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Rajagopuram for Karikkakom temple

The Sree Chamundi Temple at Karikkakom village near the city is one of the few temples in the State to have a rajagopuram.


THE SREE Chamundi Temple at Karikkakom village, seven km west of Thiruvananthapuram city, has joined the ranks of rare temples in the State that have a rajagopuram (royal tower). A festival, `Rajagopuram Kumbabhishekam', was held recently to commemorate the event.

The 500-year-old Karikkakom temple has been deemed to be the seat of satyam (truth), dharmam (personal duty) and neethi (justice). History has it that during the rule of the Maharajas of Travancore, people who were accused of various crimes but pleaded their innocence were brought here to swear by the presiding deity. The renovation of the temple was undertaken by the Karikkakom Chamundi Temple Trust around 10 years ago. It was done in keeping with the principles of traditional temple architecture, under the guidance of Kanipayyur Krishnan Nambuthiri of the Vaastu Vidya Gurulkulam, Aranmula, say the Trust authorities.

The construction of the five-storey, 63-feet rajagopuram was a laborious process, spanning more than six years and incurring a cost of Rs. 2 crores, the Trust authorities say. The rajagopuram is a large pyramidal tower built at the entrance to the temple in accordance with the guidelines included in `Aintramatham', an authoritative text on the science of sculpture, says Sangameswaran, the temple sculptor. The five storeys, each with a pair of small cross-windows, represent panchentriya, the five senses of human beings.

The rajagopuram is marked by meticulously crafted sculptures. Hundreds of idols of gods and goddesses on the four lateral sides of the tower illustrate episodes from Hindu puranas.

Three days of special rites spearheaded by Puliyannormada Anujan Nambuthiripadu, the temple priest, preceded the Kumbhabhishekam. During Kumbhabhishekam, an offering of sanctified grain, coin and silver was made. In the evening, Karthika Tirunal Tampurati of the ruling family of erstwhile Travancore dedicated the rajagopuram to the temple.

The pradhishta (installation process) of the nearby Annapoorneswari temple was held the next day.

Musical programmes, with a line-up of renowned artistes such as K. J. Jesudas, K. S. Chitra, Kanjangadu Ramachandran, and M. G. Radhakrishnan and others, were a big draw.

K. C. ASOK

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