Sasthamcotta Sree Dharma Sastha Temple
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (October 2010)|
The temple here is well known for the inhabitance of monkeys. The temple monkeys are believed to be the divine retinue of the prime deity. The Sasthamcotta temple is one among the five ancient Sastha temples in Kerala - AchanKoil, Aryankavu, Kulathupuzha, Sasthamcotta and Sabarimala. The concept of Dharma Sastha represents the unison of Vaishnava and Saiva beliefs.
The presiding deity of the temple is Shri Dharma Sastha, accompanied by his consort ‘Prabha’ and son ‘Sathyaka’.
The legend of this temple stretches beyond the period of the Ramayana (Treta Yug). It is believed that Shri Rama along with his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana and the whole vaanara sena, on their way back to Ayodhya after the victory over Ravana, visited Sasthamcotta to pay their reverence to Shri Dharma Sastha. Shri Rama offered pithru tharpan on the banks of the Sasthamcotta Lake, the water of which is supposed to be identical to Surya Raga Theertha of Manasa Sarovar. Lord Rama then deputed the chief architect of his vanara (monkey) team, Neelan to serve his host. Neelan is believed to be the predecessor of the prevailing monkey clan in this temple.
Utsavam (annual festival)
The utsavam lasts for ten days. The flag is hoisted on the first day heralding the utsavam. The utsavam culminates with the ‘araattu’ on ‘Utram’ in the month of Kumbham (February–March). The tenth day hosts the ‘Kettukazhcha’-- a procession of various effigies of bullocks, horses, decorated chariots, etc. -- A number of elephants with their nettipattam (decorative head-dress) also come to the temple to pay reverence to the prime deity, who sits atop a caparisoned elephant at the temple courtyard, escorted with many other decorated elephants.
- Mandala Mahotsav (41 days)
- Makara Sankrama pooja
- Painkuni Utram
- Karkidaka Vavu
- Kottarathil Shankunni (1909). "Itheehyamala", Sasthamcottayum Kuranganmarum.