Chengannur Mahadeva Temple also known as Bhagavathy Temple is dedicated to Shiva and is located in the heart of Chengannur town in Kerala. The temple is one of the major Shiva and Bhagavathy temples in Kerala. Unique feature of this temple is that it celebrates a rare menstruation festival for Goddess Bhagavathy, called Thriputharattu.
As per the legends, to attend the wedding of Lord Shiva nad Parvathi, Lord Vishnu, Brahma,Devas from Devalokam, Gandharavas, Sages, and all other Gods went to witness the auspicious marriage. Fearing that the balance of the earth may be tilted beacause all of them have assembled at one place, Brahma and Maha Vishnu requested sage Agasthya muni to go and sit on Shronadri, in the banks of Pamba river to balance the weight. Though sage Agasthya agreed,he was disappointed in missing the celestial wedding.
After the wedding Lord Shiva and Parvathi went to meet Agasthya muni at Shronadri. There Parvathi became Hrithu (attained puberty) and she could not go back. The Goddess remained there till the period of menstruation was over. The shronadri were sage Agasthya meditated, in Malayalam it is known as chen kunnu (Red hill). Later it became known as Chen Kunn Orru and it is now called as Chengannur.
The Temple : The temple is built in Kerala style architecture with a two storeyed gopuram.The gold plated Dwajasthambam is located in front of the temple.There is a Deepastamba,for lighting lamps. There is a raised platform called Namaskara Mandapam in front of the sanctum. On either side of the doors are the Dvarapalaka. The moolavar or presiding deity is Mahadeva, in the form of Lingam facing east, His consort,Parvathy as Bhagavathy made of Panchalogam is behind Mahadeva facing West.
Temple Festivals : The uniques feature of this temple is that that Goddess Parvati menstruates like a mortal woman, and the head priest is on the lookout for blood stains on her clothing every morning. Once a blood stain is seen, eldest woman of a Brahmin family associated with the temple is summoned to confirm if the Bhagavathy is indeed menstruating. If yes, then the idol is shifted into a small room off the sanctum sanctorum and the temple remains closed for four days.On the fourth day, Goddess idol is taken to the Pamba river for an arrattu(bath). After the Punyakavachanam (cleaning ceremony) is performed, the Goddess is brought back to the temple where the idol of Lord Shiva wait for her at the entrance.This festival is called 'Thriputharattu'. It is said that an European officer called Col. Munro ridiculed this ritual and forced to stop the ritual and stopped funding the temple. Soon after that his wife developed complication in her mensuration with heavy bleeding. Col.Munro repented for his sins and became a devotee and resumed the funding. It is said that even today the Munro family donates large sums every year.
Apart from the five usual daily poojas done in temple,there are several other festivals here. The 28 Days long annual festival begins on ‘Thiruvathira’ of ‘Dhanu’ (Dec mid to Jan mid) and ends on ‘Thiruvathira’ of ‘Makaram’ (Jan mid to Feb mid). This festival attracts thousands of people from different locations in Kerala and also outside the state.
Shivrathri is another important festival of this temple. Chitra Pournami is another important festival at this temple. This is an important day for the devotees of Devi. Special poojas are conducted on this day.
Thulasamkrama Neyyattu (Ghee Abhishekam) is conducted on every 1st day of Thulam (October mid). On this day 36 paras (a measure) of Ghee is showered on the Shivalingam.
Temple location The temple is at a walkable distance from Chengannur Railway Station which is well connected.
Temple Timings The temple is open from 4:30 AM till 1:30 am and from 5:00 pm till 8:00 pm
Dress code Stringent dress code exists for entering the temple as in most of the Kerala temples. Men can only wear Veshti without shirts. Women can wear Saris, skirts & Salwar Kameez.
How to reach?
The nearest airport is Cochin and the rail head is Chengannur. The temple is at a walkable distance from the railway sation