|Sree Vallabha Temple at Thiruvalla vaikhari.org/|
It is believed that Lord Vishnu appeared here as Sreevallabhan before mendicant/ sage Durvasa and Khandakarnan. As wished by the old Brahmin lady, Sreevallabhan took an avatar of a brahmachari (bachelor) and killed the demon Thokalaasuran who had been troubling the people and the sages for a long time.. The presiding deity installed in 59 BC here is said to have been worshiped by Lakshmi and Krishna. Since ancient time the puja protocol that has been followed here is a different one not being followed in other temples. The belief has been that Sage Durvasa and Saptarishi visit the temple at midnight for worship.
Known for its architectural beauty and rich orthodoxy, the architect of Sri Vallabha temple is the famous Perunthachan who had a 54-foot tall Garuda Sthambha (flag-staff) built. The striking feature of this dwjasthambham is it is monolithic - made from one block of rock of granite, a tough job ingeniously done by artians of this place way back in the past. The interior of the temple is known for exquisite stone and wood carvings besides impressive mural paintings. It is one of the Divyadesam shrines recognized by the Tamil devotional scholars/saints - Azhwars. The Tamil Vaishnavite saints Nammazhvar of the 5th century AD (2612-2622 in Divya Prabhandham) and Thirumangai Azhvar of the 9th century AD (paasurams 1806-1817 in Divya prabhandham) had praised in profusion the glory of the temple.
For several centuries the temple had been managed by Thiruvalla pattillathil pottimar (Brahmins of ten families) till 1752-1753. The Sreevallabha Temple became popular and once had 15 main priests (melsanthi) and 180 assistant priests (keezhsanthi) all the time and another 108 for only daily noon pooja. The temple had boarding and lodging facilities for all devotees, students, teachers etc. It also held daily annadanam (serving food to the poor). Yet another interesting fact is daily only once about 400 devotees were provided with Naivedyam of Lord Sreevallabhan. This temple had large income and held vast cultivable lands. Now, those lands do not exist. During 1752-1753 Marthanda Varma of Travancore took possession of the temple under force from the Brahmins and later Ramayyan Dalawa looted temple assets and transferred them to Thiruvananthapuram. Unlike other temples of Kerala, for unknown reasons, till 1968, ladies and elephants were not allowed to enter the temple. Women were allowed twice a year during Thiruvathira of Dhanu month and Vishu in Medam.
|Sree Vallabha Temple at Thiruvalla keralatourism.org/|
The well known annual festival falls in the month of February-March, This10-day annual festival attracts a large number of devotees from Kerala and neighboring states. As part of the festival, on the first day itself 12,000 bunches of padatti pazham (a variety of bananas) are made as offerings. Best Time to visit this temple which is referred to as the vallabha kshethram mentioned in Garuda Purana and Matsya Purana is during the festival time of Thiru Utsavam (Feb/March), Uthira Sreebali (March/April). The temple is being managed by Travancore Devaswom Board.