Tuesday Jun 18, 2024

Kottarakkara Sree Mahaganapathy Kshethram – Kerala

Address

Kottarakkara Sree Mahaganapathy Kshethram Kottarakkara. Kollam District, Kerala- 691506

Diety

Shiva, Ganapathy

Introduction

Kottarakkara Sree Mahaganapathy Kshethram is a pilgrim centre in South India. It is centuries old and the most important Maha Ganapathi Temple in Kerala. It is the family of Lord Siva. This Ganapati temple is located in Kottarakkara which is 25 km from Kollam. Kottarakkara Sree Mahaganapathi Temple that is centuries old is renowned for its sub-shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha, though the main deity is Lord Shiva. The temple is also famous for its delicious Unniyappam (sweet ghee-fried snack made with rice and bananas) offering. It is located around 80 kilometers from Thiruvananthapuram.

Puranic Significance

It is centuries old and the most important Maha Ganapathi Temple in Kerala. This temple belongs to the Kottarakkara King family, now Travancore Devaswom Board. “Ramanattam” (a form of dance) inspired on the Ramayana story of Kottarakara Thampuran is played in this temple for the 151 time. 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 manthras , he started chiselling a piece of 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. “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, 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 father is the main diety, the son will be much more famous”. His words proved to be true. Kizhakkekkara Siva temple is now known as Kottarakara Ganapathy temple.

Festivals

Vinayaka Chathurthy: Vinayaka Chathurthi Lord Vinayaka’s birthday falls on the chathurthi 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. Medathiruvathira: 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.

Century/Period/Age

1000- Years old

Managed By

Travancore Devaswom Board.

Nearest Bus Station

Kottarakkara

Nearest Railway Station

Kottarakkara

Nearest Airport

Thiruvananthapuram

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