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Varanad Devi Temple Near Cherthala – Story – Festival

Varanad Devi Temple is located at Varanad near Cherthala in Alappuzha District, Kerala. The temple is located around 5 km from Cherthala. The shrine is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali. The murti in the temple is that of Goddess Kali sitting atop a Vethala just after annihilating Demon Darika. The most important festival in the temple is the annual Kumbha Bharani (February – March).

Garudan Thookam and Otta Thookkam are part of the annual festival which is observed for 14 days. The Thookam takes place on the last day of the festival. The festival is also famous for Kerala temple folk art forms, procession, melam and caparisoned elephants.

The temple is located near a lake and is spread over a large area of land. This is a typical Kerala style Bhagavathi temple which includes a square sanctum sanctorum, kodimaram, upa devata shrines and chuttambalam. The shrine also has a nakshatra vanam with trees associated with all the nakshatras or birth stars.

As per local belief Goddesses worshipped at Aroor Puthu Varanadu and Pallipuram Kadavil Sree Mahalakshmi temple are sisters of Varanad Devi.

Guruthi is performed in the temple on Tuesday and Friday.

Uma Maheshwara Puja also known as Swayamvara Puja is performed for good marriage and to solve all problems associated with marriage like delays and obstruction. The shrine is also famous for performing Shatru Samhara Pushpanjali and Raktha Pushpanjali.

Aru Nazhi Payasam is an important offering to the deity.

Kalamezhuthu Pattu is held during the 41 days of Mandala Kalam in the temple.

The annual Prathishta Dinam in the temple is held in Kumbha Masam (February - March).

Kumbha Kudam festival is held on Meena Bharani day in Malayalam Meena Masam.

Varanad Devi Temple Story

The murti of Varanad Bhagavathy was worshipped by a Thampuran belonging to the Vayalar Putiyaykkal Kovilakam. One day the Thampuran started a journey to a relative’s house in Mannanchery. While travelling on a boat (Villu vallam) on the Vembanad Lake, Thampuran had with him the Panchaloha murti of the Goddess.

But to the surprise of Thampuran, suddenly a fierce storm and heavy rain engulfed Vembanad Lake. Thampuran directed the boat towards a nearby forest area.  It was a place overgrown with shrubs and trees.  He saw a big tree at some distance.  Once he pulled the boat on to the sand shore, Thampuran took his bundle and the murti of Devi and ran for shelter. Seeing a hollow bark of a huge sprawling tree, Thampuran climbed into it quickly. Thampuran emerged from the hollow of the tree, seeing that dawn was breaking and storm had subsided.  After his bath and other duties, he took the bundle and the murti of the goddess from the hollow.  He made a small peedam (seat) with the sand and fixed the murti on it.  After that, he poured ghee into the kodivilakku (lamp) and lit the lamp with fire from the urakalu.  He brought water in a folded leaf and conducted abhisheka. With the erikku flowers plucked from the surroundings, he offered archana to the goddess. Deciding to continue his journey in the morning, he washed his hands and tried to take the murtifrom the sand and found that he could not lift the murti. However hard he tried, he could not lift up the murti. 

Hearing the news, the landlord Vathiyattu Panicker and the people nearby came to the place. Thampuran who understood that Devi was not interested in going to any other place, did not find anything amiss with the incident.  He agreed entirely with the desire of the Goddess. Since he had collected the sand with his hands and made a sand peetam for the goddess, the place came to be known as Variya Nadu. Later on this became Varanadu.  Soon after this incident, the Kizhakkedathu family who were staying nearby and the landlord Vathiyattu Karanavar together constructed the temple and installed the Devi murti.