Kadakkal Devi Temple, Kerala - famous for ''Thiruvathira'' festival

Kadakkal Devi Temple,Kerala. en.wikipedia.org

There are countless Devi temples  across Kerala. Devi is a form of Shakti and she is being worshiped here in various forms such as Kali, Durga, Bhadrakali, etc.  

Kadakkal Devi Temple,  one of the important  Devi temples in Kerala,  is being visited by lots of pilgrims from that state and from other states as well.  Located in Kadakkal town  in the Kollam District,  it is well-known for the mystic power of the deity and the long held belief has been that  devotees who sponsor rituals  to Devi - Kadakkalamma  will be protected from evil forces, black magic, spells, etc. Besides, they will be blessed with prosperity, health and welfare. The most important aspect of prayer is belief or trust. One has to repose trust in the mystic power of the presiding goddess. In all faiths  trust plays a key role. ''When things go awry, keep trusting the deity'' is the main common message. 

What is special about this temple that makes it stand apart is there is neither an idol in the Srikovil. Nor is there a priest or pujari who is supposed to conduct puja rituals. Thousands of devotees throng this sanctified place during the festival period - Thiruvathira.  Festivities begin in the early morning  5-30 am with  thousands of women offering Pongal (dish made from rice, jaggery, grated coconut,etc) to  Devi and make preparation on the temple ground. 

The festival starts with  grand procession - 'Kuthirayeduppu',and it is followed by Kuthiyottam and pageants. The festival ends with 'Gurujii', a spiritual event  that begins at midnight and continues until early morning.

Devotees from other districts either stay near Kadakkal to offer Pongal in the  early morning or  stay with relatives or friends during the festival time.

Kadakkal Devi Temple,Kerala. ightuptemples.com

There are many stories as to the origin of this deity. One being about  Panayappan, a Tamil trader. He was  killed by Kadakkal Devi for causing untold miseries to her family and this resulted in the  killing the culprit in revenge. After that she moved over to Kadakkal Peedika, which became the sanctum sanctorum of the present Kadakkal Devi Temple. Kadakkal Devi came to this place from nearby Tamil Nadu along with her sisters. 

Every year devotees celebrate goddess  Kadakkalamma 's holy birthdate "Thiruvathira" of Kumbha, in the Malayalam Calendar) as their regional festival. This ten day festival is a popular one and  has  connection with Demi god Chandra - moon.  Kadakkal Thiruvathira, occurring in February or March, attracts a large number of devotees. 

This  long festival is dedicated to the manifestation of Goddess Kadakkal Devi (Kadakkal Amma) who. it is believed, guards the villages nearby and the people living there. 

 Kadakkal,  located  in the midst of a rural landscape. is known for its spice production.  Agricultural cultivation include rubber, coconut, tapioca and pepper


Arudra Darshan is an important Hindu festival  for the Shavites  widely celebrated in the Tamil month of Margazhi  (mid December- mid January) every year.  Dedicated to God Nataraja, often called cosmic dancer (a form of God Shiva), one of the Trinity Gods in the Hindu pantheon, the festival falls on the auspicious Arudra  or Thiruvaathirai Nakshatram (star) and it marks the birth of God Shiva in Arudra star. Thiruvathirai (Arudhra) in Tamil means "sacred big wave" with which the lord created the  universe  few billion years ago. The Chidambaram nataraja temple (representing Akasha) is the center of Arudra Darshan.