Administered by the Cochin Devaswom Board, Sri Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple is a famous Hindu pilgrimage site located in Ernakulam, Kerala. Sri Rajarajeswari, who is an incarnation of Goddess Bhagwathi, is the presiding deity of the temple. The temple’s name is a modified version of the word ‘Jyotiannakkara’. The deity is worshipped in three different forms of the Goddess Bhagvathi. In the morning, she is draped in the color white and is worshipped as Goddess Saraswathi. At noon, the Goddess is draped in crimson and is worshipped as Goddess Lakshmi. In the evening, she is draped in the color blue and is worshipped in the form of Goddess Durga, in the Kizhukkavu Shrine, which is situated in the eastern side of the temple complex.
Lord Shiva, Sri Dharma Sastha, Ganapathi, Nagas and Upa-Devas are the other deities worshipped in Chottanikkara Temple. The shrine of Lord Shiva is situated on the south-west side of the temple, while the shrine of Sri Dharma Sastha is located in the north-east side of the temple. The temple is famous among Hindus, as the goddess is believed to cure spiritual illness of her devotees. Upon visiting the temple, one must not miss the Guruthi Pooja performed late every evening to invoke the goddess. Chottanikara Makam thozhal (Devi Darshan) is the much celebrated annual festival of the temple. On this day, thousands of devotees, especially women, throng this temple to offer prayers to Goddess Bhagavathy.
There is not much on account of chronology of Sri Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple. As per the popular legend associated with the history of Chottanikkara Temple, the land where the temple stands was a dense forest. Inhabited by tribals, the forest was home to a ferocious dacoit named Kannappan. He had the full control over this area. One day, he brought a cow to his home with the intention of slaughtering it. However, the cow escaped miraculously from his butchering knife, and ran away into the woods. Disappointed, Kannappan returned home empty handed. To his surprise, he found out that his beloved daughter was playing with the same cow.
At the request of his daughter, Kannappan dropped the idea of butchering the cow. After few days, his daughter passes away. This leaves him grieving. Later that night, Goddess Bhagwathi appears in his dream and tells him that it was she who came to his home in the form of a cow. The next day, he dreamt of two images, that of Devi and Lord Vishnu, in a cowshed. After those dreams, Kannappan built a small shrine and worshipped the two deities in it. After a few years, the shed fell in repairs. It was recovered later and then sanctified. With time, it was constructed and reconstructed to its present grand Chottanikkara Temple. Today, the idol of Goddess Bhagawathy and that of Lord Mahavishnu stand on the same pedestal of the temple.
Chottanikkara Temple is spread over a sprawling area of 6 acres of land. The Three tired ‘Gopuram’ on the eastern side of the temple premises leaves one spell bound and gasping with its beautiful architecture and craftsmanship. When you enter the temple, you will comes across the ‘Anakottil’ which literally means shed for elephants. This is an important feature in almost all of the temples of Kerala, as elephants are an eternal part of Hindu temple festivals. Hence, they are trained and maintained at almost every major temple of Kerala. Moving further you reach ‘Kuttambalam’, in front of which you will notice a high gold covered flagstaff which looks marvelous at noon when sunrays are reflected from its surface. The roof of the temple is covered with antique copper plates, which is enormous and slopes steeply downwards.
How to Reach
Chottanikkara Temple is a little remotely situated. The nearest bus stand is 20 km away. So, it is suggested that the one should take a private transport to the temple.
The nearest airport is the Cochin Airport, which is situated 38 km from the temple. Though, taxies are readily available to and from the airport. From this airport you can board a flight to all the major cities of India.
The railway station nearest to the temple is Ernakulam Junction and it is situated 20 km from the temple. As this is a major station from here you can take a train to almost all major cities of India.
Sri Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple, located in Ernakulam, is a famous Hindu pilgrimage site in Kerala.
|Location||Chottanikkara, Ernakulam, Kerala|
|Nearest Airport/Railway Station||Cochin Nedumbassery Airport / Eranakulam Railway Station|
|Nearby Attractions||Vaikkom Mahadeva Temple, Eranakulathappan Shiva Temple|
|Best Time to Visit||October to March|