Sree Vallabha Temple,Thiruvalla
Sreevallabha Temple , a highly orthodox Hindu Temple dedicated to Purusha as Lord Sreevallabhan, is one among the oldest and biggest Temples of Kerala and a major destination for devotees all over India for centuries. Located in Thiruvalla town of Pathanamthitta district, this ocean of orthodoxy is well known for its architectural grandeur and unique customs that can be found in no other temples. The stone-wooden carvings and fine mural paintings inside the temple are worth seeing. Being one among 108 Divya Desams, Sreevallabha temple has been glorified by Alvars and many other ancient works. It is considered to be the vallabha kshethram mentioned in Garuda Purana and Matsya Purana. Kathakali is played daily in the temple as an offering, pushing it to the top in India in terms of places where Kathakali is staged in largest number of days per year. Lord Vishnu appeared here as Sreevallabhan for sage Durvasa and Khandakarnan. Pleased by prayers of an old Brahmin lady Sreevallabhan incarnated as a brahmachari and killed the demon Thokalaasuran. Later the idol of Sreevallabhan worshipped by Lakshmi and Krishna has been installed in the temple in 59 BC. From then till date, the temple follows its own worship protocol that is known to be followed nowhere else yet. Sage Durvasa and Saptarishi are said to reach the temple every midnight for worshipping the Lord. The temple had governed one of the biggest educational institutions in ancient time and heavily contributed to the cultural and educational developments of Kerala.
Location : Temple Road Kizhakummuri, Sree Vallabhapuram, Thiruvalla, Kerala 689102
Gods : Sreevallabhan
Landmark : Nearest railway station: Thiruvalla, about 3 km away 2 km from Thiruvalla KSRTC bus stand.
There are two main festivals- thiru uthsavam and Uthra Sreebali. In Sreevallabha Temple Uthsavam is conducted giving importance to aaraattu(holy bath)and is for ten days ending with Pushya nakshatra of kumbham (February-march) of Malayalam calendar.Uthra Sreebali, the biggest festival of the temple, is conducted in the Malayalam month of Meenam(March–April).
The main four offerings are Paala Namaskaaram, Kathakali, Pantheerayiram and Kesadipaadam Garland. Paala Namaskaaram is actually a part of the third pooja around 10:45 am and is serving food with specific dishes to the Lord and Brahmins in areca nut palm leaves as Sreedevi Antharjanam served the same to the Lord. Before doing 108 Paala Namaskaaram daily was a ritual in the Temple and now due to scarcity of Brahmins it is reduced to only one, that too done by devotees as an offering. It needs to book for it at least a couple of years in advance to get the date. As told, Kathakali is daily played in the night as an offering and main stories played are Duryodhana Vadham(annihilation of Duryodhana), Santhana Gopalam(story of Arjuna), Kuchela Vrutham(story of Kuchela) Sreevallabha Vijayam(glory of Sreevallabhan) and Thokalaasura Vadham(annihilation of Thokalaasura). Santhana Gopalam is famous for getting children for those who don’t have children, DuryodhanaVadham against enemies, Kuchela Vrutham to remove poverty and the two others to fulfil all wishes. Pantheerayiram is offering 12,001 bananas through a special ritual to the Lord as banana was the first offering to the deity soon after installation. It is a heavily expensive one and usually done at Pantheeradi Pooja. Kesaadipaadam garland is a flower garland measuring approximately 15 feet and the deity will be adorned with it during third and fourth pooja.And there are numerous other offerings which should be done during specific poojas only.