Sarkaradevi Temple is situated at the town of Attingal, in the Chirayinkeezhu Taluk of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. This prominent temple in South India is primarily dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali.
About the Deity
The principal deity of this temple is Goddess Bhadrakali, while Lord Veerabhadra, Lord Naga, Goddess Yakshi Amma are the other deities gracing from the temple.
Legend and Stories
There are no solid proofs to establish the temple’s exact origin, however evidences point out that the temple existed for centuries now. The official record of the Travancore Palace reveals that the site for the temple’s construction was in fact purchased in 1599 A.D, during the reign of Thrippappur Prince Vira Ravi Varma (1588-60 A.D.). In olden days, this place was popularly referred to as Charkaravattom. It is said that Maharaja Marthandavarma started his journey to conquer Kayamkulam after offering worship to this Goddess Sarkaradevi and vowed to offer Kaliyoottu if he won the war. Subsequently the king won the war and conquered Kayankulam, thus fulfilling his pledge of offering the Kaliyootu to the deity. Until this day, the tradition of celebrating Kaliyootu still continues in this temple. This shrine is also associated with Sarkara Kovilakom, which is one of the royal families of Kodungallur. Kodungallur is well known for the famous Bhagavathi temple. Sankara Devi temple is managed by the Travancore Devaswom Board.
The annual temple festival here is called the Meena Bharani and is celebrated for a period of 10 days in the malayalam month of Meenom (March-April). Thookam, a unique ritual is held on the last day of this festival.
Kaliyoot, which is one of the major celebrations at this temple, usually falls on the Malayalam month of kumbham (Jan-Feb). This 9 day long festival draws a number of devotees every year. The first 7 days of this festival showcases various stories pertaining to the war between Goddess Bhadrakali and Darika as plays. The 8th and 9th day ceremonies are called the “Mudi uzhichil” and "Nilathil poru" respectively.
It is believed that 8th day, Goddess Bhadrakali herself goes out in search of Darika, but returns at the end of the day without finding her. This is one of the most important ritual of this festival, since it is believed that the deity directly bestows her blessings in her devotees on this special day.
The final day of Kaliyootu witnesses the famous "Nilathil poru"(ground fight) which visualises the killing of King Darika by Bhadrakali, thereby establishing the path of truth or Dharma over the evil.
The 8th and 9th day ceremonies of this revered festival are quite a grand affair which goes on for many hours together. Men from the Ponnara family usually dress as Maa Kali, Devi Durga and Darika and enact the divine tale as a play.
There is a text titled “Kaliyoot Mahotmyam” by Kannasa Panicker which describes in detail the various ceremonies associated with the festival of Kaliyoot. According to the book, once the stage is set for the performance known as “Pernu”, the Spirit of Goddess Bhadrakali is invoked into sacred lamps. Following this is the principal ritual of the first day called “Mudithalam Thullal”, which ends with the negotiations between the Goddess and the demon king.
Meenabharani festival is the next important festival of this temple which ussually falls along with the occasssion of Attavishesham. This festival is celebrated every year as a mark of King Dharma Raja’s victory over Marthanda Varma. According to existing records, King Dharma Raja himself had ordained the celebration of this festival during his time, and sponsored all the expenses incurred for the same (Mathilakam Records, churana 937,ola, 1639, 1750–51, Kerala State Archives, Trivandrum).
On the final day of this ten day celebration, goddess Sarkara Devi is believed to shower her divine grace on her devotees. This annual temple festival starts with the Kodiyettu (flag hoisting), nine days prior to the day of Bharani nakshatra (star) which is considered as the birth star of the chief deity here. It festival ends with a Arat (holy immersion) of the deity in the temple tank on the tenth day. Each day of this comes with a unique ritual. A number of slokas and mantras are recited throughout the festival for invoking the blessings of Goddess Srakaradevi. The ninth day witnesses the most important ceremony of this festival called the “Pallivetta” where the goddess is believed to go out of the temple for hunting. The Goddess is taken in a ceremonial procession for hunting accompanied by a fleet of five caparisoned elephants and fire torches to the Bhagavathy palace. By going On this “Palivetta” , the goddess is said to protect the territory, thereby eradicating evil forces and establishing peace and harmony in the place. In ancient times, animal sacrifices were as part of this festive rituals but were avoided during the later periods. The ceremony ends with the returning of the deity back to the temple with a ritual involving the cutting of a coconut with the bow and arrow, signifying her successful return from hunting the evil. On the following morning, the ceremonial Arat of the deity is conducted.
The nearest airport to Chirayakeezhu is the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.
Regular trains to Chirayinkeezhu railway station (CRY) are available from other major cities of the country.
There are no bus routes from other big cities to Chirayinkeezhu. Nearest bus stand is the Attingal bus station.
Pandakasala Sarkara Rd,
Sarkara, Chirayinkeezhu Taluk,
Kerala State, Pincode - 695304
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Relief from diseases
- Purchase of vehicles
- Gain Knowledge
Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Vishnu Maayethi Sabdita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha
Meaning -Salutations again and again to the Devi who resides in the name of Vishnu's maya in all beings.
Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Chetanetyaabhi Dheeyate Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha
Meaning -Salutations to the Goddess who resides as consciousness in all beings.
Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Nidraa Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha
Meaning -Salutations to the Goddess who resides as sleep in all beings.
Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Kshudhaa Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha
Meaning -Salutations to the Goddess who resides as hunger in all beings.
The temple is open from 5.00 Am to 11.00 Am And from 5.00 PM to 8.00 PM.