Sree Mahaganapathi Temple
There are many legends about Kottarakara Ganapathy. Actually the main ‘Prathistha'(Idol) is Lord Siva, but Ganapathy is famous here. The exact name of the temple was Kizhakkekara Siva Kshethram. The main deity is none other than Lord Siva himself – Siva facing eastward. In fact Ganapathy is only a minor deity here. But the temple today is famous as a Ganapathy temple rather than a Siva temple.
The legend behind this is that Kizhakkekara temple was the property of two Nampoothiri houses – Akavoor and Oomanpally. Padinjattinkara Siva temple belonged to the royal house of Elayidathu.
One day, before sunrise, rituals were taking place for the consecration of Siva at the Pandinjattinkara temple, the work of which was managed by the legendary Uliyannor Perumthachan. Outside the temple , while listening to the manthras , he started chiselling a piece of jackfruit tree. To his surprise, he found that it was the form of ‘Ganapathy’ that was taking shape. Thus he asked the chief priest to enshrine ‘Ganapathy’ also after the consecration of Siva. The chief priest denied. “This is a Siva temple. Ganapathy cannot be consecrated here.”
Perumthachan, desperate, walked towards the east and thus reached Kizhakkekkara Siva temple where the temple priest was preparing offerings for the lord- Unniyappam. Perumthachan asked him “Can you not sanctify this Ganapathy here ?”. The priest agreed. Perumthachan viewed the place- Siva facing east, in front of that it is Ganga, Parvathy turned towards the west. Southwest there is Sastha and northwest Subrahmanya. If Ganapathy too is installed, Siva family will be complete. The place will be none other than Kailas itself. Thus Ganapathy was installed southeast by Perumthachan.
Perumthachan then asked the priest “ Unni Ganapathy must be hungry. What is the sacrificial food that you have prepared?”. “Unniyappam” was the reply. On a leaf, the priest placed six to seven Unniyappams stringed together. Perumthachan, with all his heart devoted his first offerings-Koottappam. Koottappam is still known to be the most wanted nivedhyam for Kottarakara Ganapathy. After the offerings Perumthachan affectionately declared “Though father is the main diety, the son will be much more famous”.
His words proved to be true. Kizhakkekkara Siva temple is now known as Kottarakara Ganapathy temple.
Subrhmanya Swami, Sree Dharma Shasta Temple and Naga Daivangal are the updavathakal in the temple. Thaipooyam and skanda shasti are the major festivals and functions in the Subrhmanya Swami temple. Special bhajana and poojas are being performed in the Dharmasastha nada during the Mandalakalam. The Nagaprathishta was done by Pambummekkattu Thanthrikal, Ayilyam Pooja conducting Thulam month of malayalam era for the Naga Daivangal.
Along with the name Kottarakkara Ganpathy Temple, the other name that instantaneously strikes one’s mind is Kottarakkara Uniappam. It was also the first offering of the famous sculptor Perumthachan, who carved the idol of Mahaganapathy and enshrined Ganapathy at Kottarakkara. It was actually six to seven unaiaapams stringed together and made as an offering, which is otherwise known as Koottappam.
Ganapathy was so particular that his favourite ‘nivedhyam’ Unniappam should be made in front of him. Therefore, it is in front of the shrine of Ganapathy that the holy fire is lit for making Unniappam. Moreover, it is only after the sanctum sanctorum is open that the uniappam’s are made. Raw rice, jaggery, ‘kadali’- a variety of banana and Ganapathy’s favourite, ghee and sugar are the ingredients used for making unniappam. Right from dawn to dusk, unniappam’s are made and all of these together are made as an offering to the Lord at dusk. Later on, it is distributed freely to the devotees. This offering is known as Udayasthamana Pooja. This offering came into practice centuries ago when the issueless Kottarakkara Tahmpuran made such an offering for propitiating the Gods to bless him with a child. It is after one’s wishes are granted that the offering is made. Though, very expensive, there is a great rush among devotees, that it is even difficult to get a date for making the offering. This, and the heavy rush of devotees to Kottarakkara Ganapathy Temple speaks volumes of Lord Ganapathy’s love, care and concern towards them. Just aas Kathakali, which was first performed at Kottarakkara Ganapathy Temple, became famous worldwide, unniappam too has attained fame and is in wide circulation as Kottarakkara unniappam, just like Ambalapuzha ‘paalpayasam’.
Kottarakkara is known as a land of temples. The Padinjattinkkara Mahadeva temple, Manikandeswara temple, Kulasekharanalloor Sreekrishna temple, Thrikkannamangal Mahavishnu temple, Neduvathur bhagavathy temple are all famous temples. There are also many places which are believed to be associated with Ramayana. These are Jadayumangalam (Chadayamangalam), Valiyonkunnu (known in connection with Bali), Ugramkunnu (connection with Sugreeva) and also Poredam, which is known as the battlefield of Ravana and Jadayu.
The temple is 76 KM from Trivandrum International Airport, 26 KM from Kollam Junction, 800 m from Kottarakara station and 270 m from Kacheri Junction Bus Stop.
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The administrative officer Sree Maha Ganapathy Temple
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