Alumpeth temple is an ancient kalari temple of Sri Bhadrakali (Devi), located at Vathikulam, a remote but beautiful village in Kerala state of South India. Vathikulam village is accessable by road travelling 7 kms towards east from Kayamkulam town. Kayamkulam is a well known town on national highway 47 about 108 kms towards north of Trivandrum and 110 kms towards south from Cochin. Kayamkulam is well connected by railway also.
Motive behind the incarnation of Sribhadrakali (Devi) is to save the gods from insult and despair, people worship her in times of dejoice, neglect and impending emotional distress. Devi is also known to be a goddess on call at times when life is in risk and existence is felt to be impossible. Since Alumpeth temple is in the form of ancient Indian Kalari (school of literal and martial arts) people depend her when their progress in educational, cultural, scientific and legal endeavours are thwarted by enemies or negative situational factors.
Sit in a comfortable position with closed eyes and chant the manthra:
"Ya devi sarwabhootheshu
namasthasyai namo nama:"
several times and achieve bliss.
Irrespective of size or amount, devotees offer anything under the sun to Devi. Offerings range from a garland or flower to an elephant. Fridays and Tuesdays are very important for this prayer. For resolving long standing problems, one has to better follow Velliyazhcha Vritham (Friday Fasting Prayer). The program starts on thursday after evening bath, taking no solid food other than fruits from thursday evening to saturday morning. Intoxicants, non-vegetarian food and sex should be avoided during these hours, should bath twice a day and chant the above manthra, this should be continued for any number of weeks until desired outcome is received. This prayer has high significance from naturopathic and yogic perspective also.
Lord Siva married Sati, daughter of king Daksha and were living happily at kailas. Daksha conducted a yaga (grand ceremony and feast to gods) where Siva and Sati were not invited. Despite of Siva's admonishment, Sati attended the yaga expecting her parents would apologize and receive her. But she was neglected and insulted in public. Sati felt desperate and ended her life jumping into the fire.
Lord Siva turned furious and bang his hair on earth giving birth to two frightening figures, Sri Bhadrakali(Devi) and Virabhadra. They destroyed the yaga and killed Daksha (Devibhagavatham 7th chapter). Hence Devi is believed to be a savior on call at times when ones esteem is injured.
Alumpeth temple is the holy seat of Sri Bhadrakali. Yogiswaran (ancient family chief) of Mulamoottil family was a devotee of Panayannarkavu goddess who brought Devi through penence in 16th century to Alumpeth temple. Yogiswaran is the physical founder of this temple. Yogiswaran's predecessors where accountant generals of kayamkulam dynasty and enjoyed immence power, wealth and all virtues of feudalism. This was a glorious period in the history of temple. In 1924AD the grand family and wealth were divided into 7 branches and the 7th branch is Alumpeth temple.
Eravankara Punchaman Madom Thirumeni is the thanthri (spiritual chief) and this position runs hereditary in that family. Temple committee with the consent of thantri appoints poojari and other temple employees from time to time.
Siva: Third of thrimoorthi (Hindu Holy Trinity) responsible for samharam (destruct ion). At Alumpeth temple Siva sits near Devi. Purakuvilakku, Dhara and Mrithyunjaya pooja are important to Siva.
Ayyappa: Son of Siva in Vishnu. Ayyappa sits near Devi in t he temple. During sabarimala season, Ayyappa devotees crowed in the temple to start their sabarimala pilgrimage.
Veerabhadra: Brother of Devi, born along with her from Siva at the time of Daksha's killing.
Brahma Rakshas is considered as a part of Lord Vishnu.
Yakshi : Friend and helper of Devi. Tender coconut is her favorite offering.
Nagaraja and Nagayakshi : King and queen of snakes worshiped in ancient Kerala.. Panoor Kavu, bush located 1 km. south west of the temple is also known for snake worship .
Yogiswaran: Ancient family chief and founder of Alumpeth temple. His seat is Kadanath Kalari located 600 m. south of main temple.
Gandharwan (Musician of Heaven) also sits at Kadanath Kalari.
Major festival in this temple is on "Pathamudayom" (10th day of month Medom). Usually it comes on 23rd of April every year. Festival starts with special pooja for main and sub gods. In the morning ladies offer "Pongal" to the goddess. Pongal is a custom in which ladies cook Pudding in temple premises for fulfilment of their long cherished dreams. Kalasam, ezhunnallathu are conducted during day time. Night there will be traditional cultural programs like Kathakali, Music contest, Koothu, Theeyattu etc. Festival ends next day early morning with gurusi (holy sacrifice) and fire works. Vijayadasami is another festival in this temple.Devibhagavatham (epic text on Sree Bhadrakali) is read. Children from nearby places are brought for vidyarambham (commencement of study). Spiritual cheif writes alphabets on children's tongue with gold.
During Sabarimala season (Vrichikam, Dhanu months) special Ayyappa Poojas are conducted. Ayyappa devotees crowed here for Malayidil (commencements of 2 months penence for Ayyappa) and kettumuruckal (fitting their bags for sabarimala pilgrimage).
Other Hindu festivals like Onam, Vishu, Deepavali, Sivarathri, Bharani, Ayilyam, Ekadasi are also celebrated. Star Rohini of every month is also important here.
Brief list of major offerings are given. Rate mentioned is for 1 year. Devotees can book the offerings by sending a cheque/Draft drawn in favour of Secretary, Alumpeth Devikshethram, Vathikulam, payable at Kayamkalam. This may be accompanied by a covering letter indicating the item of offering, devotee's star/date of birth. The offering pooja will be conducted on the same date of every month for a period of 1 year (12 pooja's) and the prasadam (blessed remainings of pooja) will be send to the devotee over post.
Ganapathy Homam: Special offering to Ganapathy (Vinayak) for eleminating barriers and adverse factors in life (Rs. 1250/- / 40 $).
Mrithyunjaya Homam : Word meaning, win over death. It is a Siva Pooja conducted with the objective of saving life of person whose life is threatened. Lord Siva is considered as daring even to destroy god of death to save his devotes (Rs. 1500/- / 50$).
Sathru Samhara Pooja : Special offering to Sri Bhadrakali for total destruction of one's enemy (Rs. 1500/- / 50 $).
Noorum Palum: Specail offering to Nagaraja and Nagayakshi for birth of children and healthy growth of next generation. (Rs. 1500/- / 50 $).
Ayyappa Pooja: Excludes the devotee from bad luck due to the influence of Sani (Saturn). (RS. 1500/- / 50 $).
Payasam/Pudding for Veerabhadran (Rs. 200/- / 5 $).
Payasam/Pudding for Brahmarakshasu (Rs. 200/- / 5 $).
Tender Coconut and varapodi for yakshi (Rs. 200/- / 5$).
Full day Pooja: for main and sub gods includes all the items 1 - 8 and unique pooja in devotees name to Sri Bhadrakali (Rs. 10000/- / 250 $).
Devotees can also contribute to development of the temple. Recently made such contribution includes Mr. Pallickal Sunil's contribution of a building. Another is an attractive protection wall to the temple constructed in memory of Panoor Kizhakkathil Thankamma Kunjamma and Thottathil Raghavan Unnithan.