Chengannur Mahadeva Temple


Chengannur is a municipal town in the Alappuzha district of Kerala and is located on the banks of river Pamba.  It is noted for Chengannur Mahadeva Temple and is also a major destination of Sabarimala pilgrims known as the Gateway of Sabarimala.

Chengannur Mahadeva Temple (also called Bhagavathy Temple) is a prominent Hindu temple, dedicated to Shiva.  It is one of the oldest and famous temples and has a sprawling temple complex with a circular Sanctum. Lord Shiva and Parvathi Devi are the main investitures of this temple. Differing from other temples, there are two main shrines in this temple; Lord Shiva facing east and Devi facing west.

The main shrine is a conical copper plated one. Devi’s main Idol is made with an alloy of five metals (panchaloham). The Shivalingam, is covered with a gold plate bearing an image of Ardhanareeswara – or the Shiva-Shakti manifestation of Shiva.

The other sub-investitures of the temple are Ganapathi, Shasta (Lord Ayyappan), Chandikeswaran, Neelagrivan, Ganga, and Naagar. There is also a shrine of SreeKrishna nearby.

Compared to other temples, this temple has a peculiarity of its own, quiet distinct from other temples. The interesting belief and festival of this Temple is Triputharattu which is considered as a symbol of fertility. This festival is connected with a menstruation ceremony, which is observed periodically in the temple.

During this time the temple is kept closed for three days and worships will be offered to another image of the goddess in a different spot of the temple. On the fourth day the idol of the Devi is taken to a nearby river on the fourth day and Arattu (holy bath) is conducted. This ceremony is called Thripputhu. Later the Devi rides an elephant and is taken back to the temple. During the festival the idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are taken in procession around the temple three times. Then the Lord enters the shrine through eastern side and the goddess enters through the western side.

As per Hindu legend, sage Agasthya, who could not witness the sacred marriage of Shiva and Parvathi was visited by the pair after the marriage. There Devi became ‘rithu’ (menstruate) and she could not go back. Devi remained there till the period of menstruation was over. The place where sage Agastya meditated is known as shronadri in Sanskrit and in Malayalam it is Chenkunnu (Red hill). Later it is called as Chen Kunnu Urru (Ooru refers to a place) and hence the place is known as Chengannur.

According to another variant, it is believed that the reproductive organ of Goddess Sati’s body fell at the place where the temple is located. The Kamakhya Temple in Assam is also related with the same legend.

Apart from the Thriputharattu, the other festivals celebrated in the temple are

  • Varshikotsavam : The yearly festival is celebrated during the December-January which lasts 28 days. This festival attracts thousands of people from different locations in Kerala and also outside the state.
  • Thulasamkrama Neyyattu (October-November) – Ghee offering for Lord Shiva.
  • Shivratri and Chitra Pournami



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