During the festival, thousands of devotees come to Kadakkal to worship Devi. The festival starts with 'Kuthirayeduppu' which is a grand procession followed by 'Kuthiyottam' and pageants.
The first day of Thiruvathira, thousands of women offer Pongal to Devi at the temple ground. Pongal starts early morning (around 5.30) on Makayiram (the day before Thiruvathira). Devotees from all over the state come for this particular Pongal festival. Devotees from other districts come and stay near Kadakkal to offer Pongal at early morning. Most of the people stay with relatives or friends. Affordable lodging and accommodation is available near by Kadakkal Temple.
Thiru Mudi Ezhunnellathu
Thiru Mudi Ezhunnellathu happens once every 12 years. It is a grand procession from Kadakkal Temple to kalari Temple (Anchal) carrying holy circlet of Kadakkal Devi (Thirumudi). It is believed that the sister of Kadakkal Devi is situated in kalari Temple.
The last grand procession happened in 2002. The next procession will be in 2014.
The ten-day Thiruvathira festival ends with 'Guruzi'. This is a spiritual ritual performed in the last day of the Thiruvathira festival. Guruzi starts at midnight and continues till early morning. There will be number of pageants followed by the holy circlet procession (Thirumudi Ezhunnallippu).
Thousands of devotees gather in the temple on this day to witness this spectacle which they believe the realization and manifestation of devotion to Kadakkal Devi (Kadakalamma).