Choorakulangara Sri Bhadrakali Temple

This ancient temple is located to the immediate north east of our college campus. As they enter the campus, visitors observe to their right the large, beautiful temple pond and they also get a partial view of the temple structure itself. The legend of Goddess Bhadrakali is that She was born of Lord Shiva’s third eye, and that the purpose of Her birth was the slaying of the demon Darika. Due to Her fiery origin, Bhadrakali is pictured by her devotees as powerful and quick-tempered; yet, She is also seen as benign and benevolent. The large idol in the Choorakulangara temple — sculpted out of a single piece of granite — depicts the Goddess as eight-armed and seated on a ghoul’s (vetala’s) neck, and She is holding the head of Darika in Her lower left hand. As is seen in most of the historic temples in Kerala, the sanctum sanctorum is made of blocks of granite. The temple also has smaller shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Dharma Shasta, the Serpent Gods (Naga Devata) and Yakshi Amma.

The Choorakulangara temple is owned and managed by the Punnackal Thurutthikad Illam (Illam: Brahmin family). This illam is one among the eight families which comprised the original managing trust of the Ettumanoor Mahadeva temple. The origin of Choorakulangara temple, according to myth, starts from a pilgrimage undertaken by an ancestor of the Punnackal Thurutthikad family. After substantially completing the purpose of his journey, he was camping overnight in a temple near Shoranur (Palakkad district). He encountered a young orphan girl there and, being childless, decided to adopt her and take her home. However, on his way back home, he discovered that she had mysteriously disappeared. When he reached the present-day location of Choorakulangara temple, he received certain celestial signs. From these omens he understood that the girl really was Goddess Bhadrakali, and that She wanted a temple built for her at that spot. The locality had a large pond (kulam in Malayalam) and was overrun with cane plants (Chooral in Malayalam); therefore, the place name naturally became Chooralkulangara (bank of the cane-pond). The present name of this neighborhood is a modified version of the same.

The temple festival falls on the Makarabharani day in the Malayalam calendar (late January — early February). The temple also attracts large crowds during other festivals that celebrate the Mother Goddess. During Navaratri (Nine nights’ in the month of October) a specially adorned ‘mandapa’ is erected in the temple and Saraswathi (the Goddess of Letters and Learning) is specially worshipped. On Vidyarambha (commencement of learning), the last day of the festival, hundreds of tiny tots come to the temple to write their first letters and start their voyage of education.