|Sree Poornathrayesa Temple|
'Vrischikotsavam' which starts the festival season
|Proper name||Sree Poornathrayesa temple|
|Primary deity||Lord Vishnu in the form of "Santhana Gopala Moorthy"|
|History and governance|
|Date built||Unknown (Believed to exist since Dwapara Yuga)|
Sree Poornathrayesa temple (in Malayalam:ശ്രീ പൂര്ണ്ണത്രയീശ ക്ഷേത്രം) is situated in Tripunithura, Kochi, the capital of the former Kingdom of Cochin. The temple is considered among the greatest temples in Kerala and was first among 8 royal temples of erstwhile Kochi Kingdom. The deity was also considered as National deity of Cochin and protector guardian of the town of Tripunithura.
The temple is famous for its yearly Utsavams or festivals. The main one is the Vrishchikoltsawam, which is conducted every year in the month of Vrishchikam (November–December), kicking off the 'Ulsava' Season in Kerala. And this Vrishchikolsavam is the biggest temple festival of Ernakulam District and one of the biggest temple festivals of Kerala also.
The deity in this temple is Lord Vishnu who is in the form of Santhanagopala Murthy. It is well believed that childless couples will be blessed with children on praying Poornathrayesan.
Traditions say that Lord Vishnu offered the idol of Sree Poornathrayeesa to Arjuna (the third of the five Pandava brothers), when he sought the help of the Lord to give rebirth to the ten children of a Brahmin. The ten children and the sacred idol were taken by Arjuna in his chariot and he handed over the children to the Brahmin. In memory of this event, a temple was built with a sanctum-sanctorum in the form of a chariot. Lord Ganesh was sent by Arjuna to search a holy place for the installation of Lord Vishnu. Earlier, the idol was kept in a palace which is situated at the west of the main temple and now it is known as Poonithura Kottaram.
Lord Ganesh, who was attracted by the holiness of the ancient Vedic Village, Poornavedapuram (now Tripunithura), tried to occupy the place for himself. However, Arjuna pushed him away to the southern side of the sanctum and installed his idol there. This is different from the usual custom, where Lord Ganesh has a separate shrine at the south-western side of the inner prakaram. As the place was bounded by mustard fields, Arjuna used some mustard seeds to get oil for lighting lamp. You can see a Valia Vilakku situated in front of the idol. Folks say that the burnt oil of this traditional lamp contains medicinal value.
Legends reveal that Sree Poornathrayeesa is the elder brother of the Goddesses of Chottanikkara and Pishari temples. It is also believed that the Lord was married to a Namboothiri girl, Nangema, from Vadakkedathu Mana. During the annual temple festival occasions, deities from Perumthrikovil (Lord Shiva) and Pishari kovil (Lakshmi) visit here for a combined procession. This is locally called as Sankara Narayana Vilakku (Shiva and Vishnu) and Laksmi Narayana Vilakku (Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu). The Aarattu (the holy bath of the deity) of Sree Poornathrayeesa takes place at the temple pond of Chakkamkulangara Shiva Temple, which is situated north-east of the Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple.
The temple is designed in accordance of Kerala temple architecture. A major fire occurred in 1920, which destroyed much of the original structure particularly the sanctum sanctorium which was built extensively in wood. This lead to redesigning the temple with concrete structure, for the first time in Kerala. Designed by the illustrious architect Late Sri Eachara Warrier, the temple was redesigned with concrete structure, covered cleverly with copper plates, wooden panels and granite tiles to recreate the traditional structure feeling.
The side walls of sanctum sanctorim where heavily decorated with large brass sheets with statutes of gods and goddess, while the roof is covered with copper sheets, while the entrances of sanctum sanctorium were covered with gold sheets.
The first floor of the two-storied gopuram consists of a mandapam (Dias), and eight beautifully carved wooden pillars support the Mandapam.
This festival usually starts in the November–December time frame every year. The festival lasts for 8 days, with events running 24/7. Events feature traditional folk art forms such as Ottanthullal, Kathakali, Thayambaka, Chenda melam, Kacheri. Stalls are set up in front of and behind the temple selling food and various articles.
- Vrishchikoltsawam photos, flickr.com
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sree Poornathrayesa Temple.|
- Tripunithura.net (The palace city of Kerala)
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