Ameda Saptha Mathruka Temple
(This is mainly based on the write up in the web site of the temple (http://www.amedatemple.org/) and consultation with devotees)
It is well known that Snake worship is an important part of the Hindu religion of Kerala. Most of the villages have Sarpa Kavu, where idols of snakes are consecrated below Banyan trees of villages. One of the very important temples dedicated to Naga Raja and Naga Yakshi is located in Ameda temple , which is 10 km from Thirupunithura in the Ernakulam-Vaikom road. The temple is located in a sprawling 10 acres of land on the shores of Vembanad kayal(Back waters) . The main temple is dedicated to Sapthamathrukkals ( Brahmi, Maheswari , Kaumari , Vaishnavi , Varahi , Indrani and Chamundi) along with Ganapathi and Veerabadra.Temples dedicated to Nagaraja and Nagayakshi are in the north-west and North –east of this temple. Towards the North there is a temple dedicated to Maha Vishnu
It is believed that Sage Parsurama who came to this place once was doing Sandhyavandana in the back waters near the temple. Suddenly he saw a very bright light in the middle of the water. When he went and investigated he found that it was the Saptha Mathukkal(The seven incarnations of Kali termed as the seven mothers) were travelling across the waters on a tortoise. Due to the path taken by Sage Parasurama, the Tortoise was not able to move. (the place came to be known as Aama ninnayidam-place where tortoise stopped) . Sage Parasurama built a huge temples dedicated the seven mothers at this place and gave the responsibility of looking after it to A Namboodiri family, who settled down there. Later over years the name Aama ninna idam came to be known as Ameda. I could not find any information about the origin of the Nagaraja and Nagayakshi temples .
The important offerings of the temple are:-
This is mainly offered to Goddess Vaishanavi on the first twelve days of The Malayalam month of Karkidagam (July-august).
This is again an offering to Goddess mainly to Chamundi .Guruthi (A red coloured fluid) in one vessel is offered to her to win over one’s enemies after the last worship of the day(Athazha pooja-Worship during supper time) . After Guruthi is offered the temple is closed for the day and no one is allowed inside the temple. However during the 41 days of the Mandalam (November-December) Guruthi prepared in 12 big vessels and are offered .) On the last day of the mandalam the Guruthi is offered to Naga Yakshi also.
3.Karthika pooja and Payasam
On all months on the days when there is Karthiga star a special pooja is conducted in the temple . This includes the Thanthric Dwadasakshai pooja also. This pooja is again conducted in a special way on the Karthiga star of the Karthiga month (Vruschigam-October-November).
On these days couple wanting child birth come together and offer to the Payasam(Kheer) to the goddess Vaishnavi continuously for one year(Twelve times)
4.Sarpa Bali and Ashtanga Pooja
This is conducted to ward off the evil effects due to planet Rahu between 6Pm and 8 PM on chosen days. However this has to be booked in the morning itself.
5.KIndi eriyal(Throwing of the vessel called Kindi) , Povatta kamizhthal (Placing Povatta in the opposite way)
These are very important rituals offered to the seven mothers(Saptha Mathrukkal) , which are aimed at getting children.
This consists of chanting of Vedas in side the sanctum sanctorum by Nambhoodiri Vedic Scholars for the betterment of the temple and its devotees. This is conducted 2-3 times in a year
Pulluvans are folk singers of Kerala who sing devotional songs to the accompaniment of a one stringed violin. You have to tell the name of the person and his birth star to the Pulluvan (Who will be standing outside the temple) and he would pray to the Goddess as well as Naga Yakshi for your betterment in mellifluous Malayam. It takes about 3-5 minutes per person.
Going to the temple and praying to the Naga Raja and Naga Yakshi temples are considered specially beneficial on the Days of Ayilyam star in the Malayalam months of Kani(September-october) , Thulam(October-November) , Vruschigam (November-December)and Meenam(March-April) . Huge crowd of devotees come to this temple on those days.
The temple has a pooram festival in the Meenam month(March-April) . The flag for festival is hoisted on the Makeeram (Mriga seersham) day. The important festival days are on Ayilyam(Ayilya Darsanam) , Uthsava (festival) Bali on Makam , Valiya Vilakku(Big lamp) or Palli vetta(Royal hunt ) on Pooram and Arattu (ceremonial bath of the deity) on Uthram days. The arattu would be only performed by the member of The Amedu Mangalam family (Namboodiris in charge of the worship of the temple ) or the Vadakkan Puliyannor Namboodiri who is the Thanthri of the temple. This would be performed every day during the festival after the first worship of the temple(Usha Pooja) in the temple tank and in the evening on the main Arattu day (Uthram) , On this special day all the three doors (instead of two) of the sanctum sanctorum are opened and there would be five times worship in the temple instead of the usual three times worship. The only other day when this door opened is on the Mandala Guruthi pooja performed on the 41st day of the Mandalam.