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Kottiyoor Festival

Kottiyoor festival is one of the most coveted and sought after festival periods in the state of kerala. Different from various other rituals in temples of the state, the Kottiyoor festival is held in the forested region by the side of the Bavali river, in the district of Thalassery in Kerala. There is a 28 day festival in the Kottiyoor temple, which is provides the backdrop of this festival. Deity, who is worshipped in this festival is that of Lord Shiva, in form of a self created lingam, as per the legends. It is represented by the small stones, which are heaped together like a lingam and is known as Manithara. Amidst the tall trees of the forest and near the Bavali river, the 28 days Kottiyoor festival is held with most of the devotees arriving here on the first day of Neyyattam and on the last day known as Thirukalasattu. The festival is held during the Chothi asterism during the month of Edavam and goes on for almost a month. Many a time, rain is seen during the festival.


There are two temples related to this festival, the Ikkare Kottiyoor temple, which is open for 11 months in a year and the Akkare Kottiyoor temple, which is open for one month or 28 days of the festival. Reaching the latter temple is a bit difficult and therefore, devotees usually pray in the Ikkare Kottiyoor temple. But when the festival is in progress, devotees stop praying in the Ikkare temple and throng to this festival in the jungle. Both the temples are related to the god Shiva. During the festival, thousands of devotees flock to the temple and bring along tender coconut offerings for the god, which is the special offering process during the festival. As per the beliefs of the devotees, the small heap of stones is the deity and hence the prayers are conducted with these stones, rather than having any temple in the place. Some people call this temple as the Varanasi of the south and the river Bavali is considered sacred.

The beginning of the festival is marked by the bringing of a sword from Muthirikavu temple in Tavinal village, which is taken to the Ikkare Kottiyoor temple. According to legends, this is the sword with which Lord Shiva had beheaded Daksha, when he was performing an yagna. Marking the festival is the Auda flowers, which are white in colour and have a beard like shape. This flower is very specific to Kottiyoor and is specially made for the festival. Plenty of rituals are marked for the whole month and people arrive here for attending the festival on any day, although the highest number of devotees is seen during the first and the last day of the festival.

Getting There

Kannur district is possible to be reached from different places of Kerala quite easily. Bus services to Kottiyoor are available from Thalaserry taluk. Railway station nearest to Kottiyoor is at Thalassery which is about 60 kms away. Karipur airport is the nearest airport to this village at about 160 kms.

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