Chengannur Bhagavaty Temple, one of the oldest and famous temple, situated in the town of Chengannur in Alappuzha district. It is one among the Shakti peethas related to the myth of Sati. Shrine of Siva – Chengannur Mahadevar shrine is in the eastern side while Goddess Bhagawathy or Parvathi is facing west in this temple. Originally it is a Siva temple, but Bhagavathy deity has gained more prominence lately. Chengannur Bhagavati’s “Thripputh Arattu “ is very famous and devotees throng to the temple for witnessing the festival and rituals.
The architecture of the temple is superb. It has a circular sanctum typical of Siva temples in Kerala with a copper plated conical roof. The siva linga is covered with a gold plate bearing an image of Ardhanareeshwara or the joint image of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. Besides the main temple of Shiva and Bhagawathy, there are temples for Shastha, Ganesha and Chandikeshwara .There is also a shrine of Krishna nearby.
The front mandapam and other mandapams in the temple are full of artistic wood work.The Koothambalam is an incomplete structure built in a manner that if lamps were lit on each of the posts, the performer’s shadow will not fall down on the stage. It has a three tiered Gopuram. The Temple was rebuilt after being damaged by fire in 18th century.
One of the most persistent mythologies concerning the origin of worship at the site is associated with the myth of Sati, who was the wife of god Shiva and daughter of the Puranic god-king Daksha. As per the legends, during the time of self-sacrifice, when Lord Shiva was carrying the corpse of his wife Sati, and her female genitalia or re –productive organ fell to the ground at the spot where the temple now stands. Sati’s corpse accidentally got cut into 51 parts by the disc in the hands of Lord Vishnu, scattered across India, and these places are called as Shakti ‘Peethas’. The Kamakhya Temple in Assam also hold the same legend.
The speciality of this Bhagavathy temple is that the deity gets the menstrual period, a phenomenon unheard of in any other temple. The priest performs the daily rituals of changing the white clothes worn by the deity ,if upon inspection ,if there are signs of bleeding, priest declare the Thriputhu of Devi to devotees and the concerned. In accordance with tradition, the Bhagavati shrine is closed during the period.The fourth day is celebrated as the Thripputh Arattu. On that day ,the processional image of the deity is taken to the nearby Pamba river for aarattu ( ritual dip of the deity in the river).