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Valliyankavu Devi Temple in Idukki, Kerala

Valliyankavu Devi Temple is a powerful shrine dedicated to Mother Goddess Shakti at Paloorkavu near Mundakkayam in Idukki, Kerala. The shrine has two separate sanctum sanctorums – one dedicated to fierce Goddess Bhadrakali and another dedicated to the motherly form of Parashakti Durga.

Legend has it that the murti of Durga worshiped in the temple was originally worshipped by Pandavas and Panchali during their exile period inthe Mahabharata. The murti of Bhadrakali was installed by the tribals of the region.

The temple courted trouble when some people suspected that the tribals were performing ‘bali’ (human and animal sacrifice) in the shrine. The government then took over the temple.

Even today, the temple performs symbolic ‘guruti or bali’ using white pumpkin after the last puja.

Guruti is not performed in the shrine when Sabarimala Temple opens for Mandala Makaravilakku season. The Guruti restarts with Mahaguruti after the Makaravilakku festival in Sabarimala. Thousands of devotees witness the Mahaguruti, which is believed to bring luck and prosperity.

The main temple festival is observed on the Bharani day in Meenam month as per traditional Malayalam Calendar. Pongala ritual is observed on the day.

An important offering at the temple is red color sari along with thali. Another offering is naranga vilakku (lemon lamp).

Several subsidiary deities are worshipped in the temple including Shiva in the form of Shivling, Anchumurti, Ganesha, Nagas and Tribal deities.

The most auspicious days in a week in the shrine are Tuesdays and Fridays.

It is believed that those suffering from incurable diseases found relief after receiving teertham, or holy water, from the shrine.

The shrine opens at 6:00 AM in the morning and closes at 8:00 PM at night.

To reach the shrine one has to travel on the Kottayam – Kumali Road. From Mundakayam travel two kilometers south. Then travel for 15 kilometers through Travancore Rubber and Tea Estate to reach the shrine.

Hemambika Temple in Palakkad in Kerala