Thursday, April 18, 2024

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Oachira Parabrahma Temple



Kollam, Kerala



Known as Dakshina Kashi.

Best Time to Visit



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The Oachira Parabrahma Temple, popularly known as Oachira Temple is an ancient temple located in Oachira in Kollam district in the South Indian state of Kerala.

Also known as Dakshina Kashi (Benares of the South), Oachira Temple is a unique pilgrim centre, situated on the way to Alappuzha. There are many versions about the origin of the name Oachira. One of them is that, 'Om' the representation of Parambrahmam, the god of all gods and the word 'Chira' (piece of land) combine together to form 'Om Chira' meaning the 'land of Parambrahmam'. During the course of time Om chira became Ochira.

Attracting thousands of devotees, Parabrahma temple in Ochira is uniquely different from other temples in Kerala. The peculiarity of the temple complex is that, it covers a surface area of 32 acres without a walled enclosure does not contain a sanctum sanctorum nor is there an idol or deity for worship. The temple is dedicated to workship the lord parabrahaman.

It is also believed that, it was a Buddhist center that reverted after the revival initiated by Sri Sankaracharya.

This pilgrim center believes in the existence of universal consciousness or one supreme power known as Parabrahma. One can only find 'Aal thara's' (a peepal tree with a base foundation) where pujas are performed. There are no official pujaris.

The 50 feet high twin gopuram (tower) in front of the complex is carved with many ancient sculptures. These Gopurams, East Nada, West Nada, Theerthakkulam (sacred pond), Ondikkavu, Ayyappa Temple, Mahalakshmi Temple and Ganapathi temple are the points of worship at Oachira temple. Another interesting feature of the temple is connected with its offerings. Bulls are considered to be sacred in this temple and believed to be the vehicle of Parabrahmam. Hence offerings are made in the form of well decorated bulls named 'Oachirakkaala' (Sacred Bull). Devotees can also donate calves as an offering.

Ochira Kalii (held in mid-June), Panthrandu Vilakku ('twelve lamps festival', held in November-December) and Irupathettam Onam are the famous festivals celebrated here. The Oachira Kali (game) on the first and second of Mithunam (mid-June) is a big draw. For the last 60 years, the temple administration manages a social organisation named 'Annadana Mandhiram' and this organisation serves daily free lunch for about 500 people.

The main festival at the temple is a 12-day affair, called 'panthrantu villaku'(twelve lamps) starting on the first day of Vrischikam (Malayalam era) falling in the middle of November. The Ochira Kali (game) on the first and second of Mithunam (mid-June) is a big draw. The 'game' as it were imitates a battle of rival armies and is held more often in knee-deep rainwater at the peak of the monsoons, and the belief is that it will invariably rain on Ochira Kali even in a drought year

The temple is open to all regardless of faith and gender.

Timing: Morning: 4.00am to 8.00am and Evening: 5.00pm to 8.30pm.