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Mullakkal Bhagawathy Temple

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By P.R.Ramachander

Mullakkal Bhagawathy temple is situated in the town of Alappuzha in Kerala. By road it is about 60 km from Eranakulam. Alappuzha is described as the Venice of the east, due to its extensive canals connecting all parts of this town. This temple is estimated to be 500 years old and there are different stories regarding its origin. One says that the idol consecrated here was brought by the banished soldiers of the Thekkumkur king. They were supposed to have brought this idol and kept it in a jasmine Garden. The idol got permanently fixed at that spot and later a temple was constructed by the king Devanarayana of Chembagasery. Another story says that once that great king went to the Kodungallore Bhagawathy temple for worship and wanted to have the Bhagawathy in his town. That night, the goddess appeared in his dreams and told him that she would accompany him to his kingdom. When he reached Alappuzha, the king kept his Umbrella in the jasmine garden before taking rest. The umbrella got fixed there. Later, the astrologers who were brought in, found that the Goddess wished to stay there and hence the king built a temple for her at that spot. Another story tells about how during the invasion of Kerala by Tippu Sultan, some Namboodiri Brahmins who ran away from Malabar along with the idol of Annapurneswari they were worshiping decided to consecrate the idol at this spot.

The idol worshipped prior to 1961 in this temple was indeed that of Annapurneswari with a ladle in one hand and a pot in the other. Since the temple was built in a jasmine garden, she was known also as Mullakkal Bhagawthy. She was consecrated in the standing pose facing west.

In 1961 when they were consecrating the golden flag staff for the Goddess, a mentally unstable person got inside the sanctum sanctorum and embraced the idol. Subsequently it was found that cracks had developed on the idol. A deva prasnam (getting divine opinion through astrology) which was conducted revealed that the Goddess wanted a new idol to be made and installed there. Therefore on 16th July 1962 a four feet tall Rajarajeswari idol was consecrated in the same place replacing the damaged one. Apart from the main Goddess there are also small temples for Hanuman, Subramanya and Nagas (serpents) in the temple. An idol of Lord Krishna and Lord Ayyappa has also been consecrated.

Payasam, Vada, Appam are normally offered to the Goddess as Naivedyam. The story goes that on the first day when the Annapurneswari idol was consecrated, they had to make Vada using full urud gram with its black skin (instead of skinless white urud)which was received from a near by Brahmin’s family. Following that tradition, even today at the night pooja, this type of Vada is offered to the Goddess.

From the first of Vruschiga month (October-November) a festival is celebrated for forty one days. The last eleven days is called as Chirappu festival and is a famous festival in these parts and is referred to as Alappuzha Chirappu.

The first Sunday of December is celebrated in this temple as a women's festival. On that Day all functions of the temple are carried out by women only. Thousands of lamps are lit on that day evening by ladies coming from far and near.

Navarathri (Dussera) is also celebrated in the temple. On Maha navami day 150 girl children are given new cloths and are worshipped as Kumaris. Theyattu is celebrated that day night. In this function a huge drawing of the Goddess is made on the floor with colored powder, and this is slowly removed by dancing over it.

The temple timings are 5 AM to 10.30 AM and between 5 to 8 PM.