Chottanikkara Devi Temple in Kochi, Kerala

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

The Chottanikkara Devi Temple, located in Kochi, Kerala, is dedicated to the Hindu mother goddess Bhagavati Lakshmi. It is revered as a sacred dwelling where the goddess is believed to reside alongside her consort Maha Vishnu in Chottanikkara (Mahalakshmi). According to temple lore, it holds a distinguished status among the 108 Abhimana Kshethrams of the Vaishnavate tradition. Positioned in Chottanikkara, a southern district of Kochi in Kerala, India, this temple serves as a focal point of devotion and spirituality, attracting pilgrims from near and far.

Architecturally, the Chottanikkara temple is a remarkable example of ancient craftsmanship, built by esteemed Vishwakarma sthapathis, similar to the renowned Sabarimala temple. Sree Mahamaya Bhagavati, the supreme mother goddess in Hinduism, is deeply revered here. Throughout the day, she is worshipped in different forms: Mahasaraswati in the morning dressed in white, Mahalakshmi at noon adorned in crimson, and Mahakali in the evening draped in blue. Chottanikkara Devi (Melekavu Bhagavathi) embodies various aspects of divinity.

Devotees flock to this sacred space seeking solace and healing, chanting fervently and invoking the blessings of “Amme Narayana, Devi Narayana, Lakshmi Narayana, Bhadre Narayana.” The deity ‘Keezhkkaavu Bhagavathi’ is worshipped as Bhadrakali in her formidable or Ugra form. Many individuals afflicted with mental ailments find comfort in the presence of Chottanikkara Devi, believed to be a healer of souls.

The Guruthi pooja ritual, performed late in the evening to invoke the goddess Mahakali, was traditionally conducted only on Fridays but has now become a daily practice, reflecting the enduring devotion and reverence of its worshippers.

Makam Thozhal Festival at Chottanikkara Temple

The annual Makam Thozhal festival held at the Chottanikkara temple in Kochi is a momentous occasion deeply ingrained in the temple’s yearly calendar. According to legend, Vilvumangala Swamiyar had a divine encounter with the goddess on this auspicious day, a tradition revered by devotees through generations.

The festivities commence with a ceremonial bath of the goddess in the sacred Calli Onakkuttichira pond located north of the temple. After this purifying ritual, the goddess is reverently escorted back to the temple, accompanied by Lord Sastha atop seven majestic elephants. They proceed to the customary vantage point, Pooraparambu, where they remain until 11 a.m.

At noon, the Sanctum Sanctorum closes for the Ucha pooja, reopening at 2 p.m. for the revered “Makam Darsanam,” commemorating Vilvumangala Swamiyar’s first glimpse of the goddess. During this momentous occasion, the goddess manifests in her resplendent form, bedecked in gold ornaments, precious jewelry, and a profusion of garlands. It is believed that witnessing this divine spectacle fulfills all prayers and desires, especially for those who gain Darsanam at the auspicious Mithuna Lagna, ensuring the realization of their long-cherished aspirations and supplications.

Worship practices at Chottanikkara Temple in Kochi:

The Chottanikkara Temple, nestled in Kochi, reveres the divine presence of Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, and Mahasaraswati. The presiding deity is hailed by various names including Rajarajeswari, Mahalakshmi, Durga, Bhagavati, Aadi Parashakthi, and Amman. Each day unfolds with devotion as Bhagavati is honored as Mahasaraswati in the morning, Mahalakshmi at noon, and Mahakali in the evening, alongside Lord Narayana.

Within the temple precincts, sub-shrines pay homage to Lord Shiva, Lord Ganapathi, Lord Dharmasastha, Snake deities, Brahmarakshassu, and Yakshi, enriching the spiritual tapestry of the sanctuary.

Renowned for its spiritual healing, the temple offers solace to those afflicted with mental illness and disturbances caused by malevolent forces. Patients seek the guidance of the priest (melsanthi), engaging in meaningful conversations. As a symbolic gesture, the priest fastens a strand of the patient’s hair to the temple tree, signifying the capture of the malevolent spirit. Through this ritual, the temple serves as a sanctuary for healing. Additionally, devotees take home neem leaves, lime, and chillies from the temple, believing in their protective properties against evil spirits.

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - A specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

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