Cherpulassery Ayyappan Kavu
Cherpulassery Ayyappan Kavu is the most famous Ayyppan temple in the Malabar region (the districts Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram and Kozhikkode) of Kerala. Another specialty of this temple is that it is one of the few temples in Kerala where marriages can be solemnized in front of Ayyappa. Since Ayyappan is a celibate (Nitya Brahmachari) marriages are not normally solemnized at his temples, but the Cherpulassery Ayyappan Kavu is an exception to this practice. A large number of pregnant women also visit this temple during the 7th month of their pregnancy. It is customary for expectant mothers to visit temples and seek the blessings of the deity. They typically start with the temples in their neighborhood and end this season of temple visits at the Cherpulassery Ayyappan Kavu.
The temple receives a large number of devotees during the Sabarimala pilgrimage season (mid-November to mid-January). Many of them are Sabarimala pilgrims who start the pilgrimage from here after performing their ‘Kettunira’. This is one of the oldest temples in this region and is being renovated at the moment.
Lord Ayyappan is the presiding deity. The outer sanctum also has shrines dedicated to Navagrahas (nine planets), Nagaraja (serpent god), Brahma Rakshas, Krishna, Ganapathi and Shiva. The idols of both Shiva and Ganapathi are installed in one shrine.
During the ten day festival, the temple organizes a traditional temple art called Thiyyattu. Participating in Thiyyattu is considered extremely auspicious.
How to reach?
Cherpulassery is a small town located about 17 kilometers from Ottappalam. Its biggest claim to fame is this temple. The town has also given birth to several exponents of traditional percussion instruments like Chenda, Maddalam and Thimila. There are frequent bus services between Ottappalam and Cherpulassery. Buses also run between Pattambi and Cherpulassery and between Cherupulassery and Perinthalmanna. The temple is on the main road and there is a bus stop in front of it. The bus stand is about 5 minutes’ walk from the temple.