Wednesday, August 10, 2011



Situated about 73 km east of Kollam and 33 km from Punalur is the beautiful place Aryankavu, one of the important pilgrim centers of the district. The main attraction of Aryankavu is the Ayyappa  Temple  alias  Aryankavu  Sastha Temple dedicated to Lord Sastha, one among the five ancient Ayyappa temples. The unique feature of the temple is that it is built about 35 ft below the road level and has some fine structure and mural  paintings. The legend behind the the Ayyappa of Aryankavu is similar to that of Sree Dharma Sastha of Sabarimala .The only difference between the two are that Sastha was brought up by the Pandi Raja of Madhura and not the Raja of Pandalam. The two  main festivals of this temple, Mandala pooja and Thrikalyanam festival, celebrated in ecember  draws thousands of pilgrims. It is believed that Swami Ayyappan married Shri Pushkaladevi  of Sourashtra community in Aryankavu.  The marriage festival is held every year in Aryankavu and the marriage rituals are according to the Sourashtra community .Even now Sourashtrans reach here in groups during the time of Mandalapooja'.  All trains towards Shencottah have a stop at Aryankavu. The Palaruvi waterfall is only 4kms away from here.


The Story:

 Swamy Ayyappan always has a predominant place in the Hindu religion. The main reason behind this is Swamy Ayyappan is the last Human Incarnation of god in kaliyug. Bhagawan Ayyappan is in married posture with Shri Pushkaladevi of Sourashtra community in Aryankavu. The marriage festival is held in Aryankavu every year and the marriage rituals are the same as in the Sourashtra community.Every year under the invitation of Trivancore king and Devasvam Board, the people of sourashtra under a sangam called 'Aryankavu Devasthan Sourashtra Mahajana Sangam', go as the sambanthi for the Lord Ayyappan. For the marriage they carry all the essential things as we carry for any marriage to Aryankuva from Madurai.



Incident at Aryankavu :

In earlier days the Sourashtrians sold silk dresses to the Trivancore king. One such business man went to sell silk dresses to Trivancore with his virgin daughter. On his way he reached Aryankavu by night, so he had to stay there.The next morning after freshing up he was ready to start, when his daughter requested him that she wanted to stay back there and keep praying to the Lord Ayyappan. She was impressed by the Lord and devoted to him. The people of the place also suggested not to take his daughter with, as it was a dense forest journey and they promised to take care of the girl. The businessman impressed by his daughter's bhakthi towards Lord Ayyappan, left her in charge of an archakar in that temple.

Lord Ayyapan's Dharshan :

After completing his business in Trivancore he returned towards Aryankavu. As he was nearing Aryankavu, a big one horned elephant came threatening towards him. The businessman was terribly afraid of this sudden appearance of the elephant and started praying loudly 'Ayyappa help and save me'. At that time a well-built hunter appeared suddenly and shouted towards the elephant to go. On hearing that the elephant went away like a magic The businessman was impressed and told to the hunter," you have saved my life and my family like a god". In a token of appreciation, the businessman gave a rich silk cloth to the hunter. The hunter wearing the cloth around his neck asked the businessman 'How do I look?'. The business man replied 'You look like a beautiful bridegroom'.On hearing this the hunter asked him, " will you marry your daughter to me.?" For that the business man said "why not? you have saved my life and if you wish I will marry my daughter to you".The hunter felt very happy and told that he will meet the businessman at the Aryankavu temple and he disappeared. The businessman was surprised that how could a stranger would know that I had a daughter for marriage and with confusion, he reached Aryankavu temple.


Archakar's Dream:

At the same time the temple's archakar had a dream in which Lord Ayyappan appeared and said ' wake up my devotee, a sourashtra business man, is waiting at the entrance of the temple. According to his wish I have united his daughter Pushkaladevi with me. The girl who was in your custody is now my wife and she is in a statue form on the left side of me in the temple. I will appear along with Pushkaladevi from today. Every year I want the businessman and his community to come here and celebrate this day as our marriage festival. After that the Archakar woke up from his dream and went to the temple along with people. There he saw the businessman. As he opened the temple door he saw all the lights of the temple lit and a small statue of Pushkaladevi was seen near the Lord, both in a married posture. The silk cloth given by the businessman to the hunter was found around the neck of Ayyappan. On seeing that the businessman knew that it was the god who had saved his life in the forest now his daughter was married to the god.

King'sDream Comes true :


On the same day the king of Trivandram had a dream in which lord told all the happenings and wanted him to treat the Sourashtra businessman and his community as his 'Sambanthis' and asked him to be the relative for Lord during his marriage.The king rushed to Aryankavu and felt happpy that his dream was true. He treated the businessman royally. He also wanted the businessman to come with his people every year and celebrate this festival. The king ordered that there should be a 'Eleven day grand festival' every year and the customs of the Sourashtra has to be followed for the marriage. So from then onwards and till date, every year the Government of Kerala's representatives come here as Lord's relatives and the Sourashtra people as the sambanthi to the lord, to celebrate. Every year, on this occassion a well decorated Portrait of the last king of Trivancore, Balarama Varma is kept. Before this photo the engagement ceremony takes place.And in the temple, there is a 11 day festival, with each day in different posture of the lord.

Aryankavu Ayyappa
Temple - Sree Dharma Sastha Temple

A Brief History

The AyyappaTemple at Aryankavu in Kollam District is one among the five most important temples dedicated to Lord Ayyappa in Kerala. The shrine at Aryankav is known as Aryankavu Dharma ShasthaTemple and Lord Ayyappa is depicted as a teenager (young boy) here. Ayyappa is known as Tiruaryan here and therefore the place got the name Aryankavu. Surrounded by forests, the temple is located on the Trivandrum – Tenkasi National Highway. Just like in Sabarimala, women from the age 10 to 50 are not allowed inside the Aryankavu Ayyappa Temple. The rituals and pujas followed at AryankavuSasthaTemple is that of Tamil tradition. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple has idols of Devi, Shiva and Sastha. A young Ayyappa sits in the middle with Devi on the left side and Shiva on the right side. The festival at the temple is celebrated during the last days of the Sabarimala Mandala Kalam. The most important festivals observed here include Pandiyanmudippu, Trikalyanam and Kumbhabhishekam. 

The LordAyyappaTemple at Kulathupuzha near Thenmala in Kollam District of Kerala is an important shrine visited by Ayyappa devotees especially during the Mandala-Makaravilaku season. This Shasta shrine is located on the banks of Kulathu Puzha, a tributary of KalladaRiver, and is in the reserve forest. The deity here is Manikantan or the child form of Lord Ayyappa.The deity is popularly referred as Dharma Shasta. There are two main deities in this small temple – Lord Shiva and Shasta. Shiva is in the form of Shiva Linga and that of Shasta or Ayyappa is a stone image.The shrine also houses an elaborately carved idol of Lord Vishnu. There are also shrines of Ganesha and Devi in the compound.

There is an interesting legend regarding the origin of the AyyappaTemple at Kulathupuzha. Once and elderly Brahmin returning from his Rameshwaram pilgrimage camped on the Kallada Riverbank. His servants started the preparation for the evening meal and they looked out for stones to create the makeshift oven. They found a fixed stone nearby and brought two stones to create the oven. But the fixed stone was bigger than the two stones. The servants placed two stones on top of other to adjust the height. Suddenly, the first stone grew a bit taller. The poor servants raised the level of the two stones again but the fixed stone again grew a bit taller. This exercise of adjusting the height continued for awhile. Finally frustrated with the fixed stone, one of the servants hit the fixed stone with another stone. Suddenly blood gushed out of the fixed stone and the scared servants ran and reported the matter to the Brahmin. The Brahmin sprinkled some tirtha (sacred water) brought from Rameshwaram on the bleeding fixed stone. Soon, Lord Ayyappa appeared in the form of child before the Brahmin and his servants.

The local chief who came to know about this incident built at temple for the deity.

Kulathupuzha town is situated on the Thiruvananthapuram - Shenkottai road. Kulathupuzha is 60 km north-east of Thiruvananthapuram and 64 km east of Kollam. Nearest railway station is at Kollam. It must be noted that the meter gauge railway line from Kollam to Shenkottai is non-functional due to the upgrading work taking place.

How to reach Aryankavu Sree Darma Sasta Temple?

From Trivandrum by Road

Trivandrum Nedumangadu  Palode  Kulathupuzha  Thenmala  Aryankavu.

From Kollam by Road and Rail

Kollam  Kottarakkara  Punalur  Thenmala  Aryankavu                                                 

From Kottayam by Road 

Kottayam  Adoor  Kottarakkara  Punalur  Thenmala  Aryankavu 

From Madurai TamilNadu by Road and Rail

Madurai   Tenkasi  Sencottah  Puliyarai  Aryankavu 

Note: The information given here may not be updated and complete. Use this only for basic reference. While every care is taken, the publisher is do not guarantee the accuracy of information provided in this site. For more accurate and updated information, consult the official sources. 

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