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.