Sree Karthyayani Temple is located in the vicinity of Ayyanthole Civil Lines, the nerve center of district administration, which is about 4 KMs North West of famous Vadakkumnathan Temple. Sree Karthyayani Mahamaya, the deity of this temple presides over with all prowess, strength and prosperity making the people of the area feel her presence day in and day out.
An enquiry into the origin of the temple will definitely reveal a lot of information and its connection with stories shrouded in our Puranas. One of the stories related to this temple is 'Dakshayaga'. When Siva started his Thandava dance carrying the dead body of Sathi Devi, who gave up her life in the Yagna Sala unable to suffer the humiliation any more, Lord Vishnu to pacify the outrages Siva shot an arrow and cut the body of Sathi Devi into fragments. It is said, Sathi's bodies was cut into 108 pieces and one of the pieces is believed to have fallen in the place where this temple is located. Later on during 'Thretha Yuga' , Lord Vishnu reborn as Parasurama found out this place and performed penance to have Darsan of Devi. Pleased with this penance, Devi appeared before Parasurama and later immediately made an idol identical to Devi’s appearance and he duly performed the installation ceremony on his own according to the custom and entreated Devi to protect the people of the area from all adversities and calamities. The idol of this temple is exactly the same that was installed by Parasurama in the 'Thretha Yuga'. Another story connected to this temple, in the Bhagavatha is as follows. 'Lord Vishnu' was reborn as a child of Devaki as Sree Krishna and at the same time 'Adi Parasakthi' took birth as a daughter to Yasoda. As directed by the Lord, Vasudevan exchanged the children and King Kamsa saw a female child born to his sister. As his usual practice, Kamsa wanted to kill this daughter also by striking it against the rock. When he lifted the child by her feet in his attempt to strike on the rock, the beautiful child escaped from his hand by pushing herself by kicking on the shoulders of Kamsa and flew away in the space and at last came to the Temple in Ayyanthole and merged with the idol installed by Parasurama. Ayyanthole is so called because; it is the place that Devi chose for merging with God after kicking on the shoulders of Kamsa. On account of the divinity acquired by this temple in ways more than one, the prowess and strength of the Devi is not only unprecedented about also inexplicable. The auspicious Devi of the Temple (Karthyayani) may be worshipped by the Devotees according to the belief and imaginations. Devi presiding in this Temple is very generous in granting the wishes of believes. The form of the Devi is also beautiful that nobody will be satiated by seeing and looking at her who is in a standing posture with a shining sweet face and has Conch shell, whirling disc, Lotus and 'Kadibandham' in her four hands. The idol available in the sanctum sanctorum of this holy temple is exactly the same that was installed by Parasurama. Made of Anjana stone (that is black stone) and well covered by Pancha Loha (an alloy of five of different metals) the idol of Devi with a pleasing face and semi closed lotus eye is also beautiful that the devotees want to see her face again and again every day. Famous astrologers have also expressed their opinion against any change or modification of the Pancha Loha covering or the 'Prabha Mandalam' around the deity.
According to a writing found on the rafter of its roof, it is more than 600 years old. The Pancha Loha covering now available in the Sree Kovil was made in the Malayalam year 907 according to some records kept in the house of Padinhattedath Cherampatta Namboothirippad.
After performing the installation of Devi's idol Sree Parasurama also prescribed the day to day activities and the Poojas to be performed for the Devi and also entrusted the work of the temple administration to five Namboothiri families (Brahmins) of the area. Out of the five all except Kizhakkiniyedath family is extinct now. Poojas in the temple are even today the privilege of the Kizhakkiniyedath (Namboothiri) family. In course of time the quarrel and feud between the temples trusties resulted in difference of their duties towards temple and as a consequence the day to day affairs begun to be affected. When the trusties failed in their obligation the Government took over the ownership of the temple and its properties and later on entrusted its administration with Cochin Devaswom Board. At present there are fifteen other temples under Ayyanthole Karthyayani temple and all are administrated by the Ayyanthole group Devaswom Officer.
The engravery of the temple is superb. It is well decorated with birds garland (Pakshi mala) and floral garland (Poomala). The circular design of the inner and square design of the outer part of the sanctum sanctorum is an excellent example of the exquisite temple architecture of the past. Recently the Sree Kovil roof was covered with copper sheets and also new beautiful mural paintings are done around the Sree Kovil. The prostration platform (Namaskara Mandapam) in front of the Sree Kovil is also very beautiful to see for its engravery. The door frames, doors, and door steps (Sopanam) of the Sree Kovil are made beautiful by covering them with brass. The large and wide Nalambalam, Mandapam, Thidappally (cooking place), Balikkalpura, Nadappura (covered passage), gateways (Gopuram) on east and west, Agrasala (main hall), Devaswom Office, Kshethra Samrakshana Samithi Office, Vilakkumadam, huge Deepasthambams etc are the specialities of the temple which will make the devotees and visitors happy and feel at home. The Theertha Kinar (well inside the temple), the large temple pond on the west Nada, the pipal tree(Arayal) and NagaRaja Prathishta gave us the best impression of the serene village background (Aarattukadavu in the temple pond is also well maintained). During the Seven Days preceding Thrissur Pooram Devi's Aaraattu is performed in the Aarattu kadavu. A peculiarity of this temple is the absence of any other God except a 'Ganapathi' in the Kanni Rasi. The outer compound wall, the spacious compound, the granite laid (dressed stoned), court yard, the gigantic bronze lamp stands, Keda Vilakku and the wall of temple complex built in conformity with the architectural rules (Vasthu Silpam). Vouch safe of antiquity and holiness of this great place of worship.
From the very beginning they (Thanthries) of this temple were the members of the celebrated Puliannur Mana. But in course of time this right was passed on to Pazhangaparambu Mana. Until recently, in the presence of the thanthries was required only once in a blue moon. But now the things have changed. Thanthri is required to be present here almost every day on account of Udayasthamana Pooja and special Poojas arranged and requested for by devotees on most of the days during the year. The Thanthries do perform their duties very sincerely with maximum attention devotion and seriousness's and as as a result both the thanthries and the temple have become very prosperous. It is not only interesting but also informative to know about the routine activities in this temple from dawn to desk. A good number of Poojas all in the most customary style are performed here. Though the temple employees open the doors in the gateways and other ventilators, the doors of the Sree Kovil are open as a rule in the Brahma Muhurtham by the Chief Priest (Melsanthi) of the temple after a bath in the temple pond. Nirmalya Darsanam is available between 4:45 AM and 5 AM every day. Only the blessed ones will make it convenient to have the pleasure and bliss of Nirmalya Darsanam.
Next is Sankubhishekam. Sanku (Conch Shell) Theertha flouring from the body of Devi is said to have medicinal powers. Parking of this Theertha (holy water) helps not only to heel diseases but also helps the proper development of brain. Valampilri Sanku and and Edampiri Sanku believed to be very rare and precious are also kept in the Sreelakam for regular worship. After shankabhishekam, malar (Thrimadhuram) and kadhalipazham (plantain) are offered to the deity as Nivedyam.
There after Devi body is anointed with sandal paste and decorated with jewels and ornaments of different and attractive designs and got dressed up with costly and colorful costumes. The overflowing beauty of Devi in full costume and ornaments is to be enjoyed and not to be explained.
Next is Ushapooja for which porridges (sweet meal) is offered as Nivedyams. After Ushapooja, Abhishekam with Navakam, Panchagavyam etc is performed.
Uchapooja starts after Abhishekam is over. Again Devi is decorated with jewels and costumes. "panchasara payasams" (sweet porridges) is offered as Nivedyam for Uchapooja. panchasara payasams is believed to be the favorite item of Devi. Large number of devotees from far and near throng the corridor of the Sree Kovil to have a glimpse of Devi when the Sree Kovil is opened after Uchapooja. A devotee experiences nothing but Sayoojya in the Darsan of Devi after Uchapooja. After tha SreeBhootha Bali takes place and the morning Poojas come to a close. In the afternoon temple opens at 5 PM. Niramala, Chuttuvilakku etc are held in the evening. By about 6:30 PM deeparadhana takes place the exact time depends upon the time of sunset for the day. There after Attazha Pooja takes place for which Vella Nivedyam (rice), Nei payasam, Appam etc are the Nivedyam. Each time when the Nada is opened, Kathina Vedi also arranged. As a rule after all Poojas, temple closes for the day at 8:30 PM.
The most important festival of the temple is that in connection with the famous Thrissur Pooram which take place during the month of Medam (April/May) every year. Hoisting of temple flag is an important function in this connection. The flag mast (kodimaram) made of areca nut tree is readied by the entitled carpenter family and fixed on the appropriate spot by the local people. The temple priest (Thanthri) hoist the flag on the mast after the necessary Poojas and invocations.
The next seven days are busy with the festival rituals and preparations on the day of Pooram, Devi sets out to Vadakkumnathan on the elephant backs at 6 AM accompanied by Thavil, Vadya, thala and Mela. All the people of the area including the friends and relatives assembled in the temple sufficiently early to have a glimpse of the spectacular possession and show of divine splendor. It is the custom of the people to accompany the Devi to some distance and also decorate the sreet with flowers and place lighted traditional lamp (Nilavilakku/Nirapara) on either side of the road along which Devi may pass. There will be three elephants and Nadapandi until the possession reaches Kottappuram Railway bridge. From railway bridge spot two more elephants are added and Panchavadyam begins when it reaches Naduvilal point, then umber of elephants rises to Thirteen and Melam starts in place of Panchavadyam. The Ayyanthole pooram with Thirteen elephants, the biggest of the Constituent Poorams and next Only to Thiruvambadi and Paramelkkavu Pooram, goes upto Sree Moola Sthanam and Melam comes to an end. Devi enters into the Vadakkumnathan temple after worshipping Lord Siva, comes out through the southern gateway. The whole process is repeated in the night as well. The next day after the Uthram Vilakku in the night, with the de-hoisting of the temple flag, the pooram celebrations comes to an end.
Another important festival of this temple is Thrikkarthika during Vruschikam (Nov/Dec). it is a festival of lights lasting for seven days with regular stage programs in the night besides Murajapam and Rigveda Sooktharchana are also regularly held during those days. Lakshadeepam (lighting of lakhs of oil lamps) is a spectacular divine show. During these days around three lakhs people will visit the temple.
Prathishta (Birthday), the day is also celebrated with pomp and show on the day of Chothi (star) in the month of Midhunam (jun/July) every year. Bhagavatha Sapthaham (reading and explanation of the contents of Bhagavatham over a period of seven days with a definite time schedule by a scholor), Prasada Oottu (free lunch) are unforgettable feat and food for the body and the mind. Laksharchana in the month of karkkidakam, Navarathri celebrations in the month of Kanni, Makam Thozhal and Sivarathri celebration in Kumbam are other important functions here. It may be specially mentioned that the Ganapathi Homam is performed in the temple every day with out fail.
Seeking the blessing of Sree Karthyayani Devi devotees from far and near have been visiting the sacred temple from time immemorial. The Devi is very lavish in blessing childless parents with children, young maids with suitable bridegrooms and the poor with prosperity. The number of devotees visiting this temple is steadily increasing. Let all of us pray together for the blessings of Karthyayani Devi also generously grants wished of devotees. Our Devi (mother) will definitely pour her blessings on us and lead us in the right directions.
Devotees/patrons are requested to send their donations/contributions for the construction of our "Alankara Gopuram/Nadappura" either in cash or DD/Cheque kindly to:
Karthiayani Kshethra Kshema Samithi,
Ayyanthole(PO), Thrissur, Kerala-680003
Ph: 0487-2362668, 2363043
Mr. Ramakrishnan Marathoor Kalathil
Mob: +91 9447028884
Mr. Ramachandran Changarath
Mob: +91 9847036535