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Urakam Temple – Timings - History – Story – Festivals – Pujas

Urakam Temple, also known as Ammathiruvadi Temple, is a famous temple located about 12 km from Thrissur town in Kerala. The deity worshipped in the temple is Goddess Shakti and is known by the names of Valayadhishwari and Urakattamma. The temple has come to be known by the name of the village (Urakam) in which it is located.

Urakam Temple Timings

Morning Darshan hours
3:00 AM to 10:30 AM

Evening Darshan hours
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Detailed Morning Puja Time
Palliyunarthal : 3 AM
Nada thurakkal : 4 AM
Abhishekam : 5 AM
Abhisheka nivedyam : 5:15 AM
Usha Pooja : 5:30 AM
Morning Pooja : 6 AM – 6:30 AM
Morning Siveli : 6:45 AM
Pantheeradi pooja : 7:15 AM – 8 AM
Navakam nirakkal : 9 AM
Navakam Aadall : 9:15 AM – 9:30 AM
Uccha Pooja : 9:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Uccha Siveli : 10:00 AM
Nada closing : 10:30 AM

Detailed Evening Puja Time
Nada opening : 5:00 PM
Deeparadhana : according to Sunset
Athazha Pooja : 7:10 PM – 7:30 PM
Siveli : 7:45 PM
Nada closing: 8:00 PM

Story of Origin of Urakam Temple

The shrine is one among the 108 Durga temples in Kerala.

There are several legends associated with the deity. According to one story, Urakattamma is none other than Goddess Kamakshi of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. Ur means village or town and Kattamma means she who saved or protected.

The murti of the Goddess was worshipped by several holy men and then taken to the house of a Brahmin, Valayannur Bhattathiri. The house was subsequently converted into a temple.

With the advent of the Kali Yuga adharma was in the ascendancy, the people of Peruvanam Gramam met and decided to save their village from adharma. They realized that only presence of Devi will help in achieving victory of adharma, accordingly, they duputed Valaya Bhattathiri, Kadalayil Namboodiri and Komarath Menon to Kancheepuram to bring the munificent Devi to this village. 

They worshipped the Devi , who was very pleased with their devotion and agreed to accompany them to this place.

As per the popular belief, Devi accompanied Valaya Bhattathiri in the olakkuda (palm leaf umbrella). Thus the palm leaf umbrella has become an integral part of all rituals of Ammathiruvadi.

The Sree Moolasthanam spot of the present temple is believed to be the spot where the Bhattathiri placed his umbrella in his illam.

On his return from Kancheepuram, the Devi appeared to the Bhattathiri in his dream and commanded him to construct a temple where his illam stood and proceed to the north where immense wealth would be awaiting him. Devi also told him that a murti lying in a nearby well could be used for consecration of the temple.

Bhattathiri complied with the command of Devi.

The descendents of Valaya Bhattathiri are none other than the famous Poomully Namboothiris of north Kerala.

The murti, obtained from the well and installed in the temple is the one, it is believed, worshipped by Lord Sree Rama before killing demon Ravana.

Members of a nearby Menon family called Vazhappilly Tharavadu, were the strong devotees of Ammathiruvadi. Devi was very pleased with them and made a member from their family as a guard for the Devi (Kakkara Menon). A member of the family accompanies Devi when she goes out of the sanctum sanctorum for various rituals.

Kadalayil Namboothiri built Durga temple at Kadalassery and Komarath Menon built Kali temple at Pallissery which are 4 km and 1 km respectively away from the temple.

History Of Urakam Temple

A work of the 16th century AD, Bhasha Naishadham Chambu by Melmangalam Namboothiri, relates that the Goddess came to be known as Valayadhishwari.

After the consecration of the murti in his house, Valayannur Bhattathiri is said to have donated all his property to the temple, handed it over to the king of Cochin and preceded northward.

There are several stories about attempts made to destroy the temple, which were foiled by devotees.

Of the many inscriptions found in the temple, one record of the 15th Century AD refers to branches of the Cochin royal family. The temple which was under the Cochin king was captured by the Samoothiri (Zamorin) of Kozhikode (Calicut) in the 17th Century AD. The king of Cochin recaptured it in the 18th century AD after defeating the army of the Zamorin of Kozhikode, with the help of the Dutch. However, the Dutch forces completely destroyed the temple. It was rebuilt by Sakthan Thampuran, ruler of Cochin (1790 – 1805 AD).

Like other famous temples of Cochin, Urakam is administered independently, exercising rights of sanctuary(sanketa).

The famous scholar poet Uddanda Shastri (15th Century AD) is said to have visited the temple and composed a poem addressed to the Goddess.

The place is also mentioned in medieval messenger poems (sandesha kavyas) like the anonymous Bhringa Sandesha and Uddanda Shastri’s Kokila Sandesha.

Architecture of The Temple

The first among the 108 Durgalayams of Kerala, Urakam Ammathiruvadi Temple is considered as a Mahakshetra having daily 5 Poojas and 3 Sivelis (sreebalis). There are 4 temples on all the four sides of Ammathiruvadi temple where Vishnu and Siva are the main deities.

Deities Worshipped In The Temple

Urakam Ammathiruvadi is considered as Goddess Lakshmi.

However, devotees can also worship the Devi as Durga as well as Saraswathi and get the blessings.

On the top of the Dhwaja Stambha (Kodimaram) is the statue of Lion which signifies that Devi is also worshipped as Mahishasuramardini.

There are two more deities (upadevatas) inside the inner courtyard, they are Lord Sastha and Lord Ganesh.

It is believed that the presence of Lord Subramanya is there in the temple.

Nagaraja is there in the south east corner of the compound.

It is believed that presence of Kodungallur Bhagavathy is there on the Eastern Gopuram.

The Devi being a Kanyaka (Virgin), no fragrant flowers are used for the pooja.

Rituals and Festivals

Veda Mantras are only used for pujas in the temple.

Karthika Nakshatra in the Malayalam month of Vrischikam is the birthday of Devi. Numerous programs including the famous Annadanam is held on the day.

Devi is taken out for Seeveli on elephant accompanied by Pandi melam. The elephant on which the goddess is carried is decorated with Swarna Nettipattam. Swarna Kolam of the Devi is decorated with precious ornaments with jewels embedded in it and gold coins are hanged in the inner side of the umbrella used for the Ezhunnallippu.

Also on every Karthika of Malayalam month there will be Naama japam and annadaana as offerings by the devotees.

In the annual procession for the Arattupuzha festival, where gods and goddesses from 41 temples are brought together, the Goddess of Urakam enjoys a prominent position along with the deity worshipped in the Triprayar Temple.

The main festivals of the temple are:
  • Navratri (September/October)
  • Thrikkarthika (November/December)
  • Pooram (March/April).
  • In addition to these,
  • Illam Nira (August/September)
  • Vavarat (October/November) are also celebrated.