|Shri Vallabha Temple, Thruvalla, Kerala.hindudevotionalblog.com|
The Kerala Hindu temples are unique in their own way. There are numerous temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Lord Karthikaya and Goddess Parasakthi or Kaali or Durga. A sense of elation permeates through out our body when we enter such temples where simplicity counts most in the case temple design. Further, temples observe daily - Nithya puja protocols with utmost dedication and care, giving due importance to religious sanctity and veneration. Once you enter temple you are overwhelmed by Bhakti and devotion. Shri Vallabha Temple at Thiruvalla is known for its orthodoxy and strict adherence to temple Agama Sastras, thus enhancing the divinity of the place of worship.
Shri Vallabha Temple is one of the biggest and most popular temples of Kerala dedicated to Lord Sreevallabhan, and there is no wonder that lots of devotees from many parts India come here to seek the Lord's blessings. This temple, on the banks of the River Manimala , has been known for centuries and is in Thiruvalla town of Pathanamthitta district. It is believed to have been built in 2998 BC (first built) and later in 59 BC (rebuilt and expanded). Historical evidences suggest the presence of human habitation before 3000 BC. Further, Thiruvalla was once a village among 64 Namboothri Brahmins villages in Kerala and is considered to be one among the oldest human settlements in India.
The temple tank covering 1.5 acres is seen in north-eastern direction. The idol of Sri Vallabha in the Srikovil - sanctum is a beautiful one 8 feet tall. The legendary architect was Perunthachan. The 54 feet tall unique Garuda Sthambha - flagmast made of a single block of granite is an amazing one, rarely found in other temples. Flag-mast is made of mostly metal - brass or copper. In some places it is gold-plated.
|Shri Vallabha Temple, Thruvalla.oil lamps on the outer wall www.sreevallabhatemple.in|
The idols of Sri Vallabha worshiped by Lakshmi and Krishna were installed in the temple in 59 BC. It is believed sage Durvasa and Saptarishi come here every mind night for prayer and worship. It was here Lord Vishnu appeared as Sreevallabha for sage Durvasa and Khandakarnan. Lord Vishnu also killed a demon - Thokalaasuran and gave solace to the people Here the temple Puja protocol differs from other temples.
01. The temple is open from 0430 to 1130 hrs in the morning and 1700 – 2000 hrs in the evening. Kathakali Puja at 2200 – 0100 hrs.
02. Rebuilt by Queen of Cheraman Perumaal Veerakerala Chakravarthy centuries ago.
03. The Thiruvalla inscriptions in Malayalam, first ever prose work, date back to the 12th century AD, They were first found in the temple in 1915.
04. Once a major spiritual center this temple, for centuries, had been under the control of Thiruvalla Pattillathil Pottimar (Brahmins of ten families) till 1752-1753.
05. Marthanda Varma, Raja of Travancore during 1752-1753 seized control from the Brahmins and, it is believed, that later Ramayyan Dalawa looted whole temple assets and took them to Thiruvanantha Puram. So it was once a rich temple.
06. The temple, in the past, did not allow ladies and elephants except during Thiruvathira of dhanu month. Presently this custom is not followed. The reason for the ban was long ago a woman, attracted by the beauty of the lord, entered the Srikovil to marry him.
07. The temple managed one of the biggest educational institutions in ancient time and made valid contribution to the cultural and educational developments of Kerala.
08. It is also perhaps the only temple in Kerala where Kathakali dance is performed as a ritual offering to the lord every night, a tradition that has existed for several centuries.
09. As for temple worship, rituals, etc., Sri Vallabha temple doesn’t follow Tantra Samuchayam and follows its own School called Pancharaathra Vidhaanam.
10. The temple worship protocol has not been changed ever since the temple came into being.
11.The 10 day festival held in every February-March is a strange one and attracts lots of people. During this festival amazingly 12,000 bunches of Padatti Pazham (a variety of bananas) are made as offerings to the lord on the first day itself.
12. This temple stands on a land that covers more than 8 acres of land, highest holding among the Kerala temples.