Chottanikarai Bhagavathy

The chorus chanting of ‘Amme Narayana’, ‘Devi Narayana’ and ‘Lakshmi Narayana’ rent the air throughout the day. Devotees throng the temple to have a rendezvous with the goddess who is believed to cure people who are mentally ill.

This shrine is none other than the famous Chottanikarai Bhagavathy temple in Kerala. Nestled in the lap of luxury in God’s Own Land Kerala, Chottanikarai is near Ernakulam. Let us catch a glimpse of its spiritual history.

Sage Bhilwamangala consecrated the presiding deity, Bhagavathy, here. She gave darshan to the sage on Masi Maham long ago and to commemorate this event, devotees observe it with fervour every year.

Bhagavathy is a celestial doctor who cures patients afflicted with mental illness. We can see many patients who are mentally unsound shaking their body with hair let loose in front of the sanctum sanctorum of the presiding deity as if they are in a trance. But after some time, they gradually settle down and come back to normalcy.

There is a strange practice where a small iron nail is hammered to a nearby palai tree. It is believed by doing this, the goddess will cure the patients of their mental illness.

The temple complex is has Bhadrakali, Ganapathy, Sastha, Shiva, Rajarajeswari, Naga Devatha, Yakshi and sage Bhilwamangala consecrated in the precincts.

Yakshi, a devil, threatened to kill a Nambhoodri in Chottanikarai but goddess Bhagavathy saved him at the right moment. Since the Yakshi was responsible for the appearance of the goddess, his icon also finds place inside the temple.

Bhagavathy faces east and is swayambhu – self-manifest. Two of her four hands sport chanku and chakra and other two being abhaya hastham and vara hastham.

She poses as Saraswathi in the mornings, Bhadrakali at midday and as Durga in the evenings.

She is also worshipped as Rajarajeswari.

Mahavishnu is consecrated on her right side. People who are mentally challenged can stay in the temple cottages and worship the goddess till they are cured. This mode of worship is called bhajanam. Turmeric, limestone powder and jaggery water is distributed as prasadam.

Married women pray for the long life of their husbands. People who suffer due to the bad effects of black magic can also get help by worshipping this deity.

There are plenty of hotels at Chottanikarai which is 20 km from Ernakulam,

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