A good number of theists might have heard about Chottanikkara Goddess Temple, but nothing much about an equally powerful deity, Sri Kurumba Bhagavathy (Bhadrakali) of Kodungallur. This temple is situated in the vicinity of Kerala’s cultural capital, Thrissur(dist), to be precise Kodungallur, around 40 kilo meters away from Thrissur. One of the traditional temple structure winnowed by any sort of modernism, the temple’s attraction is the eight handed wood(jack fruit tree) carved, six feet high Goddess idol. Said to have placed next to the idol of Shiva by Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the temple has other idols of Lord Ganesh and Veerabhadra placed around.
Harassed by the demon, Daaruka, Parasurama, who’s believed to have created Kerala, sought the help of Lord Shiva, who advised him to construct a shrine of Shakthi Devi. Following his advise, Parasurama installed the idol of the fierce Bhadrakali, who was believed to have killed Daaruka. To commemorate her victory over the demon, reinstalling the peace of the land, the temple celebrates the most famous Bharani Festival. The main attraction of the festival is the oracles of Goddess decked up in all red and heavy waist bell belts, thick anklets dancing in frenzied ecstasy, murmuring and chanting in a fit of wilderness.
According to another fable from mythology, the temple is an abode of Kannaki, the heroine of Ilango Adigal’s Chilapathikaram(the Tamil epic). While praying at this temple, Kannaki is believed to have merged with the idol, attaining moksha. The Chera King, Chenguttavan, moved by this, built a temple for Kannaki.
Another unique aspect connected with the temple is that, the rituals here are conducted under the instructions of the goddess herself. The five Sri Chakras installed by Adi Shankaracharya are said to be the source of the immense, mystical powers the temple possess. There are huge, equally old banyan trees surrounding the temple.
The incense of turmeric powder and vermilion(kumkum) awaits devotees at the very entrance itself. A curious mind though little scary creates a halo of strange thoughts in every single visitor of the temple. And when you return from Her abode, you feel you have won over your enemies.