|Vennimala Sri Rama Lakshmaqna templeYouTube|
Vennimala Sri Rama Lakshmana temple located on a 1500 foot tall hill in Puthupally in Kottayam District Kerala is believed to have been built by the ruler Cheraman Perumal Bhaskara upon the advice and guidance of sage Kapila Maharishi. Originally, the place was known as Iravipuram. Perhaps one may be wondering why this Hindu temple is located in a secluded area(15 km away from Kottayam town). Legend has it this place, once upon a time a Tabhovana Bhumi (place of meditation), was ridden with countless demons/ Asuras who terrorised the people and Sadhus/ sages. Driven by arrogance, pride and enormous physical power, they caused untold miseries to the people living there. As the mischief and pain caused by them became so unbearable and went on unchecked, the sages mediated on the lord Sri Lakshmana and Sri Rama to get rid of the demons from the forest. Lord Lakshmana was quite angry with the demons who had no compassion for the ordinary mortals who were minding their own business in the forest. Sri Rama and Lakshmana came to this part of Kerala wandering during their 14 long year exile. In the ensuing battle between Lord Lakshmana who acted on behalf of Sri Rama and the terrorizing demons, the lord came out victorious. Hence this place later came to be called ‘Vijayadri’ meaning ''victory in Sanskrit.
|Vennimala Sree Rama Lakshmana Perumal Temple ...Temple Advisor|
As one may notice, though the temple is dedicated to Lord Lakshmana, his elder bother lord Rama gets equal importance. Unlike many temples, here one can see two dhwajastambhas (flag masts) outside the nalambalam -in the front yard. Vennimala Koothu, an important part of the cultural and traditional finearts form of Kerala, has been around for centuries and it will be held for 16 long days followed by Koodiyattom that will last for 12 days. It is believed the duration of festivities is reduced recently for many social reasons. Here the puja protocol is limited to only 3 times daily,
This west facing temple is built in Kerala style in with an Anapandal (elephant portico). Sri kovil and the mukhamantapa have interesting carved wooden panels in between stone pillars which support a tiled roof atop. They form a sort of pathway. The most exciting feature of this temple which other Kerala temples lack is its Garbagriha / Sri kovil which is in the form of a pot - 'Ghata Prasada’ type. Srikovil is in circular form, but, inside it is hexagonal in shape. The pot-shaped sri kovil and the neck-shaped Namaskara mantap (the place where the devotees prostrate before the deity) have copper-plated wooden roof supported by heavy wooden rafters and beams; Close-by is balikkal and the namaskarara mantap and balikkal are in front of the main shrine. All along the periphery of the temple lie a series of wood carved images of gods -''daru silpas'' at regular interval. The temple has many small shrines and among them the shrines of Sri Krishna Shastha, Bagavathi are of interest to the devotees.
The temple tank is not close-by, but is located 100m from the temple. It is said there is an underground channel connecting the temple and the pond. Certain rituals like Balikarmas take place during Thulam and Karkidagam vavu days. About 1 km from the cave there is a fairly big cave