Chettikulangara Sree Bhagavathi Temple is one among the five temples established by Lord Parashuram
. The temple is located at Chettikulangara
, 8 km from Kayamkulam
, on the Kayamkulam–Mavelikara
route. This temple dates back to over 1200 years.
Chettikulangara temple is spread over 13 God chosen (Karas) territories. It is at the center of the first four Karas – Erezha South, Erezha North, Kaitha South and Kaitha North. The presiding deity is Jagadambika of Chettikulangara, the Goddess of Oodanadu. Chettikulangara Sree Bhagavathi temple is now under the control of the Travancore Devaswom Board and is the second highest revenue earner, next to Sabarimala within this board.
According to the legend, once when some local chieftains went to witness the annual festivities at the Koypallikarazhma Bhagavathi temple, they were humiliated and ridiculed by the Koypallikarazhma temple authorities. Thus they thought of constructing a temple at Chettikulangara. The Karanavars (Family Heads), the four to five then leading families of the region, decided to take it as their duty and performed 12 days long 'Bhajan' to please the Goddeess, Kodungallur Bhagavati. It is believed that Devi gave them 'Swapna Darshanam.' Next day, they returned to Chettikulangara with a sacred sword given by the Velichappadu of Kodungallur temple, and started civil works of the temple. Another story tells that this temple was consecrated by Padmapadacharyar (a leading disciple of Adi Shankaracharya) on the Uthrittathi day of Makara month in the year 823.
Historical evidences reveal that the
shrikovil of the temple is about 480 years old and the Chuttambalam dates back about two centuries. There are various offerings, which include the
Kumkumarchana, Raktha Puzhpanjali, Panthirunazhi, Bhagavathi Seva and much more. The Ezhunnallathu (deity taken out and goes round the temple thrice) is performed on Bharani days from Vrichikam to
Meenam. Devi will be taken out on 'Kai Vattaka' by Melshanthi (the prime priest) during the Ezhunnallathu of Vrichikam month. The 41 days of Kalamezhuthu and Pattu is conducted annually on the first of Malayalam month Vrichikam (December - January). On the last day, Puram Kurithi is performed. It is told that the Prasadam of this ritual is capable of providing immunity against Small Pox and similar contagious diseases.
The main distinctive feature of this temple is the huge oil lamp called Kathuvilakku (made of granite) which accomodates more than a thousand wicks and is the largest in India. The Upadevathas (deities) in the temple premises are Yakshi, Muhurthi, Rakshas, Thevara Moorthy, Kannamballi Bhagavati, Ganesh, Nagaraja, Naga Yakshi, Balakan and Vallyachan. There is another small shrine for Moolasthanam. A Kavu (a patch of small forest, which houses the serpent Gods), Karimbana (black palm tree) and the nearby Chembakam tree in the premises are also places of worship. The major festivals celebrated here are Kettukazhchas displayed on Aswathy day, Ethirepu Ulsav, Bharani festival and Parayeduppu Ulsav.
The temple also provides 12 room rest houses run by the Travancore Devaswom Board and Sree Devi Vilasam Hindu Matha Convention on rent for devotees at reasonable cost.
Rail aspirants can access this place through Mavelikara Railway Station (5 km) and Kayamkulam Railway Station. Private and KSRTC buses ply every minute in the Mavelikara–Kayamkulam route up to late night.