Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Panachikadu Saraswathi temple - Kottayam, Kerala


There are  only a few temples in India dedicated to Goddess of learning- Saraswathi. One such temple is situated in Kottayam, just 5-6 Kms from the main town. The presiding deity is Maha Vishnu, enshrined in a small sanctum and  Goddess Saraswathi  is the sub deity enshrined in a well like structure without a roof. The temple is popular in Her name. 

One has to climb down a few steep steps to get to Maha Vishnu's temple and a few more to get to the divine seat of Goddess Saraswati. This place is a beehive of activity as parents and students wait to seek blessing of the Mother.  The seat of Goddess appears like a  well and the priests get into the well to perform poojas. Devotees view and worship from top. The parapet wall of  this well has sand spread all over and children write in front of the Goddess. This is also a temple where Vidyarambam is conducted throughout the year. There is always some elderly, learned  person  available near the deity to initiate little ones into the world of letters and learning. I could also see elderly priests even listening and giving suggestions to students having study related  problems. 

There is thick growth of greenery  inside the well and  a spring at the foot of the  deity. An Olakkuda ( an umbrella made of palm leaf) is kept in front  the Goddess. 

The legend  of the temple, origin and and why the  Olakuda is worshipped here is in this link.

There are also sub shrines for  Ganpathy, Shiva and Yakshi ans Sasthavu.

A temple worth visiting especially for children  to  seek Mother's blessings which would instill lot of confidence.

* Vidyarambham is inititating small children into the world of learning. An elder member in the family performs this ceremony by writing first on the tongue of the child. Then the child is made to write  his first letters in rice which considered to be auspicious. This is usually performed on Vijayadashami (Last day of  Navarathri )but in the above temple it is a daily ritual.

In olden days  young children were sent to teachers house( Guru kulam)  for learning. Here the children learnt by writing in sand with their fingers. Little sand would be spread in front and disciples would write on it with their fingers.

Check this link you tube link to have a glimpse of the deity with Olakuda in front .