Karppillikkavu Sree Mahadeva Temple, Kerala - an interesting place of worship

Karppillikkavu Sri Mahadeva Temple, en.wikipedia.org
Karppillikkavu Sri Mahadeva Temple,Krrala Facebook
There is a discernible difference between Hindu temples of other states and the ones in Kerala. The latter are known for their simplicity and striking architecture, quite suitable to the geography of this region that receives lots of rain during the SW Monsoon. With a bit of brick work, most of the temples are made of quality wood. Regarding temple worship, many of them follow Tantric sastras whereas in adjacent states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and else where Vedic methods of temple rituals  are being followed. The Karppillikkavu Sree Mahadeva Temple, dedicated  to Lord Eswara (Shiva) is an interesting place of Hindu worship.

The Karppillikkavu Sree Mahadeva Temple situated in Manjapra village in Ernakulam District of Kerala is believed to be one among the oldest temples in India, dating as far back as and even before 2000 BC.  Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is being visited by lots of pilgrims as it happens to be one of108 important Shiva Kshetras in India. Here Shva is Kirathamoorthy (Vettakkaran) facing west direction.

Karppillikkavu Sri Mahadeva Temple,Krrala FindMessages.com
The legend has it long long ago  Karthaveeryaya Arjuna, upon his visit to this place to have a darshan of the presiditing deity, was  disappointed to find out that there was no shrine (Sannidhi) for the consort of lord Shiva - Parvati. So he had an image of Shiva installed (Prathista) here. Besides, he stayed here for a while and  engaged in meditation (dhaynam) on lord Shiva.  

As in many Shiva temples across Tamil Nadu, in particular, here all  pradhosham days that come once a month are important.  Thiruvathira day in Dhanu, Sivarahtri, Vidhyarambam, Mandala days  are important festivals and auspicious days and on these days the temple will be active and crowded by devotees. The Aarattu day, a part of 8 day festival (held during the Malayalam month of Makaram - January to February) is associated with  Thiruvathira Nakshthram in Makaram month. On these festival days special offerings are made to the deity for Abhishtasidhi and Aiswaryasidhi. The temple festivals here are conducted as per Tantric principles and not on Vedic principles.  

On 6’th day of the 8 - day festival, the temple priests conduct what is called Utsavabali  accompanied by Vadhyamelom, Marappani, Nadaswaram and other musical  instruments. Boothabali, a tradition common;y found in some temples of Keraka, refers to the puja done with reverence to the sentinels (guards at the gate-Dwarapalaka) of Lord Shiva. Here the Lord's guards are known  as  Bhoothaganas. As in many  Hindu temples, free food (Annadhanam) is offered to the pilgrims visiting this temple, a tradition that is being followed by countless temples for centuries across India. It is customary that at the  time of  Utsavabali there will be Kanikka (donations) samarppanam to be observed by the  devotees. This is  to meet expenses of Utsavabali and other expenses incurred during the festival time.

On the 7th day of the festival the idol is taken out of the temple in a procession to the accompaniment of seven  large caparisoned elephants and  Panchavadhyam and Chendamelom  played by good players. The procession will go through  Manjapra town and  and finally the idol (Urchavar) is taken back into the temple. 

It is essential to keep the old values preserved by way of following the old temple traditions handed down to us by our forefathers. In this regard, the Kerala government never compromises on age-old traditions being followed by the places  of worship - be they Hindu temples, Churches or Mosques. They provide adequate facilities to the pilgrims visiting such places and provide grant to age-old structures to repair and restore them.