The temples in kerala has
been all the time an amazing factor for its
uniqueness in structure, rituals, tradition,
offerings, festivals, customs etc. Some of
these are even connected with our great epics
Ramayana and Mahabharatha. The national agenda
for us, therefore, shall be to preserve and
nurture this invaluable tradition that has
been bequeathed to us from time immemorial
and thereby to uphold the greatness of our
culture. For an average Keralite Hindu feels
that their day starts with the prayer and offering
in the temple with a bath either in the pond
nearby or in the house itself with a deity
Purpose of visiting
For what purpose
we are going to a temple? Simple, but difficult
to answer. Each one has their own reason
for visiting. The most common answer we found
is, it’s for religious or spiritual
prayer or upasana. Some says its part of
their daily routine which they are used to.
As we concerned about famous temples in kerala,
it represents more than just a pilgrim center.
It has number of other roles to play in day
to day life. It acts as a social welfare
centre, a tourist place, an art and cultural
centre and a place where all human being
gets mental peace and harmony. But no one
really knows that the main intention behind
building temples was for protecting our environment
and nature. This specialty can be seen throughout
in Kerala. Thus, we can say temples in kerala
are echo friendly. Moreover, it is supposed
to be a 'Sanathana Dharmacharana Saala'.
Ancient times, it was referred as "Kavu" which
means "Kaadu" (forest). By building
a "kavu" in a village, its environment
is protected by default. There were times
in olden years that, temples acted as the
focus point in a particular village, where
villagers are gathered together and find
solution for their day to day problems.
As all of us know, all
human beings want energy for their day to day working.
Energy is required for both our Body and Mind.
Is energy for our body enough for us? Then what
about the Mind? It is true that we need mental
energy to function our mind better. We get energy
for our body from the food what we eat. Fine! Then
how can we get mental energy for our mind? Here
gets the idea about visiting temples. It’s
found that we get mental energy by the equal interaction
of our body and the soul, usually we say ‘Jeevathma-Paramathma
Samyogam’. Some says that its one type of ‘Yoga’.
Obviously a question arises here. How does body
and mind interact equally? The ancient sages say
that, if we close our eyes, free our mind and concentrate
only on our prayer, then itself we will get the
required energy for our mind. It is prayer, that
gives us mental energy for day to day life. Our
everyday routine prayer has so much importance
in our life. In this sense if we go to temple regularly
and pray, the amount of mental energy we receive
will increase in a better way. Make Sense? You
can well refer with our ancestors who advise us
to visit temple everyday. "Chaithanya" or
energy will flow from the deity to the person who
visits the temple for worship.
If we look at a human
body in the sense of “yogasasthra”,
then we can see one fact that all the parts of
a human body are included in the Sculptured Artwork
of temples. The ‘Panjakosa’ which
lies horizontally in the human body, can be seen
as the ‘Panjaprakarangal’ in our
temples. Instead of vertical "Shadchakra" we
use "Shadadhara" in temples. "Shadadhara" is
placed just lower side of the main idol. “Adhara
Sila”, "Nidhikumbham", "Pathmam", "Koormam", "Yoganalam",
and "Napumsaka Sila" are placed already
in the beginning stage of temple formation. After
fixation, we cant never see that all. This Shadadhara
Prathishta can be seen only in Kerala temples.
If we enquire about the same feature in our neighboring
states Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh or Karnataka,
its very rare to see single one. I am not pretty
sure about north indian temples.
circumambulating the temple, as a part of worshipping.
We can see two types of ‘Pradhakshinam’ during
worship. First one is, we do inside the temple
near the ‘Prathishta’, which is
called “Sreekovil” (Sanctum Sanctorum).
It should be done outer part of the "Balivattam" which
is inside "‘chuttambalam’.
Second one is the Pradhkshinam usually we do
outside the “Chuttambalam”. There
are certain rules for doing a ‘Pradhakshinam’,
especially in Siva temples, one should not
circumambulate in fully inside the temple.
It is because of the “Somarekha” placed
in the position. "Pradhakshinam" in
a temple should be clock-wise. During Pradhakshinam
one is focusing the center point as the deity. "Shayana
Pradhakshinam" is different type of circumambulating
in lying posture. Devotee's forehead, shoulders,
hands, chest and knees should touch the ground
while doing this.
Certain rules may
be applicable while doing number of "Pradhakshinam" for
a deity in a temple. Following are the number
of Pradhakshinam for common deities. One time
for Vinayaka, Two times for Surya deva, Three
times for Siva, Ayyappa, Muruga, Nagas, Vettakkaran.
Four numbers for Devi and Vishnu (Krishna),
Seven numbers for "Arayal" (Peepul
Tree). "Pradhakshinam" for "Arayaal" (Peepul
Tree) should only be done in the morning. One
should do Pradhakshinam with chanting the sloka/manthra
of the deity. Walking should be slow and without
moving hands wide. It is better to keep hands
folded during Pradhakshinam.
Temples may also be
called by other names like Mandir, Mandira,
Kovil, Koil, Ambalam, Kshethram, Devalayam
depending on the sub continent and local languages.
It is believed that each temple is constructed
as it represents the body of human. Thus a
temple denotes all aspects of a human body.
Some times we refer a temple as body of the
deity which is installed. It is said that a
temple should provide calm, quiet and neat
environment where devotees can get peace of
mind. There may be certain rules and regulations
set by the board/trustee or by default, that
should be stipulated by the devotees who visits
the temple. Most of the temples allow only
hindus to enter the premises. Exceptions are
also there, where you can find caste-no-bar
temples in kerala.
Deity and Pooja
Each temple will have one presiding deity (some cases more than one, with
equal importance), the god/goddess who is considered as most important deity.
There may be sub deities or upadevathas which places outside sanctum sanctorum
(Sreekovil). Poojas are done according to tantric rules and it depends on
the type of temple and its rituals and customs. The ultimate authority for
doing thanthrik pooja in a temple is called Thanthri. Pooja timings
and offerings may differ temple to temple depends on the tradition, ritual
and specialities. Thanthri is considered as "Father of the Deity". Particular
family holds this right, means members from this family can only be able
to do special poojas like re-installation of deity, festival poojas etc.
It is believed that the one who installs the deity holds right to do tantric
rituals thus considered as thanthri.
Daily poojas are done by a Namboodiri person called as Poojari or Santhi in
a temple, which may be appointed by Board or Trustee. Temples may have registered
in Devaswam board or Trustee. Registered temples should stipulate rule and
regulation of particular board. We can see several temples, which own by
particular family or village. In kerala you can see variety of rituals and
customs pertaining to temple. Each temple may have the annual festivals or
events that make that temple more important. And ofcourse there are certain
temples, which opens special period of time. Like wise we can find varieties
of rituals and traditions.
This web site can
be treated as gateway to kerala temples,
a knowledge base for temples in kerala, which
contains information about thousands of temples
in kerala. In this site one can easily navigate
by using left menu. Left menu is the list
of main deities with respect to temples.
Separate page has created for each deity
with briefing of the deity with appropriate
image. From this index page, visitors can
easily navigate to the list of temples. Unique
pages are allotted for each temples, where
you can find its history, worship, ritual,
customs, culture, pooja timings, traditions,
offerings, specialties, routes and gallery.
Apart from these find time to visit KnowMore page
of this site, where it contains a list of
known and unknown facts related to famous
temples and its offerings.