Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Evoor Major Sri Krishnaswamy temple, Kerala and its link with God Agni and Arjuna

Evoor Sri Krishna Swamy temple, kerala. en.wikipedia.org
The Hindu temple at Evoor  called Major Sri Krishnaswamy temple is close to the famous snake temple at Haripad town, Alappuzha, Kerala. The main deity is Sri Krishna and this place of worship is said to be five millennium years  old following Khandava Dahanam. However, the present structure was completed in the 19th century by the ruler Moolam Thirunal, Maharajah of the Indian state of Travancore between 1885 and 1924, succeeding his uncle Maharajah Visakham Thirunal (1880–1885).  Owing to a freak fire accident at the temple,  Srikovil (sanctum)  suffered damages and the idol was safely recovered from the burning embers and saved, The ruler  Moolam Thirunal  was on a visit to Kasi (Varanasi)  and he had a dream in which  he was asked to rebuild the temple at Evoor. Upon his return, he took immediate steps to rebuild the temple at Evoor and completed it in a given time. 
Bow of Arjuna findmessages.com

The idol of Sri Krishna is Vishnu with four arms  with Panchajanya Shankha, Sudarshana Chakra and butter in three hands and the fourth arm held on hip. Unlike many Vishnu temples, here  Raktha-pushpanjali is a special offering.

Evoor Sri Krishna Swamy temple, kerala keralatemples.info
As I have mentioned in my many posts on the Hindu temples that  every temple has  an isthalapuranam - genesis of the temple. This temple at Evoor has a unique legend. Agni ( it is a Sanskrit word meaning fire, and connotes the Vedic fire god of Hinduism.  He is also the guardian deity of the southeast direction, and is found in southeast corners of Hindu temples),  the sub-god 
God Agni (fire) and his vahana ''Ram'' otussculpture.com
of fire having consumed clarified butter nonstop for twelve long years from Swetaki's Yagja,  developed  severe  stomach ailment. His father lord Brahma, one of the Trinity gods,  advised him to consume the Khandava forest, the abode of Takshaka, the Naga leader and friend of Indra. This forest  contained herbal plants shrubs, etc that could relieve stomach related problems.  Whenever Agni  wanted  to consume the forest, he had a hurdle. Demi-god of rain, Indra, with his thunder showers would stop him and Agni's stomach ailment remained uncured. When Agni approached   Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers (in Mahabharata), and  lord Krishna for help, they immediately agreed. 

Arjuna's bow. pinterest.com
Demi-god Agni armed Arjuna with the mighty bow Gandiva,  the bow of Lord Shiva himself.  Kanva Maharishi, a learned saint had been living in the Khandava forest and worshipping   an Arca moorthy (a four handed idol of Vishnu) and upon knowing of the purpose of the visit of Arjuna and Sri Krishna, he requested both to  spare the Arca idol. Arjuna built  a Sarakoodam to shelter Agni so that  Agni  could devour  the forest under it. As for Agni, he was cured of the ailment  and at the same time the saint's idol was saved.  Grateful as he was, Agni, wanted  to install Arca moorthy in a new temple there to facilitate worship. As instructed by Sri Krishna, Arjuna shot an arrow to determine an auspicious location for the proposed temple. The place where the arrow landed was Evoor.  Evoor is a corrupt form of Eythoor (place where arrow was shot). 
Krishna performed Prana-Pratishta  of the idol in the new temple and Arjuna performed the first pooja.  The  other deities  that are enshrined here are Bhoothanathaswamy (Kiratha Murthy form of Lord Shiva) and Yakshi Amma ( Devi Parvathy). The names of the adjacent  places such as  Karippuzha (kari means char), Pathiyoor (courruption of Kathiya Oor-place that burnt), Pandavarkavu, Mannarasala, Kannamangalam (Kanva-Mangalam Kanva's abode)  and the  remains of burned trees in the locality corroborate the legend.
Makara Ulsava (utchavam/ festival) in  Evoor temple is popular and it is a 10 day function, starting on the first day of makara. Like other festival this one begins with   with the hosting of Garuda printed flag. The ulsava (utchava)  days 6,7,8  are sponsored by three karas on at a time. On the ninth day there 
will be  Kala-kettu (decorated effigies of Bulls). The ulsava  comes to an end with Aaraattu (Holy Bath of the idol in the 
near-by river ) after that the flag is lowered and the deity is taken to Pallikkuruppu (Holy Sleep; in Tamil Palliarrai).
 Evoor temple is  near the Cheppad Railway station (Between Kayamkulam and Harippad) and on NH-47. It is on the coastal railway route.Nearest bus stations are Kayamkulam (7km north) and Harippad (5km south).