Kumaranallore Karthyayini Temple
Kumaranallur is a small village which is 4 km from the town of Kottayam.The goddess consecrated in this temple -Karthyayani is looked upon as very kind,merciful and soft in nature.
The story goes that a long,long time ago, the nose stud of goddess Meenakshi of Madurai was stolen. The king suspected an innocent priest and informed him that if he does not return the stolen nose stud by the next day, he would be executed. That night, Goddess Meenakshi appeared in a dream of the priest and told him that he was in great danger and that she would lead him out of the country in the form of light and that he should follow her. The priest did what he was told and followed the light and reached Kumaranallur. There was a vacant temple in the village ready for consecration of the God. When the priest came near the temple, the leading light vanished from his vision. When he went inside the temple he saw Goddess Karthyatani sitting in side the sanctum sanctorum. Though he could see the Goddess, nobody else could. They all simply laughed at the priest. At that point of time, Kula Shekhara the king of that place happened to visit this temple. He had decided to install Lord Subrahmaanya inside this temple, but the priest from Madurai told him that since the Goddess was already inside the temple, only goddess Karthyayini should be installed there. Since the king could not see anything in side the temple, he told the priest that if there indeed is a goddess inside let her construct a temple for herself. Saying this, he left that place. When he came outside, he was unable to move further as the entire place was completely covered by fog. He having realized his mistake,he returned and approached the priest. The priest then requested him to touch him and then look inside the temple. When the king did that, he was able to see the Goddess in all her glory. At that time the king was also constructing a temple at Udayanapuram for the Goddess, which he now decided to change over to the 'pratishta' of Subrahmanya. He sent his people to Udaayanapuram with instructions to bring the idol of the Goddess from there. However due to unforeseen circumstances, the idol could not reach Kumaranallur at the appointed time(Muhurtham). The goddess came in the king's dream and asked him to search a particular well in the forest nearby where he would find the idol of the Goddess which was personally worshipped by Lord Parasurama. He was asked to consecrate this idol at the Kumaranallore temple which the king did.
The main idol at the temple is made of black stone. It is extremely pretty, with four hands and is in a standing posture. She likes to be showered with turmeric powder and that is the major worship in this temple. Unlike other temples, the customary worship with oil lamps (Deeparadhana) at dusk is not done but only at night. There is a huge stone lamp in front of the temple, which was gifted by the king of Chembakassery. At a time 24 wicks can burn from this lamp. Lighting this lamp is also one of the important methods of worship. Since the original priest came from Madurai, even today the priest’s family is called Madurai Namboodiri.
Just outside the temple there is a temple for Vana Durga. There is no roof for this temple. She is called 'Aalingal Bhagwathi' (The goddess of the Banyan tree), possibly because it was originally consecrated below a Banyan tree. There is also a Temple of Ayyappa on the west side of the temple. He is called Manibhooshanan in this temple. There is a small temple for Lord Shiva in the southern side.
The major festival in this temple is the Karthiga Festival in the Malayalam month of Vruschigam(October-November). In this festival though there is the usual parade of elephants, only she elephants can participate. People believe that all the Gods arrive and are present with Karthyayani on the Karthiga day. There is a story that on that day Vilwamangalam Samiyar happened to visit Vadakkunathan temple but found that the God was not there inside the temple but was in a particular spot of the temple watching the festival at Kumaranallur.
After the morning worship they make the Goddess wear her golden dress. This is removed only on the next day.
People believe that by worshipping Karthyayani, marriages would be settled quickly and children would become intelligent etc.