Sunday, May 26, 2024

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple – History, Timings, architecture

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is a Hindu temple located in Attukal, a suburb of Thiruvananthapuram in the state of Kerala, India.

The temple is dedicated to the goddess Attukal Bhagavathy, who is believed to be a form of Devi (the divine mother). Attukal Bhagavathy is worshipped as the supreme mother and is considered to be the protector of the devotees.

The Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, an ancient sanctuary in South India, is often likened to the Sabarimala of women, given that women constitute a significant majority of its devoted worshippers.

Revered as the Supreme Mother, the goddess in the Attukal Temple is acknowledged as the creator, preserver, and destroyer of all living beings.

Pilgrims from across the country, who make their way to the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple to pay homage to the Lord, consider their spiritual journey incomplete without a visit to the sacred shrine of the supreme Mother, Attukalamma.

According to local beliefs, Attukal Bhagavathy is believed to be the divine manifestation of Kannaki, the renowned heroine of “Chilapathikaram,” a Tamil epic penned by Elenkovadikal. Legend has it that after the ancient city of Madurai’s demise, Kannaki traversed to Kerala via Kanyakumari and, during her journey to Kodungalloor, made a pivotal stop at Attukal.

Kannaki is regarded as the incarnation of Parvathy, the consort of Paramasiva. The omnipotent and benevolent Attukal Bhagavathy stands eternal at Attukal, nurturing devotees with the care of a mother for her children.

Devotees, both local and from afar, converge upon the temple, bowing in awe and reverence before the goddess, seeking solace and relief from their afflictions.

The Pongala Mahotsavam stands out as the most significant festival at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple.

Pongala, a unique temple ritual prevalent in southern Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu, unfolds over ten days, beginning on the Karthika star of the Malayalam month of Makaram-Kumbham (February-March). The festivities culminate with the sacred Kuruthitharpanam offering at night.

The ninth day of the festival witnesses the globally renowned Attukal Pongala Mahotsavam. Over a radius of approximately 5 kilometers surrounding the temple, including houses, open fields, roads, commercial institutions, and government offices, the environment transforms into a consecrated space.

This vast area becomes the focal point for the Pongala rituals, drawing in multitudes of women devotees from various parts of Kerala and beyond. The exclusivity of this ceremony to women creates a vibrant spectacle, reminiscent of the grandeur of the Kumbh Mela festival in North India.

The Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, with its rich history, cultural significance, and grand festivities, stands as a beacon of spirituality and communal devotion in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram.

ALSO READ: Kerala: God’s Own Country

Quick Facts

  • Address: P.O, Attukal – Chiramukku Rd, C Block, Attukal, Manacaud, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695009
  • District: Thiruvananthapuram
  • Affiliation: Hinduism
  • Deity:  Goddess Bhadrakali (Kannaki)
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Timings: 5:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Visit Duration: 1 to 2 hours
  • Dress Code: decent outfit recommended
  • Festivals: Attukal Pongala
  • Best Time to Visit: February – March

Upon setting foot in the Attukal temple, one is immediately captivated by the enchanting allure of its architectural marvel. The temple’s structure seamlessly blends the distinctive styles of both Kerala and Tamil architecture, creating a harmonious confluence.

A gifted artist’s touch is evident in the intricately carved figures adorning the temple, featuring Mahishasuramarddini, Goddess Kali, Rajarajeswari, Sree Parvathy with Lord Paramasiva, and various manifestations of the Goddess.

The corridors surrounding the temple tell compelling stories through depictions of other deities and the epic tales of Lord Vishnu’s ten incarnations, known as the “Desavathara.”

Flanking the elegant front gopura are icons narrating the story of Goddess Kannaki, while the southern gopura showcases sculptural depictions of the puranic tale of “Dakshayaga.”

The adorned gateway at the temple entrance stands as an exquisite testament to architectural beauty.

Within the sanctum sanctorum lie two idols of the Goddess. The original idol, preserved in its pristine beauty, is adorned with ornamental gold embedded with precious stones. Alongside it, the second idol of the Goddess is reverently installed.

The temple corridors further feature carvings and sculptures depicting Lord Ganesan, the serpent God, and Lord Shiva.

At the heart of the sanctum, within the Sreekovil, the consecrated spot houses the luminous idol of Goddess Attukal Bhagavathy, radiating light and splendor to all who seek her divine presence.

The following ritualistic formalities and schedules are observed at Attukal temple:-

4.30 Palliyunarthu (waking of the Goddess.)
5.00 Nirmalyadarsanam
5.35 Abhishekam (ablutions of the idol in oil, milk etc.)
5.45 Ganapathy homam (specific offering to God Vinayaka)
6.00 Deeparadhana (burning incense and lighting lamps to the Honour and Glory of the Almighty)
6.30 Usha Pooja (Morning rite)
6.40 Deeparadhana
6.50 Usha Sreebali (morning Sreebali)
7.00 Kalabhabhiskekam (consecration by pouring liquid sandal)
8.30 Pantheeradi Pooja (special rite)
12.00 Ucha Pooja (noon rite)

Noon 12.00 Deeparadhana
12.10 Ucha Sreebali (Noon Sreebali)
12.30 Nata adappu (Closure of Sreekovil)

Evening 5.00 Nata Thurappu (Opening of Sreekovil)
6.45 Deeparadhana
7.30 Athazha Pooja (Night rite)
8.00 Deeparadhana (Night rite)
8.05 Athazha Sreebali
8.30 Nata Atappu (Closure of temple Sreekovil)
Pooja timings may be altered on special occasions

This festival witnesses one of the largest gatherings of women in the world. Almost 20 lakh women visit the temple every year. The crowd reached Guinness Book of World Records in 1997 when 1.5 million women offered Pongal.  

Pongala is a divine festival. It is a ten days programme. The festival takes place during the Malayalam months of Makaram- Kumbham. This is generally February or March.

The main ceremony is on the day when the Pooram star coincides with the full moon. People sing stories of Goddess Kannaki. The stories are known as Kannaki Charitam.

The nearest airport to the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. This is approximately 7 km from the temple.

The nearest railway station is Trivandrum Central Railway Station. It is located at Thampanoor. The place is 3 km from the temple.

Auto rickshaws are the best mode of conveyance from the railway station.

 The temple is just at 1.5 km from the east fort bus stop. The Trivandrum central bus stand is at 2 km from the shrine. Metered autos can take you around the city. Tourists can also hire cabs to reach the temple.

The temple authorities have also arranged regular bus service. Tourists can pre-book the bus tickets from the temple.

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Note: We don’t make any guarantees if the above-stated facts are not correctIf you think any information provided by us is wrong then contact us.


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