Malayalappuzha Bhagwathi temple of Pathanamthitta
Malayalapuzha Bhagawathi temple is just outside the Pathanamthitta town The Goddess here is in the fierce form of the Goddess known as Bhadrakali. She is called Malayalapuzha Amma. The temple attracts devotees from all major religions of Kerala. The popular belief is that the Goddess is noted for getting the unmarried girls married, protecting the devotee from enemies, helping businesses flourish, getting employment and in general extending prosperity to all the devotees. There is a popular story about the temple.
Long , long time ago one Namboodiri Brahmin went by walk to the Mookambika temple at Kollur. He spent a lot of time there unable to part with the Goddess Mookambika. When he decided to go back to his native place near Maruthwa Mala, the Goddess appeared in his dream and told him that she will come along with him to his place and entered the Saligramam that he was worshipping. Since this happened at night , she came in the form of Bhadra kali with eight arms and a very fierce looks. The Namboodiri reached along with a SAligramam and an Palm leaf umbrella a palatial home called THombil Kottaram. He stayed and took rest for the few days. But when he wanted to take the Saligramam and Umbrella , they did not move from that place. That night in his dream, the Goddess came and told him that she likes the place and would like to stay there. She also told the Namboodiri, that he will not live very long and would merge with her soon. He died soon and due to that her worship was affected. Bad omens came in large number in that place and the Goddess entered in to a member of the Thombil family and asked them to build a temple for her at that spot. This temple was about 5 km from the present temple . That Goddess was consecrated facing east and nearby a Shiva Linga also has been consecrated . This was in a plateau which is in between five hills. Later according to the wish of the idapally king , the chief of Thombil clan shifted the Goddess to the present location. One story is that the Chief of the clan became very old and was not able to climb the hills and reach the temple. He consecrated the Goddess in a spot on the shores of the south Malayala puzha , and below the Idathattil mountain. It seems that there was a temple of serpents in that place and this was destroyed to accommodate the temple of the Goddess. Even today there is worship in the original temple of the Goddess and lot of devotees gather there on the first of every Malayalam month.
There is another story about the origin of this temple “ This temple was originally situated in a small village called Edathitta ,in Pathanamthitta Dist.This was a full fledged village , ruled by Raja Shaktibhadran, the only Sanskrit south Indian writer.One day a tantrik from Malayalapuzha visited this place ,as he heard a lot about this temple. Malayalpuzha was in drought for many years. So the TANTRIK with his power ,migrated the shakti's of the devi to malayalapuzha.And the place progressed like anything.As the shakti's were taken away from edathitta, the place faced many destructions.And gradually there were no signs of the temple.Then according to the prashnakundali people found out as in when it was migrated and when will it come back,as the power cannot be transferred completely ,it mentioned that it will take 3000 yrs for this shakti to come back. And in 1992,somebody from that village saw a dream that the vigraham,and the pooja utensils were beneath the ground,and people started digging that place , where they found everything mentioned by the person.And the villagers then contributed towards temple. .”
The idol in the present location below the idathattil mountain is very fierce looking . It is made of concentrated Jaggery and is about 5 feet tall and has eight hands, with one leg moved to the front and kept on the Vetala and another stepped back. In spite of the fierce appearance , the devotees only see mercy in her eyes. Since the idol is made of Jaggery, only flower worship is done to it . It seems there was a custom to remove the idol every twelve years and replace it with a new idol got made in Tamilnadu. But once the people were not able to remove the idol from its seat. The Thombil Namboodiri that night saw a dream in which the Goddess told him that she does not want her idol to be removed. And asked him to continue the worship for that idol forever.
Just before entry to the sanctum, there is a small idol of Veera Bhadra and another peculiarity of the temple is the statue of Parvathi , on whose lap is the baby Ganapathi suckling her.
For recovering stolen goods people offer Thoniyari Payasam (Payasam made of 36 ¼ para (Para is approximately 14 kg) of rice
People believe that offer of Payasam made of with 101 Nazhi(120 ml) of rice, coconut milk , jaggery and 101 banana fruits offered to the goddess leads to fulfillment of our desires and success in business.
Ladies offer Manjadi seeds (Adenanthera pavonina Linn.) to the Goddess for increase of breast milk. This same seed , after taking it round their hair is offered by ladies near the flag post for luxurious hair growth.
Offer of arecanut , betel leaves , tobacco and camphor to the Goddess at the sanctum is believe help us fulfill our desires. The sacred ash that you get back from the temple after this offer should be kept in the prayer room. People believe that within a year their desires would be fulfilled. People believe that when we make requests to the Goddess , if a honey bee from outside enters the Sanctum sanctorum and returns back in our presence then our desire would definitely be fulfilled.
There is another very peculiar belief in the temple. It is believed that the soul of the devotees of the Goddess , after death comes and stays in the temple. So their sons/daughters come to the temple along with a piece of sandalwood packed in a red silk, make the soul enter that and take it out . This is called Chavirakkal (removal of death)
Farmers pray that they will give a part of the harvest of their field and take a cloth from the temple, write on it that the produce belongs to the Goddess. People believe that if this is done then theft of the produce from their field is prevented . This is called “Malayalappuzha Thoopu”
People also worship the Brahma Rakshas which is on the east of the temple for getting rid of ghosts , devils and evil magic affecting them. Offering of Mangalya to the Goddess to get married quickly is also done.
Just outside the temple The Naga Raja also is consecrated. Near it is an Konna tree which flowers daily all the year long. Below it a Shiva Linga which Is Swayambu (self made ) is there . People believe that this Shiva linga keeps on growing. People believe that if this Shiva linga is bathed with tender coconut water , immediate rain will result.
There is a temple (half a km away ) for the Yogeeswara grand father who brought the Goddess to this place , This is called Sri Kandeswari Moorthi Kavu. There are also Pancha moorthi idols in this temple. Here toddy , meat, Agar Bhathi, tobacco etc are offered to the grand father statute. People believe that the Goddess would be happy only if we visit this temple first before visiting her.
Unlike other Bhagwathi temples , there is no practice (asked to be discontinued by the Goddess ) of drawing her figure using rice powder, turmeric , saffron etc but the usual singing of her story is done there without it.
Another peculiar custom of the temple is that the procession carrying the deity turns left (ie clockwise) and because of this people called this Goddess Idathattil Bhagwathi( Bhagawathi of the left).