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Vennimala Sri Rama Lakshmana Swamy Temple Timings, History, Poojas

About Vennimala Sri Lakshmana Swamy Temple:

Vennimala Sree Rama Lakshamana Perumal Temple is one of the oldest Rama Temples in South India. Vennimala Sree Rama-Laksmana temple, situated in the 4th ward of Puthupally, is 2 km south to Vellore in Kottayam district. Devotees can reach here through K.K.Road from Kottayam via Manarkad and turn right at the 8th mile. A board of Vennimala Temple shows the way. The place is about 15 km from Kottayam.

It is believed that Lord Rama and Lakshmana during their period of exile visited this hillside. At that time numerous sages meditated in the caves of Vennimala. Upon the request of the sages, Lakshmana killed many demons who were a threat and nuisance to the sages. Thus the place came to be called ‘Vijayadri’ in Sanskrit. The name means ‘hill of victory’ as Lakshmana won the battle with demons. Vijayadri in Malayalam became Vennimala.

Cheraman Perumal Bhaskara Revivarma, the King of Kerala built the temple. The legend goes that Cheraman Perumal constructed this temple as per the direction of Kapila Maharshi. The place-name was Iravipuram originally. The king who reached this place by canal route as per astronomical directions was shown the idol in this hill by a hunter named Iravi. Cheraman Perumal was attracted by the beauty of this place and stayed here and built a palace. He earmarked the hill as a sacred and protected place. But the palace doesn’t remain today. Cheraman Perumal accepted Lord Rama as his King and he declared that Lord Rama of this temple will be called by the name “Vennimala Perumal”.

Later on, the temple came under the Thekkumkoor kings who ruled this region. Vennimala was once the Capital of Thekkumkoor Kingdom. Unnuneeli sandesam written in 14th century AD describes Vennimala in Thekkumkoor. In AD 1749 King Marthanda Varma of Venadu captured Thekkumkoor and thereafter it was a portion of Thiruvuithamkoor. The temple is more than a thousand years old as judged from the mrgamala in the namaskara mandapa, even though the present structures may be of later period.

Vennimala Sree Rama Lakshmana Swamy Temple

Even though the main idol is that of Lakshmana Perumal, Sri Rama is also present in the Sri Kovil by conviction. Reinforcing this conviction, there are two bronze dhwajastambhas (flag masts) in the front yard. Previously the temple was a Mahakshetra with five poojas and three sreebalis daily. Now, only three poojas are performed. Earlier there was a 28 day festival from Rohini in Makaram to Rohini in Kumbhom culminating in the Arattu. For the Arattu, during the forward journey, Lakshmana was in front followed by Sri Rama while for the return after the Arattu Sri Rama used to come in front. All the 28 days were punctuated by Chakyar Koothu. The Koothambalam is part of Valiambalam. Pothiyil Chakyars had the hereditary rights of performing Koothu in this temple. Only Ramayanam’s story used to be played here. Koothu for 16 days followed by Koodiyattom for 12 days was the routine. Vennimala Koothu has been an integral part of the cultural scene of Kerala for centuries. At present, the festival goes on for a reduced duration of ten days.

The temple is facing West. The entrance to the temple is through a dwara gopura in Kerala style followed by an Anappandal. Then come to the two Dhwajastambhas followed by the Agra Mantapam or Balikkalpura. This is followed by the Valiambalam with an in-built Koothambalam. The Nalambalm is of wood and tile and on the exterior, there is a Vilakkumadom as well.

The valiambalam leads to the inner Prasada (courtyard) containing the Srikovil and the namaskara mantapa. The namskara mantapa of medium size contains four pillars and has been reconstructed in teak quite recently with tiled roofing. On the south side of the namaskara mantapa, in between the two pillars is the ancient Kanikka Vanchi of Teak with brass locking system, etc., a rare find.

Beyond the namaskara mantapa comes the unique Sri Kovil only one of its kind in South India. It is the ‘Ghata Prasada’ type with a pot shape, the Srikovil proper is in circular form with a neck shaped mukhamantapa in front. The Sri Kovil has been constructed in stone and the mukhamantapa has ornamented wooden panels in between stone pillars. Both are roofed over by an integral copper roof supported by rafters. The exterior of the Sri Kovil has beautiful daru silpas (wooden idols) at intervals along the periphery. Sopanam as well as pillars in the mantapa have been enclosed by a brass membrane. Of the Daru Silpas special mention can be made of Siva, Venugopal, Ravana, Sri Rama and Mahalakshmi.

Vennimala Sri Rama Lakshmana Swamy Temple Timings:

Morning: 5:00 AM to 12:00 AM
Evening: 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Vennimala Sri Rama Lakshmana Swamy Temple Daily Pooja:

Nada Thurakkal 5:00 AM
Usha Pooja 5:45 AM
Ethirtha Pooja 6:30 AM
Pantheerady Pooja 7:15 AM
Ucha Pooja 9:30 AM
Nada Adakkal 10:00 AM
Nada Thurakkal 5:00 PM
Deeparadhana 6:30 PM
Athazha Pooja 7:30 PM
Nada Adakkal 8:00 PM

Vennimala Sri Rama Lakshmana Swamy Temple History:

The place name, ‘Vennimala’, which is the Malayalam form of the Sanskrit word ‘Vijayadrl’ means ‘Victory Hill’. There stands atop the hill of Vennimala, the Sri Rama—Lakshmana Temple overlooking the west and adding a spiritual dimension to the spectacular natural beauty of the place. The Vennimala Temple, which had remained under the ancient Perumals of Kerala and the erstwhile rajas of Theckunkoor, has enjoyed an outstandingly glorious past,

when it was known all over the country. Kottarathil Sankunny has written about it in his Ithihasamala and it finds mention also in the 800-year-old Malayalam poem Onnuneelisandesam. Legend has it that once upon a time Vennimala was the abode of Rishis—holy men who led an ascetic life—and that they were forced to leave the place consequent upon an invasion by the Assuras. Hearing that Sri Rama would be passing by that place after having restored Sabari to human form again, the aggrieved ‘sanyasins’ went to see Sri Rama and apprised him of their grievance.

Vennimala Sri Rama Lakshmana Swamy Temple

Sri Rama, who would never turn down the prayers of the supplicants, sent with them his brother Lakshmana at the head of his monkey regiment to combat the Assuras. The Assuras were defeated and the land and hermitages were restored to the Rishis (holy men). As a token of their gratitude the Rishis renamed the place as Vijayadri, which became Vennimala in Malayalam. They further wanted to erect a temple there in memory of Lakshmana and as a preliminary step got an idol of Lakshmana ready for the purpose. But for various reasons their dream of building a temple, there did not materialize. Centuries slid by and there was another attack by the Assuras.

The concerned ascetics deposited the Lakshmana idol in the pond on the eastern side of the Temple and fled from there for there to save their lives. Centuries passed by again. And there were the inevitable social and political changes. Vennila and the surrounding regions came under the rule of the Perumals, who set up their headquarters at According to a strong tradition, one-day Cheraman Perumal (Kulashelhara Perumal) set out to visit the southern regions of his kingdom. The boat carrying the king was sailing south along the Vembanadu lake. As it grew dark, the king happened to look at the eastern sky. The story goes that he saw the Pleiads (the constellation of seven stars) moving around a small region below. The king’s surprise knew no bounds. He asked the boatmen to row the boat in the direction of that place and traveling up the Kodoor river they reached Paloorppada rear Puthuppalli beyond which place the river was not navigable.

The king had the headman of the village, Palloor Panicker, summoned to him. The king spoke to him about the strange sight he had witnessed. Panicker knew that the place above which the Pleiads had hovered was Venninala. Panicker submitted to the king that the shrine there was a neglected one and that they vested the shrine only on new moon day in connection with the sradha worship. He narrated an incident to the king to suggest that there was something special about the place. He Said a man belonging to the Veda caste was digging there for the roots of the medicinal plants. The wooden bar the man was digging with struck something under the soil. The man noticed that blood was issuing from the spot where the bar had struck the ground. This story convinced the king of the importance of the place and he ordered a temple to be constructed at that spot. Thus in the due course, a temple came up there.

The position of the head priest of the new temple was given to a member of the Thazhamon family and that of the ‘samuhya’ was given to the Mepattor family.

Two days before the day appointed for the consecration of the new temple, a strikingly impressive holy man came to see the king. They talked about the arrangements for the consecration of the new temple. After inspecting the Vishnu idol which was kept ready for the ceremony, the holy man told the king: “The installation of this idol does not augur well for you. It might bring on misfortunes.” So saying, in a bid to convince the king, the holy man struck a heavy blow at the belly of the idol. That very moment there flowed out dirty water and wriggling worms from inside the idol. The king sat there dumbfounded. Realizing that the king was in a dilemma, the sage told the king about a Lakshmana idol lying at the bottom of the pond at the eastern side fo the temple. He asked the king to take steps to recover the idol and to install it along with a Devi idol which was to be recovered from another pond nearby. Both idols were to be installed at the same time, said the holy man. He told the king that it was not against the Vedas to install a Lakshmana idol inasmuch as Lakshmana was the incarnation of Ananda.

He added that Sri Rama is the self- the incarnation of Sri Vishnu. Lord Vishnu means he who is spread out filling the infinity, that is, he who is omnipresent. He who is omnipresent cannot be conceived of as being confined to an idol. The Vedanthas affirm that such a Being is beyond the reach of all sensory perception. Therefore consecration may be carried out in the case of the idol of Lakshmana in conformity with the non-dualistic idea of the body and the soul being one. Sri Rama also may be installed but without using any idol in keeping with the dualistic idea that the two bodies and souls are not one but separate entities. Having said so much, the sage went away from there. Vennimala is the only temple in India where the idol has been installed in accordance with the dualistic idea that is to say, without a Moorthy or idol.

The instructions given by the sage were carried out by the king. He leased out to the temple thousands of acres of land to meet the daily expenses relating to administration. There was a time when the temple used to offer thirty-five kilograms worth of food every day to the deity along with jaggery payasam and sweetmeat. There were five poojas and as many sreebalis every day. There was a provision to conduct the temple art form of chakiar kooth every day in the temple. Besides there used to be daily boothabalis after the last bali, so as to propitiate the boothas or demons.

Another feature of the temple is the ‘pithrumandapam,’ an enclosed area meant for the souls of the ancestors. It is intended to keep the souls of the ancestors from feeling ignored or uncared for or from turning harmful to the living. In the southeastern corner of the sanctuary, there are the idols of Ganapathy, Saraswathy, Siva and Bhagavathi as also the idols of the subsidiary deities. Outside at the northwestern corner, there is the idol of Lord Krishna. On the eastern side, there are Nagayakshi, Elangikudiyan (Sastav ), Nagaraja and some minor deities. The temple pond is brimful of water all year-round. Devotees flock to this place for the monthly balis, for the annual poojas and for the sradha on the new moon day. The sradha which falls on a new moon day in the month of Karkidaka (July—August) draws thousands of devotees to Vennimala. The following verse in Stalapurana highlights the popular belief about performing ancestral poojas at the temple pond of Venn[mala temple.

He who performs the ritual bath At the temple pond of Vennimala; The ancestors to soothe; He will surely get the desired result.

In this temple, Sri Rama is conceived of as the supreme soul. Sajooyja or spiritual fulfillment is the process of the individual soul dissolving itself in the Over-soul. Vennimala temple being a Sri Rama temple, ancestral worship conducted here is bound to be greatly efficacious. There is a strong tradition here that ‘Pithrutharpana’ (Rituals meant for the repose of the angstroms’ souls) was carried out here for hundreds of years under the supervision of the Rishis or holy men. Till recently Vennimala was the only temple in central Kerala which specialized in ‘Pithruthatpama’ rituals.

Vennimala Sri Rama Lakshmana Swamy Temple Address:

Vennimala Meenadom Road,
Payyappady Post,
Kottayam District,
Kerala – 686516.
Phone : +91 984 743 9251

How to Reach Vennimala Sree Rama Lakshmana Temple:

By Air: Kochi International airport at Nedumbassery will be the nearest. You can take Prepaid cabs or Bus transport to reach Vnnimala Sree Rama Lakhmana Temple.

By Rail: Kottayam will be the nearest Railway station and is placed at about 14 kilometers away from the Temple.

By Road: A bus on the Kottayam-Puthuppally-Payyappadi route can drop you very near Vennimala. Get down at Payyapp.

Vennimala Sree Rama Lakshmana Temple Map:

Vennimala Sri Rama Lakshmana Swamy Temple Timings, History, Poojas

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