Maruthurvattom Dhanwanthari Temple

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By P.R.Ramachander

Maruthor vattom is a village between Alappuzha and Cherthala Towns of Kerala. Dhanwanthari who is consecrated here, is believed to be an avataram (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu, and who emanated upon churning of the ocean of milk by Gods and Asuras. It is believed that this temple is at least 500 years old. There is also one more Dhanwanthari temple in Kerala in Ellijay, a village near Guruvayoor.

A native, Thampan by name, of this village was suffering from a very severe stomach ache. When he visited the Vaikkathappan temple at Vaicom upon entering the premises, his stomach ache disappeared whereas when he came out, it started again.Thampan prayed to Vaikkathappan for granting him a cure. That night, Vaikathappan appeared in his dreams, and told him that as long as he was in the temple he would not suffer from the stomach ache but it would reappear when he left this temple. For a permanent cure he was asked to go to the pond called 'Kelam' near Cherthalai and search the pond whereupon he would find three idols.He was asked to leave the first one there it self but take the second idol, which would be that of God Dhanwanthari,and give it to a Brahmin. The third one - that of Mahavishnu, which he would find was to be taken home and worshiped.

The Thampan did as was told by God. He gave the Dhanwanthari idol to a Brahmin belonging to Velladu Mana. He consecrated the third statue in Adhithya puram near his house.The Velladu Namboodiri was worshipping the Dhanwanthari statue in his house itself. Later with the help of Cheerataaman Moosu, he built a temple for Dhanwanthari at Maruthor vattom. Unfortunately during a fight between Vellattu Namboodiri and Moosu, one arm of the Dhanwanthari idol got broken. Moosu took the broken arm and consecrated it in a place called Olacha in Kottayam. In Maruthor Vattom, the Namboodiri crafted the arm in silver and attached same to the idol. Even today this particular idol is worshipped in Maruthor Vattom. The God faces west and has a golden pot in his right hand.All medicines of the temple are first kept in this pot and then given to the devotees/patients.In his left hand made of silver he keeps an 'Atta' (blood sucking leech)

In the month of Thulam (October November) on the Krishna Paksha dwadasi day, the birth day of Dhanwanthari is celebrated in this temple. Many people come to worship their Pithrus (manes) on that day to this temple. On that day Thaal Kari (a vegetable preparation involving Colacasia stem-which normally causes itching) is given as Prasadam.But the Prasadam does not cause any itching. This is also prepared on the Amavasya of the same month. This is considered as a great medicine and people from far and near flock to the temple to get this medicine.

In the month of Mesha (April-May) on Uthra Nakashtram, the foundation day of this temple is celebrated. The thiruonam of the same month is celebrated as Arattu. They have a ceremony called "kayethal Vanam" on this day, which is supposed to be a cure for Asthma. To beget children, people arrange for "Santhana Gopalam" Kathakali in this temple. For rheumatic disorders the temple distributes a medicine called "attayum Kuzhambum". Similarly they also prepare a medicine called Mukkudi which is a mixture of 24 drugs for curing stomach ache.These two medicines are given only in the first thursday of every malayalam month. One has to register early at this temple to get these medicines. It is also believed that covering the idol fully with butter or sandalwood paste and eating the butter cures all diseases.

Several peculiar worships like Adima, Thazhichu Koda,Nagaraja Pooja etc are offered at this temple.