For a change, this time our trip was in and around Trivandrum and visited temples more than other places.
Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple:
We started our day by visiting the famous temple Sree Padmanabha Swamy nearby our home. It is one of an ancient temple in Trivandrum that overlooks the Padma Theertham Pond. Lord Vishnu is the main deity of this temple. The devotees can offer their prayers only at specific time. This temple is being maintained by royal family of the erstwhile Travancore. There is a strict regulation for dress code (as in most of the temples in Kerala) in temple and only Hindus are allowed inside temple. Lord Vishnu appears in Ananthasaiyanam posture and facing upward. The view is divided into 3 segments head, body and feet. It is built on one stone. Only oil lamps are lit inside Garbagriham (womb-house) and it is difficult for devotees to first view the deity without having knowledge of the deity’s posture. So it is better to have a look at the image of the Lord Vishnu to have clear idea before having darshan.
The other deities are Lord Ganesha, Lakshmi Narashimam, Kshetra Balan, Sastas and Krishna. We offered our prayers and returned back home.
We hired tourist car for a day and we reached Karikaham temple via Kollam Bye Pass Route. It is around 9 km away from the main city. The specialty of this temple is that the door of the goddess is opened only when some devotees perform archana/pooja and will be closed after that. The main goddesses are Chamundeswari and Balachamundeswari. It took nearly half an hour for darshan inside this temple and at 9’o clock, we proceeded to our next place, Varkala. On the way we saw Kochu Aaru (Small River). It is said that people travelled to Kollam via boat in this river. Now we see only weeds . Hope to see the river cleaned and start ferry for tourists. At least, we would like to see the nature's beauty by travelling in boat .
This is an important pilgrimage for Hindu religion. It is also known as Narayana Kshetram. The deity’s forehand is near the waist in chinna mudra style. It is believed that the hand will rise by an inch once in 10 years and when it touches the chin of the deity, the world will come to an end. We had our darshan here and proceeded to Beach. We can find separate odai (small canal) where the people do poojas for their forefathers.
We were around 10 people playing in the seashore and were fully drenched. It was one of the enjoyable moments. From here we left for Veli Lake.
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varkala
Inside Veli Lake we were welcomed by large number of geese and their quacking. We bought some packets of Popcorn and fed them. After this we moved towards pond where one can find the Sanghu (Shell). We spent some time in the park and had our lunch. Later we booked motor boat and enjoyed the ride and nature filled with beautiful coconut trees.
We reached Kovalam Beach which is located around 13 km from downtown Trivandrum. The beach has three crescent shaped beaches separated by rocky outcroppings. The areas are covered by palm trees which makes this place more beautiful. We enjoyed playing in the beach. We had some snacks and were eagerly waiting for sunset into the sea. But Sun disappeared in the middle of the cloud . We left disappointed from here and reached Parasurama temple.
Parasurama Temple, Thiruvallam:
It is one of the oldest temple dates back to 2000 years. This is specifically dedicated to Chiranjeevi Parasuramar. While entering we get the feeling as if that Parasuramar is alive. The people worships ancestor here. The old tale is that Adi Sankaracharya after the demise of his mother he did karma here. The main point here is that all Three Murtis helped Adi Sankaracharya. The Creator Brahma took the position of the guru, the 'dhana' was accepted by the Destroyer Shiva and Parasurama was the special guest of honour. He was allotted a special place and even today in 'shrardhams' (a yearly ritual for departed souls) a separate leaf is set for Maha Vishnu. Adi Shankacharya installed three idols for the 'Trimurthis'. Thus the place came to be known was 'Thivu-va-illam' (abode of the 'Trimurthis'). We had darshan here and proceeded to famous temple Attukal Bhagavathy temple.
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple :
When we reached here the rituals had already started. We were lucky to be on time to view the goddess being offered with lots of flowers (Pushpabhishekam). Kaana Kan Kodi vendum (One should have thousand eyes) is the apt word for this. This temple is popularly known as Sabarimala of the Woman. The important festival of this temple is Pongala Mahotsavam and it is a 10 day program commences on the Karthika star. The 9th day is the special day where mainly woman devotees assemble from different parts of Kerala and spread across 5 Km radius from the temple to perform Pongala.
Related Link: http://www.attukal.org/
Continued in Part 2...