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Friday, April 6, 2007

Trichur Rural Temples

5 April'07 :
Left Cbte late noon by road. Coffee break at Aryas Vadakancheri, stop over at Vadakumnathar Kshetram for Darshan, nighthalt at Guruvayoor.. After dinner of nei roast and chapati kurma visited the temple for darshan of Guruvayoorappan and to witness the closing Vilakku ceremoney and Sheeveli. There were five elephants in attendance that night. The first one, an awesome tusker, was ready, decorated with exquisite "netti pattam" and the namboodiri mounted with the "Thidambu"(utsava murthy) & the vilakku ceremoney commenced. Meanwhile a volunteer started distributing Paal payasam - served in "cherattais"(coconut shells) . There was a mini rush and Shobha & I managed to get a few cherattaifuls each - real delicious stuff and considered to be a blessing. Three other elephants were also getting ready with "netti pattams".
After two rounds the first pachyderm appeared disturbed,disobeyed instructions & refused to continue its march around the temple. Rather it backtracked- a disturbing sign !Fortunately it obeyed the mahouts orders to kneel thus allowing the namboodidri to quickly dismount and retreat into the temple with the "thidambu". The volunteers advised devotees to quietly step away from the seevelipura & ascend the stairway leading to the Ootupura on the first floor - a safety precaution . Suddenly the sevelipura was deserted except for the elephants including the rogue (which had by now been tied with chains), the mahouts & some temple volunteers. We left the temple through another exit and are unaware of what happened afterwards. We were back at the temple early next morning @ 4.00 am and the morning ceremonies appeared to be proceeding normally as per schedule. We had good darshan.
6 April'07 :
We then went to Mammiyoor Mahadeva temple which is 1.5 Kms away. A visit to Guruvayoor is complete only if you pray at Mammiyoor. The entry is through a beautiful Gopuram (see photo) and as you enter you see a large peepul tree with nagas on the tarai built around the tree. A tall deepasthambam stands behind the tree. The two main deities are Shiva & Mahavishnu. You also see Vinayaka ( a Ganapathy Homam was being performed there), Subramania and Ayyappa. It is believed that Shiva and Parvati were originally in the Guruvayoor temple and due to space constraints they were moved to Mammiyoor. The murals adorning the exterior walls of the temple have vivid descriptions of scenes from Ramayana, Mahabartha, Devi puranam and Siva puranam.The sreekoils appeared to have been recently renovated and the murals were looking bright & clourful. On your right there is a separate area for Bhagavathy koil and besides that is the Nagas enclosure.
As you come out of the temple you see Sree Kailasam - a beautiful Devaswom building & through this is a passage leading to the temple tank. Its a beautiful tank with crystal clear water inviting you to have a snanam ! There are separate ghats (bays) for men & women.
From Mammiyoor we drove back to Trichur and went straight to Thiruvambady Temple. As the main nadai was closed we went around and prayed at the Ganapathy temple on the rear side. Then we entered the main Sreekoil to the beating of drums (chendai). After a while the golden doors were flung open and we witnessed deeparchanai. The main deity is that of Lord Krishna & Bhagavati besides him in the adjoining sanctum. Vinayakar stands opposite Bhagawathy.
The main attraction among the festivals of Thiruvambady temple is the world renowned Thrissur Pooram celebrated in the month of Medam { April-May}. The Pooram Festival is noted for the gorgeous parades of fully caparisoned elephants, percussion ensembles like Panchavadyam and dazzling fire works. The Divine Durbar on the ramparts of the Southern Gopuram of Vadakkunnathan temple, in the evening hours of the Pooram day when the 15 strong decorated elephants of Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu standing face to face in an ocean of humanity, when the silken parasols on elephants are changed minute after minute,creating a magnificent sight & unparallelled magical festive atmosphere.
Next we went to Vadakumnathar Temple to take a few shots - of the Moolasthanam & the main Gopura.
Then we went around to the Eastern side and entered the Paramekavu Bhagawathy temple , which houses the biggest Devi Vigraha in Kerala.Thousands of years ago a mighty goddess resided under a tree that still stands (it is said) in what is now the compound of the Vaddakunathan temple. When Shiva’s devotees decided to enlarge his small shrine into a grand temple they moved the goddess, conceived of as his daughter, eastwards and down a slope to a temple of her own. She is there still, the Paramekkavu Devi. Her elder sister, the Thiruvambady Devi, resides in a temple a few furlongs to the north, the older incumbent of a temple now dedicated to Krishna. These sister goddesses are the main participants of the Trichur Pooram.
There is also a "mel kavu" inside the temple premises situated at an elevation & long crowds of men & women were standing in disciplined queues for doing archanai. The temple elephant a tusker was being readied for the seeveli that was to take place shortly. My request for taking photographs of the magnificent pachyderm in all his finery was turned down. As we come outside and walk towards the car park we see the Agrasala or large auditorium (tastefully built in typical Kerala style architecture) where various indigenous forms of dances are presented like kathakali, chakyar koothu etc.

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