Chettikulangara Devi temple, Kerala - an inspiring place of worship

Chettikulangara Sree Bhagavathi temple,Kerala. /

Chettikulangara Devi is believed to be the supreme mother goddess, Shakthi Devi or Parasakthi in Hinduism. It is believed that she has almost all the attributes lord Shiva has. In Tamil there is a saying: "Shakthi ellaaiel, Shivam ellai"meaning 'if there is no Shakthi, there is no Shiva'.

Among the Bhagavathi temples  of the state of Kerala, Chettikulangara Sree Bhagavathi temple is one of the most popular ones being visited by lots of people. Located at Chettikulangara in Mavelikkara taluk (about 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) west of Mavelikkara of Alappuzha district, here the presiding deity in the Srikovil or garbagraha (sanctum) is Sree Bhadrakali, an incarnation of Parasakthi or simply Shakthi who appeared  from the third eye of Lord Shiva. The purpose of her incarnation / avatar was to  to kill the demon king Daruka who caused unbearable pain and suffering to the people, including the sages and celestial gods. The word  'Bhadra' means good and 'Kali' means goddess of time. It has long been a tradition across India, particularly, in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal that people  worship Bhadrakali  for prosperity, protection  and salvation as she is an embodiment of all the three, including creation and destruction, symbolizing her origin from Lord Shiva. She is responsible for  Kundalini shakthi as well.

As for this age-old temple, steps are afoot to get this temple listed under the UNESCO World Heritage List and the UNESCO gathered enough information about this temple, its age old tradition, customs such as Kuthiyottam, Kumbhabharani, etc., festivals, puja protocols and others. 

oil lamps stand. Chettikulangara Devi Temple Kerala
The temple, which is 1200 years old,  has 13 "Karas" or territories and is at the center of the oldest four Karas. At this temple, Thantric  worship is being followed and the Thantric rights belong to Plackudy Illom, With its Tharavadu (Base) in Ambalapuzha. Plackudy is one among the ancient Thantric families of Kerala. It implies that  Vedic Agama worship is not followed here.
Next to Sabarimala temple , this one receives   
the second largest  income by way of donations, hundial collections, etc., under the administration 
of Travancore Devaswom Board. The temple receives collections worth several crores of rupees annually.   Sometimes  a  single day collection 
alone may run into more than one crore rupees.
A single type of offering is called "Chanthattam". Temple prasadams such as Appam, Aravana, etc., are made at Sabarimala from the offerings of Nellu (paddy) made at  the Bhagavathi temple.  The income from the temple is so enormous,  it is widely used to take care of pujas, etc at other temples under the  Travancore Devaswom Board.

There are certain facts that may be worthy of mention. Kuthiramoottil kanji and Therummoottil kanji, offerings at Chettikulangara Devi temple, carry the Geographical Indication (GI) tags. Surprisingly, ten  other names closely associated with the temple have protection under the trademark and patents regime. Example: Chettikulangara Amma, Chettikulangara Kumbha Bharani, etc. Sree Devi Vilasam Hindu Matha Convention, Chettikulangara, an organisation of 13 karas or regional societies, has also applied for design patent for kuthira and theru as well as jeevatha, the deity’s palanquin.

The temple accounts for several festivals and the important ones are as follows.  

The"Parayeduppu": The deity ("Devi") of Chettikulangara temple is taken out in procession for Parayeduppu on the Makayriam star of the Malayalam month Makaram. 

Kumbha Bharani: This falls  in the month of February or March. The date is fixed according to the Malayalam Calendar KollaVarsham. The Chettikulangara Bharani is in the month of Kumbha and the day which has the star Bharani and hence the name Kumbha Bharani. The highlight of the festival is Kuthiyottam and Kettukazhcha. 

Ethirelpu Ulsavam: This annual temple festival is a long one - for 13 days.  On the tenth day following the Kumbha Bharani, the annual festival is celebrated. The tradition has it that  each day of the festival is organized by residents of each Kara numbering 13. Special rituals are held on the temple premises  that attract a lot of devotees.

Aswathy Ulsavam: The unique rituals are held with devotion and dedication during the Aswathy festival and they bring out the importance of firm bondage and human pathos resulted due  the time of separation between the people and their revered goddess  Bhagavathy. Held on the Aswathy day in the month of Meenom, this festival is attracting a large number of visitors.