The Thiruvenkitachalapathy Temple situated at Thiruvenkidom desom which is a kilometer to the north east of the famous SreeKrishna Temple, Guruvayur is an ancient and unique shrine in many respects. The most notes worthy point is that the deity worshipped at this temple is the same Lord Thiruvenkitachalapathy (Balaji) worshipped at the world famous Tirumala Temple in Andrapradesh. As per astrological findings made by reputed astrologer, late Puduseri Vishnu Namboodiri, more than one thousand years ago, a sage from the Tirumala Temple came over to Guruvayur and wishing to establish a temple for his Lord Venkitachalapathi at Guruvayur where there is already a temple for Lord Sreekrishna, sat by the side of the present temple tank, prayed for and obtained permission of the Lord for such a temple at Guruvayur and then established this temple after bringing an idol from Tirupati.
This astrological finding is borne out by the simple fact that the locality where this temple is situated is known as Thiruvenkidom from time immemorial. The abode of Thiruvenkitachalapathy, is naturally Thiruvenkidom . It might be the wish of the great Lord that where he is already worshipped as Sreekrishna, he should be worshipped as Venkitachalapathy also. That must explain this extraordinary phenomenon of the three different manifestations at the same place, to perhaps make true. His declaration that “whoever worships me in which ever manner, I bless him in the same manner”. There is no doubt, that in that distant past when communication and contact facilities wore totally lacking the sage could come from Tirumala and establish this temple at distant Guruvayur is entirely due to the Lord’s will and blessings. This temple could very well be treated as established by the Lord himself, the sage being only an instrument in His hand.
But here also man’s violent nature and maliciousness manifested. Enemies of the temple later mutilated the idol. The head and right hand of the idol were cut off and later generations didn’t know whose idol it was. This continued till 1974 In 1974, some devotees arranged the devaprasna (astrological search) mentioned earlier and came to know the real nature of the deity. The devotees then went to Tirumala, arranged an idol from there, took it to all the temples in South India, finally brought to Thiruvenkidom and reinstallation was done in June 1977 in a grand ceremony by the Thanthri of the Guruvayur temple, Brahmasree Chennas Parameswaran Namboodiripad, and Periya Jeer Swami of Tirumala who is believed to be the successor of the founder sage of this temple. Thus the Lord in his divine grace manifested himself again at Thiruvenkidom. Now most of the devotees who come to Guruvayur have darsan of Lord Venkitachalapathy.
Another unique feature of this temple is that about six hundred years after the original installation of Lord venkitachalapathy an idol of Bhagavathy (Mother goddess) was also installed here. This Mother goddess through her benign nature and generous blessings soon began to be worshipped as the ruling mother of the entire population. There soon grew and emotional tie between the Mother and the devotees. She was the refuge and protector of all the devotees. No body returned empty handed from her Divine presence.
After the idol of Thiruvenkitachalapathy was mutilated it was the Mother’s shrine which retained the tradition of this temple. The Mother continued to be worshipped during this cloudy period. This is explained by the fact that for the local people this is still the temple of the Thiruvenkidom Bhagavathy as the presence of Thiruvenkitachalapathy came to be known only in 1974, Now both Thiruvenkitachalapathy and Bhagavathy have equal importance. The main Sreekovil is of Thiruvenkitchalapathy. Bhagavathy’s Srikovil is in the south East end of the valiambalam.
Ganapathy (Vigneswaran) Saraswathy, Ayyappan, Nagaraja and Brahmarakshas are also worshipped as upadevadas. A separate shrine is also built for the original founder of the temple, Ramanujaryar.
After the reinstallation in 1977, an elaborate systems of poojas and rites have been prescribed. Pooja is done three times for Bhagavathy and Venkitachalapathy. Milk and navakabishekams are done for Venkitachalapathy preceding the Uchapooja. Poomoodal is done daily for Bhagavathy as part of the Uchapooja. This is done as offerings by the devotees.
Muttirickal and Poomoodal are very important offerings for Bhagavathy. Muttirickal is done by ceremoniously breaking a coconut at the feet of the Bhagavathy. This is done for removing all obstacles in the path of the devotee in all matters connected with his life, like getting job, passing of examinations, Marriages etc. Poomoodal on the other hand grants all his wishes and ensures success in all ventures. This is borne out by the fact that Poomoodal is booked in advance up to 2029 now. Only one Poomoodal is done on one day. Booking is continuing.
Makarachowwa is the most important festival of Bhagavathy. Falling on the first Tuesday of the Malayalam month of Makaram, (January) this festival has become the festival of the whole community. There is such an emotional approach to this festival. There will not be a single person in and around Guruvayur who does not visit the temple and pay homage to the Bhagavathy on that day. The festival is inaugurated ten days in advance by hoisting the flag and the collection of para (conventional offering of grains to the full measure by devotees to the Bhagavathy) by the Komaram, starts the next day. Komaram is a person supposed to be possessed by the power of the goddess and is in an ecstatic state and what ever he says and does is believed to be done by the goddess. For this purpose the Komaram visits every home to the accompaniment of drums etc. Besides the temple court yard will be filled with paras on the day of the festival, offered by devotees.
The acceptance of these paras’ by the Komaram at the end of the festival procession is a colorful ceremony charged with devotion. Procession with caparisoned elephants at noon and early morning and the final rites in the “Pattu Panthal” are the important features of the festival now laksharchana is also being conducted on this day. But the sense of intense devotion that one feels on darsan on this day accompanied by the “Aravanapayasam” which is the special prasadam is beyond words. It is to be experienced.
Karkidaka Pooja, Vishuvela (New year), Navarathri and Pongala are the other festivals relating to Bhagavathy During the last two years Sangeetharchana was conducted during the Navarathri festival and the signs are that this will be a great success in the coming years.
The annual Brahmoltsavam of Lord Thiruvenkitachalapathy is being celebrated in preceded by five days of Tantric rites and the six day on the Malayalam month of medom (April – May) with the flag hoisting done on the punarvasum star. Utsavam is being celebrated every year since the reinstallation in 1977. As per the custom followed in the Kerala temples, and as prescribed in the Thantra Sasthra a Naveekarana kalasam, comprising of Thantric rites, Including reinforcement of the installation of the idol and rejuvenation of the power of the deities was conducted in 2008. One thousand pots (Kalasam) filled with various liquids and charged with chaithanya (divine power) generated by the “manthras” chanted by the priests are poured over the idol to rejuvenate the power of the deity as part of the Naveekarana Kalasam.
During the usual annual festival Abishekam with 108 Kalasams for Bhagavathy and sahasrakalasham for Thiruvenkitachalapathy with Brahmakalasam are conducted as prescribed after the Naveekarana Kalasam.
Thantric rites for the rectification in the erosion of the power of the deity due to omissions and commissions are an important part of the anual festival. The rejuvenated energy overflows and envelops the surroundings lending end energy to all. Public feeding and cultural programmes are also conducted during the ulsavam. The Lord is taken the around the temple on a caparisoned elephant followed with the drums five times each morning and evening during the first three days after the flag hoisting. This is a important feature of the utsavam.
Most important days of the Brahmotsavam are the last three days, Utsavabali (auspicious for darsan) Pallivetta (Symbolic destruction of evil) and Aarattu (holy immersion of the Lord in the tank) marking the culmination of the festival. The Arat procession with the Lord on an caparisoned elephants taken around the main roads of the village is a colorful sight and at the same time is a devotionally charged experience. The devotees flock at their gates with various offerings in their ecstasy to receive the Lord which happens only once in a year.
After the procession returns to the temple the Lord is immersed in the temple tank after thantric rites and the devotees who throng on the main ghats of the temple tank also simultaneously dip themselves in the temple tank. Here also the emphasis on devotion, dipping in the temple tank charged with divine power on the idol’s immersion.
After the arattus the Lord is taken again on the mounted elephant for nine pradhakshinams around the temple and at the end of the nine pradhakshinas the flag is deposited and the ulsavam comes to an end. Twenty five Kalababishekams are done again and ulsavam comes to an end with Athazhapooja and Sree bhoodabali. The Ayyappan Vilakku Festival which is being conducted in the premises of this temple on the 15th December every year, for the last forty years by the Guruvayur Ayyappa Bhajana Sanghom has become an important annual event of this temple. The public feeding in the morning, noon and at night without any restriction of religion, caste or creed or numbers adds weight to the solemn, devotional and pious atmosphere. Lord Ayyappa’s presence is felt everywhere. Pongala (Preparing food (prasadam)) by the lady devotees at the temple premises and its presentation to the Goddess Bhagavati is also being conducted on the last day of “Mandala Masam” preferably it falls on 20th or 27th of December every year. Thousands of lady devotees will participate in the holy function.
In order to enable the devotees to have a constructive role in the worship of Lord, we have devised a scheme of endowment. We accept fixed Deposits of Rs.25,000/- (Twenty five thousand) only each from devotees and a day’s Pooja till eternity is conducted in the depositors name, (day to be chosen by the depositor) and prasadam, is sent to him. Several persons have already joined these worthy schemes. We invite the devotees to join us in this Divine Venture. Elaborate renovation and reconstruction work was done in the temple.
The temple now has all these infrastructure required for a Mahakshetra, such as Sreekovil, Mukha mandapam, Valiyambalam, Chuttambalam, Brass covered oil lamps on the outer walls and Gopurams in the east and west side. Based on the astrological findings (Astamangalya Prashna) held in the month of may 2018 by a team of astrologers headed by reputed astrologer Bela Padmanabha Sharma and kollengode peethambara panicker, the RC roof of the sreekovil of lord venkitachalapathy has been removed and renovated providing copper sheet roof supported by best quality wooden rafters and reapers. The namaskara mandapam which is an integral part of sreekovil where several religious rites are performed is also renovated at a cost of about 49 lakhs and kumbhabhisekham of newly constructed sreekovil was conducted by the tantri of guruvayur temple brahmasree chennas srikant namboodirippad on 5th july 2020. All these facilities were provided by the generous contribution from the devotees. We remember them with gratitude and will always be praying for them. The following projects are remaining to be taken up.
We pray for further contributions, help and co-operation for the furtherance of the temple activities. Any help rendered to a temple will bring blessings for generations to come. The administration of this temple is done by the Thiruvenkitachalapathy Kshetra Samithy Registered as number is 234/78 under the charitable Societies act. Formerly the temple was under the private ownership of Mallissery mana a reputed Namboodhiri family called “Ooralan of the temple”. They still officiate an Ooralan (Owner cum administrator) on all occasions where their presence is formally required. Mallissery Mana is also the co-Ooralan of the Sree Krishna Temple Guruvayur. The chief priest of the Sri krishna Temple is the Chief Priest of this temple also May Lord Thiruvenkitachalapathy and Bhagavathy bless all.
Thiruvenkitachalapahty Kshetra Samithi.