The temple is at about 18kms from Ernakulam. Adiparasakthi is worshipped here in three forms, Saraswathy in the morning, Maha Lakshmi at noon and Durgai in the evening. As per legend, the Goddess Saraswathi at the Kollur Mookambika temple in Karnataka, visits Chottanikkara Bhagavathy every morning.
As per legend, the present temple was once a dense forest infested with yakshis and rakshas. A tribal named Kannappan used to live in this forest with his family. He was a great devotee of Kali, and would sacrifice a Cow's calf to her every Friday.One day he saw a beautiful black calf,and he stole the calf and took it to the altar. Kannappan's daughter Manimanga came in and begged to him to stop the sacrifice.Kannappan let her keep the calf as a pet. Unfortunately, Manimanga died a few days later due to a snake bite. Kannappan was grief stricken and decided to cremate her body. To his shock, his daughter's dead body had disappeared. A nearby priest told him that abducting calves from the cows for sacrifice was a sin Kannappan and as a curse, he suffered the same fate when his daughter died. However Kannappan went searching for the calf and he found two large stones in its place. The priest told him that the stones could be possibly divine representing Maha Vishnu and Lakshmi, and aske Kannapan to pray before the stones and he would be forgiven for his sins.
After Kannappan's death, the stones were forgotten. One day a girl cutting the grass, hit a stone with her sickle when the stone started bleeding. The scared girl called the villagers and the local priest,after Deva prasnam, realised that they were divine stones representing Narayan and Lakshmi.
Another legend is that Adi Shankaracharya realised that there were no temple in Kerala for Goddess Maha Lakshmi. He travelled to the Kodachadri hills in Karnataka and meditated for many days for the Goddess to appear before him. Maha Lakshmi appeared befor him and asked Sankara as to what he wanted. He said that he wanted Lakshmi to come with him to Kerala and establish a temple dedicated to her for people to worship.The goddess agreed on a condition that she would follow him by foot wherever he went and he was not to look behind him to see if she followed him or not. If so,then she would stop there and she will not go any further. He agreed to this and started walking. They were walking down the Kodachadri hills, with Shankara leading the way and Goddess' anklets sound indicating that she was following him. After some distance Shankar could not hear the sound and looked back.But Lakshmi was following him, and as Sankara broke the condition of not looking back, the Goddess stopped right there. Shankara repented for breaking the condition and repeatedly pleaded with the goddess to go with him to Kerala. Goddess Lakshmi took pity on him and reached Kerala. In the early hours of morning, she would give darshan at the Chottanikkara temple and in the afternoon, she would return to Kollur, the spot where she stopped. That place is now where the Mookambika temple is.
The Temple : The temple is situated in a big sprawling space.There is a big Dwajasthamba in front of the entrance. The main deity is swayambhoo in latrite ( a type of red stone) called 'Rudraksha Sila' was worshipped by Adisankaracharya. There is an idol of Sri Narayana near, hence the deity is addressed as Ammenarayana, Devinarayana, Lakshminarayana and Bhadrenarayana.
The temple has sannadhis of Kizhukkavu Bhagavathy, Sastha, Siva, Ganapathi,Brahma, Subramanya, Nagas and other upa devas.
Important rituals and Festivals
Makam Thozhal : After the ritualistic bath of the Goddess in sacred pond far on the northern side of the temple, She is accompanied by Lord Sastha on the back of seven decorated elephants that march towards the "Pooraparambhu" the traditional vantage point where they remain till 11 a.m. At noon the sannidhi closes for ucha pooja. Only to reopen at 2 pm for the Makam Darsanam, at that time Devi who appears beautifully adorned in jewels and precious jewellery and flower garlands. It is believed that dharshan of the Goddess at this crucial Mithuna Lagna will grant all prayers and cherished desires of the devotees.
On the eastern side of the temple pond is the Kizhukkavu temple.The idol facing westward is belived to be installed by Vilwamangalam Swamiyaar. After the main pooja in the evening, the chief priest comes to Kizhukkavu to perform the famous pooja "Valiya Guruthy" (big Sacrifice). This ritual is prepared in 12 cauldrons and is performed at around 8.45 p.m every night. It is beleived that witnessing the Valiya guruthy on Fridays permanently cures women suffering from mental illness. Those suffering from mental illness are brought and the priest, after reciting some mantras, nails a part of the patients hair on the ancient 'Pala' tree standing on the North Eastern side of the sannidhi , beleiving that the evil spirit is captured in the tree and the patients are cured off their illness. Neem leaves, lime and chillies are taken home from the temple as prasadams, which are believed to ward off evil spirits.
The Vrishchicka Mandala mahotsavam is celebrated during the entire period of mandalam season. Daily annadanam, cultural programmes are conducted. During this month, Thiru karthika festival is celeberated. It is the birthday of the Goddess and the festival runs for three days, Kaarthika, Rohini and Makayiram. On these days, there are stage programme, grand deepa alankaaram, Kaarthikai vilakku, fireworks etc. There is also lakshaarchana for 15 days starting from 1 January. On the makaravilakku day there is lakshadeepam , lighting of one lakh lamps.
There is a heavy rush on Tuesday and Friday. Navaratri is celebrated on a grand way with various art performances on all the nine days.On Vijayadasami, Vidyarambham is conducted.Thiruvonam is celebrated in the temple with Onam Sadhaya to all the pilgrims
Temple location The temple is situated is 7 kms from Tripunthura around 18 kms from Ernakulam.
Temple Timings The temple is open from 4:00 AM till 1:30 pm and from 4:00 pm till 8:30 pm
How to reach?
The nearest airport is Cochin.From Ernakulam, there are several bus services and cab services to this place.