Thrikkavu Sri Durga Bhagavathy Temple in Ponnani, Kerala - a major shrine for ''Vidyarambham''

Thrikkavu temple, Ponnanai.

Thrikkavu temple, Ponnanai.

Thrikkavu Sri Durga Bhagavathy Temple in Ponnani, Malapuram District, Kerala State, is a Hindu temple of great antiquity. Correct records are not available as to the origin of this temple where the main deity is Goddess Durga. Considered as one of the 108 Durga temples consecrated by Lord Parasurama in Kerala, the temple  has unquestionable popularity among Hindus. The name Thrikkavu is derived from  "Thrikkani Kaadu ". 

This ancient temple and others became a target of Tipu Sultan of Mysore who raided Kerala in the late 1700s. In the wake of it, the holy temples of Keraladheeswaram, Thrikkandiyoor and Thriprangatu in Vettum suffered severe damages and the devastation caused by Tipu's army was a dark chapter in his otherwise impressive reign. After pulling down the temple and destroying the idol, Tipu converted the Thrikkavu Temple into an ammunition depot in Ponnani. 

An interesting fact about Thirunavaya Temple is  through out this region it was  known as a major ancient teaching center  of the Vedas far before the birth of Christ. Plundering by Tipu's army (vide: Malabar Gazetteer) very much affected this great learning center.. The credit goes to the Zamorin kings who repaired and restored the temple back to old glory.

The  goddess in the Srikovil has a unique form called  Chathurbhaahu with four arms, each carrying Chakra (disc), Sankha (conch), Varada (in a blessing pose) and katibadha 
(arm resting on the hip).  Often referred to her as "Sarva beeshta pradhayini" (one who grants all wishes), Thrikkavu Bhagavathy  is  believed to be compassionate and benevolent. Never has she failed to fulfil the wishes of her devotees (bhaktas)  and bless them when they come to her temple reposing unwavering  faith in her. Yet another fact of interest is here the Devi is  is worshiped in three different forms: Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati.

On the temple premises are other small shrines dedicated to  Sri Krishna, 
Maha Ganapathi, Sasthavu, Sidhi, Hanuman and Upa-Devathas. There is also a shrine for Brahma Rakshass. Near the temple tank- Pushkarani or Kshetrakulam there are stone images of  Naga Raja, Naga Yakshi and Naga pratishtas. Here, devotees offer prayer to serpents

Though many festivals are held here, the one that attracts lots of devotees is the Navaratri festival. In Kerala, this temple is one of the places where Vidyarambham - the early process of introducing the kids aged 3 to 5 to the world learning - education, music, dance, etc under the guidance of a Guru or priest. It is an important ritual conducted on the Vijayadasami day. The kid is guided to write the letters and then the Guru writes the mantra on kid's tongue. This is done on the temple premises to invoke the blessings of the main deity, God of learning Saraswati and God Ganapati.  On the Vijayadasami day during  Navarathri utsavam, hundreds of children come to the temple with their parents to begin their educational journey under the grace of the deity.

The Vrishchicka Mandala mahotsavam (festival) is held during the entire period of mandalam season.