Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Kerala

Introduction :

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is one of the popular religious shrines in Kerala and is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali (Kannaki) who is fondly referred to as Attukal Amma. This famous shrine is situated at Attukal in Trivandrum district. The main deity of Attukal Temple is worshipped in 3 different forms such as Maha Saraswathi, who is known as the Goddess of Knowledge, Maha Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Maha Kali/ Durga/ Parvathy who is the Goddess of Power. Attukal Amma (Attukal Devi or Attukal Bhagavathy) is appraised as the supreme preserver and destroyer who is often referred to as Kannaki, the heroine of 'Silapathikaram' of Ilanko Adikal.

Attukal Bhagavathy

The world famous Attukal Pongala festival celebrated at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple brought fame to this temple. This festival involves the participation of over three million women every year for which it has reached the Guinness Book of World Records for being the single largest gathering of women for a religious activity.

History of the Temple:

The history of the temple is related to Kannaki, a legendary Tamil woman who is the central character of the Tamil epic Silapathikaram written by Ilanko Adikal. Kannaki was married to Kovalan who was the son of a wealthy merchant of Vaishya community. Later, Kovalan fell in love with a dancer named Madhavi which prompted him to spend all his wealth on the dancer. When Kovalan became penniless, Madhavi left him. At last, Kovalan realized his mistake and returned to his wife Kannaki and begged her to accept him. Kannaki forgave him and also gave him a pair of her gold anklets so that he can sell it and start a trade in Madurai to redeem his fortune. Kovalan approached the King of Madurai to sell the anklets. Around the same time, the Queen of Madurai had lost an anklet which looks exactly as the one Kovalam came in with and he was accused of having stolen the anklet of the Queen. Without any trial, Kovalan was immediately beheaded by the King.

On hearing the shocking news of her husband's death, Kannaki became furious and rushed to the king of Madurai with the second anklet she had left of the pair to prove her husband's innocence to the King. Kannaki broke open the anklet in front of the King and showed him that the anklet contained rubies and not pearls as the Queen's did. Enraged by the King's impulsive decision, Kannaki cursed the entire kingdom of Madurai and eventually, the entire kingdom burned down.

After the annihilation of Madurai, Kannaki, on her way to Kodungallur, reached Attukal, near the Killi river, took the disguise of a young girl and appeared in front of the head (Karanavar) of the Mulluveetil family, an influential family of the city. She requested the old man to help her cross the river. The charisma, charm and glow of the little girl made the old man believe that the girl is divine. He helped her cross the river and also invited her to his home. While the entire family of the old man was busy preparing to receive the girl, she disappeared before they could receive her and left everyone perplexed and disappointed. That night, the little girl appeared in the old man's dream and asked him to build a temple for her. As per the instructions the temple was built which came to be known as the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple.

Speciality of the Temple

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is often referred to as "Sabarimala of Women".

The temple is known for its architectural excellence that combines the architectural styles of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Very intricately carved figures of Mahishasuramardhini, Goddess Kali, Rajarajeswari, Sree Parvathy with Lord Shiva adorns the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple.

The walls of the temple depict the mythological stories of Hinduism.

There are ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu known as the Dasavatara at the temple.

On either side of the temple's gopura depict the stories of Kannaki.

The southern gopura of the temple depicts the Puranic stories known as Dakshayaga.

The temple contains two idols of the Goddess in which the original deity is adorned with golden ornaments and precious stones while the other one is placed just behind the original idol.


  • 4:30 AM to 12:30 PM.
  • 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM.

Festivals in the temple

Attukal Pongala: Attukal Pongala is a divine festival that has led to the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple receiving a Guinness Book World Record for the largest number of women gathering at a location for religious purpose. This ten-day festival takes place during the Malayalam months of Makaram-Kumbham.

Maha Shivaratri: This festival is celebrated with great pomp in honour to Lord Shiva.

Vinayaka Chaturthi: This festival is celebrated with special prayers to Lord Ganesha and Kootu Ganapati Homam is also performed during this auspicious day.

Kuthiyottam: Kuthiyottam is performed by boys below the age of 12 who are believed to be Goddess Mahishasuramardhini ’s wounded soldiers. These young boys start a seven-day penance on the 3rd day of the festival, to purify themselves.

Thalappoli: Thalappoli is performed by girls below the age of 12 who dress up in traditional attire and holds Thalam (a metal plate) in their hands filled with fresh paddy, flowers, rice, coconut and a lighted lamp to worship the Goddess.

Mandala Vratham and Pooja Vayppu are the other main festivals celebrated at this temple.

Dress Code to visit the temple:

  • There is no specific dress code to visit Attukal Bhagavathy Temple. It is better to wear clean and conservative attire while visiting the temple.
  • Traditional dress like Saree, salwar kameez or pavada is more preferable for women while visiting the temple.
  • Best Time To Visit

    The best time to visit Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is between the months of February and March, during which you can witness the Pongala Festival.

    Summer season from March to May is quite hot and humid which draw lesser crowds to the temple.

    Monsoon season in this region begins in the month of June and continues till September which turns the entire region into a lush green landscape of unparalleled beauty.

    Way to reach :

     By Air - Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is the nearest airport to Attukal Bhagavathy Temple which is situated 7 Km away from the shrine. On reaching the airport, one can hire a taxi, bus or autorickshaw to reach the temple.

     By Rail - Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station is the nearest railway station to Attukal Bhagavathy Temple which is situated 2 Km away from the shrine. On reaching the railway station, one can hire a taxi, bus or autorickshaw to reach the temple.

     By Bus - Thampanoor Bus Station is the nearest bus station to Attukal Bhagavathy Temple which is situated 2 Km away from the shrine.