Other famous Ayyappa Shrines in Kerala (61)

12/01/2012 History of Lord Ayyappa

Kulathupuzha

The temple is located on the foothills of the Sahya mountain ranges in Kollam district amidst charming scenic beauty on the banks of a river. The Vishu-Mahothsavam in April is the important festival here. The river by the side of the temple has a huge assortment of fishes and they are revered as they are considered to be the sacred pets of the Lord. Meenoottu, the feeding of the fishes with groundnuts and wheat grains is an important offering here. Fishing is prohibited in this region, and the people around this region, irrespective of religious differences, take great care of them and a watchman is appointed to protect them.

Achankovil

Nestled amidst the dense forest of the Sahya ranges, the Saatha temple here is located near the source of the river Achankovil, a tributary of the river Pampa, about fifty kms from Punalur, in Kollam district. The temple is reputed for the incidents of miraculous cure of snake bite by the administration of the Theertham, the sanctified water and the Prasaadam of Lord Sastha. Therottam, the car festival, in the Malayalam month of Dhanu (December) and the Pushpaabhishekam, the offerings of incredibly huge quantities of mountain flowers in January-February are important festivals here.

Ariankavu

Situated thirty five kms east of Punalur in Kollam district, this temple is on the Thiruvananthapuram-Chenkottah road. A large number of people visit the temple during the Mandala period. There is a festival called Thirukalyaana-mahothsava at the conclusion of the Mandala period.

Sasthamkotta

The place bearing the name of Sastha is one of the soul-stirring beauty spots of Kerala located in Kollam district, on the banks of a vast fresh-water lake. The temple is surrounded by a thick jungle.

Paakkil

Other than Sabarimala temple, this is the only Sastha temple in Kerala with a separate shrine for Maalikappurath-amma. Located at Paakkil on the Kottayam-Changanasseri road, this temple is associated with Saint Paakkanaar, a winnow trader of humble origin, who occupies a prominent place in the legends of Kerala for his wit and wisdom. In memory of Paakkanaar, a trade fair is conducted here every year in the Malayalam month of Karkidakam (June-July). In the olden days there used to be a competition of martial arts, known as Paakkil-pada in the vicinity of the temple. A large number of devotees visit this temple during the Makara-vilakku season. The temple festival is conducted every year in the Malayalam month of Meenam (March-April).

A hymn on Dharma Sasthadescribes that the land of Kerala is His sporting field, and this statement is underlined by the innumerable Dharma Sasthatemples spreading throughout the state. Some of these shrines call for immediate renovation for the best use of these centres of spiritual power.

In Thiruvananthapuram district alone there are about 90 Sastha shrines. Besides this, in all major temples there are shrines for Lord Sastha as an accompanying Deity. In the cultural and spiritual life of Kerala, Dharma Sastha-Ayyappa concept has a powerful influence.

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