Chottanikkara Bhagavathi - Temples - Kerala

The scenic place Chottanikkara in Ernakulam district gained its fame for housing the famous Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple which is one of the most renowned pilgrim destinations in Kerala.

Chottanikkara Bhagavathi Temple

The presiding deity of Chottanikkara temple is Goddess Lakshmi Devi who is also known by the name Sree Bhagavathi or Chottanikkaraamma. Chottanikkara Temple became so famous among the pilgrims due to healing powers of the Goddess regarding mental illness and disorder. The spectacular architecture of the Chottanikkara Temple is regarded as the ultimate testimonial for the ancient Vishwakarma sthapathis (wooden sculpture). Lord Shiva, Ganapathi, and Sri Dharma Sastha form the Upadevas of the Chottanikkara temple. Chottanikkara Makam Thozhal is the annual festival which is celebrated with great pomp and grandeur at this temple which is celebrated in the month of Kumbham that falls between the months of February and March.


There are a lot of myths and legends attached to the history of the Chottanikkara Temple. The most prominent legend is about a tribesman named Kannappan who was an ardent worshipper of Goddess Kali. Kannappan lived in a dense forest which is said to be infested by Yakshis and raktharakshas. In order to please the Goddess Kali, every day Kannappan used to sacrifice a cow ritually. One day, he kidnapped a beautiful black calf from the thick jungle and decided to offer it to Goddess Kali. But his daughter Manimanga insisted him from killing the calf. Kannappan who loved her daughter very much, let her keep the calf as a pet. But unfortunately, a few days later his daughter Manimanga passed away. Kannappan decided to cremate her body and when he looked for her corpse, to his surprise, it had vanished. He went to a priest to know the reason for such an occurrence and the priest analyzed that his daughter Manimanga was taken as a punishment to Kannappan, as he used to forcibly take young calves from their mothers and sacrificed them. When Kannappan looked for the calf, he found two divine stones in its place that represent the divine couples Vishnu and Lakshmi. In order to wash off his sins, Kannappan build a small shrine and started worshipping the two deities which became a tradition ever since. Later the temple was reconstructed and came to be known as Chottanikkara Temple.

Another popular legend about this temple is related to the spiritual leader Shankaracharya (Adi Shankara). As there wasn’t a single temple in Kerala dedicated to Goddess Saraswathi, Shankaracharya was very disappointed that he set off to the Kodachadri hills in Karnataka to meditate to the Goddess to appear before him. The Goddess who was pleased with his meditation appeared before him, dressed in white. He told her his wish to establish a temple as a dedication to her in Kerala, so he begged her to come with him to Kerala. She agreed and said that she will follow him but only on one condition that he wasn’t supposed to doubt and look back at her. He also agreed to her condition and both of them started their journey with Shankaracharya leading the way and the goddess' anklets tinkling to let him know that she was with him. But after some time, Shankaracharya couldn’t hear the tinkling of her anklets so he quickly turned back to check the goddess still with him. This angered the Goddess to a great degree. But Shankaracharya was not ready to give up, so he begged and apologized and at last, they agree to a compromise. The Goddess agreed to appear before the devotees of Kerala in the early hours of the morning at the Chottanikkara Temple and she told him that she will return to the spot where she stopped in the afternoon. And that spot is now the Mookambika Temple. Since then, the sanctum doors of the Chottanikkara Temple are opened during the early morning hours to worship Goddess Saraswathi before the doors of the main sanctum in Mookambika temple are opened.


  • Melekkavu and Keezhekkavu are the two main temples of the famous Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple.
  • Goddess Rajarajeswari is the presiding deity of Melekkavu and Keezhekkavu is dedicated to Goddess Bhadra Kali.
  • The speciality of the idol of the Goddess Rajarajeswari is that it is not fixed to the ground but mounted on the sand. The deity of Melekkavu is also known as Lakshmi Narayana because Lord Vishnu is seated on the same pedestal.
  • The main speciality of Melekkavu is that here, the deity Goddess Rajarajeswari is worshipped in three different forms in which the idol is worshipped as Saraswathi, draped in white in the morning, as Lakshmi, in red in the afternoon and as Durga in blue in the evening.
  • Goddess Bhadra Kali of Keezhekkavu temple is known for healing powers, especially that are related to mental illness and disorders. And a lot of devotees visit this temple to get rid of evil spirits.
  • Every evening, an important ritual called ‘Guruthi Pooja’ is performed at the Keezhekkavu temple to invoke Goddess Mahakali.
  • It is a very ancient practice that the devotees visit the Keezhekkavu first before visiting Melekkavu.
  • The devotees beat in long nails using their forehead to a large tree near the temple on the belief that doing so can disable the spirit of evil residing in the patient's body that causes mental illness.


  • Makam Thozhal: The most significant festival of the Chottanikkara Temple is the Makam Thozhal. This festival is celebrated for seven days in the month of Kumbham that falls between the months of February and March. The legend behind Makam Thozhal Festival is that it is believed that on the Makam day, Goddess Bhagavathy in her full attire gave darshan to Vilwamangalam Swamiyar. Hence this festival is conducted on the belief that Bhagavathy will appear on the same day every year for giving darshan to the devotees in her special appearance.
  • Thiruvonam: Thiruvonam is celebrated with great grandeur at this temple offering Thiruvonam feast (annadanam) to all Pilgrims.
  • Navarathri: The Navarathri festival of this festival attracts a large number of devotees especially during the Vijayadashami day when Vidyarambham is conducted.
  • Mandala Mahotsavam: Mandala Mahotsavam is another important festival of this temple which is celebrated during the entire period of the Mandalam season. During this festival season, daily annadanam, stage programmes, Naama japam etc. are conducted at the temple.
  • Vishu:  With Vishukani, Vishu Sadya and ezhunnellippu on three elephants, the Vishu festival is celebrated during the month of Medam.
  • Anna Prasam or Choroonu: Choroonu is the first rice giving ceremony of a child conducted in the temple when the baby is 140-168 days old, that is between his/her 5th and 6th month.
  • During the month of Kumbham, the Chottanikkara Temple celebrates its annual festival that begins with the flag hoisting ceremony (Kodiyettu) on Rohini day which lasts for 7 days and ends on Uthram star.


  • 4 AM to 12:10 PM
  • 4 PM to 8:45 PM

Dress code

Chottanikkara Temple follows a strict dress code. Traditional Indian clothes are the most preferred attire for men and women visiting the Chottanikkara Temple. Men are not allowed to wear shirts or vests while entering the Chottanikkara Temple. Women can wear traditional sarees or North Indian suits.

Way to Reach

 By Air - Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport to Chottanikara Temple which is situated about 36.2 Km away from the shrine. On reaching the airport, one can hire a taxi, bus or autorickshaw to reach the temple.

 By Rail - Ernakulam Junction Railway Station and Ernakulam South Railway Station are the nearest railway stations to Chottanikara Temple which is situated at a distance of 16 Km and 18 Km respectively. On reaching the railway station, one can hire a taxi, bus or autorickshaw to reach the temple. 

 By Road -  Many State transport buses and private buses are easily available to Chottanikara Temple from different parts of the state.