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Thrissur district

(a)Thalappilly taluk

The Sree Rama temple, Katavalloor is famous for the great anyonyam which comprises four rigorous tests (randaam vaaramirikkal ie, sitting in the second row; mumbirikkal ie sitting in the front row; katannirikkal ie cross and sit on the other rear side and valia-katannirikkal ie sitting in the first row of the other side) to examine the proficiency of the participants in Rg- Veda. Sree Rama is worshipped in three forms - morning as in vana-vaasa (exile in forest), at noon as in sethu-bandhana (in an angry mood towards Varun for not helping him in crossing the sea) and at night as the king of Ayodhya. The temple has excellent wood carvings. The Katavalloor anyonyam has as participants those sponsored by Thirunavaya and Thrissur Rg-Vedic sabha maths. The important vazrnpaats of this temple are appam and paayasam. The Nelluvaya temple with the prathishta of Dhanwantharimoortthi is worshipped by all for getting cure from diseases of all kinds. The principal vazhipaats of the temple are venna-chaartthal and paal-paayasam. The mukkudi of the temple is a medicinal preparation used for all ailments. The ancient Siva temple at Venganellur (Chelakkara) known as Thiruveembilappan has a swayambhoo-prathishta. The important vazhipaats are dhaara and pushpaanjali for kaarya-siddhi. In the Pazhayannr Sree Bhagavathi temple the main prathishta is Maha Vishnu (in the Narasirhha sankalpa) but importance is for the Bhagavathi who is installed in the naalambalam. The temple has exquisite wood carvings. The vozhipaats are paal-paayasam for Maha Vishnu and kozhi parappikkal (flying of fowl) for Bhagavathi for the fulfilment of desires. The Rama-Lakshamana temple at Thinivilwamala popularly known as Sree Rama temple, Thiruvilwamala is very famous. Worship in the temple on the Ekaadasi day is considered auspicious leading the devotee to moksha. The-five footed Hanuman idol is an exquisite master piece of art. The offerings are paal-paayasam for Sree Rama and Sree Lakshamana and vata-maala for Sree Hanuman. The passing through the punnarjanani cave, believed to have been built by Viswakarma, is supposed to ward off all sins and help the devotee to attain eternal bliss. The Porkkalam Vedakkad Devi temple is an ancient one. It is one among the 108 Durga temples installed by Lord Parasurama. There are prathishtas of Durga (Mahishaasura Marddini) and of Kaatthyaayani, both of equal importance. Nai-paayasam is the main vazhipaat. The Thiruvanchikkuzhi Siva temple, Painku!am has a swayambhoo-vigraha. During rainy season the shrine will be submerged in water and it is considered sacred to have a dip in the river at this time. The important Vazhipaats are elaneerattam, dhaara and pushpaanjali. A special feature of the sreekovil is that it has no adhishtaana as seen in other temples, but covered with rocks on the right side and also the rear part of the idol. On the other two sides there are walls made of granite stones. The top is covered by a large granite stone.

(b)Chavakkad taluk

Of the temples in the state or in the country itself Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple stands unique. It is believed that the idol was originally worshipped by Sree Maha Vishnu and later handed over to Brahma who in turn to Kasyapa Prajaapathi and then to Vasudeva and fmally reached the hands of Sree Krishna. At the advice of the Lord, Uddhava the foremost disciple and devotee of Lord Krishna retrieved the idol from impending submergence of Dwaraka in the sea and entrusted it to Guru (Brhaspathl) and Vaayu (God of winds) for installation, so that the same can be worshipped by His devotees in Kali- Yuga to get salvation. There are different types of vazhipaat of which the most important is Thinkal-bhajanam (monthly bhajanam) or Mandala-bhajanam (for 41 days) for propitiating the god for kaarya-siddhi. This offering is done only after the desire has been fulfilled. It is believed that along with bhajanam the offering of gingelly oil to the deity and taking this prasaadam with full faith will cure rheumatism. The deity here is considered a divine healer of all diseases. Krishnanaattam is also conducted as another vazhipaat. Another notable and popular vazhipaat is thulaabhaaram in which the devotee gives the god an offering of articles like plantain, jaggery, coconut, butter or any other thing of his choice equal to his body weight. For this purpose the devotee is weighed in a big balance against the article of his choice. The Mammiyur Sree Siva temple, associated with Sree Krishna temple, has prathishtas of Siva in linga form and Parvathi in the form of bronze mirror image. Rudrabhishekam is the main vazhipaat. The Sree Rama temple at Thriprayar is very ancient.Here there is no prathishta for Hanuman The principal vazhipaats are veti (fireworks) and meenoottu (feeding of fishes) for Sree Rama and aval for Hanuman (considering the very presence of the deity along with Sree Rama).

(c)Thrissur taluk

Sree Vatakkunathhan (Siva) temple in the heart of Thrissur town is one of the most ancient graama-kshethras of Kerala with exquisite wood carvings and mural paintings. The main vazhipaat in the temple is abhisheka with ghee (neyyabhishekam) and is considered a cure for all types of diseases, especially for those relating to head. The famous lrattayappan (Siva) shrine ofPeruvatlam186 (also called Perumatlam) gives solace to many who offer dhaara, sathaabhishekam, chathussatham etc, for release from all sins and for attaining moksha. Its architectural excellence deserves special mention besides the procedure of pradakshina which is also different in this temple. The pooramfestival attracts large crowds. Thiruvambadi Sree Krishna and Paramekkavu Bhagavathi temples are also famous. Muthuvara Sree Siva temple is also very ancient. Thiruvullakkaavu (Thiruvallakkaavu), which is situated close by to Peruvanam, is a famous temple dedicated to Saastha in the form of God of learning. The important vazhipaats are kada,li plantain and neyyappam.The ancient Aaraattupuzha Saastha temple, which is more than 1500 years old, is renowned for its pooram festival. The important vazhipaat is appam. Equally important is the Sree Bhagavathi temple at Oorakam. Oorakathamma Thiruvatikal is always keen to bless her devotees. The Mahadeva temple at Thrikkur is more than 1500 years old. The rock-cut temple is believed to have been installed by Agni. The important vazhipaats are thulaabharam with coir, placing of coir at thiru-nata, jaladhaara, appam etc for relief from aasthma and other diseases.

(d)Mukundapuram taluk

Kootalmanickam temple, Irinjalakuta is famous for its architecture and antiquity. It is said that originally it was a graama-kshethra with Lord Siva as the main deity. Later it became a Vaishnavite shrine, the deity being Bharatha. Two important offerings ofthis temple are vazhithinanga nivedyam (offering of brinjal) and mukkiti offered to the deity in the Avittam asterisk in the month of Thulam and distributed to the devotees. Mukkiti is a special Ayurvedic preparation, the formula of which is still kept a secret by the Kuttancherry Moosad. Taking both these niveayas after bhajaaam is considered to cure stomach ailments. Similarly meenoottu (feeding of fishes) in the temple tank is considered to cure asthma, while koottu-paayasam and ariyital are considered important for getting progeny. The Pambumekkad Mana (Vatama near Mala) is unique in the district and known in other parts 'of the state as the place where remedies can be done for sarpa-dosha by offering noorum-paalum and other vazhipaats depending on the gravity of evil determined through prasana.The Sree Sathrughga temple at Payamel (8 km from Irinjalakuta via Itakkulam) is unique since temples dedicated to Sree Sathrughana are rare in the state. There are three other graama-kshethras in this taluk all dedicated to Siva, viz. Sree Siva temples Avittathur, Adoor (in Koratti), and Iranikkulam. Of these the image at Iranikkulam recently installed is worth-mentioning. It weighs one thousand kilogram and made of pancha-loha and the idol is in sitting posture with one hand in chin-mudra pose and the other resting on the left knee.

(e)Kodungallur taluk (Kotungallur taluk)

The historic Kurumba Bhagavathi (BhadrakaaJi) temple at Kotungallur is one of the ancient temples in the state. The main shrine of Siva faces east and that of Bhagavathi (Bhadrakaali) faces north. The Goddess is believed to heal small pox and other contagious diseases, the important vazhipaats being kuruthi and pushpaanjali. . The ancient Sree Mahadeva temple of Thiruvanchikkulam was the tutelar deity of Perumals of Chera kingdom. Here the Mahadeva is worshipped as Uma-Maheswara. Dampathi-pooja (pooja for divine couple) and pallikkurup(Divine sleep) are done as offerings in the temple. The Sree Krishna Temple, Thirukulasekharapuram and the Keezh Thali temple (near Thiruvanchikkulam temple) are also famous, both renowned for their architectural excellence.

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