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Posted On: 30 MAY 2018

Sree Kurumba Bhagvati Temple

Sree Kurumba Bhagvati Temple in Kodungallur, Kerala, is the abode of Hindu Goddess Sree Kurumba, or Bhadrakali, which is Goddess Kali of the coastal state. It is not only among the oldest but also the cleanest temples in Kerala.

Located on a ten acre plot in the heart of the temple town, the shrine's cleanliness is managed by the Cochin Devaswom Board. This most Swachh Mandir of Kerala sees peak cleanliness load after the two major festivals of Bharani and Thalappoli, during which devotees descend in large numbers. On the routine workdays tidying up starts at 4 am in the morning, goes on throughout the day.

Members of various communities such as Kudumbis, Nairs and Ambalavasis are assigned various chores related to the upkeep of temple premises.

But it is after the two major festivals, there is a huge cleaning up job which is undertaken by over one hundred additional cleaning staff of the Kodungallur Municipality. The cost is divided between the Board and the Municipality.

Though there are enough toilets within the temple for the use of devotees, additional toilets are installed both in the temple and outside during the festivals. After Bharani festival, it takes about seven days to clean the huge pond within the premises. The temple remains shut during this time.

Till recently, people have been offering animal sacrifice of fowl and goats for the protection and fulfillment of desires. The cleanliness operation might have been manifold but for the Kerala government that has now banned animal sacrifice in any form at this place. At present, only symbolic, dhotis dyed in red are offered to the deity.

The legend has that Goddess Bhadrakali killed the demon Daruka. Some historians hold that the temple was once a Buddhist monastery. Kodungallur, Trikkanamathilakam and the neighboring areas were centres of Buddhism and Jainism during the Chera period. A ruler from this area Palliband Perumal embraced Buddhism and had to abandon the Perumalship owing to opposition from the Hindus. Inside the temple, the divinity is installed in a manner that there is Shiva at one end and Ganapathy at the other and the Saptamatrus in between.

The people of Kodungallur themselves believe that this temple was a Shiva shrine like the most in the town and it was Lord Parasurama who installed Sree Kurumba Bhagavati besides the idol of Shiva.

Five Sree Chakras installed by Adi Shankaracharya are believed to be the main source of the powers of this deity. The priests are Namboodaris and Adikas (Madhu brahmins) who have a right to perform Pushpanjalis(flower offerings) to the Goddess. Bhagavati is also the patron of the royal family of Cranganore and the king plays an active part in the celebrations of the festival. Devotees perform parikarma by running around the temple thrice with sticks in hand before they enter the shrine. This is symbolic of the killing of the demon. The sticks have taken the place of the spears and swords of earlier days.

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