Inspiring Sree Chakkulathukavu Devi Temple, Neerattupuram, Kerala

Chakkulathukavu Devi
Sree Chakkulathukavu Devi Temple,
 Among the Hindu temples of Kerala, ones devoted to Goddesses are quite interesting, for they are being visited by lots of women folks, seeking peace, prosperity and welfare for their families. Such temples observe a myriad of festivals and puja rituals, catering to people from all walks of life. Kerala women  actively participate in all important temple festivals with true devotion and dedication. Thru Karkthikai, Onam and Deepavali festivals are joyfully celebrated joyfully and on such auspicious days, the temples are well lit with oil lamps and well decorated. Among the temples of goddesses, Sree Chakkulathukavu Devi Temple is an interesting one.

Sree Chakkulathukavu Devi Temple, dating back to about 
3000 years, is  located  at 'Neerattupuram' on the border of Patthanamthitta  and Alappuzha Districts of Kerala. It is about 95 km from the  capital  city  of Thiruvananthapuram. The presiding deity here is Goddess Durga Devi (Goddess Kali) and the temple stands in a serene place with rivers Pampa and Mala flowing on either sides. The devotees will not only be benefited by the bliss of Goddess Durga but also by the  peace and tranquility the surrounding areas offer in plenty. It was in 1981 the temple was renovated. 

In the last few decades, this temple has become quite well-known and is being visited by lots of people. Here the Devi - goddess is in swayambhu - self- manifested in the shape of Lingam. The 'Pongala Festival' of Chakkulathukavu Temple  is as popular  as that of  'Attukal Pongala' of Attukal temple in Thiruvanathapuram with which it has similarities. Since the goddess is considered the mother of the universe, she is reverentially called 'Chakkulathamma'. Large number of devotees bring their children to this temple for her blessings so that they will prosper in their lives as they grow older. The belief has been that the goddess is fond of children  and she blesses them  for their prosperity in all realms.

The other deities  at  Chakkulathukavu Bhagavathi Temple  are  Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Lord Vinayaka,  Sastha, Murukan (Subramanyar), Serpent Gods, Navagrahas etc.

At this temple, all Hindu festivals are celebrated with devotion and religious fervor.The annual festival of this temple falls in the Malayalam month 'Dhanu' (December).  As in many temples, the First Friday of every Malayalam month is very auspicious  and special ceremonies are performed on that day. An interesting feature at this temple is the Goddess has a sword and drug and liquor addicts can kick off their bad habits by way of making a solemn oath before the deity while touching the divine sword. It is said many addicts have got rid of the life threatening habit after their visit to the temple. 

'Thrikkarthika Festival' (the birthday of the goddess) in the Malayalam month of 'Vrichikam' is well celebrated on a grand scale in this temple. It is a 'Festival of Lights' celebrated by the Hindus by decorating their houses and premises with small oil lamps. On this important day, the major attractions are 'Laksha Deepam' - 100,000 oil lamps are light on the temple premises and 'Karthika Pillar. The former is symbolic of spread of wisdom, prosperity and goodwill and  the latter refers to an event in which  Aricanut tree, decorated with plantain, straw, dry leaves, etc., is set on fire, symbolizing eradication of evil thoughts, negative elements from our mind 
Pongala Festival' at Chakkulathukavu Devi
On Thrikkarthika Day the 'Pongala Festival'  here is performed by lots of women devotees who light up oil lamps at the temple and in their houses. Women folks prepare Pongala (in Tamil Pongal) by cooking rice with Jaggery (Naattu sakkarai or Vellam) and grated coconut in earthen pots set in the open places near the temple and offer it to the goddess. The make-shift hearth is made of bricks and one can see lines of Pongala pots on the paths leading to the temple. The other food offering is Therali.'
Karthigai Theepam, Chakkulathukavu Devi
Kathikai pillar  Chakkulathukavu Devi temple, kerala,
Puspanjali, Navagraha Pooja, Kumkuma Pooja, Chowa Pooja, Muzhukkappu, Kadum Payasam, Kalabha Abhishekam and  Karthika Pooja are some of the rituals observed at this temple.

This temple can be reached from Thiruvalla and Chengannur, nearby major Railway Stations. Frequent bus services  are available from Chengannur and Thiruvalla to Neerattupuram and Chakkulathukavu.