The Divine Mother is worshipped in Puzhakkarakavu Temple. It is the town’s oldest temple and is located at the confluence of three rivers. It became the centre of the town. In his book, Sangharakshita provides some information about this location.
Puzhakkarakavu, the foundation of Muvattupuzha’s beauty, splendour, and fame, deserves special emphasis. People gather from all around the world to worship here. This temple’s idol, or ‘Vigraham,’ is ‘Swayambhoo,’ self-made and self-born. The temple was built at ‘Thriveni Sangamam,’ the site of harmony of the rivers, where the god was discovered, with the help of the king’s servants and local chiefs. The ‘Chirappu Maholsavam’ is a big and colourful festival held here.
It began during the monarch’s reign and is now celebrated with great devotion and glitz by the people of Muvattupuzha, regardless of caste or religion. This ancient festival is known for its vibrant cultural activities, rituals, and prayers. This kavu features a ‘Aanapandal’ (elephant canopy) with a historical significance. As a precursor to the concrete Thodupuzha Bridge, a wooden Thodupuzha Bridge with granite stone pillars was built in 1917. Chattanathakaralayar of Chenkottai was the project’s contractor. Despite the best efforts of engineers, the stone pillars failed to adhere to the ground and become stable. When everything was restored, a befuddled god-fearing contractor made an offering to the goddess by donating the ‘anapandal.’ This historical fact is inscribed in the stone laid in the temple.
History of Puzhakkarakavu Bhagavathy Temple / Muvattupuzha Kavu
Muvattupuzha is named after the confluence of three rivers (Kaliyar, Kothayar, and Thodupuzhayar) (means joining of three rivers). The shrine of Puzhakkara kavu Devi, which shines brightly on the holy bank of the Thriveni, bestows benevolent blessings on the devotees. The Devi here is known as ‘Swayambhoo,’ and the temple is said to be 2000 years old (self originated). The Devi enchants people of all castes and creeds by expressing herself in three styles, half a kilometre from the hustle and bustle of Muvattupuzha town. In the morning, Devi is Sree Bhuvaneswary, in the afternoon, Sree Vana Durga, and in the evening, Sree Bhadra.
This temple was once worshipped by a wild tribe, which gradually evolved into the current scenario. For many years, Thengode Mana remained in charge of the temple’s day-to-day operations, but in 1976, the temple’s management was transferred to a local trust made up of devotees. The shrine is made of granite and covered in copper plate. The upper half of the temple is open to nature, including sunlight and rain. This temple is unique in that Devi takes ceremonial baths (Arattu) more than once a year. This is owing to the flood that enters the temple for Devi’s arattu more than once a year. Devi never travels to the river; instead, the river comes to her for her magnificent ceremonial bath. Holy ground of the shrine is covered with single granite blocks and the circumambulating path also is made with same.
Outside the sanctum sanctorum on the left side of the temple are the deities Ganapathy and Sastha, and outside the pathway is the Serpent. On the auspicious day of Aayillyam, special poojas are performed here. “Chathusatham” is another noteworthy offer. This is done by the devotee presenting Devi with 101 naazhy (measure) rice and believing that she will grant their wish. The “Swayamvara Parvathy Pooja” is also performed here in order to obtain the desired marriage. Devi’s birthday falls in the Malayalam month of Meenam, and her birth star is pooram, hence special poojas such as ‘Ponkala, Annadana (devotees’ feast) are held. Every month, similar poojas and annadana are performed by Pooram star. Devi’s special days are Tuesday and Friday.
The festival is celebrated for 41 days during the Mandala period, with seven days dedicated to it. Regardless of religion, everyone contributes to the temple’s upkeep and prays to the Devi for their needs. Even today, a Muslim family blessed by Devi has the right to ‘Vedivazhipadu’ (fire cracking). During the Malayalam era of 1092, a devotee from Tamilnadu donated the massive elephant barn.
Official website of the temple: http://puzhakkarakavu.org