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Ariyittu Vaazhcha at Thiruvarattukavu Devi Temple in Attingal in Kerala - History

Ariyittu Vaazhcha is a unique ritual observed at the Thiruvarattukavu Devi Temple near Kollampuzha in Attingal. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathi. The festival is observed on the ninth day of Makaram month. Thiruvarattu Kavu Devi temple is located at Kizhakkupuram and is around 4 km from Attingal town.

A fierce murti of Bhagavathi is worshipped in the temple. She is the energy of a fierce form of Goddess who was once worshipped in the Taliparamba Rajarajeshwari temple. The murti worshipped in the temple is made out of panchaloha.

On the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum there are two female guards called Sumukhi and Sundari. To the south of the sanctum sanctorum there are shrines of Veerabhadra, Ganapathi and Saptha mathrika. Other subsidiary deities worshipped in the temple are Nagayakshi, Brahmarakshas, Sastha and Kiratha.

A unique Shivling is worshipped in the temple and it has a reddish tinge. 

Thiruvarattukavu Devi Temple History

The region around the temple was earlier a small independent principality. A Queen called Avani Amma Thamburatti, who was the last member of the royal family, adopted the king of Travancore at the time and requested him to take over the rule of this kingdom and also adopt a girl child who would look after the kingdom under his direction. After her death, the then king adopted two girls belonging to the Chirakkal Royal family of Northern Malabar and made them in charge of the principality. These princesses brought with them a murti of Goddess from their native place. This murti is worshipped in the present temple. 

Initially the murti was worshipped by the princesses in the palace itself and so it was called as ‘Palliyara Bhagavathi.’ And later it was consecrated in a new temple built near the palace on the top of a small hill. This new temple was called as ‘Thiru Viragu Kattiya Kavu’  and ‘Puthan Kavu.’ One has to climb stairs to reach the temple.

The annual festival at Thiruvaiyaru Kavu Devi Temple begins on Makaram 1 and continues for 10 days.

On the 10th day Valiya Vilakku is observed.

The members of the Travancore royal family perform the Ariyittuvaazhcha ritual on the 9th day of Makaram month. Before the ceremony, the royal family members escort the deity atop a caparisoned elephant.

Image is not of the Temple - It is for representation

The priest who officiate the ritual comes from Kattumadam Mana in North Kerala.

On the day evening, the sword of Goddess Bhagavathi is installed on a platform. The priest from Kattumadam Mana invokes the deity worshiped in the temple on the sword.

Rice is offered to the deity invoked on the sword. The current head of the Travancore family then touches the offered rice.

The rice is then taken to the sanctum sanctorum and it is showered on the murti of Mother Goddess.

Few grains from the ritual are sprinkled on the head of Travancore Royal Family.

Valiyavilakku festival is observed on the next day. This marks the end of the annual festival.