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You can visit this temple only 27 days in a year

Last updated: 08 July, 2011
Harigovind

Kottiyoor Mahadeva Kshethram located near Kelakam in Kannur district of the southern state Kerala is giving a special level of spiritual feeling to devotees.

Keeping tradition alive: The celebrations taking place at the Akkare Kottiyoor Temple during the Vaishaka Maholsavam festival. (Below) The priest performing pooja to the  ‘Swayambhu’ Shiva Linga. Photos/MadhuThe temple located amidst the jungle, nourished by a flowing river in serene surroundings, makes you feel the divine energy the moment you step on this mythical land. Kottiyoor is an ancient pilgrim centre devoted to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
The temple is also known as ‘Dakshina Kashi’ and ‘Varanasi of South’. There are two temples in Kottiyoor, ‘Akkare Kottiyoor Temple’ and ‘Ikkare Kottiyoor Temple’. Akkare Kottiyoor Temple will open only during ‘Vaishaka Maholsavam’ festival. The festival attracts lakhs of devotees from South India. The temple is situated in the middle of a small lake. The temple has a Shiva linga believed to be a ‘swayambhu’. (Swayambhu means born on its own or not man made) The small heap where this Shiva linga is worshipped is known as ‘Manithara’. The abhishekam for the Shiva linga is with milk, ghee (clarified butter) and karikku (tender coconut water). In the same lake, there is another heap ‘Ammarakallu’ where Sree Parvati Devi is worshipped. This way, at Kottiyoor you get the blessings of both Shiva and Shakthi.

Legend

Legend has it that Sathi married Lord Shiva against her father Daksha’s wishes. The vain Daksha performed a great yaga (with the sole aim of insulting Shiva), to which he invited all of the gods and goddesses except his son-in-law Lord Shiva. Sathi, who went to Yaga, was insulted by her father in front of others.

Unable to bear the insult, Sathi immolated herself in the Yaga fire. Angry Shiva opens his third eye and a thousand-hand beast known as ‘Veerabhadra’ borns out of that fire and destroys the yaga and beheads Daksha. Since the yaga was stopped, the Gods feared that many difficulties may arise in the future. Hence, the gods along with Brahma and Vishnu go to Kailasa to seek Shiva’s help when Shiva pacifies and all of them reach the yaga place and restore the yaga. The dead were brought back to life and Daksha’s head (lost in fire) was replaced by a goat’s head. Daksha pleaded to Shiva for his arrogance and was given Moksha.


After the yaga, everyone goes back and Lord Shiva took the form of the swayambhu linga next to where Sathi immolated herself in the yaga fire. Since all the Trimoorthies or the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva met together at this place, it was known as Koodiyoor (Koodi in Malayalam means meet or join). Koodiyoor became Kottiyoor.

The famous ‘Vaishaka Maholsavam’ festival of Kottiyoor takes place during the May-June months. The festival lasts only for 27 days. Women cannot enter into temple on first two days and last four days of the festival.

The temple is very much close to the nature. You cannot find any modern buildings here. The poojas during the festival time is done in makeshift structures. You can feel the strong relationship between the temple and nature in each and every rituals performed there.

Don’t forget to buy Auda flower while coming back from temple. Auda flower is considered as the beard of Daksha.

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