Divine Malayalapuzha Bhagawathi temple, Kerala

Malayalapuzha_Bhagawathi_temple. www.keralatourism.org

The more I look at the Hindu temples of Kerala, the way they are built, designed, maintained, etc, the more interest I take in them. Their simplicity in terms of architecture and style is the hall mark that draws my interest in them. They are altogether different from other south Indian temples, most of which follow the Dravidian style of architecture.

Malayalapuzha Bhagawathi temple located  just outside the Pathanamthitta town, Kerala is a popular one, attracting devotees from many places.  It is about 33 km from the town of Chengannur. This temple  is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali who may appear in her fierce form, but in reality, she is graceful and kind and blesses devotees  with whatever they  need  provided they have trust in her. She also goes by the name of  Malayalapuzha Amma.
Legend has it  long time ago  a Namboodiri Brahmin had intense prayer at the goddess Mookambika temple at Kollur, now in Karnataka state. Upon his return on the way near
Maruthwa Mala, when he was asleep, in his dream the goddess advised him to go to his place and she would follow him. The goddess, in her fierce form, got into the Saligram the Brahmin was carrying with him besides palm leaf umbrella. When he wanted to resume his journey he could not move either the saligram or the umbrella and at night the deity again appeared in his dream and told him that she wanted to stay in that place and he would die and merge with her soon. Soon after his death the goddess possessed a member of Thompil family (Namboodiri Brahmin family) and told them to have  a temple built in that place.  Accordingly the  Goddess was consecrated facing east. The idol of the goddess was shifted to the present location at higher elevation on the request of the local ruler. Yet another legend says the temple was  consecrated in a spot on the shores East of Malayalapuzha after clearing  the temple dedicated to serpents. This was done as the priest was too old to take the deity to the desired place. Even today devotees gather at the old temple on first of Malayalam month for prayer and worship.   

Flower is commonly used for worship is here as the deity is made of thickened jaggery (country sugar). No abishekam (anointing) that sort. Near the Srikovil there is an idol of Veerabadhra and Parvathi, consort of lord Shiva with baby Ganapathi.

To have their wishes fulfilled, the devotees make various offerings to the goddess like different kinds of payasam, depeding on their wishes - ranging from finding the stolen stuff to success in business, health care and family welfare and a host of other wishes.

A unique custom here is when the  procession is carrying the deity, it turns left, a rare tradition among Hindu temples; hence the deity is called Idathattil Bhagwathi (Bhagawathi of the left).