Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is a very popular temple in Kerala. The temple is situated at Thiruvananthapuram. Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is also known as the women’s Sabarimala. It is visited by large number of women. Goddess Attukal Amma is the main deity. The Goddess has four arms, each bearing a spear, sword, skull and shield. The temple has beautiful architecture. In addition, it is- historic. It is a very clean temple.
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple authorities also do various social works. They arrange weddings for poor couples and give them dress and ornaments. Poor patients get medical help while students get scholarships.
History and Legend of Attukal Bhagavathy Temple
Various myths and history surround the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple.
- It is believed that a few centuries back when the head of the Mulluveettil family. The head was known as Karanavar. He was performing his prayers one day when a young girl appeared. She requested him to help her cross the Killi River. The charisma and beauty of the girl made Karanavar believe that the girl is divine. He bowed in front of the girl and helped her cross the river. He also invited her to his home. While the family was busy preparing to receive the girl, she disappeared. That night the girl appeared in the dream of Karanavar. She ordered him to build her temple at Kavu. It is a place where animals and plants are not disturbed. As per the instructions the temple was built. This temple came to be known as the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple.
- It is also believed that the little girl is Kannagi. She is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. Kannagi is mentioned in the famous Tamil epic of Chipathikaram. She is the destroyer of evil. When she met Karanavar she was returning from Madurai. There She had destroyed the evil and was on her way to Kodungallor.
Significance of the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple
The Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is known for its architecture.
- Attukal Bhagavathy Temple exhibits a blend of Tamil and Kerala form of architecture. The gateway of the temple is stunning with delicate work.
- Furthermore, the temple has beautiful idols of Mahisasurmardini, Goddess Kali, Rajarajeshwari, Devi Parvati and Lord Shiva.
- The walls are raced with mythological stories of India. There are ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu at the temple. These idols are known as the Dashavatara.
- The two sides of the gopura depict the stories of Kannaki. The southern gopura of the shrine depicts the Puranic stories. These stories are also known as Dakshayaga.
- There are two idols of the Goddess here. The original deity is adorned with golden ornaments and precious stones. The other one is placed just beside that.
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple Timings
- Attukal Bhagavathy Temple opens at 4.30 am and closes at 8.30 pm. There is no entry fee to the temple.
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple Food Timings
Food is served at the temple on all the 1st days of the Malayalam calendar and on Sundays. Planning is going on to serve food every day. Devotees can also donate for this noble work.
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple Dress Code
There is no specific dress code to visit the temple. Only at festivals, people are asked to come in traditional dress.
Festivals celebrated at Attukal Bhagavathy Temple
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple reflects the rich culture and heritage of Kerala. The festivals celebrated here are.
- Attukal Pongala: This festival witnesses one of the largest gatherings of women in the world. Almost 20 lakh women visit the temple every year. The crowd reached Guinness Book of World Records in 1997 when 1.5 million women offered Pongal. Pongala is a divine festival. It is a ten days programme. The festival takes place during the Malayalam months of Makaram- Kumbham. This is generally February or March. The main ceremony is on the day when the Pooram star coincides with the full moon. People sing stories of Goddess Kannaki. The stories are known as Kannaki Charitam.
- Kuthiyottam: This special festival is celebrated by the boys below the age of 12. It is performed in expectance of internal and external beauty, health, wealth and happiness. These boys are believed to be Goddess Mahisasurmardini’s wounded soldiers. On the 3rd day of the festival, these young boys start a seven-day penance to purify themselves. The penance includes ing at the temple. They also sleep on mats. Observe strict diet and prostrate 1008 times before the Goddess every morning.
- Thalappoli: This festival is for the girls below the age of 12. The event starts on the Pongal day. Girls in traditional attire worship the Goddess. The festival gives internal and external beauty, health, wealth and happiness.
- Vilakkukettu: This festival takes place from the 1st to the 9th day of the Pongala festival. Vilakkukettu refers to the decorated structures. These structures contain images and idols of the Goddesses. Devotees carry the structures every night of the festival to the temple. Musicians play traditional chendamelam music at the festival.
- The Divine Procession: This is a grand procession. This procession consists of bright lights and colourful festoons. Devotees perform peacock dance, poykuthira dance, kolkali, theyyam and kumbha dance. They also display Kuthiyottam and Panchavadyam art forms. The deity of Goddess Attukal Bhagavathy is carried on a decked up elephant. The procession goes from the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple to the Sastha Temple of Manacaud. This festival is an integral part of the Kuthiyottam. The penance of the boys starts after the procession.
- Maha Shivaratri: Worship of Lord Shiva is done with great pomp and show on Maha Shivaratri.
- Vinayaka Chathurthi: Worship of Lord Ganesh is done on this occasion. Devotees do special worship on this day. Perform Kootu Ganapati Homam on this auspicious day.
- Mandala Vratham and Pooja Vaypu are the other festivities of the temple.
Poojas and Rituals at Attukal Bhagavathy Temple
Worship at Attukal Bhagavathy Temple takes you to a different level of divinity. Every day is a celebration at this temple. The rituals practised here are.
- Three steps of worship: The worship process is the same as the other South Indian temples at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple. The process is divided into three parts. The beginning of the pooja is women lighting lamps. Pilgrims also worship the flag. The devotees then enter the temple to worship the deity.
- Vedi Vazhipadu: This is a unique ritual performed at this shrine. The devotees can offer crackers to the Goddess.
- Daily Pooja of Lord Shiva: Everyday devotees can offer Mrithyumjayahomam to the Lord.
- Madan Thampuram Pooja: The pooja takes place every day. The pooja takes place at the Madan Thampuram’s Temple.
- Akhandanama Japam: This means continuous chanting of Devi mantras. It takes place on 4th Sunday of every month.
- Karthika: This refers to the pooja of the star of the Goddess. It takes place during the months of November- December.
- Ayilya Pooja: This is the pooja of the Serpent God. Devotees can offer milk and flowers.
- Aiswarya Pooja: This takes place on every full moon.
- Nirayum Puthariyum: Also known as Ramayana Parayanam, this takes place during Karkadakam.
- Vishnu: This event takes place on the 1st day of the Malayalam month.
- Sahasrakalasham: This pooja is done during the months of March or April. Worshippers can choose different types of kalasham at this pooja.
- In addition, devotees can ask for Bhajan, Kodi Archana, Leksharchana rituals.
How to Reach: Road, Rail and Air
The temple is easily accessible from all parts of the country. It is almost 20 minutes from the main city.
By Air: The nearest airport to the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. It is at Valiyathura. This is approximately 7 km from the temple. There are regular flights between the city and Middle East countries, Male and Sri Lanka to Thiruvananthapuram from here.
By Rail: The nearest railway station is Trivandrum Central Railway Station. It is located at Thampanoor. The place is 3 km from the temple. Auto rickshaws are the best mode of conveyance from the railway station.
By Road: The temple is just at 1.5 km from the east fort bus stop. The Trivandrum central bus stand is at 2 km from the shrine. Metered autos can take you around the city. Tourists can also hire cabs to reach the temple. The temple authorities have also arranged regular bus service. Tourists can pre-book the bus tickets from the temple.
Hotels in Thiruvananthapuram: Where to stay
If you are looking for a place just to rest, then the Visrama Sankeetham of the temple can be of help. There are dormitories and rooms available within the temple complex. These are available on daily rent basis.
The Hotel Galaxy Inn, Hotel Silver Sand, Hotel Fort View are budget accommodation. These hotels are just 2 km from the temple.
Where to eat
Ariya Niwas specializes in vegetarian dishes.
There are a number of ancient shrines near Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram.
- Padmanabha Swamy Temple: This shrine lies at 2 km from the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple. As per myth, the trip to Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is incomplete without a visit to this temple. The presiding deity is Lord Vishnu. It is popular due to its magnificent architecture. The idol of Lord Vishnu is also astounding. The Lord is in a sleeping pose on a five-headed serpent. The serpent is Anant Nag. The temple authority allows only traditional dress. Men have to come in a dhoti. Women have to come in a sari. The temple is open from 10 am to 6 pm.
- Kunnumpara Temple: The temple is at 4 km from Kovalam. This temple is known for its breathtaking beauty. The temple lies at a hilltop. It is also an ideal place to rest and meditate.
- Sivagiri Mutt: This temple is at 3 km from Varkala. This place is also serene. The shrine was built in 1904. As per myth, Sree Narayana Guru attained enlightenment here. The Mutt remains open from 5.30 am to 12.00 pm. It is also open from 4.30 pm to 6.00 pm.
- Karikkakom Chamundi Devi Temple: This temple is only 7 km from Trivandrum. The shrine is also known for its natural bliss. The main deity is Goddess Chamundi. She is an incarnation of Goddess Durga. The deity is unique and is made of five metals of copper, iron, gold, silver and lead. The temple also houses the idols of Rektha Chamundi, Bhala Chamundi, Yakshi Amma, Bhuvaneswari, Ayira Valli and Vinayaka. The temple is open from 5.00 am to 11.55 am. It is also open from 4.30 pm to 8.00 pm.
- Madavoorpara Shiva Temple: This cave temple lies at 17 km from Trivandrum. Lord Shiva is the main deity. The shrine is important for its eighteenth-century rock-cut sculpture. These sculptures show the images of Lord Shiva and also his consort, Devi Parvati. The temple remains open from 9 am to 8 pm.
- Santhigir Ashram: The beautiful architecture of the temple attracts tourists to the ashram. Moreover, it is near the central office of Trivandrum. It is in the shape of a blooming lotus. The ashram is over 100 acres of land and offers work, food to many people. People can also stay here. The health centre of the ashram preaches the benefits of Ayurveda, Sidha and Panchakarma. The temple is open from 10 am to 10 pm.
Therefore Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is a nice place to spend a vacation.