Sunday, 19 November 2017

Queen Victoria Memorial, Bangalore - a vestige of British Monarchy!

Queen Victoria statue, Bangalore West Sussex County Council

Above image:   Royal Sussex Regiment Collection
West Sussex Record Office.  RSR 2/6th Battalion, Queen Victoria
Bangalore. 1916.

  Statue of Queen Victoria, Bangalore,
The Statue of Queen Victoria in Bangalore is one of the five among the original 50 statues of Queen Victoria  that were installed in British India after her demise in 1901 at the ripe age of 81.  Located at Queen's Park, next to Cubbon Park, Bangalore Cantonment, the historical  statue of Queen Victoria was unveiled on 5 February 1906 by the then Prince of Wales, George Frederick Ernest Albert (who later became King George V). The statue was made possible through public subscription, contribution from  people  associated  with Bangalore civil and military services and a chunk of donation came from  Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV, the Maharajah of Mysore. The statue has blossoms of jacaranda falling around. At the other end of Queen's Park lies  the Statue of King Edward VII. 

In the wake of Sepoy Mutiny of 1957, disgusted with East India company's oppressive rule that gave England a bad rap and made the native Indians furious, the British government took over the administration of the Indian subcontinent after the dissolution of the EIC. In 1877, the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, had proclaimed Queen Victoria as the Empress of India. 

After the death of queen Victoria in January, 1901, to honor her, committees were set up in salute states to erect the statue of Victoria. In Bangalore, funds were collected  under a Fund Committee and the ruler of Mysore donated BINR.15,000.00. Sir Thomas Brock, well-known sculptor who made the Victoria Memorial outside the Buckingham palace, was chosen to design the queen's statue in Bangalore. The13 feet tall pedestal is made of granite, while that of statue that is 11 feet tall is made of marble. The total cost incurred was BINR. 25,000.00. Inscription on the statue reads:


 The queen's statue that is very much similar to the ones at  London, Hove, Carlisle, Belfast, Brisbane and Cape Town,  was shipped from England and arrived in Bangalore in July 1905. Brock made a replica of the one he designed in 1890 for his hometown Worcester, England. Besides Bangalore, Brock also sculpted the Queen Victoria statues erected in Agra, Cawnpore and Lucknow. The statue in Bangalore is carrying a scepter and an orb with a cross. The Queen is wearing the  customary Order of the Garter robes, which are decorated with tassels and roses.

The Queen's statue at Bangalore, Madras University, Chennai, King Edward VII Market,Vizagapatam and two statues at the Victoria Memorial, Calcutta are in their original place. Not yet removed and moved over to the museum.,_Bangalore

Saturday, 18 November 2017

The statue of Queen Victoria, Lucknow - a thing of the past

Hazrat Mahal memorial, Chahatri. double-dolphin.blogspot.
Upon the death of Queen Victoria ( 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) the 22nd of January, 1901, at the age of 81, the  British Indian Government had  a proposal to have a  monument in each of the state capitals commemorating her life and  successful reign. She was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. Circumstances forced the royal family to make Victoria ascend the most prestegious position in the world. Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld inherited the throne at the young age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. Later from 1 May 1876,Queen Victoria adopted the additional title of Empress of India. 

Lord Curzon who had a long contact with the  British royal family was instrumental in constructing  an impressive  and well embellished monument worth her name and regal status called Victoria Memorial in Calcutta made of high quality marble Even to day, it is the most celebrated  and inspiring  tourist spot and landmark in Kolkata. The memorial came up public subscriptions and donations from the Indian Maharajahs and Nawabs. Then memorials for Queen Victoria were built in many places in India . The one at Lucknow is of particular interest to the historians. 

Hazrat Mahal memorial

 Hamo Thornycroft's seated statue of Queen Victoria, in the ornate Chhatri  within a fine canopy was removed to the Lucknow State Museum after India's independence that marked the end of a pretty 
long spell of humiliating and disgusting servitude under the repressive and unfriendly British rule, particularly during the conservative party rule in London. Indians will never forget the lousy leadership of that India-baiter Winston Churchill who was a mute spectator when millions of people died in the Bengal famine of the 1940s. The base of the pedestal that once carried the statue of seated Victoria is now a memorial to the Begum of Awadh and has a plaque set on it, and the park (earlier called Victoria park)  has been renamed Hazrat Mahal Begum Park. 

There was a proposal to have  a statue of Begum Hazrat Mahal set on the pedestal, however, this  plan was given up midway as many conservative Muslims were against erecting  a statue of a Muslim woman. 
The city of Allahabad, also had a statue of Queen Victoria and both the monuments have canopies within which were placed statues of the Queen.

To erect Victoria memorials in Awadh (now part of Uttar Pradesh), the British officials at different levels formed committees to collect funds. Part of the funds collected  went to Calcutta  for the memorial fund set up by lord Curzon. Rest of the subscription was retained to have two memorials in memory of Queen Victoria built in the kingdom of Awadh.  - at Lucknow and Allahabad.

Mr. Hamo Thornycroft (1850-1925) beautifully designed the seated statue of Queen Victoria, Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob (1841-1917), colonial engineer  and military officer, designed the monument, including the Chhatri. The work that began in September 1904 was completed on 
2 April 1905. The total cost of the project was 
about  Rs.150,000.00. Though Jacob was fond of architecture of Neo-classical type, a blend of Gothic Revival and  Indo-Islamic style, the one here exhibits more of  Indian style, but eclectically it is different,  a sort of broad-ranging; positively not confined to one design. It is confirmed by the way the whole structure is placed on a raised plinth and the presence of four chhatris on the four corners of that plinth. There are four more chhatris atop  the monument, around the dome, resembling a mosque’s minarets. The dome itself is purely Islamic, topped by an inverted lotus bud finial. The work was done by  Messrs. Adam & Co. of Agra, under the supervision of Colonial engineers from the PWD.

In 1957, on the occasion of the centenary of the Sepoy

Queen Victoria. The Sun
mutiny, the state government renamed Victoria Park to Begum Hazrat Mahal Park, to commemorate the courageous  role of the wife of the deposed Nawab, Wajid Ali Shah, in the first uprising against colonial rule. It was at this time that a pillar with plaques mentioning Begum Hazrat Mahal was placed inside the canopy.
Deepanjan. "Victoria Park." The Concrete Paparazzi. Web. 12 April 2016.

Srirangam Ranaganatha temple gets the covetous Merit Award, 2017 from UNESCO

Srirangam temple, Tamil Nadu
Above image: The golden Vimana  with its gable with Paravasudeva image over the sanctum (garbagraha/Srikovil) at Srirangam. The idol of Sri Ranganatha is there - both moolavar and utchavar;  there are other small  gopurams as well........

Among the Hindu temples of India, in particular south India, the  Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple of Srirangam, Tamil Nadu,  dedicated to Lord Vishnu in a reclining form (anandasayanam) on the recoiled bed of serpent Adishesha   is not only a popular pilgrimage center but  also an important tourist place.  This  temple is glorified in the Thiviya Pirabandham, the early medieval Tamil literature canon of the Alvar saints of Bhakti movement from the 6th to 9th centuries is foremost in the  the list among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Vishnu. Regarding the history of the evolution of  Vaishnavism  starting with Ramanuja  in the 11th-century  and his predecessors Nathamuni and Yamunacharya, the temple played an indispensable role in the spread of bhakthi.  

The recent good news about this temple of great antiquity is that it has won the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Merit 2017 for cultural heritage conservation. The temple bagged one of the four Awards of Merit from a jury comprising nine international conservation experts convened from 9 -11 Aug. 2017 at UNESCO, Bangkok, which considered conservation projects from 10 countries in the Asia Pacific region. According to a communique from UNESCO sent to the temple, dated November 1, the temple has been selected for the Award of Merit for 2017.

Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple Imgur
Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is the first temple in TN to receive a UNESCO award.  The other monuments in India that received the Award of Merit this year were Mumbai's colonial structures Christ Church and Royal Bombay Opera House. The selections were made from  43 applications received from 10 countries across the Asia Pacific region, 

As for the Srirangam temple, the UNESCO team gave due importance to the massive restoration work undertaken way back in  June 2014 at the initiative the late CM. Ms. Jayalalitha (who represented the Srirangam constituency).

The mammoth  restoration project was  carefully done in phases, at a cost of about ₹25 crore, with financial support   from the  state government as well as private donors. The kumbabishekam was performed in two stages — in September and November 2015. The renovation of the temple  was a tedious one, involving painstaking work by experienced sthapathis, under the guidance of experts in archaeology for over a year. This kind of massive restoration work was not undertaken in the last two centuries or so. The crucial aspect of this project, covering the vast temple was the daily puja and temple rituals were not intercepted and they went on as usual regularly. 

Srirangam temple, restored granaries. TripAdvisor
Including seven prakaras and 21 towers, along with the huge  236-feet-high rajagopuram,  the restoration work covered every part of the temple without tampering with their heritage value. Even the age old giant temple granaries to store grains donated by the devotees were restored back to old glory. The path from thayyar sannidhi was reopened. 

1000 pillar hall, Srirangam temple, Tamil nadu. ghatroads.in9
About mind-boggling 60,000 tonnes of construction wastes /debris were  removed in the course of  renovation. The public, for the first time, had an access to see such awe-inspiring  restored structures like hundred-pillar and thousand-pillar mandapams (halls) and various other mandapams, Several sculptures in the numerous sub-shrines were also restored.  Among the 40 sub-shrines, majority of them were closed for decades  earlier. The restoration work, for the first time, revealed the presence of  fine historical structures at the base of the shrines of Thondaradipodi Azhwar and Vitala Krishnan near the southern entrance.  According to the temple official, "It is very satisfying that the hard work has been recognized".
 "The project has revealed the original fabric of 
the shrines, water bodies and landscape within 
the temple’s four inner enclosures, which were 
once obscured under layers of inappropriate modern additions and tons of debris. Employing traditional construction materials and techniques, the restoration work was carried out in an authentic manner by local craftspeople in accordance with ancient building principles and rites. The temple today attracts great attention among its devotees 
and supporters, whose renewed sense of pride 
and  custodianship will ensure its long-term 
sustainability,” commented the (UNESCO) jury".

Srirangam. 1870 photo-temple gopurams

Inside, Ranganatha Swamy temple, Srirangam.

01. The location, on an island between the Kollidam and Cauvery rivers, has  made the temple  vulnerable to flooding  and the government takes precautionary measures during the Monsoon seasons. 

Fortified boundary wall, Srirangam
Above image: The temple is surrounded by 7 concentric huge, tick walls; this is a portion of the outermost wall. And the total length of these walls around the temple is slightly more than six miles.  The walls were fortified after the 14th century invasion from the Delhi Sultanate...........

Painted “map” of Srirangam Temple,
Srirangam Old Mottai gopuram,
Above image:  Gateway at Srirangam - 1847 - "This is plate 23 from James Fergusson's 'Ancient Architecture in Hindoostan'. Srirangam near Tiruchirapally is the site of one of the largest temple complexes in India. The gateway sketched by Fergusson is incomplete: the tower had not yet been added. It belongs to the Ranganatha Temple, a pilgrimage site famed for its annual Vaikuntha Ekadasi festival, dedicated to Vishnu. The scale of the gateway impressed Fergusson as nearly unrivalled in India.  The present temple has seven concentric walls and 21 towers or gopurams. Although worship at the site goes back earlier, the temple itself was founded in the 11th century. It was continually augmented between the 13th and the 17th centuries. The mostly 16th and 17th century gateways are brick and plaster pyramidal towers increasing in size from the innermost enclosure. The gateway of the seventh enclosure is one of the tallest in India (72 metres, or 236feet)......................

02. The temple was looted and destroyed by the Delhi Sultanate armies during the reign of Alauddin Khilji of the Khilji dynasty (from 1296 to 1316) in a massive raid on various cities of the Tamil Pandyan kingdom (including Madurai) in early 14th century. During the murderous invasion (1323 AD) led by military general Ulagh Khan of Delhi Sultanate, according to 'Koyilozhugu,' a true  record of events relating to Srirangam temple, about 12000 Vaishnavites were brutally murdered while they were defending the army to prevent entry into the temple.

03. The main idol of Sri Ranganatha was already been taken  to the Vishnu temple - Sri Adhinayaka Perumal at Gopurapatti village where it had been kept for decades and the daily puja rituals for Ranganathar were done here.  The idol was taken back to Srirangam only  when normalcy was restored  and later the temple rituals commenced after a long break. So was the tradition of singing and dancing as part of  Bhakti movement that had a long break.  

Sriragam location map.

04. Thanks to the Thanjavur Nayak rulers, the temple was rebuilt in late 14th century,  the site became fortified and expanded with  additional  gopurams (towers) in the 16th and 17th centuries. 

05. The temple  covers a vast area of  155 acres (63 ha) with 50 shrines, 21 towers, 39 pavilions and many water tanks, forming the complex. 

06. The temple town is an important archaeological site, showcasing  the early and mid medieval South Indian society and culture. 

07. Not only was the temple  a spiritual center, but also a major economic and charitable institution that ran  education and hospital facilities, a free kitchen etc. Besides, with temple donations and gifts it received, the administrators  financed regional infrastructure projects for the benefits of the people. 

08. The Surprising fact is the  Srirangam temple is the largest one in India and one of the largest religious complexes in the world. The outer tower that is 72 metres (236 ft) tall was  completed in 1987 at the initiative of the late Jeer of the Ahobila Mutt. 

09. Srirangam temple is often considered as one of the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world, the still larger Angkor Wat, Cambodia  being the largest existing temple, not a functional one.  

10. The temple follows Thenkalai tradition of Sri Vaishnavism, but surprisingly, all the temple priests (Bhattacharyas) working here  are staunch followers of Vadakalai Sampradayam!! 

 The award of Merit Certificate by The UNESCO  Award of Merit to Srirangam temple will go a long way and  encourage the administrators of other great old temples and other monuments across India to seriously engage in conservation and restoration exercises  to get them  back to ancient glory without disturbing their heritage values. The tough restoration work done at the Srirangam temple  few years ago  will positively give a fillip to such future restoration work at other historical temples of Tamil Nadu that are not well managed. 


Friday, 17 November 2017

Richard Roskell Bayne - an amazing British architect of colonial India

Richard Roskell Bayne (1837–1901), an English architect who practised in Calcutta and other Indian cities between 1866–90 was an employee of the East Indian Railway. As a railway engineer, he built bridges, train stations, and bungalows, but he also had the opportunity to design monumental buildings such as the East India Railway Office and the New Market in Kolkata, the Hussainabad clock tower, Lucknow, UP and Oak Grove School at Mussoorie, Himachal Pradesh. 

Legacy Art Galleries - UVic
Richard Roskell Bayne, born in Warwickshire, England, 7 July 1827, received his early  training in architecture from his father. In 1858, while he was a student at University College in London, Bayne took up a job in the office of the British architect, Charles Barry.  In 1864, he passed the Royal Institute of British Architects Voluntary Architectural Examination, and was also awarded  a  medal. It gave him a chance  to make an extensive sketching tour in Europe in 1864-1865. Having gained considerable experience in designing various structures in Europe, Bayne joined  the East India Railway Company on 20 March 1866 as an engineer and moved  over to Calcutta. His long stay in British India, was productive and he designed many buildings, etc. After retirement from the railway company on 30 April 1890,  he settled down in British Columbia and opened an architectural office in May, 1891. He died in Victoria on 4 December 1901, and is buried in the Ross Bay Cemetery. The following are some of Bayne's wonderful creations that still bear testimony to his unique style and creativity.

Mayo Memorial Hall, Allahabad:

Mayo Memorial Hall, Allahabad - Govt of Uttar Pradesh
 Above image: Located near colonial building  Thornhill and Mayne Memorial in Allahabad, UP,  the Mayo Memorial Hall is a  beautiful colonial building - a sort of Public Hall meant for public meetings, balls and receptions. It has a majestic 180-ft tall tower that is quite visible all around the site. Designed by the famous architect R. Roskell Bayne, it was built in 1879 and named after Viceroy Lord Mayo (Richard Southwell Bourke, 6th Earl of Mayo KP GCSI PC ; 
21 February 1822 – 8 February 1872), who was assassinated on  8 February, 1872. The tragedy occurred when he was on an inspection trip to the Convict Settlement at Port Blair in the Andaman Isles, the Bay of Bengal................

New Market, Kolkata: 

New Market Kolkata, en.wikipedia. org. 

Above image: New Market is a market in Kolkata  on Lindsay Street at Free School Street (Mirza Ghalib Street). Originally it was an  enclosed market, today in local parlance, the entire shopping area is often known as "New Market". It was built in Victorian Gothic style designed by Bayne. It was opened on  first  of January 1874 and it was the first municipal market of Calcutta. It was used to be called Hogg market............... 

Husainabad Clock Tower,  Lucknow:

tHussainabad clock tower, Lucknow,Uttar Pradesh Tourism
the Hussainabad clock tower, Lucknow, UP Wikipedia
Above image: Husainabad Clock Tower,  Lucknow city, Uttar Pradesh, India.  It was  built in 1881 by Nawab Nasir-ud-din Haider to mark the arrival of Sir George Couper, 1st Lieutenant Governor of United Province of Avadh.  The  cost of of construction of this 67 meter (219 feet) tall structure was Rs. 1.75 lakhs. Located near Rumi Dharwaza, it was designed by Bayne using the Big Ben of London as a model. It is one of Baynne's best creations, again showing his abiding interest in Victorian and Gothic style of design in dealing with public buildings. Its huge pendulum has a length of 14 feet.............

Oak Grove School at Mussoorie:

The Oak Grove School Mussoorie, HM,Boarding School India
Above image: Oak Grove School at Jharipani, Mussoorie is a well-known residential and boarding  public school, owned and run by the Northern Railway. It is located on a scenic hill top, covering 256 acres of land. The school was founded on 1 June 1988 during the Raj, mainly catering to the children of Indian railways. Only 25% of the seats were reserved for the outsiders and I presume, the same rule is being followed now by the management. The school has three semi-independent sections: Oak Grove Sr. Boys' School (commenced 1888), Oak Grove Sr. Girls' School (1890s) and Oak Grove Junior School (1912). The buildings were designed by The chief engineer of EIR Mr. Richard Roskell Bayne designed the building in his favorite Gothic style of architecture, taking the mountainous terrain into account..........,Mussoorie

Howrah, East Indian Railway. IRF
Above image : East India company Railway building. One of the earliest railway buildings in India. The EIR was formed in London 1 June 1845...............

Thursday, 16 November 2017

All Saints Cathedral, Allahabad - an inspiring colonial place of worship!

The All Saints Cathedral,Allahabad, India.YouTube Nivalink

The All Saints Cathedral,Allahabad, India.YouTube 

All Saints Cathedral, located in Allahabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh, is a fine example 13th century  Anglican church  designed in  Gothic style in Asia  by the famous British architect Sir William Emerson.  He was such a reputed architect, he had already designed the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata, Crawford Market in Bombay and the Muir Central College in Allahabad (now part of University of Allahabad). On the  first of November 1887, the church was consecrated and the anniversary of this church is celebrated as All Saints’ Day (1st November)  The church comes under  the management of  the Church of North India  and is located at the intersection of  MG Marg and SN Marg.  Amazingly, it has been in existence for more than 146 years since its inception during the colonial period.

The work on the church began on 10 April 1871 on a land  granted  by  the Lieutenant Governor of North Western Provinces, Sir William Muir and  the foundation stone was laid by Elizabeth Huntly Wemyss, wife of Sir William Muir.

All Saints Cathedral located in

The church was designed in such a way as to keep the indoors  cool and  congenial during hot summer season.  The high ceiling  supported by huge arches and porches were of some help during hot season. The red-tiled roof is made of  Cream and red coloured sandstone. The Church is surrounded by a well-maintained garden. The nave of the church measures 40 feet wide and  130 long and the overall  dimension of the church is 240 feet long and 56 feet wide inside. It could accommodate 300 to 400 people  at a time. There are  plaques in the church that carry the names of different British officers, their cause of death, etc., during the colonial  rule in India.
he All Saints Cathedral
The church, the pride of Allahabad,  has  well decorated pulpit and it exhibits exceedingly fine piece of workmanship in alabaster by Mr. Nicholls of Lambeth from Mr. Emerson’s designs. There are two transepts on the north and south respectively, a chancel with an ambulatory, a central tower at the intersection of the nave and transepts and a west porch. The church has a lantern tower, that enhances the beauty of this structure and it is  called Victoria tower in honor of  Queen Victoria.

The ambiance of the church is serene and relaxing; people of different faiths come here from different walks of lives to get their grievances redressedin this place of veveration.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Alfred Park, Allahabad, India steeped in colonial history

Chandrasekhar Azad Park , informally known as Bagh is an important public park in the city of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. Since the public park  was  built in 1870 to mark Prince Alfred's  visit to the city, earlier it was called Alfred Park. Being the largest park in the city, it covers an area of 133 acres. It was renamed after freedom fighter Chandra Shekar Azad, who suffered untold miseries  and finally gave up his life in 1931 during the tumultuous freedom struggle movement in India.

In the wake of the Sepoy mutiny of 1857, the base of the British imperialism began to shake and the administration of colonial India came directly under the British Government in London. The military administration came up with many strategies to see to it that Indian soldiers of different regions, religions  and caste remained segregated and the regiments were introduced on caste liles.  In 1870, old cantonments, where the trouble brewed during the rebellion, particularly, in Meerut were  converted into a parks. New areas were developed for stationing the Barracks.

The Afred  park is  in the neighborhood of George town and is surrounded by Tagore town, Civil Lines and the University of Allahabad, one of the oldest universities in India. An important fact about this  huge colonial park is, it has some interesting  heritage and recreational sites.

Chandra Shekhar Azad Memorial, Alfred Park:

The spot where Azsad died (1931)
Above image: Alfred Park, Allahabad, UP: The tree in in the park  where Chandra Shekar Azad died on 27 Feb. 1931.The British  cremated his body without informing his relatives. He was a great freedom fighter until his death right here. He was a man of courage and wisdom. A true follower of Lala Lajpat Rai, yet another freedom fighter of great repute.........

The memorial is dedicated to freedom fighter Azad. Chandra Shekar Azad (23 July 1906 – 27 February 1931) was a daring freedom fighter and openly rebelled against the British rule. He was involved in Kakori Train Robbery (9 August 1925) and in the shooting of J.B. Saunders to avenge the killing of  freedom fighter and patriot Lala Laipat Rai at Lahore (in Pakistan) in 1928. Azad died at Alfred Park in Allahabad on 27 February 1931.The police surrounded him in the park after somebody blew the whistle on him. He was wounded while defending himself and  his partner Sukhdev Raj. As the shooting continued, he killed three policemen and wounded some others. To avoid being caught and later faced execution at the British hands, he shot himself to death in this park. The public was angry, when the British cremated Azad's body secretly. The British further earned the ire of the natives as their prepressive rule continued without a break. Since his death in Alfred park, Chandra Shake Azad has become a cult figure and even now the people here revere him hold him in great esteem.

Victoria Memorial, Alfred Park:  

Alfred Park, allahabad. Victoria Memorial
It is a big  canopy made of Italian limestone, dedicated to Queen Victoria of England. Opened on 24th of March 1906 by James Digges La Touche, there used to be a   a huge statue of Queen Victoria under the canopy which was later removed.

Thornhill_Mayne Memorial, Alfred Park:  

Thornhill Mayne Memorial

Thornhill Mayne Memorial, built  in 1864, houses the biggest library in the state of Uttar Pradesh and was designed by Richard Roskell Bayne. It is an amazing building that touches your heart.  Mayne funded the construction  at the time when he was the commissioner of Allahabad. It was opened in memory of Cuthbert Bensley Thornhill. It is a memorial to a commissioner's friendship with Collector Mr. Mayne who converted it into a public library.  This building  served  as the House of Legislative Assembly of the United Provinces during the colonial era. It  is a remarkable example of Scottish Baronial architecture.

Alfred park, Allahabad, location  map. Wikimapia
The other heritage sites are Prayag Sangeet Samiti, a music training institute and  Madan Mohan Malviya Stadium.  Being the biggest park, it attracts a large amount of people. according to an estimate, approx 5000 people visit this place.

Chettikulangara Devi temple, Kerala - an inspiring place of worship

Chettikulangara Sree Bhagavathi temple,Kerala. /

Chettikulangara Devi is believed to be the supreme mother goddess, Shakthi Devi or Parasakthi in Hinduism. It is believed that she has almost all the attributes lord Shiva has. In Tamil there is a saying: "Shakthi ellaaiel, Shivam ellai"meaning 'if there is no Shakthi, there is no Shiva'.

Among the Bhagavathi temples  of the state of Kerala, Chettikulangara Sree Bhagavathi temple is one of the most popular ones being visited by lots of people. Located at Chettikulangara in Mavelikkara taluk (about 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) west of Mavelikkara of Alappuzha district, here the presiding deity in the Srikovil or garbagraha (sanctum) is Sree Bhadrakali, an incarnation of Parasakthi or simply Shakthi who appeared  from the third eye of Lord Shiva. The purpose of her incarnation / avatar was to  to kill the demon king Daruka who caused unbearable pain and suffering to the people, including the sages and celestial gods. The word  'Bhadra' means good and 'Kali' means goddess of time. It has long been a tradition across India, particularly, in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal that people  worship Bhadrakali  for prosperity, protection  and salvation as she is an embodiment of all the three, including creation and destruction, symbolizing her origin from Lord Shiva. She is responsible for  Kundalini shakthi as well.

As for this age-old temple, steps are afoot to get this temple listed under the UNESCO World Heritage List and the UNESCO gathered enough information about this temple, its age old tradition, customs such as Kuthiyottam, Kumbhabharani, etc., festivals, puja protocols and others. 

oil lamps stand. Chettikulangara Devi Temple Kerala
The temple, which is 1200 years old,  has 13 "Karas" or territories and is at the center of the oldest four Karas. At this temple, Thantric  worship is being followed and the Thantric rights belong to Plackudy Illom, With its Tharavadu (Base) in Ambalapuzha. Plackudy is one among the ancient Thantric families of Kerala. It implies that  Vedic Agama worship is not followed here.
Next to Sabarimala temple , this one receives   
the second largest  income by way of donations, hundial collections, etc., under the administration 
of Travancore Devaswom Board. The temple receives collections worth several crores of rupees annually.   Sometimes  a  single day collection 
alone may run into more than one crore rupees.
A single type of offering is called "Chanthattam". Temple prasadams such as Appam, Aravana, etc., are made at Sabarimala from the offerings of Nellu (paddy) made at  the Bhagavathi temple.  The income from the temple is so enormous,  it is widely used to take care of pujas, etc at other temples under the  Travancore Devaswom Board.

There are certain facts that may be worthy of mention. Kuthiramoottil kanji and Therummoottil kanji, offerings at Chettikulangara Devi temple, carry the Geographical Indication (GI) tags. Surprisingly, ten  other names closely associated with the temple have protection under the trademark and patents regime. Example: Chettikulangara Amma, Chettikulangara Kumbha Bharani, etc. Sree Devi Vilasam Hindu Matha Convention, Chettikulangara, an organisation of 13 karas or regional societies, has also applied for design patent for kuthira and theru as well as jeevatha, the deity’s palanquin.

The temple accounts for several festivals and the important ones are as follows.  

The"Parayeduppu": The deity ("Devi") of Chettikulangara temple is taken out in procession for Parayeduppu on the Makayriam star of the Malayalam month Makaram. 

Kumbha Bharani: This falls  in the month of February or March. The date is fixed according to the Malayalam Calendar KollaVarsham. The Chettikulangara Bharani is in the month of Kumbha and the day which has the star Bharani and hence the name Kumbha Bharani. The highlight of the festival is Kuthiyottam and Kettukazhcha. 

Ethirelpu Ulsavam: This annual temple festival is a long one - for 13 days.  On the tenth day following the Kumbha Bharani, the annual festival is celebrated. The tradition has it that  each day of the festival is organized by residents of each Kara numbering 13. Special rituals are held on the temple premises  that attract a lot of devotees.

Aswathy Ulsavam: The unique rituals are held with devotion and dedication during the Aswathy festival and they bring out the importance of firm bondage and human pathos resulted due  the time of separation between the people and their revered goddess  Bhagavathy. Held on the Aswathy day in the month of Meenom, this festival is attracting a large number of visitors.