Kottarakkara is a town and municipality in Kollam District (formerly known as Quilon), in Kerala state, India. The town is close to Kollam Port, which has a rich history linked to the early medieval period as well as a reputation as an important commercial, industrial and trading center. Kottarakkara was the capital of the famous Ilayidathu swaroopam. The historical evidence collected from here reveals that about seven -palaces- existed there. Kottarakkara, a compound word made up of the words Kottaram, meaning “palace”, and kara meaning “land”, literally means “land of palaces”.
Besides Manikandeswara Kshethram, owned by the Ilayidathu dynasty is the Kottarakkara kovilakam of which, historical evidence are available from the sixth century of the Malayalam era. Kottarakkara kovilakam was the younger thavazhy of the Venad dynasty. So this was known as the Ilayidathu (younger) swaroopam, and also as Kunninmel. The land spreads from Kottarakkara, Pathanapuram and Nedumangad to Shencottah in the east.
Chera Udaya Marthandavarma, who ruled Venad during A.D.1383-1444, is supposed to have built the Kovilakam. But, according to the famous historian Sooranad Kunjanpillai, the Kunninmel dynasty has been mentioned in the Mathilakam Books in the year 1345 itself.
Kottarakkara is known as a land of temples. The Padinjattinkkara Mahadeva temple, Manikandeswara temple, Kulasekharanalloor Sreekrishna temple, Thrikkannamangal Mahavishnu temple, Neduvathur Bhagavathy temple are all famous temples. There are also many places that are believed to be associated with Ramayana. These are Jadayumangalam (Chadayamangalam), Valiyonkunnu (known in connection with Bali), Ugramkunnu (connection with Sugreeva) and also Poredam, which is known as the battlefield of Ravana and Jadayu.
About Kottarakara Mahaganapathi Temple:
Locally known as the temple of Siva Padinjattinkara, one of the 108 temples of Siva located in Kottarakara, the main deity is Lord Siva and the shrine is round in shape. Destined to the west, Kulakkada Mana makes the Thanthries. There are five poojas and Seeveli, a daily eight days festival. Kottarakkara Lord Siva Temple is 1 1/2 kms From Kottarakkara city.
This temple belongs to the Kottarakkara King family, now Travancore Devaswom Board. “Ramanattam” (a form of dance) inspired by the Ramayana story of Kottarakara Thampuran is played in this temple 151 times.
The Kottarakara Ganapathy Temple is one of the famous temples of southern India and is of great historical significance. Kottarakara Ganapathy has many legends. In fact, the main Prathistha (idol) is Lord Shiva, but Ganapathy is famous here. The exact name of the temple was Kizhakkekara Siva Kshethram. The main deity is none other than Lord Shiva himself: Shiva facing east. In fact, Ganapathy is only a minor deity here. But today’s temple is famous as a temple of Ganapathy instead of a temple of Lord Siva.
The story behind this temple that Kizhakkekara temple belonged to two houses of Nampoothiri: Akavoor and Oomanpally. The temple of Padinjattinkara Siva belonged to the royal house of Elayidathu.
One day, before sunrise, rituals were taking place for the consecration of Siva at the Pandinjattinkara temple, the work of which was managed by the legendary Uliyannor Perumthachan. Outside the temple, while listening to the mantras, he started chiselling a piece of the jackfruit tree. To his surprise, he found that it was the form of ‘Ganapathy’ that was taking shape. Thus he asked the chief priest to enshrine ‘Ganapathy’ also after the consecration of Siva. The chief priest denied it. “This is a Siva temple. Ganapathy cannot be consecrated here.”
Perumthachan, desperate, walked towards the east and thus reached Kizhakkekkara Siva temple where the temple priest was preparing offerings for the lord- Unniyappam. Perumthachan asked him “Can you not sanctify this Ganapathy here ?”. The priest agreed. Perumthachan viewed the place- Siva facing east, in front of that it is Ganga, Parvathy turned towards the west. Southwest there is Sastha and northwest Subrahmanya. If Ganapathy too is installed, the Siva family will be complete. The place will be none other than Kailas itself. Thus Ganapathy was installed southeast by Perumthachan.
Perumthachan then asked the priest “ Unni Ganapathy must be hungry. What is the sacrificial food that you have prepared?”. “Unniyappam” was the reply. On a leaf, the priest placed six to seven Unniyappams stringed together. Perumthachan, with all his heart, devoted his first offerings-Koottappam. Koottappam is still known to be the most wanted nivedhyam for Kottarakara Ganapathy. After the offerings, Perumthachan affectionately declared “Though the father is the main deity, the son will be much more famous”.
His words proved to be true. Kizhakkekkara Siva temple is now known as Kottarakara Ganapathy temple.
Kottarakkara Sree Mahaganapathi Temple Timings:
Morning: 4:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Evening: 5.00 PM to 8:00 PM
Kottarakara Sree Mahaganapathi Temple Daily Poojas:
4:00 AM Palliyunarthal
4:30 AM Nadathurappu
4.40 AM Nirmalyam
4:50 AM Abhishekam
5.30 AM Ashtadravya Ganapathihomam
6.00 AM Usha Pooja
7.00 AM Ethritheu Pooja
7.15 AM Sreebali
9.00 AM Pantheeradi Pooja
10:00 AM Navaka Pooja
10.30 AM Ucha Pooja
11:00 AM Uchasreebali
11:30 AM Nadayadappu
5:00 PM Nadathurakkal
6:30 PM Deeparadhana
7:30 PM Athazha Pooja
7:45 PM Athazha Sreebali
8:00 PM Nadayadappu
Kottarakara Sree Mahaganapathi Temple Upadevathakal:
Subramanya Swami, Sree Dharma Shasta Temple and Naga Daivangal are the updavathakal in the temple. Thaipooyam and Skanda Shashti are the major festivals and functions in the Subramanya Swami temple. Special bhajan and poojas are being performed in the Dharmasastha nada during the Mandalakalam. The Nagaprathishta was done by Pambummekkattu Thanthrikal, Ayilyam Pooja conducting Thulam month of the Malayalam era for the Naga Daivangal.
Kottarakara Sree Mahaganapathi Temple Festivals:
Vinayaka Chathurthi Lord Vinayaka’s birthday falls on the Chaturthi day of the bright half of the Malayalam month ‘chingam’. This particular day is marked with great Mahaganapathy Homam, using 1008 coconuts. Besides Unniyappam, Modhakam is also offered to Ganapathy. The other major ceremonies include Sarvaiswarya pooja, Gajapooja, Annadanam etc.
This is the famous day of Thirvarattu. The large-scale festival celebrations of eleven days come to an end on this day. Kettukazhcha is a major attraction of the day.
Kottarakara temple is an edathavalam (resting place) for the Sabarimala pilgrims. Special bhajan and poojas are being performed in the Dharmasastha nada.
The festival during the month of Kumbham is marked by special poojas for Lord Siva.
Special poojas for the Nagadaivanjal. The Nagaprathishta was done by Pambummekkattu Thanthrikal.
Every year grand Navarathri celebrations will be held at the Devi temple. Thousands throng to the temple to perform the Vidyarambham of their little ones.
This falls on the Uthrittathy nakshatra of Makara masa. Bhagavatha Sapthaham, Devibhaghavatha Navaham, Annadhanam are the major events.
Kavdiyattam and other rituals are being performed in the Muruga temple.
Vishu is a Hindu festival primarily celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala, which marks the beginning of the new year. For Malayalees this is a very special day that marks a prosperous beginning. People from every nook and corner of the area come here to seek the blessings of Lord Ganapathy.
Vazhipadu Kottarakara Sree Mahaganapathi Temple:
The major vazhipadu of Kottarakara temple is the famous Udayasthamaya pooja. There is an interesting legend behind this peculiar vazhipadu. This incident took place at the time of the construction of the temple. Kottarakara Thampuran was not happy with Perumthachan, because he consecrated the deity of Ganesa at the Kizhakkekkara temple. Actually, Thampuran’s plan to build a new temple came from some dislike of the Mana, who owned the Kizhakkekkara temple. One day with much sarcasm, Thampuran asked Perumthachan, “Is your Ganapathy that brilliant?” Thachan asserted, “Yes”. Then Thampuran challenged Perumthachan and asked him to ask Ganapathy to give him a son. Perumthachan accepted the challenge and asked, “What you will you offer as a reward?” Thampuran declared “I will completely cover the idol with Unniyappam”.Before one year Thampuratty become pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful young boy. On the day of the newly born baby’s Choroonu preparations began to make unniappam. The choroonu ceremony can take place only after covering the idol with unniappam. The thampuran firmly believed that the idol being small would be covered within no time. Though unniappam was made right from the morning, even at noon the idol could not be covered up to the waist. An old man was witness to all that was happening there. He came forward and asked the Thampuran,” Have you been testing Ganapathy? You will not be able to keep your word as you are filled with pride. As you have been making unniappams right from dawn to dusk and now that you have realized that you are insignificant before Him, you can stop your offerings.” This was the first Udayasthamana vazhipadu.
That night, Thampuran had a dream in which the old man appeared before him and said,” I am Ganapathy. You should not test me again. Every month you must do the Udayasthamana pooja.” Thus till his death, the Thampuran did the pooja. From then onwards Udayasthamaya pooja become a major vazhipadu for Kottarakara Ganapathy.
Like most other Vinayaka temples, here also Ashtadravya Ganapathyhomam acquires a prominent place. Other important offerings include the breaking of coconuts, Thulabharam, Chathussatham, Thrimadhuram, Archana and Pushpanjali. Udayasthamaya pooja and Ashtadravya Ganapathyhomam can be performed through advanced booking.
Kottarakara Sree Mahaganapathi Temple Gaja Muthachan:
The history, culture and custom of Kerala, is closely related to an animal that is believed to be divine and that is the Elephant. The legendary figures of this category include Guruvayoor Kesavan, Guruvayoor Padmanabhan, Kottarakara Chandrasekharan and a few many. We can very well accommodate Kottarakara Krishnankutty to that fold of The Great tuskers. The festivals around Kottarakara were deeply related to this tusker for the last 60 years. Recently, at the age of 94, this godly elephant passed away. Life in and around Kottarakara came to a standstill upon hearing the sad news. By putting up huge flex boards and posters of Krishnankutty the people convened prayer meetings and remembrance gatherings. Devaswom board and the locals are planning to set up a fitting memorial to this tusker that has become a legend. Kottarakara Krishnankutty occupied the central position during the annual temple festivals in and around Kottarakara, especially in the famous Ganapathy and Mahadeva temples.
BEFORE SIXTY YEARS FROM THEVAPPURAM:
The Gajaratnam was bought by the authorities of Kottarakara Padinjattinkara Mahadeva temple, from Sankupillai of Kaippallazhikathu in Thevappuram. Sankupillai obtained the Komban from a Christian family. Pillai had three more elephants in his folder. He was a famous timber merchant of those days. The tuskers were used for heavy loading works in the timber mill. Krishnankutty was never interested in the job at the timber mill. On the other hand, he always showed great interest in the ceremonial programs in the temples, especially that of The Moonnumoorthy temple near the Kaippallazhikathu house. So Pillai sold Krishnankutty to the Kottarakara devaswam. Thus even though he became a native of Kottarakara, he never failed to attend the festivals of Moonnumoorthy.
One particular year, Krishnankutty was not feeling physically fit for the Ezhunnallathu due to a wound in his leg. So he was given rest. During the festival day of the Thevalappuram temple, the mahouts noticed that he was missing. All of them went around and finally, they traced the elephant which was on its way to Thevalappuram. The mahouts accompanied Him to the Kaippallazhikathu house, from where he got food as usual. After that Krishnankutty went to the temple. He bowed before the Deity, and collected some oil from the kalvilakku and applied that over the wound. The temple authorities then gave the Thidambu to Krishnankutty and he led the festival as usual. Though Krishnankutty was owned by the Padinjattinkara Mahadeva temple, he is widely known as the obedient servant of Kottarakara Ganapathy. Every morning, He starts from the Padinjattinkara temple to the Ganapathy temple. There, after completing the pradakshinam He would get Unniyappams. During the very famous festival of Maha Ganapathy,as many as sixty elephants from in and around take part. But the Thidambu would always be offered to Krishnankutty only. This is because of his peculiarities in this regard. The elephants usually fold their right leg in order to felicitate the Thidambettal. But Krishnankutty always folded his forelegs such as bowing in front of the Deity. At the time of Ezhunnallathu, Krishnankutty allowed none to come across Him and the Paanivilakku, which was lit from the Sanctum Santorum.
Once, when the glory of Moonuumoorthy temple was on the decline, a wonder occurred. On a festival day, as usual, the Thidambu was on Krishnankutty. Suddenly one of the priests walked across the Paanivilakku. This irritated Krishnankutty, He pulled down the priest who was sitting on Him. Krishnankutty started running around the area helter skelter, frightening everybody. But He did not try to harm any person. He selected some of the lands of the persons who were not taking adequate steps for the renovation of the temple and trampled everything on their land. This incident necessitated the authorities and the locals to assemble together and conduct a Devaprasnam. As per the directions, the renovation of the temple was done, thus regaining its lost glory. With this incident, the Thevalappuram people’s affection and love towards Krishnankutty increased several folds. Marking the conclusion of the festival of Padinjattinkara Mahadeva is the Aaraattu ezhunnallathu towards Thrikkannamangalam temple. The Devan longs to meet the Kadalayi Mana Devi there. But against his wish, the temple remains closed due to Devi’s ‘Thrippoothu’ (a feminine menstrual condition). The legend says that Mahadevan without having a glimpse of Devi returns frustrated. For years it is Krishnankutty who carries the thidambu for the ezhunellathu. Krishnankutty who appears exhilarated while walking towards the Devi returns dejected. This dejection on the part of Krishnankutty is viewed by the people as sorrow on the part of Devan Himself.
Krishnankutty has all the characteristics that go into the making of a perfect elephant – its high head, its strong tusks, its red tinted soft edged ears, its well shaped nails, its tusks touching the ground. But what sets it apart from all the other tuskers is its devotion and care towards the affairs of the temple. In fact in the history of the Travancore Devaswom Board, there is no other elephant that has offered its service for such a long period of time. In spite of being a part of a lot of ezhunellathu’s it has never ever harmed a human being. On the day of Vinayaka Chathurthi, Kottarakara Mahaganapathy Temple used to offer Gajapuja to Krishnankutty. This speaks volumes of the love and regards the people had toward Him. The story of this gajarajan who left for His heavenly abode at the age of 94 will remain so long as the history of the temples of Kottarakara remains.
Temples Near Kottarakara Sree Mahaganapathy Temple:
Pattazhy Devi Temple
Padinjatinchery Sree Mahadeva Temple
Kottathala Thanneer Panthal Devi Temple
Kulakkada Alappaatu Devi Temple
Poovattoor Bhagavathi Temple
Vendar Subhrahmanya Swami Temple
Kottarakara Maha Ganapathi Temple Address:
Phone: 0474 245 7200