Panayannar Kavu Bhagwathi temple
Among the great Bhagawathi temples of Kerala , three are considered most important. They are Kodungalloor, Thirmandhankunnu And Panayannar kavu. While the first two are very ancient, there are some controversies as to when the great temple of Panayannar Kavu was established. Panayannar Kavu is definitely very old and is situared near Parumala and is surrounded a tributary of Pampa river . It is very near Mannar village which is 1 km from Parumala junction of Thiruvalla-Mavelikkara road. The temple houses a Shiva temple also and is one of the listed 108 temples of Lord Shiva in Kerala , supposed to be consecrated by Lord Parasurama. The temple has the prathishta of the Saptha Mathas , the most prominent among being Chamundi and though it is a Shiva temple , lot more importance is given to Bhagawathi. It seems a prince of Chirvayil dynasty went and prayed in a “Panayannur temple” , situated some where else. When the Goddess asked him what he wanted, he told her that she has to come with him and live in a near by temple. The Goddess agreed and asked him to perform “Bhagwathi Seva” for 12 days in the Panayannur Kavu Shiva temple. On the twelvth day the prince as well his people saw a luminous ball descending inside the temple. The assembled people assumed it was the Bhagawathi and consecrated on the southern side of the Shiva temple. bUt after this the people felt that ghosts and devils were surrounding the temple . They saw that many people were dying without any reason. Then the king changed the position of the goddess and made her face the north. He also consecrated the Saptha Mathas, Veera Bhadran and Ganapathi. With constant and systematic worship the power of the Goddess increased. Festivals in her temple was started and lot of wealth was given to the temple. But then the problems around the temple increased further and people were finding it difficult even to stir out of their homes at night. When they consulted the oracle , the Goddess told them that long with her , ner army had also come and they are hungry. When the people asked what they can do , she told them that during the Mandala period daily many animals should be sacrificed on the eastern gate on the temple and on the last day of the mandalam, a unmarried girl should be sacrificed. People agreed and this was going on for several years . The unmarried girl was chosen from the families around the temple. During one year , it was the poor girl who was a great devotees of the mother. When her head was about to be cut that girl told the Goddess that she was only happy to give her life to the mother. Suddenly from the temple the mother told, discontinue all these sacrifices and close the eastern door for ever. The family of the devout girl whom the Goddess spared (called Adissas) became the main priests of the temple. The area prospered but as of these priestly are quarrelling within themselves, they were removed from their chieftainship by the great king Marthanda Verma of Travancore. But still they continued the duties of the priests and got the complete income of the temple. Some time back due to civil suits filed over each other they have been removed even from these duties
In order to reduce the power of the Goddess Kali of the main central sanctum, a meru (srichakra - meru) pratishta was also done and now all the rituals to goddess kali of the central sanctum are performed in front of the meru. Now nobody has the courage even to go near the main sanctum and even the poojaris or brahmins of the temple go only to the meru and come back.
The king had given the ownership of the temple to the girl who was behind all these, and now her family is called as 'adissans'; who are the present owners of the temple. Their family building is near to the temple and ther is also another diety ( which is the moolasthanam); where the karanavar ( most aged man of the family) daily perform a secret puja (ritual ) to the goddess in Kaula saktheya sampradaya. (rurujith vidhanam). They were experts and famous in astrology and also mantra vada and tantra.
Mandalam is observed in this temple also.There is Guruthi everyday.People believe that during Mandalam, if we daily take bath and worship at the temple is considered as extremely good. Very few people also observe Bhajanam.(Worshipping at the temple and only eating the Naivedyam there.) On the 41st day with Niramala and Nila Vilakku the temple loks great.. That evening the priest walks round the temple carrying along the golden idol of the Goddess. The day of Vishu is celebrated in a great way in this temple. In the olden days, the sacrifice of human beings used to be done on this day. In memory of that a man who has done penance walks round the temple with a hook driven in to his back, with a back ground music of songs and drums.. This is called kuthiyottam. The Ayilyam stat of the month of Thulam (October-november) is also celebrated.
Near the temple there is a consecration of Parumala Yakshi, She sits on raised platform in an orchard with several trees. What is consecrated is a one foot tall bronze sculpture of the form of a hand held mirror. Some astrologers are of the opinion that it is the vana Durga who is sitting there. The expenses of worship and lamp is borne by the Panayannur kavu temple. People believe that this Yakshi by taking a bewitching form used to attract men and kill them. The famous Christian priest and Magician who was walking this way is supposed to have overpowered her by his magical powers and consecrated her here. It is believed that she still haunts and dwells in this kavu (forest), invisible to the human eye ,but at times she has been cited by many people on several occasions, especially " Karuthavavu" and on Fridays .These sightings are described by the local people as an extremely beautiful woman or as a flying pillar of fire There are several stories describing the great magical powers of the Goddess of the Panayannurkavu.