Chottanikkara Temple – The embodiment of all three forms of Shakti
Kochi to Chottanikkara

Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple is a magnificent temple resplendent in glorious mythology! One of the most important Bhagavathy temples of Kerala, thousands of devotees visit Chottanikkara temple each year to seek blessings & get healed of mental & physical ailments. Dedicated to the Goddess Rajarajeshwari, the embodiment of all three forms of Shakti, the Goddess is worshipped as Maha Saraswati in the morning, Maha Lakshmi during the day, and Maha Kali in the evening.  The deity of Chottanikkara Bhagavathy is believed to be Swayambhu & was worshipped by great philosophers like Adisankaracharya, Vilwamangalam Swamiyar, Kakkasseri Bhattathiri, and Chemmangattu Bhattathiri.

The temple is said to have the presence of Sree Mookambika Saraswathy in the morning & only after the Goddess Saraswathy returns there late in the morning Mookambika Temple at Kollur opens.  The chants of  “Amme Narayana, Devi Narayana, Bhadre Narayana, Lakshmi Narayana” reverberate in the temple environs all the time.

Kizhukkavu temple

Goddess Bhadrakali – the patron goddess of Hindu exorcists resides in the lower temple Keezhukkavu near the temple pond. The Chottanikkara Amman and the Keezhukkavu Bhadrakali Amman are both revered as the Goddesses of healing! Thousands of Devi devotees visit the temples to get relief from their maladies as well as the anguish and agonies of material life. 41-day worship of the Kizhukkavu Bhadrakali is said to cure mental illness, and supernatural possessions by evil spirits and those healed of these menaces drive a nail into an ancient Pala tree near the temple or into the fence surrounding it. Thousands of such nails in and around the tree stand testimony to the incredible faith of the devotees of Chottanikkara Amman!

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Legend

Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple is steeped in history & several legends! The temple site was once a dense forest and home to several evil spirits and tribesmen. A tribesman named Kannappan was an ardent devotee of Goddess Kali & used to sacrifice a cow every day to appease the Goddess. Once he found a beautiful calf in the forest and was about to sacrifice it when his young daughter pleaded with him to spare the calf. His daughter domesticated the calf. Later she died of illness, and when the grief-stricken Kannappan was about to cremate her, the body could not be found. He went to free the calf, but it too had vanished. Both the girl and the calf had turned into one stone. A transformed Kannappan started to worship the stone. 

After Kannappan’s death, the shrine was forgotten and eventually discovered by a grass cutter lady.  She rubbed her sickle on a stone to sharpen it & to her terror saw blood oozing out. The news spread fast, and a Brahmin priest & astrologer examined the stone & found the presence of Goddess along with Lord Vishnu in that stone.  Later the stone was removed from there and installed inside the temple. The original place where the stone has found initially is being worshipped as Sree Moolasthanam.

Chottanikkara Temple also has another legend surrounding it! As there was no temple dedicated to Goddess Saraswathi in his homeland, Kerala, Adi Sankaracharya did penance in Chamundi hills to appease Goddess Saraswathi & she appeared before him. Sankaracharya requested Goddess Saraswathi to come & reside in his homeland. The Goddess said that she was familiar to all people and cannot live in a single place. However, she agreed to follow Sankaracharya on one condition that he will not look back & she will reside at the place where he looks back at her.

Sankaracharya agreed and started walking towards his homeland with Saraswathi following him. He was guided only by the sound of the anklets of Goddess Saraswathi following him. As Sankaracharya was crossing the Kodachadri hills, he didn’t hear the anklet sound and turned back to check. Goddess Saraswathi stopped right there. Sankaracharya begged for pardon, but Goddess Saraswathi refused to follow him back again. The goddess then agreed that from the early hours of the morning, she would be present at the Chottanikkara temple. After that, she would return to the Kollur Mookambika temple.

History

The Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple is a1500 years’ old temple. The red laterite idol of the Goddess Bhagavathy is believed to be ‘Svayambhu’ or self-revealed. The history of Keezhukavu temple is very mysterious! A Nampoothiri youth was followed by a Yakshi in the form of a pretty maiden. His friend advised him to rush to the Chottanikkara Devi for help. The Devi transformed into her fierce Bhadrakali form, killed the Yakshi & threw her dismembered body into the pond. Years later, Vilwamangalam Swamiyar visited the Chottanikkara temple & he saw a powerful halo of light over the temple pond. When a search was done, the deity of Goddess Bhadrakali of Keezhukkavu was found in the pond, known today as Yakshikkulam or Rakthakulam  & the idol was installed by the Vilwamangalam Swamiyar.

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Physical Structure

Structure of Chottanikkara Temple
Photo credits: Vijayan M

Chottanikkara temple stands proud as an ultimate testimonial for the ancient Vishwakarma Sthapathis (wooden sculpture) along with the ancient Sabarimala temple!  An exceptional example of Kerala temple architecture, the temple is believed to be constructed by the Architect God, Vishwakarma himself.  The self-manifested deity of the Goddess is formed from Rudraksha Shila, a kind of Laterite stone. The Chottanikkara Temple has two shrines, Melukavu  – the main shrine of the Goddess Rajarajeshwari and Keezhkavu – dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali.

About the Deity

Prathishta 

The main temple has enshrined in it the idol of Chottanikkara Bhagavathy & Lord Vishnu. The Laterite stone deity has an irregular shape which is not noticeable as the priests decorate it with coloured Sarees & dazzling stone jewellery. The decor of the Goddess varies as she takes on the 3 forms of Sakthi. In the morning hours, she is dressed in white, Crimson in the noon and blue in the evenings. Chottanikkara Amma deity is depicted with the Conch and Discus, to signify the divine presence of Lord Vishnu in the temple.

Upadevatha 

There are shrines of Dharma Sastha, Shiva, Brahma, Ganesh, Subramanya (Karthikeya), Anjaneya (Hanuman), and the Nagas (serpent gods) in the temple. The Keezhukavu has Goddess Bhadrakali enshrined.

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Festivals

Shiveli during Festival at Temple

Kumbam Makam Thozhal

Makam, the most important day of the temple comes during the annual festival. It is believed that on the Makam day, Bhagavathy in her full attire appeared before Vilwamangalam Swamiyar to bless him. Many devotees throng the temple for Makam Thozhal (Devi darshan) between 2 PM and 8 PM when the Deity in its full splendour is specially decorated with gold and diamonds. The darshan is considered to be most auspicious for long married life and for getting the best marriage for girls. The festival ends with Uthram Aarattu and Valiya Guruthy(Atham Guruthy).

Navarathri Aghosham 

Durgashtami, Mahanavami, and Vijayadashami are celebrated with much pomp & splendour at the Chottanikkara Temple. On Vijayadasami day Vidyarambham (initiating kids into learning) is conducted. Annadanam and stage programmes are arranged on every day.

Vrishchika

Vrishchicka Mandala Mahotsavam is a festival celebrated with much ardour in the Mandalam season. Daily annadanam, stage programmes, Naama japam, etc are held. Thrikkarthika – the birthday of the Goddess is a festival which runs for three days, Karthika, Rohini and Makayiram. Ezhunnellippu, Kazhcha seeveli, Deepalankaram, Karthika vilakku, fireworks, e, c. add colour to the festival. Laksharchana and Vedamura Abhishekam are done for 15 days ending with Lakshadeepam (lighting of one lakh lamps) and fireworks on Makaravilakku day.

Ramayana Masam 

Ramayanam & Bhagavatham are read daily in the Ramayana Masam (Karkidakam) along with Annadanam, devotional speeches and discourses. Illam Nira, when fresh paddy of the year is offered to God also falls in this month.

Thiruvonam 

Thiruvonam feast (Annadanam) to all Pilgrims marks the celebration of the Thiruvonam day.

Medam

Vishukani, Vishu Sadya and Ezhunellippu on 3 elephants make the Vishu a grand celebration at the Chottanikkara temple.

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Offerings 

Mandapathil Pattu

It is a combination of main vazhipadus like Annadanam, Chuttuvilakku, and Niramala, Appam, Ada, Payasam, Chathussadam, an offering of paddy, Special Archana, etc. accompanied by a ceremonial song in the portico of the temple.

Bhajanam

Bhajanam is an important vazhipadu done for getting rid of mental or physical illness or afflictions, tension, stress and strains, lack of concentration, unruly behaviour, poor education, job or to get married or have children, etc.

Valiya Guruthy

The Valiya Guruthy (great Sacrifice) is prepared in 12 cauldrons (large vessel) and is performed at about 8.45 p.m every night. It is believed, being present at the Valiya Guruthy on Fridays permanently cures women of mental abnormalities like schizophrenia.

Nithya Vazhipaadu

Devotees can pay in advance for any amount he desires, as and when he wishes to conduct the daily poojas at the temple.

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Darshan timings

Nada Opening 4 AM
Lord Shiva’s Dhaara5 AM
Ethruthu pooja5:30 AM
Morning Seeveli 6 AM
Guruthi pooja at Keezhukavu Temple7:30 AM
Pantheeradi Pooja
7:45 AM
Lord Shiva – Dhaara
11 AM
Ucha Pooja or noon pooja
12 PM
Noon Seeveli
12:10 PM
Evening Nada Opening
4:00 PM
Deeparadhana/lighting of lamps
6:30 PM
Athazha Pooja
7:30 PM
Evening Seeveli
8:00 PM
Evening Guruthi at Keezhukaavu Temple
8:45 PM

One should not miss the ‘Guruthi Pooja’ in the ‘Keezhukkavu’ temple in the evening.

Dress code and entry rules

Men: Mundu & Veshti, and boys can wear shorts.

Women: Sarees, skirt or salwar suit.

Location

The Chottanikkara Bhagavathy temple is located at Chottanikkara, a hilly region surrounded on all sides by greenery about 20 km from Ernakulam.

Getting there

Nearest Airport: Kochi International Airport – 38 km.

Nearest Railway Stations: 

  • Ernakulam South Railway Station – 18 km
  • Ernakulam North Railway Station – 20 km

Nearest Metro Stations:

  • Vyttila Metro Station – 7 km
  • Maharaja College Metro Station – 8 km
  • Palarivattom Metro Station – 8 km
  • J L N Stadium Metro Station – 8 km

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Offical Contact

Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple,
Chottanikkara,
Ernakulam Dist., Kerala.
Pin – 682 312 

Ph: +91 484 – 2711032 , 2713300

Temples near Chottanikkara Temple

Shree Poornathrayesa temple

Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple nada
Photo credits: Vivek

Shree Poornathrayesa temple located at Tripunithura is a 1000-year-old temple dedicated to Poornathrayesa, Lord Vishnu, in the form of Santhanagopala Moorthy. The Poornathrayesa temple was the family deity of the Kings of Cochin & is believed to be the solace of childless couples. 

Kaduthuruthy Shiva Temple

Chottanikkara Temple - The embodiment of all three forms of Shakti 1

Kaduthuruthy Shiva Temple or the Thali Temple is a famous Shiva temple near the Chottanikkara temple. It is believed that the Lord Shiva shrine was installed by a demon named, Khara.  Stories of Karthaveerarjuneeyam decorate the temple.

Read more: Kaduthuruthy Mahadeva Temple

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Places to visit near Chottanikkara temple

Chottanikkara Temple - The embodiment of all three forms of Shakti 2

Tripunithura Hill Palace

A peek into history! Archaeological Museum or the Tripunithura Hill Palace, was the administrative headquarters during the reign of the Kings of Kochi. The museum built-in 1865 is spread across 54 acres & offers a glimpse of the traditional architecture of Kerala. The deer park, the heritage museum, the children’s park, and the prehistoric park are attractions to see within the palace premises.

Mesmerizing Backwaters of Cochin

Get ready to enjoy the beautiful sights of the local and migratory birds, giant Chinese fishing nets & local village life. A leisurely backwater cruise on a houseboat through the most visited backwaters of Cochin can take you through destinations like St. Francis Church, Jewish Synagogue, Jew market and more.

Keep reading: Kochi – The Queen of Arabian Sea!

Wonderla Amusement Park

Wonderla Kochi, spread across 35 acres of land has more than 56 rides to thrill visitors. The Wave Pool, Rain Disco, Flash Tower, Equinox 360, etc. are some of the main attractions of Wonderla – The non-stop fun for all ages Park!

Keep reading: Wonderla Kochi – The magical world of fun that amazes you!

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