Sunday, March 9, 2014

Mangala devi (kannagi ) temple at Vannathi parai

Mangala devi (kannagi ) temple at Vannathi parai
Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander
    This dilapidated but ancient temple  dedicated to Kannagi , the celebrated heroine of  possibly the greatest  epic of Tamil Nadu viz Silappadikaram  is  situated  on the border of  Tamil Nadu and Kerala.   It is located about 7 km from Pazhiyankudi in Theni district and 15 km from Thekkadi of Idukki District. From Kumili town of Kerala jeeps can be hired to reach the temple,. (there is considerable difference of opinion of it .People of Kerala believe , the temple dedicated to her is n Kodungaloor and people of Trivandrum believe that it is in Athukal   temple  in Trivandrum)

     Due to an unjust judgment of the Pandya king,  KOvalan, the husband of Kannagi is put to death by the Pandya king. Overcome by wrath  Kannagi burnt   the city of Madurai and walked fourteen days to reach the   Chera kingdom. She is received there by the hunters (some say Kuravas)   who inhabited  that area.  It  is said , that in front of them Kovalan    came to that place   and took away   Kannagi to heaven. This area at that time was ruled by   the great king Cheran Chenguttuvan. When the hunters informed this incident to the king, he consecrated there a temple  in honour of Kannagi  by bringing stones  from the Himalaya mountain  and the local people started calling this temple as Mangala Devi temple. Engravings at the temple record that   The king Gajabahu (Kayavagu?)  of  Lanka attended the consecration ceremony of the temple. Even today there is a pond near the temple in which that great lady Goddess    took her bath. Initially only the people in the Kambam valley of Tamil Nadu were worshipping at this temple. The Britishers recognizing the importance of the temple even constructed a road   to reach the temple in 1897. Earlier records   suggest that a festival of about two weeks   was being observed here. After the division of linguistic provinces, this temple  was located in Kerala state. From then on   The temple is opened for pilgrims only on the Chithra pournami day(6 Am-5 PM) . It seems that the original statue of Kannagi was broken and  the board  the trustees of the temple who live in Tamil Nadu, carry the idol with them on Chithra POurnami   day  , consecrate it, do pooja, anoint it with  Sandal paste, offer curd rice to the idol  and bring back the idol once the festival is over. Large number of devotees who want  to get married and also devotees who want   children visit   this temple the temple or those who want to reunite with their husbands.. Every year free food is provided on Chithra Pournami day   to about 30 thousand pilgrims who visit this temple.

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