Sri Dharma Sastha Temple

One of the famous temples in Alappuzha District. Thrikkunnappuzha is a small village in the Karthikappally Thaluk of Alappuzha District. You can reach here by traveling 3km from Harippad to Nangiarkulangara and then 6km due west. The temple situates at the Thrikkunnapuzha Junction, which is 150 meters away from the seashore. The holy place is familiar even to the people of remote areas.

Ancient writings reveal that a large number of worshippers, from the foreign countries also visited the temple in the past days. The blessings of the ‘Swamy’ give this land prosperity and fortunes. This ideal worshipping place offered a place of consolation to hundreds of devotees. The nerve centre of the rule of dynasty formed around this temple. At least a few of this generation knows that once this land is owned by the temple. Later the revenue department recovered the village as per the Act.27 of1955.

 It is believed that the Sastha reigns this land and pour blessings to the worshipper along with wife and son. Archeologists say that the idol of Swamy here is more than 5000 years old. The holy presence of Swamy attracts a large number of worshippers from allover the country. According to the Hindu mythology the Shani Graha (Saturn) stands as a bad destiny point to the people. All the sufferings caused by the ‘Shani Dosha’ can be eliminated by worshipping Ayyappa Swami.

History says there was another temple consecrated by Lord Parasurama which was about five furlong to the west of the present temple. It was renowned as ‘Paliyam Sasanam’ and was a symbol of the ancient architecture and crafts.

Lord Parasurama slaughtered a number of ‘Kshatriyas’ all around the country. He was revenging upon the assassinators of his father. Later this event filled his mind with sorrow. He decided to repent. He started an expedition along the seashore. On this way he reached Thrikkunnapuha and took rest. During this time, according to his devotional insight he instituted a temple there with all architectural values and installed The Holy idol of Sri DharmaSastha along with his wife and son. He then took a bath in the sea and paid tributes his forefathers and to all the Kshatriyas killed by him. He then offered ‘Pithrupooja’ and ‘Thilahavanam’ to enable the souls to get ‘Moksha and a better Palangeny.   Rests of the spirits were consecrated at the temple. All these were done in an ‘Amavasi’ day of ‘Shravan’ month. Even after thousands of years later, devotees still offers ‘Balipindam’ and Pithrupooja to their ancestors in the Amavasi day of the Karkkidakam. People in large number from different part of the country accumulate here in the day to pray for there forefathers. Besides this in all amavasi and Pournami days devotees reach here to offer pithrupooja

In the great flood, about 2/3rd of the village and the temple were lost. The idols were then recovered and installed in a temporary temple. In BC 232 King Mahindran son of Emperor Ashokan, on his expedition to the southern states, reached here. He happened to see these magnificent idols, inspired by the glory of the idols he setup an ideal worshipping place within an 18 acre compound and began worshipping. The followers of Ashoka dynasty regularly visited the temple and offered prayers and poojas. As Ashoka and his followers were Buddhists, the Sastha temple was also renowned as a Buddhist centre. The temple and its Buddhist features were known worldwide in the name SreemoolaPadam lokanadhan. Authentic records had been found in the manuscripts kept in the Cambridge University.

Historical records say that in AD 4th century King Chandra Gupta on his way to former Silone (Now Sri Lanka) visited Sreemoolavasam. ‘The Paliyam Thamra Sasanam’ written by Chandra Gupta Varaguna in AD 9th century also describes this feature. The 11th century famous poetry ‘Mooshika Vamsam’ also leaves specific evidence of the existence of this temple. Gopinatha Rao, a famous archeologist lived at the end of 11th century, in his famous historical writings gives us a clear picture of the Paliyam sasanam and Sree moolavasam.

Later during the region of Cheramar dynasty, the Sreemoolavasam and for its administration five village were given to the Idappally Brahmin family, Thrikkunnapuzha, Vazhappilly, Kalloppara, Idappilly vadakku and Idappilly thekku were these five villages. It is evident from this, which the present temple was built by the Idappilly King.

As the Dwaraka was eroded by great tidal waves, Paliyam sasanam and Sree moolavasam was lost to the sea. Offshore mining in the sea and other scientific explorations may help us to get solid proof the existence of such historical monuments. And such an exploration can find the famous flag staff of the temple made off 41 gold cylinders (Thanka Para) and other debris. In this temple a great ‘Chuvar Chitra’ (Wall picture made natural materials) having 1500 years old. It is at western wall of the ‘Sreekovil’.
        
Whatever it may be, the “Sastha temple” and “Sree Dharma Sastha swami” reins the land and pours blessing to a large number of devotees. Women and children cannot go to “Sabari Mala” reaching here with “Erumudikettu” on the 41st day of “Mandalakalam”, “Uthram nal” of the month of “Vrischikam” marks the beginning of the annual festival. Besides this a “Sapthaha Yangyam” is also organized every year.
Besides the “sastha temple” you can see here temples of lord  “Siva”, “Subrhamanya” “Ganapathi” “Dhurga” “Naga devada” “Rakshas” “Yogiswaran” etc.  It is nice to see the Muslims, Christians around the temple participating in the devotions here ensuring communal harmony. Let swami be with us for ever protecting us from the evils of the world.