Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chottanikkara Bhagavathi temple- Kochi

Chotttaikkara Bhagavathi temple is a very famous and ancient temple in Ernakulam district. It is situated 15 Kms. from Erankulam(Kochi). Bhagavathi is the synonym for Amman. There are two temples here, one for Chottanikkara Amma and other one for Keezhkavilamma which is at a lower elevation .One has to descend few steps to reach this temple.

The Goddess here is very powerful and Chottanikkara Bhagavathy is worshipped as Saraswati (Goddess of learning) early in the morning, Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) in the noon and as Durga (Goddess of power) in the evening. The deity is adorned with white sari when she is worshipped as Saraswathi and for the other two worships, She is decked up with colourful silks and ornaments. The main idol here is a Swayambhu and does not have a regular shape. What is generally visible is the deity adorned with golden kavacham with conch and discus in her hands.There is also an image of Vishnu inside the sanctum hence people refer to the Goddess here as Amme Narayana Badre Narayana.

Keezhkavu temple (the temple at the lower elevation) , the deity is Bhadrakali , another form of Mother Goddess and it is believed that a worship here for a period of 41 days removes mental ailments and rids one of evil spirits. Even now we come across mentally deranged people praying here. There is a tree inside this temple with hundreds of nails driven into it as a mark of devotees being exorcised here. See the last two photos with nails driven into the tree. Navarathri and Magam thozhal are two famous festivals here. Another interesting sight here is devotees offering vedi vazhipadu ( bursting of fire crackers called Kadina).

There are sub shrines for Sastha (Ayyappa), Siva, Nagas and Ganesha. The temple attracts a lot of devotees on Tuesdays and Fridays.

How to reach: Chottanikkara is just 15 Kms. from Kochi ( Ernakulam railway station.)
Excellent transport facilities are available as number of private buses ply on this route.
The nearest airport is Nedumbassery ( Kochi international airport)
Accommodation - Visitors are advised to stay in Kochi where excellent hotels are available of all ranges.


  1. good one, chitra... i can never forget this temple... the first time we went there, we reached just as they were closing the doors... the second time, we went really early and had a wonderful darshan, but had to leave hurriedly since samhith, who was then a toddler was running around all over, and broke one of the tube lights leaning against a wall! thankfully, they were used ones, waiting to be thrown away, but we were too embarrassed to linger after that!!!

  2. Thanks for another great geological tour!

  3. Is that a wishing tree? It looks majestic.

  4. Marvellous!!!Same idol worshipped as different goddesses. Goes to show that God is One isn't it. Loved this little tit-bit:) I always learn smthing from your pilgrimages.

  5. I have been to the Chottanikkara temple as a kid, maybe 7 yrs old. I remember few things, especially the big tree in the temple. But its interesting to know that the same idol is worshiped as different deity during different time of the day. Thanks for this enlightenment.

  6. Anu,
    I have read your post also about your Chottanikara visit. It is considered very auspicious to visit this temple during Navarathri.
    thanks for your comment.

  7. Betty
    thanks for the comment.

  8. Mridula
    It is a holy tree. When mentally ill patients are exorcised, nails are driven into the tree with the belief that the evil spirits would no more trouble the person. You will find lot of dolls also nailed into it.

  9. lostworld
    Nice to see you dear. God is always one, only worshipped in different forms.

  10. Insignia
    The memory of the tree remains always etched in the mind because of its appearance.
    If one reaches the temples before 7 am the goddess gives darshan as Saraswathi after that you would see her in other forms only.

  11. Chitra, nice information about the chottanikara amman temple,, i hv never been to this place now i saw the pics of the temple in n out,,great job dear..

  12. Sathya
    Thank you for the comment.

  13. I love the idea of a godess of learning, how wonderful.

    Some more great photos, I especially like the last two with the trees.

  14. Thanks PW
    Nice to see you.
    In Hindu mythology there are millions of Gods and Goddesses.

  15. Again a very beautiful temple, nice to know abt this one too...Nice info chitra,thanks for sharing

  16. When you talked about the goddess being worshiped as three different avatars of Shakti, I was reminded of a verse. According to that verse, at the tip of your palm is the abode of Goddess Lakshmi, in the middle is that of Goddess Saraswathi and at the bottom is that of Goddess Gauri. If we see the positions on the palm as morning, afternoon and evening the order of worship gives a similar picture (except that order of worship for Lakshmi and Saraswati is interchanged). Whatever it is, it is really nice. Because for every pooja the idol of the Goddess has be decorated differently. It involves a little work, but the devotion with which the priests do their job is a treat to watch and also to see the Goddess being decorated beautifully is really a privilege. Also, this seems to be a different kind of temple. One has to descend a few steps, you say? Wow! I love visiting places that under-ground. It must be extremely cooler below there, isn't it?

    Thanks for a wonderful post with good information and lovely pictures. :-) The flag post and the lamps arranged in lines were the most delightful ones for me.

  17. Sushma
    Thanks for the comment. I visit this temple at least once a year. Earlier I used to stay just 5 kms. from this temple

  18. Vittal
    You made it early this time. I know the verse. It starts like Karagre vasathe Lakshmi, Karamule Saraswathi....

    The second temple, I mentioned is at the lower end of a slope. It is not underground. Both the temples face each other.

  19. You are right. The verse reads:
    karagre vasate lakshmihi karamadhye saraswati
    karamule stitha gauri prabhate karadarshanam

    Oh! I got the temple being at the lower end of the slope as being underground. Sorry about that. You say they face each other? That makes it really a unique style.

  20. Vittal
    thanks for writing the verse here. I was not getting it right. Thanks for posting it.
    The temples on top faces east and the one at the bottom faces west.

  21. enjoyed the pilgrimage thanks to you...:)best wishes

  22. Ramesh
    Welcome to my blog, thanks for your comment.
    Keep visiting. Shall visit your site too.

  23. You are opening a totally different world to me...

    In north thse shivlings are called Swayambhu which are supposed to have come out themselves.

  24. Samvedana,
    thanks for the comment.Here also the natural formations are called as Swayambhus.

  25. hey thanks yar chitra..hahah reading yr comment too about landing in soup instead of idli..thanks..stay connected..best wishes friend..nanri meendum varuga:)

  26. Ramesh
    Nice to see you again. Shall be in touch.

  27. Yes chitra you can parboil the potatoes, cut it into cubes and shallow fry it and follow rest of the procedure...taste wont differ...

  28. Hi Chitra,
    These are extremely important temples - they show the intermingling of many traditions within Hinduism. The Kali temple gives space to the folk as well as the Sanskritic traditions. On the other hand, worshipping the Goddess in her three aspects in a region normally devoted to either Vishnu or Shiva is important. The Goddess is supposed to be the sister of Vishnu. The Vishnu image is an indicator to this, and also to the fact that Vishnu worship is very popular in this area. Hence, in a Goddess temple a Vishnu image is installed.

    The aniconic image of Swayambhu is interesting. Swayambhu is Brahma, father of Saraswati, who was attracted towards his daughter and entered into an incestuous marriage with her. Hence, worship of Brahma is banned in Hinduism - an indication that with the growing popularity of Shiva, Vishnu and the Goddess cults, Brahma the Vedic deity became less popular. The Pushkar temple of Brahma in Rajasthan is a modern one and the only temple where Brahma is worshipped - as a revival movement perhaps.

    The aniconic image of Brahma here is thus important, because he doesn't have a figure in tune with the tradition of his worship being banned, but this aniconic image is recognised as Brahma because Saraswati is being worshipped here. It's like the Swayambhu being in the twiligh zone between a clearly worshipped deity and a not worshipped deity!

  29. Archana
    That is good information you have given.

    But what I have understood is natural formations are called as swayambhumus here in South ( swayam = naturally)
    Haven't heard about Brahma's name connected with the temple though I don't know much about all these things.. The story of Chottanikara Bhagavathi says that her presence was felt in this shapeless stone (Swayambhu).

  30. "Saraswati (Goddess of learning) early in the morning,
    Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) in the noon and
    as Durga (Goddess of power) in the evening."

    Great Information
    with very attractive photos...
    Thanks, I shared this info with my MoM...

  31. SKM
    Great to see you after a long time. thanks for the comment.

  32. wow. Chottanikkara bhagavathi on your blog. Seems like you have been roaming around ekm and kottayam a lot. nice photos and info too!!

  33. subu
    Thanks for the comment. I am from Ekm and roaming these places comes naturally to me. Happy you too liked it.

  34. Thanks Chitra for your wishes! I need it!! Gopalan

  35. Gopalan
    Thanks for visiting and all the best to you .

  36. Hi
    thanks for the question regarding the blocking i will try to write a post about that.
    if possible may i know which model or company mobile you are using .

  37. Chitra,
    Your explanation is also perfectly plausible. Since it s the local belief connected to the temple, it must be correct.

  38. Archana,
    Thanks for visiting again.

  39. I have been to Chhotanikara temple twice. Its really wonderful place to visit. Very nicely written with full information. Lovely post.

  40. Babli
    Thanks for the comment.

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  42. Ramesh
    thanks for the visit.

  43. amme narayana devi narayana lakshmi narayana bhadre narayana is the only sloka I know in the whole world. Amma is always with me. I hope to visit the shrine soon & seek her blessings. This time again for no fault of mine I became a scapegoat I only seeking amma's bleesing to save me. I am sure to be saved

  44. am Gangadharan from madurai , every year i take pilgrimage to sabarimalai each visit i go to Gurvayur and chottanikara temple. i feel so good to enter the temple during vritham , temples of kerala is so unique and powerfull .Everyone is equal and i think there is no special paid dharshan here ....
    chitra mam i had a feeling of i was in the temple by seeing your photos .. nice

  45. Gangadharan, thanks a lot. i am happy you felt as if you were visiting the temple. God bless.

  46. Had a visit to this temple during my college IV which was unforgettable.. Thanks for sharing....

  47. Your blog is one of the best in its kind. Keep this going.

  48. Thanks a lot Sreekumar.Happy you liked it.

    Sushmita - thanks a lot

  49. Good post, the Chottankikara temple is my wife's special praying place and I have heard similar descriptions from her about this temple.

  50. hi I am rajana we use to visit the temple since childhood,but this time I saw the swayambhu-decorated with flowers and chandan-since there was not much rush we had a good darshan- it was ata around 6 a.m-iwas surprised to see the swayambu-as I had seen only the goddess's kaappu till now.this year's darshan was soulfilling.


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