Chottanikkara is a panchayat situated in Ernakulam District, Kerala. It is noted for Chottanikkara Bhagavathy temple.  The Goddess Rajarajeswari (ADIPARASAKTHI) known as Durga Bhagavathy – the mother Goddess, is the presiding deity of the temple. It is said that this deity was brought from Mookambika Temple in Kollur, Karnataka.

The temple situated in a hilly region, is surrounded on all sides by green farms. The entry is through the west and the spiritual atmosphere in the temple gives mental peace and harmony to devotees.

The Divine Mother known as Rajarajeswari (Adiparasakthi) is worshipped here in three forms Saraswathi in the morning, Lakshmi at noon and Durga in the evening. There is an Idol of Mahavishnu on the same pedestal and so the Deity is called Ammenarayana, Devinarayana, Lakshminarayana and Bhadrenarayana also. Along with Lakshmi & Narayana there are idols of Brahma, Siva, Ganapathi (Ganesh), Subramanya and Sastha on the same pedestal.

In the main temple, the self manifested golden hued idol of Bhagavathy 4 to 5 ft. high is called ‘Rudraksha Sila’. This is irregular in shape, red in colour and can be seen only in the wee hours of morning at 4 am when the Nada opens for nirmalyam.   Legends say that this image was worshipped by divine souls like Adisankaracharya, Vilwamangalam Swamiyar, Kakkasseri Bhattathiri and Chemmangattu Bhattathiri.

Apart from the main deity, the temple complex consists of Kizhukkavu Bhagavathy temple, temples for Sastha, Siva, Ganapathi, Nagas and other Upa-Devas.

Goddess ‘keezhkkaavu devi’ is believed to be ‘Bhadrakali'(Mahakali), in her fierce form or ugra form. Bhadrakali, is a form of mother Kali, supposed to be born from the third eye of lord Shiva, to kill the demon king ‘Daruka’. Guruthi pooja is a ritual done at late evening to invoke goddess Mahakali. Earlier ‘Guruthi Pooja’ was done only on Fridays. But nowadays, it is performed every day. Mental diseases are believed to be totally cured by Keezhkkaavu Kali.


The ‘sthala purana’ of this temple tells that once the place this temple is located was a dense forest. There lived a tribal called Kannappan, whose wife had died. Kannappan was a great devotee of Goddess Parvathy. Since he was a hunter, he used to daily sacrifice an animal to his favourite Goddess. He had a cute little daughter who was very fond of her pet, which was a cow. Since her father used to sacrifice cows also, she kept her pet cow very near to her and looked after her well. One day Kannappan could not get any other animal to sacrifice to her Goddess, and hence he ordered his daughter to give her pet cow for that day’s sacrifice. His daughter requested Kannappan that she be sacrificed instead of her cow.Kannappan’s heart melted and he was a changed man. He realized that he was doing a wrong thing by practicing animal sacrifice. He and the pet cow stayed near the temple’s Bali stone the entire night. In the morning, the cow herself had turned in to a stone. That place is called ‘Pavizha malli thara’ (Place of the coral jasmine flower).

People believe that the pet cow of Kannappan’s daughter was indeed Goddess Mahalakshmi. That day Lord Vishnu appeared before Kannappan and pardoned his sins and decided to be present in the temple along with the Goddess. That is how the concept of Lakshmi Narayana came to this temple. The place where Kannappan used to sacrifice his cows is the location of the Keezhe kavil Bhagawathi.

It seems that the location of this temple was rediscovered accidentally by a grass cutter, who found that blood was oozing out of a stone which she had accidentally cut. That day, the elder Brahmin of the Yedattu house came along with some puffed rice in a coconut shell and this was offered to the Goddess for the first time. Even today this system of offering puffed rice in a coconut shell continues. The Brahmins of Yedattu house became the hereditary priests at this temple since those days.

It was Adi Sankara who visited the temple, and brought in to the idol the presence and power of Mookambika. The legend goes that after doing tapas in the Himalayas, Sankara was blessed with the ‘darshan’ of Goddess Saraswathy whom he requested to accompany back to Kerala. The Goddess agreed to do so on the condition that Sankara was not to look back while she accompanied him. After a long travel when Sankara felt he was not able to hear the tinkle of the Goddess’s anklets, with doubt, he looked back but alas the Goddess had by then turned into a golden statue since he had broken his promise. This place where this incident took place was in Kollur, near Mangalore, Karnataka. There the famous Mookambiga temple was built and Sankara consecrated the idol. Sankara was saddened by the turn of events and begged the forgiveness of Saraswathy whose heart melted for her devotee and promised that she would present herself at Chottanikkara in the mornings and he could meet her there.

Since then, people believe that Goddess Mookambika of Kollur attends the first worship here before going to her temple. Before the doors of the main sanctum in Mookambika temple are opened, the sanctum doors of the Chottanikkara temple are opened during early morning hours in honour of worshipping goddess Saraswati, where the idol is clad in white garments.

Another peculiarity of this temple is that the Goddess is not fixed to the ground but rests on a bed of sand.

Festivals in Chottanikkara Bhagavathy temple 

“Makom Thozhal ” (worship on the Makom day) is the most important festival of the temple which is celebrated in the month of Kumbham. (Feb / March) It is believed that Bhagavathy in her full attire gave darsan to Vilwamangalam Swamiyar on the Makom day and appears on the same day every year for giving darsan to the devotees in her special appearance. The Bhadrakaali at Kizhukkavu is believed to exorcise evil spirit from devotees, after conducting bhajanam.





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