Monday, January 21, 2019
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Sasthamcotta Shri Dharma Sastha Temple

 

Place

:

Kollam, Kerala

Significance

:

One among the five ancient Sastha temples in Kerala

Best Time to Visit

:

February - March

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Sasthamcotta in Kollam district of Kerala state is a very famous place that is frequented by pilgrims mainly due to Sasthamcotta Sree Dharma Sastha Temple present along the Sasthamcotta Lake.

The temple, which lends its name to the town, is an important Hindu pilgrim centre. It is 11 kms west of Adoor and 10 kms from Karunagappally.

The temple is one of the many temples in Kollam dedicated to Lord Ayyappa and one among the five ancient Sastha temples in Kerala - AchanKoil, Aryankavu, Kulathupuzha, Sabarimala and Sasthamcotta. It is under the Travancore Devaswom Board.

The temple is surrounded three sides by the largest fresh water lake of Kerala, Sasthamkotta lake.

The temple here is famous for the inhabitance of monkeys. The monkeys that once colonised the surrounding woods were believed to be followers of the prime diety, Dharmasastha, and hence, are revered by devotees. Thousands of devotees visiting the temple feed these monkeys with nuts and fruits.

Dedicated to both Lord Ganesha and Lord Ayyappa which has the concept of Dharma Sastha, the temple was built by a prince of Pandalam Royal family.

The Folklore behind this temple has that the idol consecrated at Sasthamcotta temple is none other than the swayambhu idol worshipped by Lord Ram along with his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana and the Vanara Sena on their way back to Ayodhya after the victory over Ravana. Also believed that, Lord Rama offered ‘pithru tharpan’ on the banks of the Sasthamcotta Lake and he deputed the chief architect of his vanara (monkey) team, ‘Neelan’ to serve his host. Neelan is believed to be the predecessor of the monkey clan in this temple.

The highlight of this temple is the 10 day annual festival the month of Kumbham (February-March). The festival includes the colourful Kettukazhcha procession of various bullocks, horses, decorated chariots, folk art performances etc. Various folk arts such as Mayilattam, Kaala (bull motif), Kuthira (horse motif), Ammankudam are performed. The festival concludes with the Arattu ceremony, five caparisoned elephants take part in a procession held at midnight. Another important festival is Shiva Prathishta Vaarshikom which is held in Atham in the Malayalam month of Edavam (May-June).

Entry is restriceted to Hindus.

 







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