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The Karppillikkavu Sree Mahadeva Temple situated in Manjapra village in Ernakulam District of Kerala is believed to be one among the oldest temples in India, dating as far back as and even before 2000 BC. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is being visited by lots of pilgrims as it happens to be one of108 important Shiva Kshetras in India. Here Shva is Kirathamoorthy (Vettakkaran) facing west direction.
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As in many Shiva temples across Tamil Nadu, in particular, here all pradhosham days that come once a month are important. Thiruvathira day in Dhanu, Sivarahtri, Vidhyarambam, Mandala days are important festivals and auspicious days and on these days the temple will be active and crowded by devotees. The Aarattu day, a part of 8 day festival (held during the Malayalam month of Makaram - January to February) is associated with Thiruvathira Nakshthram in Makaram month. On these festival days special offerings are made to the deity for Abhishtasidhi and Aiswaryasidhi. The temple festivals here are conducted as per Tantric principles and not on Vedic principles.
On 6’th day of the 8 - day festival, the temple priests conduct what is called Utsavabali accompanied by Vadhyamelom, Marappani, Nadaswaram and other musical instruments. Boothabali, a tradition common;y found in some temples of Keraka, refers to the puja done with reverence to the sentinels (guards at the gate-Dwarapalaka) of Lord Shiva. Here the Lord's guards are known as Bhoothaganas. As in many Hindu temples, free food (Annadhanam) is offered to the pilgrims visiting this temple, a tradition that is being followed by countless temples for centuries across India. It is customary that at the time of Utsavabali there will be Kanikka (donations) samarppanam to be observed by the devotees. This is to meet expenses of Utsavabali and other expenses incurred during the festival time.
On the 7th day of the festival the idol is taken out of the temple in a procession to the accompaniment of seven large caparisoned elephants and Panchavadhyam and Chendamelom played by good players. The procession will go through Manjapra town and and finally the idol (Urchavar) is taken back into the temple.
It is essential to keep the old values preserved by way of following the old temple traditions handed down to us by our forefathers. In this regard, the Kerala government never compromises on age-old traditions being followed by the places of worship - be they Hindu temples, Churches or Mosques. They provide adequate facilities to the pilgrims visiting such places and provide grant to age-old structures to repair and restore them.