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Pilgrimages of Kerala

  1. Thiruvananthapuram (Thiruvananthapuram Divya Desam)
  2. Aranmula (Thiruvaaran Vilai Divya Desam)
  3. Thirupuliyoor (Thirupuliyoor Divya Desam)
  4. Guruvayur (Famous pilgrimage of Sri Krishna)
  5. Ambalapuzha (Famous pilgrimage of Sri Krishna)
  6. Sabarimala (Famous pilgrimage of Sri Ayyappa)
  7. Triprayar Rama (Famous pilgrimage of Rama)
  8. Ettumanoor (Famous pilgrimage of Shiva)
  9. Vaikom (Famous pilgrimage of Shiva)
  10. Chengannur Bhagawati (Famous pilgrimage of Devi)
  11. Chottanikkara Devi (Famous pilgrimage of Devi)


Divya Desams:

Thiruvananthapuram Divya Desam - Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple:

Sri Vishnu Thiruvananthapuram Ananta Padmanabhasamy Temple Puranic Event:
According to legend, Sri Vishnu was pleased with the devotion of sage Divakara, and appeared before him in the form of a child. The sage requested the child to stay with him. The child agreed on the condition that he would leave if he is ever chastised. The sage had to put up with lot of mischievous pranks of the child, but once when the child swallowed a shaligram the sage scolded the child. The child disappeared saying that he can be found in the Anantha forest. The sage realised that the child was Sri Vishnu Himself and went to the forest. There the Lord gave him darshan by crashing a huge tree an transforming it into the Anantha Sayana posture of the Lord. The sage requested the Lord to shrink in size so that he could behold and worship Him. The Lord complied and thus manifested as Anantha Padmanabhaswamy (in the posture lying on the Adi Shesha).

The God is Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy.


Pilgrimage:
The Thiruvananthapuram Divya Desam is located in the Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala.



Thiruvaaran Vilai Divya Desam (Aranmula) - Sri Parthasarathy Perumal Temple:

Sri Krishna Aranmula Temple Puranic Event:
According to legend, the Pandavas after making Parikshit the king of Hastinapura set put for an extensive pigrimage. During this time Arjuna installed the idol of Parthasarathy at Nilackal. Later it was shifted to Aranmula in a raft constructed with six bamboo poles. In Malayalam "six bamboos" is called Aranmula, and hence the name of the village.

The God is Sri Parthasarathy Perumal.


Pilgrimage:
The Thiruvaaran Vilai Divya Desam is located in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala.



Thirupuliyoor Divya Desam - Sri Maayapiran Perumal Temple:

Thirupuliyoor Divya Desam Puranic Event:
The temple legend is associated with Bhima, one of the Pandava brother. According to legend, Bhima worshipped the Lord here and was instrumental in the construction of this temple. The gada of Bhima is believed to be present in this temple.

The God is Sri Maayapiran Perumal.


Pilgrimage:
The Thirupuliyoor Divya Desam is located in the Alappuzha district of Kerala.

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Famous pilgrimages of Sri Krishna:

1. Aranmula: Refer above under Divya Desam



2. Guruvayurappan of Guruvayur:

Sri Krishna - Famous pilgrimage of Guruvayurappan: Guruvayur is associated with the legend of Guruvayurappan (Sri Krishna). According to this legend, the ancient idol of Guruvayurappan was worshipped by Lord Brahma in Dwaraka. When Dwaraka was submerged and Sri Krishna decided to leave His mortal body at Prabhasa Kshetra, He gave this idol to His devotee Uddhava. Uddhava sought the help of Guru (the preceptor of gods) and Vayu (the wind god) to find a holy place to install the idol. Searching for a holy place, they entered the land of Kerala created by Parashurama. They came to Rudra Tirtha, a beautiful lake of lotus flowers where Shiva and Parvati were staying. By their blessings the idol of Sri Krishna was installed near the lake. Since Uddhava sought the help of Guru and Vayu in selecting the temple site, the place came to be known as Guruvayupura and Sri Krishna is lovingly called Guruvayurappan.

- Guruvayur is located in the Thrissur district of Kerala.




3. Ambalapuzha Krishna Temple:

Sri Krishna - Famous pilgrimage of Sri Krishna: Ambalapuzha is associated with the legend of Vilvamangal Swamy. According to this legend, once the Maharaja of Travancore (Poordam Thirunal Thampuran) and Vilvamangal Swamy, an ardent devotee of Sri Krishna were travelling in a boat along the Kuttanadan backwaters. While travelling they heard melodious music of flute emanating from the top of a banyan tree. The maharaja could not see anything but Vilvamangal saw a bright glow and the form of Bala Murali Krishna. Vilvamangal was overwhelmed with joy and listened to the melodious music till the glow of Bala Murali Krishna disappeared.

- Ambalapuzha is located in the Alappuzha district of Kerala.


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Famous pilgrimage of Sri Ayyappa:

Ayyappa of Sabarimala:

Sri Ayyappan - Famous pilgrimage of Ayyappa: Sabarimala is associated with the legend of Ayyappa, also called Sasta. According to this legend, Sasta was born out of the union of Lord Shiva and the Mohini Avatara of Lord Vishnu. Hence he is called Hariharaputra. The king of Pandalam found the beautiful child on the banks of river Pampa. Since the king had no issues, he adopted the child as his son. The boy mastered all arts and sciences quickly. He wore a blue diamond around his neck, so was called Manikanta. Sometime later a child was born to the king, but the king decided to make Ayyappa as the heir apparent. The queen wanted her own son to become the king. So she hatched a plot to eliminate Ayyappa. She feigned serious illness. The royal physician who was an accomplice in the plot prescribed the milk of a tigress as a cure.

Ayyappa set out to secure the milk of a tigress. He went to the forest carrying on his head a bundle with coconut and other items. In the forest He met Indra who was harassed by demoness Mahishi. The demoness obtained a boon from Lord Brahma that only the son of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu can kill him. At the request of Indra, Ayyappa killed the demoness. Indra in turn directed his followers to take the form of tigers and tigresses and follow Ayyappa. When Ayyappa returned to the palace with tiger's milk and a group of tigers, the queen was frightened and understood the greatness of Ayyappa. Ayyappa revealed to the king that He was Dharma Sastha who have come to establish Dharma in the world. The king constructed a temple of Ayyappa and started the custom of pilgrimage to Sabarimala.

- Sabarimala is located in the Pathanamthitta district of Maharashtra.


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Famous pilgrimage of Sri Rama:

Triprayar Rama:

Sri Rama Triprayar Rama Temple - Famous pilgrimage of Sri Rama: Triprayar Rama is associated with the legend of Vakkey Kaimal. According to this legend, Vakkey Kaimal, a local chieftain and an ardent devotee once had a dream in which a person indicated that four idols had been washed ashore in the nearby sea, and each of them are to be consecrated at alloted places. Kaimal went to the seashore early in the morning and found the four idols lying there - of Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Satrughna. He duly installed them in four temples whose locations were directed in the dream - Rama at Triprayar, Bharata at Kutalmanikyam (Irinjalakuda), Lakshmana at Moozhikulam and Satrughna at Payammal.

- During the preparation of installation of the Rama temple at Triprayar, an unknown voice told that the idol should be installed in the place above which a peacock would fly in the sky. On the auspicious day however, there was no sign of the peacock. When a devotee appeared holding a bunch of peacock feathers, it was taken as a sign of peacock itself and the pratistha was performed. Later on however, the peacock appeared in the sky and below it the balikkal or altar was installed. The altar kept moving round and round. One day Naronathu Bhranthan, a yogi came there and knowing the cause of the movement, fixed a nail on the balikkal. The movement stopped after that. The place where the nail was fixed can be seen even today.

- The image of Rama has four hands holding Sankha, Chakra, Kodanda (Bow) and Mala (Garland). There are idols of Sridevi and Bhumi Devi said to be installed by Vilwamangal Swamiyar after he had a vision of the Devis offering prayers to the Lord.

- Festivals: The two famous festivals are Ekadasi in Vrischikam (Nov - Dec) and Pooram in Meenam (Mar - Apr). On the Ekadasi festival Sri Rama is taken out in procession. Many elephants are taken out in this procession. The Pooram festival is celebrated for seven days starting on Makiram asterism in meenam (Mar - Apr) and ending on the Pooram asterism.

- Triprayar Rama temple is located in the Thrissur district of Kerala.

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Famous pilgrimages of Shiva:

1. Ettumanoor (Ettumanur) Shiva Temple:

Sri Shiva Ettumanoor Shiva Temple - Famous pilgrimage of Shiva: Ettumanoor (Ettumanur) is associated with the legend of Khara. According to a legend, Khara (the asura of Ramayana) performed intense penance and propitiated Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram. The Lord granted him boons along with three Shiva Lingas. Khara held two Lingas in his hands and third in his mouth, and went southwards journeying in the sky. On the way, he descended to take some rest in a place. There he put the Linga on his right hand on a sacred spot. The Linga got fixed on the ground and Khara could not remoce it. At this juncture, sage Vyaghrapada appeared there. Khara entrusted the Linga to the care of the sage and proceeded further. This is the famous Shiva Linga of Vaikom.

Khara installed the Linga on his left hand at Ettumanoor (or Ettumanur), 25 km away.

Khara set the Linga on his mouth at Kaduthuruthy, midway between the two places.

- According to another legend, once Khara performed intense penance and propitiated Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva appeared before him and told him to ask for a boon. Khara asked the boon that Shiva should be always with him. Once Khara took the form of a deer and started roaming around freely. Shiva kept following the deer but finally got exhausted. So he carried the deer in his hands. In Malayalam Ettiya means carried, Maan means deer and Ooru means place. So the place came to be known as Ettumanur.

- The Shiva in Ettumanur is considered to be of Aghora (Fierce) form (in conrast to the benign form at Vaikom). The Shiva Linga is two feet high and is decorated with flower garlands and ornaments made of gold and silver.

- The temple has a big lamp which is said to be installed in 1545 AD, and is kept burning since that time.

- Festival: An annual festival is held in the Malayalam month Kumbham (Feb - Mar) which is celebrated for ten days.

- Ettumanoor is located in the Kottyam district of Kerala.




2. Vaikom Shiva Temple:

Sri Shiva Vaikom Shiva Temple - Famous pilgrimage of Shiva: Vaikom is associated with the legend of Khara. According to a legend, Khara (the asura of Ramayana) performed intense penance and propitiated Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram. The Lord granted him boons along with three Shiva Lingas. Khara held two Lingas in his hands and third in his mouth, and went southwards journeying in the sky. On the way, he descended to take some rest in a place. There he put the Linga on his right hand on a sacred spot. The Linga got fixed on the ground and Khara could not remoce it. At this juncture, sage Vyaghrapada appeared there. Khara entrusted the Linga to the care of the sage and proceeded further. This is the famous Shiva Linga of Vaikom.

Khara installed the Linga on his left hand at Ettumanoor (or Ettumanur), 25 km away.

Khara set the Linga on his mouth at Kaduthuruthy, midway between the two places.

- Vaikom is the place where Lord Shiva abides in His benign form. Sage Vyaghrapada worshipped this Shiva Linga with great devotion. So the place is also called Vyaghrapuri which later become Vaikom. It is said that, pleased with the devotion of sage Vyaghrapada, Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati gave darshan to the sage under a Peepal tree in the early hours of Ashtami of the month of Vrischikam (Nov - Dec). This location is preserved with a raised platform where pujas are offered.

- The Shiva Linga here is decorated with flower garlands and various ornaments which includes trinetra (three eyes of Shiva) and the crescent moon.

- Feeding of devotees on special ocassions is one of the characteristic feature of the Vaikom temple. The temple prasad is said to have curative powers.

- Festival: The most important festival of the temple is the Ashtami in the month of Vrischikam (Nov - Dec). On this day sage Vyaghrapada had darshan of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati. This annual festival is celebrated for 13 days with Ashtami on the 12th day.

- Vaikom is located in the Kottyam district of Kerala.


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Famous pilgrimages of Devi:

1. Chengannur Bhagawati:

Chengannur_Bhagawati Temple - Famous temple of Bhagawati: According to legend, during the marriage of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati at Kailasha, crores of devas and asuras assembled there. Concerned that the earth would tilt towards the north, Lord Shiva requested sage Agastya to proceed to the south to maintain the balance. Sage Agastya was disappointed that he would miss the celestial wedding. Knowing this, Lord Shiva granted him divine sight to see the marriage ceremony from south. Further, Shiva promised that He and Devi Parvati would come and grant him darshan in the south after the marriage. Sage Agastya went to the south and meditated at Sonadri. After the marriage ceremony, Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati came to that place and gave him darshan. At that place the Devi had her menses. After the purificatory bath, the divine couple stayed there for twenty-eight days. Even today the idol made up of Panchaloha (five metals) gets her periods and the ritual of purificatory bath is undertaken.

- Chengannur Bhagawati temple is located in the Alappuzha district of Kerala.




2. Chottanikkara Devi:

Chottanikkara Devi Chottanikkara Devi Temple - Famous temple of Chottanikkara Devi: According to legend there lived a man called Kannappan with his young daughter Thevi. His wife had passed away and Kannappan loved his daughter dearly. However Kannappan was of cruel nature and believed in attaining prowess by performing animal sacrifice everyday. For this he used to procure cows by hook or crook which he used to sacrifice daily. People were afraid of Kannappan due to his cruel nature and the fear of losing their cows. One day he brought two cows along with a tender calf. He kept the calf in reserve to sacrifice it when required. In the meantime his daughter began to love the calf dearly. When the need came to sacrifice the calf, the daughter vehemently oppossed and told her father to sacrifice her also along with the calf. Kannappan was torn between his love for his daughter and the fear of not performing the sacrifice. His daughter further asked his father to examine whether he had earned any merit due to all his sacrifices. Kannappan was transformed from this day and he started living a sober life showering his affection on both his daughter and his calf. However as fate would have it, the daughter of Kannappan passed away one day. Kannappan was disconsolate. From that day his center of affection was the calf. The calf gradually grew up into a cow. One day he had a dream that there was a divine being by the side of the calf (which is now a cow). Next morning when he went to the cowshed he saw the cow turned into a perforated stone and there was another stone lying by its side. A saint suddenly appeared in the scene and told Kannappan that he has now become free from all his sins, because the calf on whom he bestowed his affection and nurtured was none other than Lord Vishnu and His consort Goddess Mahalakshmi who had taken abode in his shed. The saint told Kannappan to dedicate his life to the worship of Lakshmi Narayana and then disappeared. (It is believed that Kannappan was born as Vilwamangalam Swamiyar)

Many years and generations passed and the place got covered with dense forest. One day, a Pulayi girl came there to cut grass. When she sharpened the sickle on a raised stone, she found blood oozing out of it. She shrieked and appeared to be possessed by some spirits. Finally Edattu Namboodir, a pious man revealed that the stone had the presence of the Mother Goddess, and so finally the shrine of Chottanikkar Devi was built.

It is believed that the sanctum sanctorium of Chottanikkara Devi is the place of Kannappan's cottage and the moolasthanam was the place of th original cowshed.

- Chottanikkara Devi temple is located in the Ernakulam district of Kerala.


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Pilgrimages by States:

North India: Jammu and Kashmir - Himachal Pradesh - Uttarakhand - Punjab - Haryana - Rajasthan - Uttar Pradesh

West India: Gujarat - Maharashtra

Central India: Madhya Pradesh

East India: Assam - Meghalaya - Tripura - Jharkhand - Odisha - West Bengal

South India: Karnataka - Andhra Pradesh - Kerala - Tamil Nadu



Bharatavarsha - The Land of Gods and Sages:

1. Stotras by Deity:
Initial: Ganesha - Hanuman - Gurudeva - Gayatri
Tridevas: Brahma - (Vishnu - Narasimha - Rama - Krishna) - Shiva
Tridevis: Saraswati - (Lakshmi - Tulasi - Bhoomi) - Parvati
Others: Murugan - Surya - Ganga - Yamuna - Narmada - Others
Final: Vedas - Brahman

2. Pilgrimages by Deity:
Initial: Ganesha
Tridevas: Brahma - (Vishnu - Narasimha - Rama - Krishna) - Shiva
Tridevis: Saraswati - Lakshmi - (Parvati - Shakambari)
Others: Murugan - Ganga

3. Sadhana: Sadhana - Hermitages - Penances

4. Saints: Ramakrishna - Vivekananda - Ramana - Saints

5. Sacred Geography: Forests - Mountains - Rivers - Lakes

6. Puranas: Scriptures

7. Religious Life: Stotras - Puja - Pilgrimages - Festivals - Varnashramas - Samskaras - Traditions

8. Other Aspects: Sanskrit - Arts - Music - Dance - Medicine - Architecture - Astronomy

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Om, May there be Peace in Heaven,
May there be Peace in the Sky,
May there be Peace in the Earth,
May there be Peace in the Water,
May there be Peace in the Plants,
May there be Peace in the Trees,
May there be Peace in the Gods in the various Worlds,
May there be Peace in Brahman,
May there be Peace in All,
May there be Peace Indeed within Peace,
Giving Me the Peace which Grows within Me,
Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.

(Shanti Mantra of Upanishad)

Preserve Nature,
And Nature will preserve Us,
Simplify Life,
And make the Nature thrive,
Plant Trees,
And make our planet Green.

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Green Message: The Evergreen Messages of Spirituality, Sanskrit and Nature

Last updated on Sep-2017

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