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Temples/Temple Legends in Kerala connected with Mahabharata

Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram

Velankali is performed in memory of Mahabharata war in the temple during festivals. (1)

Lokanar Kavu (8 km east of Badagara)

Bhadrakali, Siva and Vishnu Temples (2).

Katampuzha Bhagavathy Temple

Vettichira, Malappuram Dist ( Via ) Kuttippuram, Valancheri (2).

This temple is associated with the Kirata episode of Mahabharata. Arjuna observed high vows to appease Siva. Siva and Parvati in the guise of Kiratas, went to meet Arjuna. Duryodhana had sent Mukasura in the guise of a wild boar to disturb Arjuna's penance. Both Arjuna and Siva shot arrows at the boar and the boar was killed. A dispute began about who killed the boar. In the subsequent fight, Siva's body was pierced by Arjuna's arrows. Seeing this Parvati cursed so that the arrows sent by Arjuna became flowers when they fell on Siva's body.

Katampuzha Bhagavathy is worshipped as Parvati in the form of Kirata. An offering called Pumutal is performed here in which the installation is covered with chethi flowers in memory of Arjuna's arrows becoming flowers as they fell on Siva's body.

Other installations are Narasimhamurty, Sudarshan Chakra (both on the West side), Naga Kanya (North side) and Ayyappa (South Side).

About one and a half west of the Bhagavathy Temple there is another temple, Matampiyar Kavu Temple where Siva is worshipped as Kirata Siva. The idol is shown wearing bows and arrows. While the Devi faces West, Siva faces East.

Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple

13 km south of Ambalappuzha town.

The temple was established by Ambalappuzha Kings at a site belonging to Ambanattu Panikkar, an Ezhava landlord (2).

Pallippana is performed once in every 12 years. During Pallippana, Nizhalkkuttu Song of Mavaratam Song is sung by Velathis to rejuvenate Lord Sri Krishna. After 12 Pallippanas, Vijayabali is performed (3).

Raja Rajeswara Temple, Taliparamba

Beautiful mural paintings of the scenes from Kirata episode are shown on the walls of the Sanctum Sanctorum of this Siva temple.

Vatakkumnatha Temple, Thrissur

This temple has a connection with the Kirata episode. During the terrible fight between Siva and Arjuna, Siva suffered severe blows on his head. Then the divine physician, Dhanwantaramurty prescribed abhisheka with Ghee. (2)

Sri Krishna Temple, Guruvayur

According to a legend, the idol of Vishnu which was worshipped by Vasudeva and Devaki at Dwaraka is installed at this temple.

After the snake sacrifice, King Janamejaya was afflicted by leprosy. The King came to Guruvayur and worshipped the lord and got cured of the disease.

The famous Guruvayur Ekadasi is the day on which Krishna instructed Arjuna Bhagavad Gita.

Krishnanattam is performed as a votive offering. This temple art deals with the story of Krishna in 8 plays.

Purnathrayeesa Temple, Tripunithura

The idol of Vishnu was given by Krishna to Arjuna after the episode of Santhanagopalam. (2)

Janardhana Temple, Varkala

(2) Srikrishna conquered the Janas (Asuras) residing in the sea. Hence Srikrishna is called Janardhana. This temple was sunk by the sea. Later the temple was reclaimed from the sea. The temple was constructed by Pandya kings.

Bhagavathy Temple, Cherthala

Velankali is performed (in memory of Mahabharata) during festivals (1). On the south side, Utayon (Kshetrapalan) is installed.

Bhagavathy Temple, Chettikulangara

During kettukazhca, Five chariots and Six horses and large forms of Bhima, Panchali are taken around.

Bhagavathy Temple, Thanikkutam

(10 km away from Thrissur) Pana is performed annually. Kshetrapalan is installed.

Bhagavathy Temple, Kodungallur

Installations of Kshetrapalan, Vasurimala and Siva.

Mannarassala Nagaraja Temple

Pallippana is performed.

(1) Folklore Dictionary - Dr. M.V.Vishnu Namboodiri

(2) Notes from the Book Keralathile Pradhana Kshetrangalilute by Kunhikuttan Elayath, H & C Publishing House, Thrissur (August 2002)

(3) Based on information given in the book Ambalappuzha Srikrishnaswamy Kshetram by Dr. Ambalappuzha Gopakumar, Chapter 10, Pallippanayude Porul (Meaning of Pallippana), Ambalappuzha Srikrishnaswamy Kshetra Vikasana Trust (2000).

Notes prepared by A. Purushothaman, September 10, 2004.