Vellayani Devi temple :

God and Godess :

Location :

Temple History :

Vellayani Devi temple is one of the famous ancient temples of goddess Bhadrakali as the presiding deity. The idol stands for goddess Bhadrakali. Goddess Kali is facing towards the north in Garbhahriha.The idol of the goddess in the Vellayani temple is one of the largest among the idols other Kali temples in Kerala. The idol is four and a half feet in height as well as width. Pure gold and precious stones decorate the frontal view of the idol. Legend says that a Kollan (blacksmith) named Kelan Kulasekhara saw a frog with the divine spirit of goddess near Vellayani lake. He caught the divine frog with the help of his assistant. They informed the matter to the Nair chieftains of the locality and with their help, Kelan Kulasekhara consecrated the Thiru Mudi (idol) in which divine spirit is evoked. The right to perform Uchabali (a ritual connected with the festival of the temple) is still held by the Nair families. Priest of the temple is not belonging to Brahman community but a selected person belonging to the Kollan (blacksmith) community.

There is a myth that, a demon named Darika who received a boon from Lord Brahma which granted that he would never be defeated by any man, living in any of the fourteen worlds of Hindu mythology. This made Darika immensely powerful and arrogant. Armed with this boon, Darika went on to conquer the world, defeating even Indra, the king of the Gods. As his atrocities became intolerable, the sage Narada requested Lord Shiva to control Darika. Lord Shiva agreed, circumventing Lord Brahma’s boon, by declaring that Darika would be killed by the goddess Kali. Lord Shiva opened his third eye and produced Kali, whose purpose was to destroy Darika. Goddess being a woman and not normal humans, she destroyed Darika, by beheading him. Goddess didn’t stop with Darika and unable to control her rage, began destroying the landscape and the very humans for whose sake she had destroyed Darika. The Gods could not stop her and she was finally calmed when Shiva appeared in front of her.

Vellayani Devi temple is renowned for celebrating the longest festival of South India which takes place for 50 to 60 days. This festival is held once in 3 years usually between February and April. The festival is known as the Kaliyoottu Mahotsavam, which literally means ‘the festival to luxuriously feed Devi’. Kaliyoottu is the dramatic presentation of the genesis of Bhadrakali and Darika, the representatives of good and evil respectively, their confrontation and later the extermination of Darika in devotional terms, with rhythmic footsteps. Other customs like Karadikottu is the maiden custom related with the festival, performed with a special drum. The performer is locally known as Panan. Kalamkaval is a famous custom practiced at the temple premises and nearby places during the festival. It is believed that the goddess Bhadrakali searches her enemy Darukan in all directions, before putting him to death. Devotees commemorate this legend by seeing this unique Kalamkaval. Kalamkaval is the ritual in which chief priest, carries the main idol on his head and performs some trance-like dances until he is unconscious. Local people believe that the priest gets the strength to carry on the trance with the idol on his head, due to the blessings of the Devi enshrined in the temple. Uchabali is another custom performed during the festival. About sixty-four gestures like in Kathakali are used for the performance. Mathsyam, Sampannam, Chathurasramam, Sarppamudra, and Jyothimudra are some of the main gestures used.

Virgin girls are usually prohibited from watching Uchabali. A beautiful crown built of the coconut palm is fixed at the spot of Uchabali. Paranettu is a custom which is believed that a fight erupted between Devi and the demon Darikan in the sky. The fight is enacted on a specially erected stage, about 100 feet high and is conducted at night known as Paranettu. ‘Nilathilpporu’ marks the conclusion of the Kaaliyoottu festival at Vellayani Devi temple. During the climax moment of this ceremony, the demon Darikan (the man with the symbolic crown in the foreground) weeps and begs for mercy from the Goddess. Subsequently, the Goddess beheads the demon. The festival, Kaliyoottu, ends with a grand procession knows as Arattu. During Arattu, the idol is cleaned using water collected from 101 pots. A girl below ten years performs the function. Pongala Festival at Vellayani Devi temple is celebrated during the Malayalam month of Meenam on the Aswathy Nakshatram (Aswini Nakshatra). Other deities in this temple are Lord Shiva, LordGanesha, and Nagaraja. The temple also has a small sub-temple where another deity Madan Thampuran is enshrined. In this temple, antler is also worshiped. The circulating notion about this is that the antler serves as a medium to invoke the spirit of the divinity at a new-built temple.

Timings :

  • Morning – 05:30 to 08:00
  • Afternoon – 12:30 to 14:00 (Sunday,Tuesday, Friday)
  • Evening – 5.30PM to 8PM

Festivals :

  • Navaratri
  • Pongal Festival
  • Kalamkaval
  • Kaliyoottu Mahotsavam

Ticket price for rituals, darshanams & special sevas :

  • Madhu Pooja
  • Vara(vada) offering
  • Pori (puri) offering
  • Chuttuvilakku 
  • pushparchana

Nearest Temples Around Vellayani Devi temple :

  • Attukal Attukal Sree Bhagavathy Temple – Tiruvanantapuram district – 9.00 km
  • Tiruvanantapuram Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple – Tiruvanantapuram district – 9.00 km
  • Thiruvanantapuram Sri Anantha Padmanabha swamy temple – Tiruvanantapuram district – 9.00 km
  • Thiruvattur Sri Adikesava Perumal temple – kanyakumari district – 41.00 km
  • Mandaikadu Bhagavathi amman temple – Kanyakumari district – 54.00 km
  • Varkala Sivagiri mutt – Tiruvanantapuram district – 56.00 km
  • Velimalai Kumara swamy temple – Kanyakumari district – 60.00 km
  • Nagarcoil Nagaraja temple – Kanyakumari district – 62.00 km
  • Suchindram Thanumalayan swamy temple – Kanyakumari district – 67.00 km
  • Kottarakkara Mahaganapathi Temple – Kollam district – 79.00 km
  • Kollam Ammachiveedu Moorthy Temple – Kollam district – 80.00 km
  • Kanyakumari Kumari Amman Temple – Kanyakumari district – 82.00 km
  • Sasthamcotta Sri DharmasasthaTemple – Kollam district – 96.00 km
  • Ochira Oachira ParaBrahma Temple – Kollam district – 109.00 km
  • Ilanji Thiruvilanji kumarar Temple – Tirunalveli / Tirunelveli district – 112.00 km
  • Tenkasi Kasi Viswanatha temple – Tirunalveli / Tirunelveli district – 115.00 km
  • Kutrallam Courtrallanathar temple – Tirunalveli / Tirunelveli district – 116.00 km
  • Pampoli Tirumalai Kumaraswamy Temple – Tirunalveli / Tirunelveli district – 117.00 km
  • Achankovil Sri Dharmasastha temple – Kollam district – 132.00 km
  • Kadayam Vilvanatha swamy Temple – Tirunalveli / Tirunelveli district – 133.00 km
  • Tirunelveli Nellaiappar & Kanthimathi Temple – Tirunalveli / Tirunelveli district – 142.00 km
  • Papanasam Arulmigu Papanasa swamy Temple – Tirunalveli / Tirunelveli district – 148.00 km
  • SankaranKovil Sankaranarayanan Swamy Temple – Tirunalveli / Tirunelveli district – 156.00 km
  • Singampatti Forest Sorimuthu Ayyanar Temple – Tirunalveli / Tirunelveli district – 160.00 km
  • Vaikom Mahadeva temple – Kottayam district – 195.00 km

Nearest Bus Stations :

  • Thiruvananthapuram – 9 km
  • Neyyattinkara – 13 km
  • Nedumangad – 24 km
  • Kovalam – 15 km

Nearest Railwaystations :

  • Thiruvananthapuram – 8 km
  • Neyyattinkara – 12 km
  • Nemom – 4 km
  • Kochuveli – 16 km

Nearest Airports :

  • Trivendrum – 13 km
  • Cochin – 241 km
  • Calicut – 375 km
  • Tuticorin – 171 km

Photos of the temple :