Peralassery Subramania temple, Kerala - dedicated to serpents

Peralassery Subramania temple, Kerala,
Stepped tank, Peralassery Subramania temple, Kerala,
In Kerala, there are many Hindu temples dedicated to lord Subramania, son of lord Shiva and the one at 
Mundallur  - Peralassery Subramanyaswamy Temple, 15 km from Kannur on Kannur-Koothuparaba Road is an ancient place of veneration, believed to have been worshiped by Lord Sri Rama and Hanuman. The temple has some connection with the great epic the Ramayana. Lots  of devotees visit Peralassery temple to get rid of 'Sarpa Dosham ('Sarpa Kopam'), the ill  effects of Serpent curses, also called Naga Dosham based on their individual horoscopes. Here the presiding deity is Lord Subramanya in serpent form, hence the main offerings here are eggs, quite unusual in the Hindu temples.

The legend has it that once upon a time lord Subramaniya had imprisoned Lord Brahma  for his inability to  tell him the correct meaning  of " OM" Pranava Mantram.  When Lord Shiva came to know about it, he released Brahma from the prison, reprimanded  his son for his misconduct and told him, in unequivocal terms, that he  had committed sin and to make amends for having  ill treated lord Brahma, Subramanya had to take the form of a serpent and live in isolation in a well. So, Lord Subramanya took the form of a snake and the other snakes protected him from rain and sunshine because of his  as he divinity. 

Peralassery  is the place where this incident was supposedly taken place. When Parvathy, Shiva's consort, wanted to see Subramanya in natural form,  she was advised by Shiva to follow Shasti Vratham. After several such Vrathams (fastings) Subramanya appeared before her in the Serpent form. The moment Parvathy touched the serpent, Subramanya got back his natural form.

During the period of Ramayana - Thretha Yuga', while in search of Sita, Sri Rama  recognized the presence of Subramanya in a temple  called  Ayyappan Kavu' in a remote place in the present day Kerala. Here  the  presiding deity was Lord Ayyappa, however, Sri Rama a wanted to have an idol of Subramanya installed there and asked Hanuman to bring it  from the Himalayas before the end  the auspicious time. As Hanuman did not come on time, Sri Rama consecrated his bangle in the place of an idol. The bangle is referred to  as 'Vala' in  the Malayalam language  and  the bangle of the prince(here it refers to Sri Rama) was called  'Peruvala'. Later, the name changed to Peralassery'. The idol brought by Hanuman was also consecrated here by Hanuman himself.  the place where Hanuman consecrated the idol, came to be known as 'Markadakassery' and later became 'Makreri'.
Stepped tank or Kulam.  Peralassery Subramania temple, Kerala,
One peculiarity about this Subramanya temple is  the main  divine offering to the deity - hen's egg  that  are available at the temple itself. There are numerous images of serpents in brass and copper in the shrine. The tradition has been that here Lord Subramanys is in the form of a serpent. The offering of  'Sarpa Bali' is popular here. The main  days are 'Ayilyam, shashti, Sankramam' in this temple. The yearly festival is conducted for 8 days in the 
month of 'Dhanu' (Dec-Jan). Yet another religious activity is Thidambu Nritham'. The primary performer is the temple  priest. As common in many Kerala temples,  Chakyarkoothu, Ottanthullal,  Parayanthullal, etc will be held  during the festival time and the week long Kodiyettam festival is well attended by a large number of  people.  

The Stepped Tank (“Chira”) of  the Peralassery Subramania temple is a major attraction here. Such stepped tanks are rare in this part of India  that receives plenty of rain during the Monsoon. Ornamented and  highly sculptured  step wells are quite common in the arid areas of  Rajasthan and Gujarat.