Nestled amidst the serene village of Akaparambu in the Ernakulam district of Kerala, India, lies the ancient and revered Eravikulangara Bhagavathy Temple. This sacred temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathy, Lord Shiva, and Lord Ayyappa, drawing devotees from far and wide to experience its divine presence. Steeped in history and tradition, this temple has a captivating tale to tell. As we embark on a journey through the temple’s history and architecture, we uncover the profound significance it holds in the hearts of devotees and its cultural relevance in the region.
The Eravikulangara Bhagavathy Temple, nestled in the heart of Akaparambu village in Kerala, India, boasts a history that spans over 1600 years, enriched with sacred legends and spiritual significance.
The temple’s ancient roots are unveiled through the Ashtamangalya prasna, a sacred ritual that unveiled the temple’s age, estimating it to be around 1600 years old. It is believed that in ancient times, the temple stood amidst a dense forest, a sanctuary where the divine presence of Devi was discovered. The eminent sage Vilwamangalam Swamiyar is said to have had ‘The Darshan of Devi’ at this sacred site, bestowing upon it the name “Thiruviluam Kunnu,” recognizing the hillock where the temple stands.
Over time, the temple’s spiritual significance grew, and the presence of Lord Shiva and Lord Sastha (Ayyappan) was acknowledged. Devotees began to worship these deities alongside Goddess Bhagavathy, fostering a harmonious blend of devotion within the temple’s sanctum. This spiritual convergence served as a testament to the inclusive nature of Hinduism, where diverse deities coexist, each offering a unique path to the divine.
In the year 2007, a Thambula Prasna was conducted, adding another layer to the temple’s rich history. This ritual emphasized the need for the Prathishta (installation) of Brahma Rakshas and Nāga Sarppam deities within the temple premises. The installation was carried out with the sacred thanthric rituals in October 2008, enhancing the temple’s spiritual significance and reinforcing its place as a center of divine energy.
Legends and Mythology:
The Eravikulangara Bhagavathy Temple is adorned with legends that capture the imagination of devotees:
Brahmachari’s Prathishta: An intriguing legend speaks of a Brahmachari Brahman scholar from Padappa Mana, known as Sankara Sarma, who had been fervently worshipping Bhadrakali. When he decided to embark on a spiritual journey (Sanyasa), he performed the prathishta (installation) of Bhadrakali within this temple, infusing it with immense spiritual power.
Divine Light in the Forest: A captivating tale tells of a ‘Divine light’ that villagers grazing their cattle in the dense forest once witnessed. The news of this awe-inspiring event spread like wildfire, and the land was subsequently christened “Akapparambu.” People began to revere the divine presence, eventually leading to the establishment of the temple.
The Transformation of Rocks: In another legend, two youths were enacting the roles of Bhadrakali and Darika. During the play, they were believed to have been possessed by the presence of Devi and Asura. The play took an astonishing turn as Devi, in her divine form, decapitated Darika. The legend further states that the body and head of Darika transformed into two rocks, which exist near the temple, known as “Darika Para.”
The Tale of Velathy Kallu: The rocks also have another story associated with them. Velathy, a washerwoman, used to wash clothes by the nearby lake. One evening, she faced a dilemma as dusk approached and she had a pile of laundry to finish. Desperate, she planted a twig in the ground and prayed for the sun to halt its descent until her task was complete. In response to her plea, the sun remained motionless. However, Devi intervened and, as a consequence, Velathy and her bundle of clothes were transformed into two rocks, known as “Velathy Kallu.”
The Eravikulangara Bhagavathy Temple stands as a testament to Kerala’s ancient architectural style. It showcases intricate wood carvings that are awe-inspiring, each carving telling its own story. The temple’s wall paintings are a testament to the vivid imagination and artistic prowess of its creators.
Festivals at Eravikulangara Bhagavathy Temple
The Eravikulangara Bhagavathy Temple reverberates with a multitude of festivals that honor the divine deities, creating an atmosphere of spiritual fervor and cultural celebration. These festivals include:
1. Maha Shivarathri: A significant Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Shiva, celebrated with fasting, prayers, and devotion.
2. Pradosha: An auspicious day dedicated to Lord Shiva, observed with special worship and rituals during twilight.
3. Ganesolsavam Festival: Celebrated on Vinayaka Chathurthi, this festival includes Ganapathy Homan, a sacred fire ritual performed by the Thanthri for the blessings of Lord Vinayaka.
4. Mandala Poojas & Ayyappan Vilakku: Observed during the holy 41 days of Mandalakalam, this period is dedicated to Lord Ayyappan, marked by special worship and Ayyappan Vilakku conducted on the first Saturday of Vrischikam.
5. Pongala: This festival sees the active participation of women from Akapparambu who prepare a special offering called Pongala, symbolizing devotion and gratitude.
6. Thrikarthika Vilakku: Celebrated in the Thrikarthika of the Vrischikam month, the temple is adorned with traditional clay lamps, creating a mesmerizing spectacle of light.
7. Yearly Ulsavam: This grand celebration takes place on Bharani Nakshatram of the Makaram month and includes elaborate thantric poojas and Annadanam, where food is offered as a divine offering.
The Eravikulangara Bhagavathy Temple is open for devotees during the morning from 5:00 am to 8:00 am and in the evening from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
How to Reach Eravikulangara Bhagavathy Temple:
Eravikulangara Bhagavathy Temple is conveniently located in the village of Akaparambu, Kerala, making it accessible from various transportation hubs. Here’s how you can reach the temple:
For those arriving by air, the closest airport is Cochin International Airport, which is situated approximately 30 kilometers from the temple. This airport offers convenient access, allowing travelers to reach the temple quickly.
The nearest railway station is Kariyad Railway Station, located approximately 25 kilometers away from the temple. Travelers can reach the temple by arriving at this railway station and then proceeding to their destination.
Akaparambu is situated just 4 kilometers from Nedumbassery. To reach the temple by road, you can avail of buses, taxis, and auto-rickshaws, which are readily available and provide a convenient way to access the temple.