This is an endeavour to chronicle the various small temples of Kerala which does not get much publicity and exposure as they are managed by local committees or are family temples. Some of those temples with has not received much publicity
Kapaleswaram Siva Temple Varakkal Sree Durga Devi Temple
The shrine is located in West Hill within the town. It is one of the 108 Durga temples and the last one founded by Parasurama. The deity is Durga Devi (Bhagawathy). This temple was once a promotion centre of art and cultural activities of Malabar in the long past.
There are shrines for sub-deities Ganapathy and Dakshinamoorthy. For Ayyappan there is a shrine outside the premises of Durga Devi temple.
The legend says, upon the penance of Parasuraman in Threthayuga (a particular ancient period), Durga Devi appeared and said I will be present in Theertharoopam on the Chothi star day and Vavu (full moon day) to bless the devotees. Following this, Parasuraman erected the temple.
In the initial period of the temple there were proper daily rituals. Afterwards the rituals were given holiday for lack of funds or some other reasons. The people of the region started experiencing impact of negligence to the shrine. Hearing this, the rulers at the time, Perumallors, came on the scene and arranged for daily rituals. Soon the shrine leaped into the position of Mahakshetra (big temple). Later, Zamorins took charge of the temple, renovated and modified the structure to the present state. Even today the temple is managed by Zamorin family.
Mahanivedyam is the most important ritual. Pushpanjali, Padivilakku, Naivilakku, Thrikalapooja, Swayamvara Pushpanjali, Santhana Gopala Pooja, Ganapathy Homam, Thila Homam are the other offerings.
The festival is Navarathri which is celebrated with great fanfare. Vavu Bali (a ritual for the departed souls) is conducatd on the full moon day in the month of Thulam (October/November). Thousands of people who have undergone fast the previous day assemble on Varakkal beach and the priests of the temple administer the ceremonies for each individual who performs theVavu Bali for his dear and near departed souls. The perception is that the Vavu Bali satisfies the departed souls and they stand guard to the living dear and near ones.
The temple is also known as the Sahyamala Kshetram. It is believed to be more than 3000 years old. Legend has it that this temple dedicated to lord Vishnu was built by lord Brahma (The Creator) himself – an architectural marvel with 30 granite pieces supporting the shrine and the floor paved with huge square granite blocks.
Papanasini, the holy mountain spring believed to have divine cleansing powers to absolve the soul of all its sins, flows nearby. Also in the vicinity is a sacred rock where ritual offerings (known as bali) are made for the ancestors on the New Moon days of the Malayalam months Karkkidakom, Thulam and Kumbham. Besides the rituals during the two-day festival, art forms like Kathakali and Ottanthullal are performed.
Kottiyoor Temples are two famous Shiva temples, namely the Akkara Kottiyoor and the Ikkara Kottiyoor, in Kannur District of Kerala. These temples are located at Kottiyoor, on the banks of Bavali River. Kottiyoor is about 60 km south-east of Kannur.
Both temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva. An annual festival that lasts for 27 days held here is a major draw. This festival begins with Neyyattam on the Swati Day in Edavam (May-June) and concludes with Thirukalasattu. Neyyattam and Elannerattam are the special ceremonies connected with the festival.
Ananthapura Lake Temple, Kasaragod
A beautiful lake temple in Kerala, the Ananthapura Lake Temple (Sree Ananthapadmanabhaswamy temple) is an ancient shrine in the northern most district of Kerala. Sree Padmanabha (Lord Vishnu, The Preserver) seated on the serpent god Adisesha is the presiding deity here. The moolasthanam (original seat) of the deity is said to be the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple at Thiruvananthapuram, where he reclines on the serpent god.
The temple is situated in the centre of the Ananthapura Lake, on a remote rocky hill in a calm isolated region. From here one can have a bird’s eye view of the green landscape around. The local people believe that there is a lone crocodile living in the lake.
The shrine is encircled by a chuttambalam (an enclosed verandah running around the building), its walls are adorned by murals and there is a cave within that takes you to a small pond where the water level remains steady regardless of climatic changes.
Madhur Temple – Sri Madanateshwara Sidhivinayaka Temple, Kasaragod
The temple rises majestically against the beautiful landscape of the Madhuvahini River. This Temple is well known for its rich architecture and copper plate roofing.
The Madhur temple is a Siva temple with Sri Madanantheswara as its presiding deity. The Sivalingam of the temple is said to have been found by a harijan woman, Madharu.
A special festival associated with the Madhur temple is the Moodappa seva.The large figure of Maha Ganapathi is covered with appam. It requires enormous quantities of rice and lakhs of rupees for its conduct. The festival is conducted only periodically in view of the huge expenditure involved. It was celebrated in April 1962 after a lapse of about 160 years, and very recently in April 1992. The ceiling of the Namaskara Mantapam of the Madhur Temple has been decorated with beautiful figures of puranic heroes in wood carving. A closer examination of the wood carvings would disclose the various episodes of the Ramayana, beginning with the Putrakameshtiyaga and ending with Seetha Swayamvara.
The Mantapam in the interior of the temple building as well as the outside facade of the second and third storeys of the main building are also profuse with attractive and exquisite wood carvings.