Valliyoorkavu - 13 Things to Know Before Visiting
Things to know
Valliyoorkavu Bhagavathy Temple, the 14th-century temple dedicated to goddess Durga is located at the high hills of Valliyoorkavu, 3 KM’s from Mananthavady town in Wayanad district of Kerala. It is believed that the idol of the goddess is self-manifested. The temple is a prominent place of worship for tribal communities. The goddess manifests in three forms, ‘Vana Durga’ (forest goddess), ‘Jala Durga’(Water goddess) and ‘Bhadrakaali’ (The auspicious form of goddess Kali who protects the good).
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The temple has a Sreekovil (Sanctum sanctorum), Nadapanthal (Pathway), Thottampaatt kottil (a hut for the Kerala art form called Thottampatt), Balikkal (Sacrificial Stone), Sub-shrines, Thidappally (the place were offerings to the deity is prepared) and Pathayapura (Storage place).
There are two sacred groves as well here called Mele Kaavu (Upper sacred grove) and Keezhe Kaavu (Lower sacred grove). The groves are 100 meters away from one other.
The Moolasthanam, the spot where the deity is placed is a termitarium in the lower groves. This idol here is believed to be self-manifested. The idol in the upper grove is in the form of a Shaligram with the concept of the goddess as the Vana Durga. As the goddess in Vana Durga, there is no roof for the Sreekovil.
Three poojas (worships) are held daily. Usha pooja (morning worship) at 8:30 AM, Ucha pooja (noon worship) at 12 PM, and Athazha pooja (evening pooja) at 8.30 PM. The regular offerings of the temple are Pushpanjali, Raktha pushpanjali, Muttarukkal, Ney vilakku and Ney payasam.
Aarattu- the annual temple festival
The major event at the temple is the annual festival called ‘Aarattu’ which is held every March and lasts for 14 days. The festival is very important to the tribal people of Wayanad. The ritual art form called ‘Kalamezhuthu’ is performed during all nights of the festival. The last day of the festival will have a feast and a variety of folk art forms will also be performed. However, in recent years the performances started to have more modern taste and include an orchestra, dances, trade fairs etc.
Major events during the festival
The arrival of the holy sword of the goddess from the nearby Palliyara Bhagavathy Temple in Pandikadavu marks the beginning of the festival. Unlike other temples, ‘Kodiyettu’, the hoisting of the flag is performed only on the seventh day of the festival.
One of the important rituals during the festival is ‘Oppana varavu’, a procession from the Cheramkode Bhagavathy temple at Kallody to the Valliyoorkavu Bhagavathy temple. The procession comes with tender coconuts for ‘Abishekam’(Ablution) marks the ‘Arattu’(bathing the deity) of the goddess.
The festival concludes when the ‘Oppana varavu’ returns to Cheramkode Bhagavathy temple. This happens after ‘Rudhirakkolam’, a symbolic fight between Goddess Durga and the demon king Darika in which the former wins.
History of Valliyoorkavu
According to legends, Vadakkola Nambiar the priest of Kodungallur temple once travelled through Wayanad and was resting near the Kabini river. When he woke up after sleeping, the anklet and the sword of the Kodungallur goddess which he carried on his journey were missing. After searching for it around, a Paniya tribe member showed him the sword and the anklet hanging on top of a vine on a sacred fig tree. As the priest and the men prayed, the sword and the anklets fell and a divine voice was heard saying ‘I present here in three forms. As Vana Durga, Jala Durga and Bhadrakaali. This encounter was informed to the Kottayam Raja who was camping in Wayanad and he ordered to build a temple there.
Slave trade during the festival in the old days
In old times, slaves were exchanged by masters during this festival. It was one of the major events of the festival. Most of these slaves belonged to different tribes in Wayanad and neighbouring areas. As times have changed this is no longer part of the festival.
Today, the festival is the chief annual event of the diverse tribal population. It is now also celebrated by the locals in Wayanad irrespective of caste or religion. For tribal communities who primarily work on farms, the festival marks the end of the previous one-year contract of labour and the beginning of a new one. While they were bound to one master in the past, today the tribes have a choice and can negotiate with potential employers.
Best Time to Visit Valliyoorkavu
The best time to visit Valliyoorkavu Bhagavathi Temple is in March every year, during the temple festival. It typically starts on March 14 and goes on for 14 days.
Tips for Visiting Valliyoorkavu
- The temple festival is one of the most popular festivals in Wayanad and can be extremely crowded.
- Watch out for the dress codes.
Interesting Facts and Trivias About Valliyoorkavu
- The temple is famous for its unique rituals that give importance to the tribal people around Wayanad.
- In old times, the festival was used to conduct the slave trade of the tribal people.
- The temple is believed to be the guardian of the nearby Mananthavady town.
How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Valliyoorkavu
On normal days, 1-2 hours is enough to explore the temple, its premises and the ceremonies. If you want to visit during the festival, it lasts for 14 days with various ritualistic and cultural activities going on daily. There is no official website for the website unfortunately to check the events.
How to Reach Valliyoorkavu
Valliyoorkavu Bhagavathi Temple is 24 KM away from Kalpetta, 31 KM away from Sulthan Bathery and 3 KM away from Mananthavady. It is 72 km away from Kozhikode where the nearest major railway station is located.
Entrance Fee of Valliyoorkavu
There is no fee to enter Valliyoorkavu Bhagavathi Temple but offerings and ceremonies are charged separately.
Opening Hours of Valliyoorkavu
Valliyoorkavu Bhagavathi Temple opens throughout the day for visitors but if you are visiting for ceremonies, the opening timings are 8:30 AM, 12 PM, and 8.30 PM.
Attractions Near Valliyoorkavu
Thirunelli Maha Vishnu Temple
12.49km from Valliyoorkavu
Thirunelli Maha Vishnu Temple or Thirunelli Temple as generally called is an ancient Vishnu Temple. Located on the side of Brahmagiri hill in Kerala, it is a melting pot of myths and history. The temple is at an altitude of about 900 meters in a valley surrounded by mountains and beautiful forests.
16.65km from Valliyoorkavu
Pakshipathalam, a natural rock cave deep inside the forest in the Wayanad district of Kerala State in Southern India lies at a height of 1,740 meters in the Brahmagiri hill ranges. The trekking trail here is famous for its richness of bird life and it takes you through moist deciduous forests, rolling hillocks, open grasslands, slippery trails, and narrow rocky caves.
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Location of Valliyoorkavu
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