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Thirumalida Mahadeva Temple – Shivratri Festival – Story - Vavu Bali

Thirumalida Mahadeva temple is located on the eastern bank of Manimala River in Mallappally in Pathanamthitta district, Kerala. The temple observes the annual Vavu Bali rituals. The shrine is dedicated to Shiva – Mahadeva and a swayambhu Shivling (divine origin) is worshipped in the temple. The annual Shivratri festival in Thirumalida Shiva temple is very famous especially for Kavadiyattam.

The 10-day annual Shivratri festival in the temple is famous for caparisoned elephants, melam, panchavadyam, colorful kavadi, floats, pageantry, Kerala temple folk arts, and pujas and rituals performed as per Vedic and Tantric rules. Abhishekam, homam, yagna, dhara etc are part of the annual festival. The festival ends with Arattu.

People who had taken vow for desire fulfillment take Kavadi to the temple on Shivratri day. Kavadi Vilakku is observed on the previous day.

  • ശിവരാത്രിക്കു കാവടിയാട്ടം പ്രസിദ്ധം ആണ്
  • ക്ഷേത്രത്തിനു മുൻപിൽ കൂടി ഉള്ള ആറിലെ മണൽപുറത്തു ആണ് കാവടിയാട്ടം നടക്കുന്നത്.
  • കാവടിക്ക് തലേ ദിവസം കവടിവിളക്ക്.  
  • അതിനു മുൻപ് 10 ദിവസത്തെ ഉത്സവം.

The shrine observes the annual Karkidaka Vavu Bali and Pitru Tarpanam on the Vavu or Amavasya day in Karkidakam month. Hundreds of people arrive at shrine and offer various rituals to ancestors. Special arrangements are made by temple management for Bali Tharpanam throughout the year especially during Vavu (no moon day or Amavasya).

The temple has a square sanctum sanctorum facing west. There is a nalambalam, namaskara mandapam, upa devata shrines and kodimaram (flag post).

Thirumalida Mahadeva Temple Story

Legend has it that the Shivling was accidentally discovered by Mali, a lower caste woman. Her sickle had hit a Shila which had started oozing blood. The local ruler and others were informed and a temple was constructed on the spot.

It was revealed that a Rishi had performed intense Tapas here during Dwapara Yuga. Pleased with his devotion, Shiva had appeared in the place.

Although a temple was built, but for some reason Shiva did not accept the food offering in the temple. Mali who realized that Bhagavan was going hungry started sharing her food with him.

One Shivratri night she had got only little gruel. She poured the water of the porridge on the Shivling and offered the rice to Shiva. She went hungry. But as it was Shivratri, she kept complete vigil at night praying to Shiva. Tears from her eyes followed on to the Shivling. At midnight there was a breeze and Bilva leaves (koovalam) started falling from the nearby tree on the Shivling. She thus performed abhishekam with water and Bilva leaves unknowingly.

Next morning it was discovered that the porridge offered by Mali was accepted by Shiva. People then named the temple after here and thus the shrine came to be known as Thirumalida.

Even today, the main offering to Shiva in the temple is porridge with coconut shavings.

As this divine event happened on Shivratri night, the annual festival in the temple is held on the Mahashivratri day in Kumbha Masam (February – March).

The sreekovil or sanctum sanctorum in the temple is an architectural marvel – the stone roofing does not have any joints.

The Upa Devatas worshipped in the temple are Ganapathy, Sastha, Muruga, Thiruvamal Devi, Nagaraja and Nagayakshi and Goddess Bhagavathy (Parvati Devi).

Karkidaka Vavu Bali (the no moon day in Karkidaka Masam (July – August) is observed here. Thousands of people perform Shraddham and Tarpanam here on the day.