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Friday, 27 April 2018

Those Seeking Child Boon Organize Kathakali Dance Performance In This Temple - Sri Vallabha Temple - Thiruvalla, Pathanamthitta

Sreevallabha Temple, a highly orthodox Hindu Temple dedicated to Purusha as Lord Sreevallabhan, is one among the oldest and biggest Temples of Kerala and a major destination for devotees all over India for centuries. Located in Thiruvalla town of Pathanamthitta district, this ocean of orthodoxy is well known for its architectural grandeur and unique customs that can be found in no other temples. The stone-wooden carvings and fine mural paintings inside the temple are worth seeing. Being one among 108 Divya Desams, Sreevallabha temple has been glorified by Alvars and many other ancient works. It is considered to be the vallabha kshethram mentioned in Garuda Purana and Matsya Purana.

Sri Vallabha Temple Main Entrance
Sri Vallabha Temple Main Entrance
Kathakali is played daily in the temple as an offering, pushing it to the top in India in terms of places where Kathakali is staged in largest number of days per year. Lord Vishnu appeared here as Sreevallabhan for sage Durvasa and Khandakarnan. Pleased by prayers of an old Brahmin lady Sreevallabhan incarnated as a brahmachari and killed the demon Thokalaasuran. Later the deity of Sreevallabhan worshipped by Lakshmi and Krishna has been installed in the temple in 59 BC. From then till date, the temple follows its own worship protocol that is known to be followed nowhere else yet. Sage Durvasa and Saptarishi are said to reach the temple every midnight for worshipping the Lord. The temple had governed one of the biggest educational institutions in ancient time and heavily contributed to the cultural and educational developments of Kerala.

Sri Vallabha Temple Aerial View
Sri Vallabha Temple Aerial View
Sree Vallabha temple is a 400-year old temple dedicated to Sri Vallabha (Lord Vishnu) located at Thiruvalla in the Pathanamthitta district. Nestled on the banks of River Manimala, this temple attracts pilgrims with its amazing architectural charm. The stone-wooded carvings and beautiful mural paintings catch the attention of each visitor to the temple. There is an 8 feet idol in the sanctum sanctorum of this Vishnu shrine. It is believed that the Garuda Sthambha of the temple was constructed by Perunthachan, the legendrary architect. This 54-feet flag mast is built using a single block of granite.

Sri Vallabha Temple Complex
Sri Vallabha Temple Complex
There is no admission to women in this temple as in Ayappan temple as Lord observes Brammacharya (celibacy) here. The temple has the reputation of being among the 108 Vaishnavite Divya Desams. As the Chest Darshan of Lord is considered very important on Margazhi Tiruvadhirai in December-January and on Chithirai Vishu the first day of the month falling almost on April 14 or a day before or after occasionally in some years. It is said that Perumal also as a Brahmmachari stood in the queue to receive the dhan (alms) from Sankara Mangalathu Ammayar. Perumal also asked Ammayar the salted mango she kept to take after completing her fast. She immediately offered it to Perumal in the arecanut leaf. Hence, rice and salted mango on this leaf is offered to Perumal as nivedhana. Sandal Prasad is very famous in Kerala. In this temple, vibhuti-the sacred ash is also offered as Prasad with sandal paste, based on the story that Lord Shiva came to the temple to worship Perumal on the Tiruvadhirai day. Hence, Vibhuti also is added in the Prasad.

Dance Performed At Sri Vallabha Temple
Dance Performed At Sri Vallabha Temple
A holy woman respected for her Pathi Bhakti was living in Sankaramangalam village. She was observing the Ekadasi fasting intensely and used to visit the temple on Dwadasi-next day and was feeding the ascetics in the temple. A demon, Tolakasuran by name was giving her troubles on her way to the temple. Ammayar prayed to Perumal for protection. Once, while she was coming to the temple through the forest area, she saw a Brahmmachari fighting ferociously. The sound of the fight stopped after a while. Ammayar reached the temple and saw a Brahmmachari youth resembling the one she saw in the forest and understood that Lord Himself came to protect her. Brahmmacharis do not wear the upper cloth-Angavastram. There is no angavastram for Perumal in the temple. While we see seek the feet of Perumal for darshan, here devotees seek the chest darshan of Perumal, the abode of Sri Mahalakshmi (Tiru). Hence, Perumal is called Tiru Vazh Marban – Lakshmi residing in the chest of Perumal.

Sri Vallabha Temple Sanctum Sanctorum
Sri Vallabha Temple Sanctum Sanctorum
Childless couples who offer their sincere prayers at this temple are said to be blessed with children. As part of this prayer, it is a tradition to organise Kathakali to invoke the blessings of Lord Vallabhan. Another tradition is that the Lord is presented with 12000 ripe bananas, half of which is distributed to the devotees. It is a 400-year-old temple on the banks of the River Manimala has a beautiful 8 ft idol of Sree Vallabha within the sanctum sanctorum. The legendary architect Perunthachan, constructed the unique Garuda Sthambha, a 54 ft flag mast made of a single block of granite. During the 10-day annual festival held in February-March, a whopping 12,000 bunches of padatti pazham (a variety of bananas) are made as offerings on the first day. It is also perhaps the only temple in Kerala where Kathakali is performed as a ritual offering every night.

Temple Timings:

Morning Timings : 04:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Evening Timings : 05:00 PM to 08:00 PM
On Special Occasions timings might differ.

Temple Location:

Located about 30kms South of Kottayam on the Ernakulam-Kottayam-Kayankulam rail route is the Thiru Vazhmarban Divya Desam in Thiruvalla. Interestingly, the sanctum has been constructed in such a way that one cannot see the feet of the Standing Thiru Vazhmarban. Buses ply every 5-10 minutes from Kottayam on the Thiruvalla route. Thiruvalla is about 15 minutes by an express train from Kottayam. Get down at Thiru Valla Railway station. The temple is about 4kms from the railway station. Thiruvalla is one of the 64 ancient Brahmin villages believed to have been established by the sage, Parashurama, between Gokarn (Karnataka) and Kanyakumari, of which 32 are in Kerala.

Temple Address & Contact Details:

Sree Vallabha Temple,
Pathanmthitta District,
Pin Code: 689 101,
Phone : 0469 2700191

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