In Navratri, parents flock to temples dedicated to goddess Saraswathi to introduce children to the learning process. Here are some famous places where this ritual is performed with a lot of fanfare.
In the Hindu tradition, Saraswathi, the goddess of knowledge, music, and the arts, is believed to bestow the blessing of wisdom and learning to those who seek it. She is often known for her eloquence and children from all over the country pray that their studies will be successful. During the Navratri holiday season, when all of India celebrates the power of Devi, goddess Durga and goddess Saraswathi are venerated in various rituals and traditions.
An important Hindu tradition, observed at this season is Aksharabhyasa or Vidyarambham. At this ceremony, preschoolers are introduced to the alphabet and the world of learning. This ritual is performed on the tenth day of Navratri, called Vijayadashami. This day is also celebrated as Saraswathi Puja in many parts of the country.
The places of worship especially dedicated to the Aksharabhyasam ritual are the witnesses of large crowds of devotees on the day of Vijayadashami. The children dressed in their best clothes are accompanied by parents in these temples dedicated to the goddess Saraswathi Devi. During the ritual, the children sit on the lap of one of the parents and have to write their first alphabet with their index finger on a plate of raw rice. The sign of the alphabet is also made on their tongue.
These are some of the well-known temples that lead the ceremony.
1) Arulmigu Saraswathi Temple Koothanur, Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu
Legend has it that the goddess Saraswathi appeared to the poet Ottakoothar on the banks of the river Harisol, near the present Koothanur, and granted him the blessing of knowledge. After that, his scholarly fame spread and King Chola Rajaraja gave him land. In homage to the goddess, the famous poet built the Saraswathi temple here. During the nine days of Navratri, a special festival is organized and the deity is adorned with flowers and jewels. Devotees come from all over for the Aksharabhayasa ritual for their son. The day of Vijayadashami, the deity is taken in procession in swan and many offers are made. Some older children also bring their notebooks and writing instruments and place them on the feet of the goddess.
Arulmigu Saraswathi Temple Koothanur Distance:
From Chennai 294 kms
From Puducherry 128 kms
From Tirupati 364 kms
From Bengaluru 440 kms
Hotel PAMS, Mayiladuthurai and few other low-budget hotels. No four or five star hotels are available.
2) Gnana Saraswathi Temple, Basara, Telangana:
Gnana Saraswathi Temple in Basara is one of the most famous temples in South India, This temple is dedicated to the goddess Saraswathi Devi. According to mythology, sage Vyasa came here as he wrote Brahmanda Purana and sat to meditate on the shores of Godavari. Despite the appearance of the goddess, she was not visible to him. Every day he made mounds of sand, which became the idols of goddess Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Kali. This is where the temple is. The people of this holy place began to worship the divinity, calling it Gnana Saraswathi Devi. The devotees who come here for Aksharabhyasam must plan well in advance because thousands of parents come here with their children for this ritual. At the time of Navratri, the temple has a festive aspect and the divinity, adorned with ornaments, is a sight to behold.
Gnana Saraswathi Temple Distance:
From Hyderabad 210 kms
From Nanded 103 kms
From Nizamabad 35 kms
From Bengaluru 798 kms
From Tirupati 788 kms
From Vijayawada 480 kms
Haritha Hotel (Telangana Tourism) and several private lodges are available. No four or five star hotels are not available.
3) Sarada Peetham, Sringeri, Karnataka
One of the peethams associated with Adi Sankaracharya, this temple of the holy city of Sringeri is dedicated to Devi Sarada. On the coast of Karnataka, it is traditional to pray Sarada, another form of goddess Saraswathi, with pujas and special offerings during the nine days of Navratri. The goddess of Sringeri was first carved in sandalwood, then the idol turned into gold. The Devotees not only from Karnataka, but from all over India go directly to the temple to observe the beautifully adorned form of the goddess. Aksharabhyasa is one of the main ceremonies held in the temple at Navratri.
Sarada Peetham Distance:
From Bangalore 329 kms
From Mangalore 107 kms
From Vijayawada 860 kms
From Mysuru 264 kms
From Tirupati 572 kms
Hegde Residency, Sringeri. Four star hotels are available at Chikmagalur.
4) Vidya Saraswathi Temple, Vargal, Telangana
In Sanskrit, Vidya means education and it is known that the goddess Saraswathi in this temple gives the blessing of education to the devotees who come here. The temple is built on a mound with a valley on all sides. There is a huge rock formation at the bottom of the temple. The structure was built because of the efforts of the scholar, Yamavaram Chandrashekhara Sharma, and is also a temple dedicated to Lord Shani. This is a 400-year-old temple built by Kakatiya’s rulers. Here, special poojas are performed during the days of Vasant Panchami and Navratri, including the Aksharabhyasam ceremony.
Vargal Vidya Saraswathi Temple Distance:
From Hyderabad 53 kms
From Mahbubnagar 55 kms
From Nizamabad 146 kms
From Karimnagar 118 kms
Honey Berg Resort, Turkapalli. Five star hotels are available in Hyderabad.
5) Sri Mookambika Temple Kollur, Karnataka
This famous temple dedicated to the goddess Mookambika is located about 135 kilometers from Mangalore, at the foot of the hills of Kodachadri, in the picturesque Western Ghats. The Souparnika River flows nearby. It is one of the main pilgrimage sites of Karnataka, with the temples of Udupi, Subrahmanya, Kumbasi, Kodeshwara, Sankaranarayana and Gokarna. Legend has it that the goddess, who is an incarnation of Saraswathi, made an appearance here in front of Adi Sankaracharya, who then built the temple for her. Navratri is a festive event in the temple and the goddess is decorated with many jewels.
Sri Mookambika Temple Kollur Distance:
From Mangalore 129 kms
From Bangalore 430 kms
From Tirupati 649 kms
From Mysuru 373 kms
From Hyderabad 731 kms
Hotel Mahalakshmi Residency. No four or five star hotels are available.
6) Thrikkavu Sri Durga Bhagavathy Temple, Malappuram, Kerala
It is an ancient temple and one of the most famous sanctuaries dedicated to the goddess Bhagavathy. The Aksharabhyasam, more commonly known as Ezhuthiniruthu in Kerala, is one of the main ceremonies observed in the temple with much admiration. Legend has it that this ancient temple is one of the 108 Durga shrines constructed by Lord Parasurama.
Thrikkavu Sri Durga Bhagavathy Temple Distance:
From Calicut 45 kms
From Kannur 133 kms
From Kochi 165 kms
NC Gardens and Beach Resort. No four or five star hotels are available.