Valiakoikkal Temple is the family temple of the royal Pandalam family. The temple is located at Pandalam in Pathanamthitta district, Kerala. It is located inside Pandalam Palace. The Presiding deity is Sri Ayyappan Swamy. The Thiruvabharanam (sacred ornaments) procession to Sabarimala Shrine starts from Valiyakoikkal Temple every year before the Makaravilakku festival. Millions of devotees visit this temple every year during the Makaravilakku festival time.
It is one of the 348 important temples of Kerala classified in 1811 during the rule of Travancore Diwan Colonel John Monroe. The square shaped structure of this temple has brass metal roofing. To the southwest of the Sastha shrine is the shrine of Malikappurathamma.
Ayyappa is also known as Dharmasasta, Manikandan, Bhutanathan, Pandala Raja and Pamba Vaasan. Ayyappa was born with the composite energy of Siva and Sri Maha Vishnu when Sri Vishnu took the form of Mohini. The main intention behind Ayyappa’s birth was to demolish Mahishi, who was one of the asura demons.
Lord Ayyappa himself is said to have ordered King Pandalam to build a mosque for Vavur in Erumuli. The deity of Vavur is believed to be as old as the original deity of Ayyappa himself. Records show that the shrine was renovated in 1905. Here, a Muslim priest conducts poojas. There is no separate idol, but a carved stone slab representing the deity.
The deity is believed to protect devotees from evil forest spirits. According to legend, Kadutha was a great warrior who helped King Pandalam defeat the armies of Udayanan and other enemies.
Makara Vilakku, Onam and Vishu are some of the important festivals celebrated in this Dharmasasta temple.
Note: Women between the ages of 10 and 50 are not supposed to visit the shrine.
Presently the temple is under the maintenance of Travancore Devaswom Board.
About Thiruvabharanam Procession:
“Thiruvabharanam” are sacred ornaments encrusted with gold, said to have been offered to Sabarimala Ayyappa temple by the king of the former royal kingdom of Pandalam, who was also the adoptive father of Ayyappa alias Manikanta. The palace management committee displays the ‘Thiruvabharanam’ in the palace fort hall during the pilgrimage season for devotees to view the jewels. Every year the Palace authorities will hand over the jewels to the Travancore Devaswom Board on January 12. They will be taken in a ceremonial procession to Sabarimala for the Makaravilakku festival. Raja Raja Varma of Tripunithura is the person appointed by the king who escorts the procession carrying the ‘Thiruvabharanam’ to Sabarimala. The three wooden boxes will be brought to Sabarimala by a team of 18 devotees led by Guruswami, Kulathinal Gangadharan Pillai. The Tantri, assisted by Melsanthi, will place the jewels on the idol of Ayyappa before the “deeparadhana”.
The ‘Thiruvabharanam’ will be taken back to Pandalam Palace in a procession from January 22.
Valiya Koyikkal Sree Dharma Sastha Temple Hours:
Morning: 5:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Evening: 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Pandalam Ayyappa Temple Pooja Timings:
Ucha Pooja: 12:30 PM
Usha Pooja: 7:30 AM
Athazha Pooja: 9:30 PM
Pandalam Dharmasasta Temple History:
Sabarimala was once under the rule of the Pandalam dynasty. The Pandalam kingdom was established around the year 903 AD by the royal Pandalam family, descendants of the Pandya kings of Madurai.
The family continued to move for over a century, finally reaching Pandalam in 79 ME. This was chosen to be the permanent residence of the royal family. The ruler of Venad (later Travancore) helped establish the kingdom of Pandalam.
The Pandalam king helped Marthanda Varma in conquering the Kayamkulam province. In exchange for this help, Marthanda Varma did not attempt to attack or conquer Pandalam. The Pandalam kingdom spanned over 1,000 square miles. The Pandalam dynasty helped other religious followers to build a mosque in Kadakkad and a church in Kudassanad. It is also believed that those who settled in Pandalam were sympathetic to Buddhist beliefs.
48 main temples have been added to Travancore. The idol was erected in 1910. The Pandalam Ayyappa Temple was burnt down in 1971 and underwent a major renovation. Pandalam once spread as far as Thodupuzha in Idukki district. Pandalam is located at Mavelikkara taluk of Alappuzha district.
Leela, who was the daughter of Galavamuni, under the curse of her husband Dathan, was reborn as Mahishi. She was an “asura” woman with the face of a buffalo. After being killed by Lord Ayyappa, the curse was revoked and the beautiful woman emerged from the corpse. She thanked Ayyappa and prayed to be with him as his wife.
However, Ayyappa told her that he was a “Brahmachari” and her wish would not be granted. However, he allowed her to stay in Sabarimala, which is a bit far from his abode.
Temples Near Pandalam Valiyakoikkal:
Pandalam Mahadeva Temple
Pandalam Valiya Koyikkal Dharmasastha Temple
Oripurathu Bhagavathi Temple
How to Reach Pandalam Valiyakoikkal Temple:
Trivandrum International Airport is 104 km from Pandalam Ayyappa Temple.
Chengannur Railway Station is 14 km. Trains are available to all major Indian cities from the station.
Kottayam Railway Station is 50.4 km and Alappuzha Railway Station is 61.5 km from the temple.
One can reach Pandalam by bus via MC Road. KSRTC (Kerala State Road Transport Corporation) performs the services if you are coming from Thiruvananthapuram or Cochin airports. Private buses go to various destinations around Pandalam. The minimum time for a bus to get to Pandalam from Ernakulam is 3 hours 18 minutes. The cheapest way to reach Pandalam temple from Ernakulam takes you 5h 16m which is to take the Malabar Express from Ernakulam to Chengannur and then take the public transport bus from Chengannur to Pandalam.
Pandalam Valiya Koyikkal Temple Address:
National Highway 220,
Kerala – 689501.