Renowned for possessing a form of architecture known as “Vishwakarma Sthapathis” (i.e. wooden sculpture) is a Hindu shrine in Kerala known as Chottanikkara Temple. This temple is devoted to “Goddess Bhagavathi” and is located in a town called Chottanikkara in the Ernakulum district. Apart from the main deity i.e. Goddess Bhagavathi, Lord Shiva too is worshipped at this temple. Furthermore, Bhagavathi is worshipped in three forms at this temple i.e. as Saraswati in the morning, Lakshmi at noon, and Durga in the evening. In addition, a popular religious festival called “Chottanikkara Makam Thozal” is celebrated at this temple.
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a. Best time to visit Chottanikkara Temple
The ideal time to visit this temple is during the winter the season which begins in October and ends in February with the temperature ranging from a maximum of 33 degree Celsius to a minimum of 17 degree Celsius.
b. How to reach Chottanikkara Temple
Chottanikkara Temple Map
1. By train:
The nearest railway station to this temple is in Ernakulum. The Ernakulum Railway Junction is well connected to major cities in the country.
2. By road:
If you intend to drive to this temple the ideal starting points would be Thrissur, Kottayam, Alappuzha, and Coimbatore.
- Via Thrissur:
There are two routes from Thrissur to this temple, and they are via NH544 and via NH544 and Main Central Road.
- Via Kottayam:
There are two routes from Kottayam to this temple, and they are via SH15 and via Main Central Road/SH1.
- Via Alappuzha:
There are two routes from Alapuzzha to this temple, and they are via NH66 and via SH40.
- Via Coimbatore:
There is one route from Coimbatore to this temple, and it is via NH544.
3. By air:
The closest airport to this beach is located in Cochin. The Cochin International Airport is well connected to major cities in the country as well as to international destinations.
c. Religious significance of the Chottanikkara Temple
According to a popular myth the area surround the site at which this temple was built comprised of a number of yakshis and rakshashas. Now in that very same forest area surrounding the temple there lived a tribesman called Kannappan, who happened to be an ardent devotee of Goddess Kali. Due to which he used to kill a cow (a sacred sacrificial ritual) so as to appease Kali. One day it so happened that he found a calf in the same forest and immediately kidnapped it with the intention to kill it in honour of Kali. However, it was while he was on verge of killing this calf that his daughter requested him not to do so. Since this man loved his daughter he did not kill it and allowed her to adopt it as pet. Unfortunately though his daughter died a few days later (probably due to a snake bite) which really broke this man’s heart. With the daughter dead it was now time to cremate the body. Unfortunately, though at that moment the body suddenly disappeared in thin air. This mysterious disappearance puzzled the man so much that he approached a priest in quest for an answer. It was then that the priest said that since he was forcibly killing cows he has met with the same fate with regards to his daughter. He was also told to search of the calf, which he did but what he found was in fact two divine stones. These divine stones the priest said were actually Vishnu and Parvati and advised him to worship it regularly. Now years later a grass cutter who was female arrived at this forest in order to acquire grass. Since the knife she possessed was blunt she began sharpening it on a granite stone. It was during the process of sharpening that the stone began to bleed which terrified her. This matter was then referred to a priest who resolved it by building a temple at that spot, since it was concluded that the stone was actually divine.