Sunday, March 3, 2024
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Sri Vallabha Temple

Sri Vallabha Temple Interestingly the name Thiruvalla comes from the word "Thiru Valla Vazh", named after the deity Thiru Vallabhan (Vishnu) of the ancient Thiru Vallabha temple located here. The cultural or the old name of this place was Thiruvallabhapuram, meaning- the land of Vallabha/Vallabhan i.e. the land of Vishnu.

The temple which is located 2km away from Thiruvalla Town in Pathanamthitta district in Kerala, is one among the one hundred and eight vaishnava thirupathis in India, hence it is also one of the important pilgrim centers of the Vaishnavites (worshippers of Vishnu) all over the country. Incidentally, the temple finds mention in many of the Bhajans sung by the Alwars who are staunch Vaishnavites.

The temple complex enclosed in a large area in picturesque surroundings, holds the main sanctum dedicated to Lord Vishnu as well as smaller shrines dedicated to five other deities including Garudaswamy, Sathrusamharamoorthy, Ganapathy, Ayyappan and Kurayappaswamy. The sanctum sanctorum of the main shrine houses a six feet tall idol of Maha Vishnu. The temple built in typical Kerala style architecture has fine carvings and murals and the main shrine is surrounded by ‘Anakottils’ on all four sides.

The main feature of the temple is its 50 feet tall flag post carved out from a single rock, with a massive idol of Garuda (the eagle vehicle of Lord Vishnu) on top, believed to be created by the ‘Perumthachan’, an ancient legendary master craftsman from Kerala. The bottom of the flag post is believed to be deep enough to touch the underground water level. The large tank enclosed in a one storied structure near the temple is believed to be formed naturally from a spring.

Another peculiar feature of the temple is that women are not allowed near main sanctum sanctorum except on the Vishu and Thiruvathira days, and it is perhaps the only temple in Kerala where Kathakali is performed as a ritual offering everyday by the devotees after the evening Pooja.

The festivities of the temple arise twice a year, in February - March and in March – April.The ten day annual festival of the temple is held in February- March. The ‘Uthrasreebali’ festival celebrated in March – April, on the Makayiram asterism in the Malayalam month of Meenam is famous for its ‘Kettukazha’ procession through the streets of Thiruvalla with its colourful floats, Mayooranruthom, Ardhanareeswaranruthom, Sinkarimelom, traditional percussion and caparisoned elephants. Hundreds throng the streets to witness the procession. The fair held during the festivals, displays along with the usual fare, household utensils made of granite which is in great demand.

The temple is under the administration of the Travancore Devaswom Board.

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