Attukal Temple, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Date built:
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Major festivals
Locale: Attukal
District::  Thiruvananthapuram 
Address: Manacaud P.O, Attukal – Chiramukku Rd, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695009
Phone 04712463130
The Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is a Hindu religious shrine at Attukal, Trivandrum in Kerala, India. Goddess Bhadrakali (Kannaki), mounted over ‘vethala’, is the main deity in this temple. Bhadrakali, a form of Mahakali, who killed the demon king Daruka, believed to be born from the third eye of lord Shiva. ‘Bhadra’ means good and ‘Kali’ means goddess of time. So Bhadrakali is considered as the goddess of prosperity and salvation. Goddess ‘Attukal devi’, itself is the supreme mother ‘Bhaadrkali devi’, (in soumya aspect) the goddess of power and courage. She is often referred as Kannaki, the heroine of Ilanko Adikal’s ‘Silapathikaaram’. The temple is renowned for the annual Attukal Pongala festival, in which over three million women participate.[1] A festival that has figured in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the single largest gathering of women for a religious activity, the Attukal Pongala continues to draw millions of women with each passing year. According to the Attukal Temple Trust, around 4.5 million devotees are expected to attend the pongala in 2016. Attukal Temple is situated near the heart of the city, 2 kilometres away from Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, East Fort in Thiruvananthapuram. Devotees believe that all of their wishes will be fulfilled by the goddess, provide prosperity and can attain salvation. Attukal devi is often worshipped in 3 forms such as Maha Saraswati (goddess of knowledge), Maha Lakshmi (goddess of wealth) and Mahakali/ Durga/ Parvathy

 

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Legend / Local stories

The Goddess Kannaki (Bhadrakali) is the main deity in this temple. The mythology behind the temple, relates to the story of Kannagi who was married to Kovalan, son of a wealthy merchant. After marriage, Kovalan met a dancer Madhavi and spent all his riches on her forgetting his wife. But when he was penniless, he went back to Kannagi. The only precious thing left to be sold was Kannagi’s pair of anklets. They went with it to the king of Madurai to sell it. But an anklet was stolen from the Queen which looked similar to Kannagi’s. When Kovalan tried to sell it, he was mistaken for the theft and beheaded by the king’s soldiers.

Kannagi got infuriated when she heard the news and rushed to the King with the second pair of anklet. She broke one of the anklets and it contained rubies while the Queen’s contained pearls. She cursed the city of Madurai, and it is said that due to her chastity, the curse came true and Madurai burned. Kannagi is said to have attained salvation after the Goddess of the city appeared before her.

It is said that on her way to Kodungallur, Kannagi passed Attukal. She took the form of a little girl. An old man was sitting on the banks of a stream, when the girl went to him and asked him whether he could help her cross it. Surprised to find the young girl alone, he took her home. But she disappeared. She came back in his sleep and asked him to build a temple where he found 3 golden lines in his grove. He went ahead and did the same, and it is said that this is at the location of the present Attukal temple. Goddess Kodungallooramma (Bhadrakali/Kannaki) is believed to be present at Attukal during the festival days. Ponkala is offered to celebrate the victory of Kannaki over the king Pandya. Another story says that ‘Attukal devi’ is Bhadrakali, born from the third eye of lord Shiva to kill the demon king Daruka. Mother Bhadrakali is a form of Shakthi devi (Mahakali) worshipped mainly in Kerala. ‘Bhadra’ means good and ‘Kali’ means goddess of time. So Bhadrakali is often referred as the goddess of prosperity, time and salvation. Mohanlal got married at this temple in 1988.

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