Monday, March 1, 2010

Kochi Tirumala Devaswom Temple

Venkatachalapathy is the presiding deity of Kochi Tirumala Devaswom temple, also known as Gosripuresha Tirumala Devar.This temple is a socio-religious institution of Gowda Saraswaths Brahmin (GSB) community . It is also frequented by all Hindus and this is the biggest temple in Kochi , the mother institution of GSB of Goan origin living in Kerala.

GSB here migrated from Goa in 1568 fearing mass conversions by Portuguese and made coastal towns their homes. The idol of Venkatachalapathy is believed to have reached here from Viyayanagaram. The king of Vijayanagaram was a great devotee of Lord of Seven Hills, Balaji and when he was unable to visit the Lord , he had a dream that a sculptor would visit and help him to carve a image of the Lord so that he need not take the trouble of visiting Him at the Seven hills. As per the dream the sculptor appeared and after taking necessary materials started working in a closed room . When the sculptor didn't come out, even after a few days the door was opened by the king himself and he was happy to see the resplendent image of Lord Venkatachalapathy and that is the image believed to be in Kochi temple brought here by Swami Vijayendra Teertha after retrieving it from a well in which it was deposited when Vijayanagaram was engulfed by fire.

The temple has 5 sub shrines having Hanuman, Brindavan (Samadhi Of Sukrateedra Swamiji of Kashi Math), Vigneshwara, Mahalakshmi and Garuda.The temple also has a Tulsi and Yakshi . The temple conducts festivals twice a year of 8 days duration and it falls in the month of November and the second one in April. Most of the GSB's who belong to Kochi come back to these festivals even if they are far flung and other GSB's also visit their relatives in Kochi during the festival times. The Garudotsvam, and Aaratu festival on the 8th day where the deity gets the ritual bath is very famous.There is a temple is tank outside to conduct the float festival. Outside the tank, one would find the statues of the Vijaya Nagara king and Swami Vijayendra Teertha. The temple also runs educational institutions and is efficiently run by a committee elected by the Mahajans ( the whole community).

The temple has a huge bronze bell, the second largest in Asia which is 4 ft in diameter and 6 ft in height .The gong when it strikes during the worship resonates through out Kochi and it used to be even heard in the near by town of Alleppey which is 50 Kms. away even as late as 1950's when the automobile noise pollution was not very high. The temple is surrounded by the settlements of GSB's and they guard the temple very well and are highly devoted to the Lord here.

How to reach:- This temple is situated in Mattancherry. It is well connected by air, rail and road ans sea.
Nedumbassery International airport is 50 kms. from this place. Ernakulam junction is the nearest railway station and is at a distance of 10 Kms. Regular buses and other modes of local conveyance are available.


  1. wow so beautiful and so peaceful too...didnt know being a GSB myself that there is such a beautiful temple in kochi...

  2. The corridors and the courtyards look so spacious and the temple is beautiful. I wonder if we have presiding deities of cities in the north too.

  3. I loved hearing all about the Kings dream, fascinating. As is the fact that the temple is run by an elected committee, it must be quite an honour to serve your community in this way.

    I 'googled' the festival of colours you mentioned on my blog, thank you for mentioning it.

  4. I've seen the photographs, some of them are really very good,
    I'll read the full post later,
    Keep sharing such things, we are gaining many things from you posts...

  5. Sushma,
    Make a visit to this temple next time if you happen to come to is huge and you would find it very peaceful. you will also see lot of GSB's around. i am planning one during April for the festival, so shall come back with more festival photos.

  6. Mridula.
    This temple is so huge about 5 1/2 acres, people are coming here to walk peacefully without hindrance in the mornings and evening. This temple is safe for the "walkers". So they start walking after offering a prayer to the deity . I am missing all that now.

  7. SKM
    I am sure you would have seen some of the photos.I know you must be busy . Take your own time.. But appreciate your presence here.

  8. PW
    This temple has history , legend and it is maintained very well. Shall bring the festival photos soon as I am visiting the temple this month end for participating in the same.Nice to see you are taking so much interest.

    You would have got some information on Holi festival, the festival of colours.Young and old participate in this and make it colorful with their presence and applying colours on each other.

  9. sm
    thanks for the greetings and wish you the same. Thanks for the visit and comment too.

  10. When we went to husband loved that place and wanted to settle there:)..but then none told me about this temple and now I feel like going there again some time.

  11. Samvedana
    Mattanchery , Kochi is a very calm and quite place and this temple is very famous. A visit to this temple would be an unforgettable experience.

  12. Chitra,

    As usual, I learn so much. I would love to see the ritual bath. Maybe I can visit one November or April.

    Have a beautiful day

  13. Very nice narration of this temple. Will visit one of these days. I hope there is no "jarugandi jarugandi" stuff going on in this temple.

  14. Traci,
    I will bring you those pictures as I would be attending the festival in April. You can also plan a visit accordingly. There's also a float festival before the ritual bath. very colourful indeed. Thanks for the comment.

  15. SG
    You can pray peacefully here, you won't be Jargundified as People here speak Konkani and they are really peace loving people like me.You need not stand in a queue to have a darshan. Only during festivals it would be crowded still nobody will jostle you.
    You may have to wear dhoti and angavastram if you want to go in the inner prakaram. One can always have a good darshan from the outer prakaram also where dress code is not there.

  16. Kochi seems to be a confluence of all religious practices!! Perfect harmony really.
    I enjoyed reading this:) Liked all the history related & mythological trivia especially.

  17. It is a pity I missed visiting this temple while I was in Kochi. For the records, I am a GSB. :-)

    Good descriptions and wonderful photographs as usual. Temples are always a place of calm and peace, where the cool environment allows one to commune with the supreme.

    Just one question, you said it houses a samadhi of Sukrateendra Swamiji, but Sukrateendra Swamiji is our current seer or pontiff. Is it a previous seer with the same name? Just wondering.

  18. Vittal
    I am also a GSB and your name always gave me the feeling you are also one.
    Sukrateendra is the earlier pontiff whose samadhi is in Kochi and the present one is Sudheendra Teertha Swamiji and He too has a disciple Samyamaendra Swamiji.

  19. Oh I am so sorry! Actually, I got confused with the names. Living in Udupi for quite some time has got the names all messed up. You are right. My facts are wrong.

  20. lost world,
    Yes, Kochi is a very small town but it is a treasure house and has a cosmpolitian crowd.

  21. Vittal
    I am planning a Udupi visit and Goa visit soon. You can just tell me important temples there.

  22. In and around Udupi, here are a few.
    The famous Udupi Sri Krishna Mutt, GSB's Sri Venkataramana Temple.
    Mulki: Sri Venkataramana Temple, Bappanadu Temple (I think it is that of a Goddess, may be Goddess Durga, not sure).
    Kateel: Sri Durgaparameshwari Temple
    Anegudda: Sri Mahaganapati Temple
    Idagunji: Ganapati Temple
    Kollur: Sri Durgaparameshwari Temple
    Murudeshwar: Shiva Temple
    Mangalore: Kadri Manjunatha Temple, Gokarnanatheshwara Temple, Venkataramana Temple.

    I'll tell you more when it comes to my mind.

  23. Chitra whenever i come here, i feel peaceful seeing those pics of god, no exaggeration. I might not be frequently visiting u but when i do, i really enjoy.I guess i told u b4 also that i miss going to temples, i love historical places and this temple is really beautiful. Nice post dear.

  24. Thanks Vittal for the info. I have made a not of the same other wise half the names I wouldn't remember.

  25. Aruna
    Ok whenever you are free and feel like visiting a temple you are welcome here.I like your comments.

  26. It is a very nice and big temple. I have been there few times. Very well described about the place and the picture is wonderful. Through your posts I am cherishing my old memories of Kochi. Your blog is one of my favourite.

  27. hai chithra......... , ifeel a wonderful and peaceful journey..... realy great......

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  29. Babli
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  30. Jayraj,
    Nice to see you again. Happy to know you enjoyed my post.

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  33. yengo... kandipa a visit to plan!! India varen adutha varam, enga amava ungala contact pana solren! comprehensive view kadaikum :)

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  35. Hary,
    Nice to know you are coming to India. kandipa contact panna solunga. Uru suttarathukum time plan pannunga. Eppadi contact pannanum chonna nane pesaren.
    I know how excited you must about your trip. all the best.

  36. Saras,
    I did get all the information. I Thank you so much.

  37. What readable post and wonderful photos - so exotic to a Norwegian you know.

    Btw: Thanks for the visit - glad you like to read about my travels.

    Happy Weekend!

  38. Hi Chitra,
    Thanks for yet another informative post! This temple is truly reflective of the composite culture of India - established by one community from the Western coast and the icon of the temple brought from the eastern coast!

    The story of the dream is a well-known motif in traditional legends. Even the Jagannath triad at Puri has a similar legend - the king was told to get the idol of Jagannath fashioned out of wood. Vishvakarma, the divine architect himself came to make the image. He closed himself in a room and began to make the image. Many days passed and no sound was heard from inside the room. Hence, growing suspicious, the queen opened the doors of the room. Vishvakarma said since the doors had been opened before the image was finished, now he would stop the work. Hence, the Jagannath triad at Puri has only the torso and the face, with stubs jutting out by way of arms These images don't have full figures. The scholars however, have made other interpretations of this triad.

    It is true that during Portuguese rule many Hindus who didn't want to convert left Goa and migrated to other regions. After Goa was liberated, many of them went back, but many families had settled down in other regions and continued to stay where they were.

    Your photographs are very beautiful.

  39. RennyBA's Terella
    I love travelling and loved your post too. Thanks for visiting and also would come back to see more places.
    Happy week end to you too.

  40. Archana,
    What nice information you provide. I have visited Jagannath temple also and has written a post on that earlier. Lord venkatachalapathhy's image was also created by Lord Viswakarma. All legends I come across there's some kind of similarity.
    We fall into the category of people who didn't return to Goa after it's liberation. Hence planning a visit soon as we have lot of our Kuladevata temples there.
    Thanks once again for the wonderful details.

  41. You provide detailed information. So useful. The pictures were really detailed. Thank you for sharing

  42. Thanks Insignia. Nice to see you here.

  43. A colorful place with a colorful history!

  44. @bpotw
    Thanks for visiting my page.

  45. very informative :)
    loved the picture :) lovely place...

  46. You have quite a lot of information here on your blog! Amazing!!


  47. Rajalakshmi,
    Thanks a lot. This is my home town.

  48. Bhavesh
    I think we have a lot to learn from each other.

  49. thanks Bhavesh, for the reply

  50. Visit for full details of Kochi Tirumala Devaswom

  51. Anonymous
    thanks for visiting my blog . It is a humble attempt from my side to provide a gist of various temples I visit which is a hobby for me. Shall visit the site you have mentioned too. :). Keep visiting.

  52. Good blog, Unfortunately you had missed photos of gods in the temple. As there is no restrictions to take photos of the murthis in the temple it will be pleasant treat. You can easily take great photos even from outside the each temple entrance. Also you had missed Vahanas (Iravatha, Horse, Hamsapaksha, Surya/Chandra) which are displayed Left side of the Main Gopuram. In the left side you can see Great paintings of like Narasimha, Viswaroopa, other Lakshmi Narayana wedding painting in the North Gopuram. Don't forget include these while you are in the temple in March for Maholsavam.

  53. Dear Santhosh,
    Good suggestions. thanks.
    I think one post is insufficient to cover all the things related to this great temple. I would be writing about the aarattu festival so shall be including the pictures of Vahana too. Sub shrines I would reserve for a later post.

    Cramming all the pictures in one post is not atractive and on an average, a person spends less than 2mts/blog. I have to keep the readers interest also in mind while writing.

    My blogs are just a window to the various temples I visit.I feel those who want to delve deep into the subject would be accessing the websites of this temple which I believe are qiuite a few.
    Thanks once again . Keep visiting.:)

  54. Beautifully narrated. Well I was in this temple for hours in March this year. The huge bronze bell is awesome. I also stood under it to estimate its size. I need not write now for a new post on my blog.

  55. Chitrakka,The you missed mentioning the most important and beautiful part of the festival that is " MAHAVISHNU YAGA" conducted from day 1-8,this is the only temple in the world where these rituals are still followed twice a year without fail, also the the importance of lord taken out in a procession to the temple tank where he sits for the evening and the " NADATURAPPU- Ritualistic opening of the temple is done at the tank instead of the temple.

    On the eighth and final day of Aratt (annual festival) the Lord is taken in the gold palanquin in a procession to the temple tank. The Lord is taken round the tank in a canoe specially decorated for the occasion. Chakra Snanam or immersion of the Sudarshana Chakra along with the Salagrama in the tank is performed here. The Lord along with his consorts is seated on a revolving cradle on the first floor of the Arattumandapam(Only one of the kind in GSB temples). Later in the night, the Lord seated in golden palanquin complete proceeds in a royal procession to the temple to the accompaniment of Panchavadyam.

    A special event of this evening is that when the procession just comes out of the Arattumandapam, the Arati is offered to the Lord on behalf of king Saluva Narasimha Raya, the king for whom this Lord appeared as Swayambhu and also on behalf of Swami Vijayindra Tirtha, the Swamiji who brought the idol to Cochin.

    The idols of these two personalities are installed at the entrance of the Arattumandapam.

    The reason for this unique ritual where god is moved to tank from the temple is a story which goes like - Gosripuresha will not stay at 1 Temple for a long time, to make him stay at the same temple he is taken across a waterbody " JALASHAYAM" for X yamams n x vinazhikas( Astrological calculation of time),and made to sit in the middle of the waterbody, where his NADATURAPPU is done instead of being usually done in the temple, in the sense he leaves the temple one day and enter the temple next day,also he is given a grand reception of kumbhaarathi & Pushpayaagam at PARSCHAMANDAPAM after Golden Grudavahana Puja.

    This was told to me by Late Sri Vaman bhat n his son Sri Ramananda bhat , who is chief priest of this temple.

    Kindly rectify mistake if any.

  56. Ma'm just happenend to read ur blog- thanks for the wealth of information. I would like to visit the temples around ernakulam with family durin onam as those days will be colorful . Is there any place like attached to temples- devaswoms etc where i can stay and get veg. food fro 2 days. Thank u Prabha

  57. dogood
    Let me know which all temples you would like to visit. write to me at
    I am not aware of any accommodation attached to temples. There is a guest house attached to the above temple but usually given to community members only. there is no canteen attached to it. There are many veg. hotels around.


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