Kottiyoor Temple also known as Dakshina Kashi meaning Kashi of the south, is a prominent Shiva temple near Kelakam in Kannur district of Kerala. Set amidst the jungle, nourished by a flowing river Bavali in serene surroundings and blessed with abundant natural beauty, the temple is situated on the beautiful valley of the Western Ghats and you will feel the divine energy the moment you step on this mythical land. The temple is located in a serene dense forest which is now declared as a Wild Life Sanctuary by Government of Kerala.
The temple is a special category temple under Malabar Devaswom board. Thruchherumana Kshetram is the proper name of Kottiyoor temple. The temple is also known by the names Sri Kottiyoor Mahadeva Kshetram, Kudiyoor, Dakshina Kashi. Thricherumana, Vdakkumkaavu, Kizhakkumkaavu and Vadakeeswaram.
Kottiyoor temple receives the highest number of pilgrimage in a festival season after Sabarimala. The Kottiyoor village is situated in the eastern part of Kannur district near to the Wayanad District. The river Bavali which is a tributary of the Valapattanam River, originating from the Perya of Wayanad, splits Kottiyoor into two.
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There are two temples in Kottiyoor – one on the western bank of the Bavali River – and the other one on the eastern bank of the Bavali River. The shrine on the east bank (Kizhakkeshwaram or Akkare Kottiyoor) is a temporary hermitage (Yaga shrine) opened only during the Vysakha festival. The Vadakkeshwaram or Ikkare Kottiyoor (The Thruchherumana Temple) on the western bank of the river is a permanent temple complex like all other temples.
The temple has a Shiva Linga believed to be a ‘swayambhu‘. ‘Swayambhu’ means born on his own or not man made. The small heap where this Shiva Linga is worshipped is known as ‘Manithara‘, which is a semicircular raised ‘Thara’ in the middle of the circular water pond.
The temple is situated in a densely forested area amidst a sacred grove that covers about 80 acres. Mythology says that Akkare Kottiyoor, the shrine on the eastern bank of the river, was the location of Daksha Yaga, at the conclusion of which, Sati Devi immolated herself and thus committed suicide in this place.
The Akkare Kottiyoor temple remains closed throughout the year except for the 28 days of the Vysakha Maholsavam or Vysakha festival. That means you can visit this temple only in this 28 days in a year.
The Thruchherumana Temple was built after the Swayambhoo Lingam was found. However the exact date of construction of temple is not known, the pilgrimage has been taking place for many centuries.
The Thruchherumana Temple has its objective to worship Shiva for the entire year as the Swayambhoo Linga on the other bank of the river can only be worshiped during 28 days of a year. Sankaracharya had classified the rites and rituals of the temple.
The legend goes that the shrine is blessed with the divine presence of The Holy Trinity or The Trimurthy (Brahma – Vishnu – Shiva) and the Primodial Mother Goddess (Bhagavathy), due to this Kali (the personification of Kali Yuga), has promised Parashurama in the presence of Trimurthy in not entering the premises of the holy shrine.
Kottiyoor is one of the most sacred shrines of Shakti. There are very few shrines in India for Sati Devi amongst which Kottiyoor is one.
As there is no sanctum-sanatorium, Sati is worshiped as Shakti in ‘Ammarakkalu Thara‘, a raised platform adjacent to the Swayambhoo Linga where Sati Devi is believed to have committed suicide. This is believed to be the temple of the origin of the Shakti Peethas. As it is the confluence of the presence of all the known Hindu Divinities, the place is called Kottiyoor from Koodi and Uuru meaning Meeting Precinct.