- 'The Gods Own Country', backed with its rich cultural heritage,
the beautiful lakes and backwaters, with the coconut trees adding to its
greenery, is far-famed for its temples. The idyllic climate of this land
coupled with nature in its pristine glory gives more reasons for tourists
to visit the temples here.
Mullurkara, 25Kms away from Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala, is a small village surrounded by mountains and the temple of 'Thiruvani Kavu' Bhagavathy is located here. The beautifully engraved temple-walls, the two trees at the entrance and not to forget a small pond to the left of it are among the peculiar features of the temple.
Before proceeding further lets have a glimpse of the history of the temple. Back in history this land was ruled by 'Paliyathachans' who owned more than thousand hectares of farmland. They occupied a place of prestige and dignity in the society. During the time of Thirukochi' they were the Prime Ministers of State under the king's rule. They owned the land from the present Ernamkulam district to Palakkad district and nearly 45 temples were under their ownership.
Later the 'Paliyathachans' formed a trust called Paliyam Group Devasom Trust. Though they actually belonged to Ernamkulam they settled in Mullurkara after obtaining it from the rulers of Kochi. Before the period of Paliyathachans, Mullurkara was under the control of 'Manakottachan, the rulers who were ill-famed for their brutalities and atrocities, by killing and robbing the poor people they created a chaotic and hellish atmosphere. Once 'Kochi Maharaja'(ruler of Kochi) was stopped by 'Manakottachan' while he and his family were on their journey to their family temple of Pazhayannur. Then it was with the help of 'Paliyathachans' that the ruler of Kochi secured victory. As a token of gratitude the village of Mullurkara was gifted to the 'Paliyathachans' by the maharaja and soon the temple of 'Thiruvani Kavu' Bhagavathy came under their control .
It was a period of prosperity and welfare for the village as well as the temples, thanks to the power and wealth of the 'Paliyathachans'. Every temple had a weekly ceremony and food was given to the Brahmins to honor them. Festivals were also conducted directly by the Paliyam Trust. The festivals would begin with the ceremony called 'Kodiyettam' on the date of Kumbha-Bharani and after 7 days the main festival would commence. On the 8th day the festival comes to and end and is marked by a ceremony called 'Kodiyirakkam'. Also there was a special right for some families and persons to conduct the festival and for this they were provided with sufficient land by the 'Paliyathachans'. The trust used to bring their own elephants named Paliyam Gangadharan and Paliyam Kuttikrishnan. They owned nearly five elephants at that time.
Before the ceremony of 'Kodiyettam' on Kumbha-Bharani, the temple would be made clean so as to remove all the dirt from inside the temple. Then a carpenter accompanied by the devotees would bring a tree to the temple with great respect and devotion and after cleaning it would place the idol of the goddess over it. In the evening a special pooja was performed underneath the tree after which it would be erected at that place. It is then known by the name 'Kodimaram'.
At night there would be 'Aarattu'- the bathing ceremony of the idol of the goddess, 'Sree Bhootha Bali'- giving food to the Bhootha Gana and this continued for 7 days. Then there was 'Kalampattu' which meant drawing the picture of the Bhagavathy by using colorfully powdered rice. Cultural programs like Mohiniyattam, Kathakali, Vadyamelam, Kuchipudi etc. were also staged outside the temple.
That's all about the reign of Paliyathachans and the past of the 'Thiruvani Kavu' temple. Those days witnessed many ceremonies but coming to the present , only a few of them are seen. Nowadays the day to day ceremonies of temple is conducted by the Kshetra Kshema Samithi, which is formed by the people near the temple. Moreover its with the assistance of the devotees that these ceremonies are conduct.
The goddess will be pleased with those who worship her with true and sincere devotion. She will heed the cry of the needy, the poor and her true devotees and bless them with a pure mind and body.