Mahishasura Mardhini Temple, Valvachagostam, Kanyakumari
Temple Opening Time
The Temple remains open from 5.30 am to10 am and 5 pm to 8 pm.
Annual festival is a 10-day festival in the month of Medam (April /May). Vaikasi Visakam is also an important celebration here. On the 9th day of Vaikasi Visakam festival, Devi is decorated by all Aparana (jewels). She goes around the temple for Palli Vetta (hunting). The idol is taken 7 times around the temple. The bow and arrow after the ritual is gifted to some devotee. There is no Devi Aaraattu. 5 days prior to Tirukarthika day in the Vrischikam month (Nov/Dec), Thiruvonam, Navarathri, Pongala during Pongal (Jan) are the other main festivals here. Kalabha chaarthu is done on all days in Karthikai month is famous here.
Legend / Local stories
It is believed that Parasurama, who had killed his mother Renuka to satisfy the wishes of his father, wanted his sin to be forgiven. So, on the advice of Brahmins he went to Himalayas. He left his sword in his village (Val = sword, Vacha = keeping, Goshtam = temple). There the Chera King is said to have constructed a big temple at this place and dedicated it to the Goddess Bhagavathi.
Srikoil and Marudha Mandapam:
The story goes that Kalisankara Variyar (belonging to the ambalavaasi community – serving the temple) was an ardent Devi devotee and a tantric too. He was working as an accountant to Edathara Potti who was well known in this belt at that time. One-day Variyar was returning home late after work. He found two beautiful ladies crossing him in the night. He could identify that they were not normal ladies, but were divine beings. He gave them a seat beneath the nearby Marutha tree and left the place assuring that he will get a temple for the two beings.
The two were Mahishasura Mardini and her friend Yakshi. He consulted Edathara Potti and with the help of Venadu king, the temple was erected. The main deity was Mahishasura Mardini and the Yakshi was offered a place in the north-east part of the temple, within the naalambalam. The place where Variyar initially made the two to wait is a four pillar mandapam. Twice in a year – during Tirukarthika and during the annual 10-day festival, the Yakshi gets offerings.
On Tirukarthika, Devi is escorted from this mandapam into the temple with an elaborate ritual. This is done by a young girl, less than 12 years old, from the ambalavaasi family who must fast and observe Vratham for 48 days. It is believed that the Devi comes with the girl from the mandapam to the temple. Tulabaram, Nava kalasa puja, and Devi avahana puja (tantric puja) are done in this mandapam. Hence the sanctity of the temple is equally distributed to both the places, the main Srikoil and this Marudha mandapam. This is a very rare phenomenon found in this temple, that we rarely see anywhere else.
How to Reach:
The Temple is located at about 2.5 Kms from Samiyar Madam, 2.5 Kms from Samiyarmadam Bus Stop, 3 Kms from Palliyadi, 7 Kms from Marthandam, 8 Kms from Thiruvattaru, 14 Kms from Kulasekharam, 9.5 Kms from Thuckalay, 12 Kms from Padmanabhapuram, 12 Kms from Kuzhithurai, 15 Kms from Colachel, 24 Kms from Nagercoil, 44 Kms from Kanyakumari and 53 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram.
Valvachagostam is situated in the Nagercoil – Trivandrum National Highway (NH47). If coming from Nagercoil towards Marthandam on NH-47, at Eravipudhurkadai take a left into Palliyadi road. Travel for 3 km and take a left just before the railway bridge and the temple is situated at about 1 Km from this place. Nearest Railway Stations are located at Palliyadi (5 Kms) and Kuzhithurai (7 Kms). Nearest Airport is located at Thiruvananthapuram (52 Kms).