Chengannur Mahadeva temple - a sakthi peetam, Kerala

Temple tower along with the sanctum.Chengannur Mahadeva temple, Allapuzha district, Kerala, India.
Chengannur Mahadeva and Bhagawathy Temple, often called Bhagawathy temple is in the District of Alappuzha, in the southern state of  Kerala, India. It is one of the 108 Shakti Peetams dedicated to Goddess Parvathi. Kerala.  Often called gate way to Sabarimala, seat of Lord Shasta or Ayyappan, this temple is one among the five ancient places of worship that have some link with the great epic Mahabharata. This temple of Shiva conducts a unique  festival called Thriputharattu which is  symbolic of  fertility. Derived from the word Tiruchenkunroor, Chenganoor temple was called  Nayanar Thiruchenkuntoor Kovil in olden days.
Chengannur Mahadeva temple, Allapuzha district, Kerala, India.
Mahadeva Temple complex covering over  an area of six acres  has a circular sanctum. The golden flagstaff (Dwajasthmbam) and the temple tower -  both of which are axial to the mainshrine. The Mukha Mandapam (main hall) in front of the temple has wonderful intricate eye-catching woodworks. The architecture of the temple is typical of Kerala style.

Chengannur Mahadeva temple . one cam see tall gold plated fag
The conical shaped main shrine is copper plated the main deities are Mahadeva and Parvathi and the idols are made of Panchchaloga, an alloy of five metals mixed in certain proportion for longevity and strength. A fascinating feature about this temple is the Shivalingam in the shrine is gold plated that is not found in many temples. The gold plate has a carving of Arthnareeswarar - the manifestation of Shiva whose one half of his body is male and the mirror image of the other half is female. This has strong socio-religious connotations. This kind of form of Lord Shiva brings out the subtle fact that  both male and female form the basis of  human evolution and both are equal in every aspect of our lives and further, the society should give her due honor and treat woman on par with man in sharing his  duty.
There are shrines dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, Chandikeswaran, Ganapathi,  Chandikeswaran, Neelagrivan, Ganga, Sreekrishna  and Naga (serpant).

Legend has it the Goddess Bhagavati  here is believed to be  Kannagi - a legendary Tamil woman of Silappathikaram (one of the  'Great' five epics of ancient Tamil Literature written by Ilagovadikal, a Tamil scholar). She was the wife of Kovalan, a rich merchant   from the city of Kavery Poompatnam (submerged under the Bay of Bengal) of Chola Nadu. Her husband, on a visit to the ancient city of Madurai (of Pandya Nadu), now in Tamil Nadu, was mistaken for a robber by the palace security, as the anklet (in Tamil Seelambu) he had with him (it belonged to his wife  Kannagi) was  similar to the one stolen from the palace. The presiding Pandya ruler gave him death  sentence for the purported offense, without making proper  procedural inquiry. Upon hearing the death of her  young husband, an innocent man, being a chaste and deeply religious woman,  she was upset and angry. Before the court she proved  that her husband was innocent and given death sentence without justification;  later  in a fit of  rage Kannagi burned down the Madurai town.

Chenkunnu , it is believed, is the place  in Chera Nadu (ancient Tamil dynasty) where Kannaki wandered into  after razing Madurai to the ground, to subdue her anger and frustration. Here, she is believed to have meditated on God in a peaceful wooded area under the tree.  The king of Chera dynasty, Senkuttuvan, brought a piece of stone from the Himalayas, carved her image and consecrated it as Chenkamalavalli.  The Kodungallur Bhagavati Temple has similar legend.This temple is a well-known Sakthi Peetam and is being visited by lots of people from Kerala and also from the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu.