(Last Updated on : 27/09/2012)
There are several legends associated with the Chengannur Bhagawati Temple
located in Kerala
. It was the wedding day of Parvati
and Lord Shiva
also known as Parameswara at Mount Kailas. All the thirty-three crores of devas and asuras had assembled for the occasion. It looked as though the earth would tilt towards the north because of the undue weight that side. Lord Shiva grew anxious. He summoned sage Agastya and requested him to proceed to the south to maintain the balance. At this Sage Agastya felt sorely disappointed as he would miss the celestial wedding. Parameswara understood his feelings. He assured him that he would see everything through divine sight. Further, He promised that the marriage ceremony of the God with his consort would come to the South and grant him darshan. Accordingly sage Agastya
journeyed towards the south and selected a part of the Sahyadri called Sonadri for his meditation. Lord Shiva went there with Parvati and blessed Agastya.
There is yet another legend regarding the origin of the temple. Daksha
showed disrespect to Lord Shiva, his son-in-law, by not inviting him to the sacrifice he performed. Sati had attended this ceremony much against the desire of Lord Shiva. Resenting the insult to her and her husband she immolated herself by jumping into the sacrificial fire. The grief stricken Shiva carrying the charred body of Sati wandered here and there in desolation. To relieve him from this situation, Lord Vishnu
with the aid of the Sudarsana chakra cut Sati's body into pieces. Wherever her limbs fell the place acquired Shiva's chaitanya. It is believed that in Chengannur, the reproductive parts of Sati had fallen.
It is also believed that the image of Bhagawati is that of Kannaki
. Her husband, Kovalan, was executed by the Pandya king on a false charge of theft of the queen's anklet, foisted upon him by the royal goldsmith. In her anger Kannaki plucked off her left breast and hurled it at the city of Madurai
which began at once to burn. She thus came to Chenkunnu in Kerala and did penance under a tree. Kovalan appeared before her in a vimana and took her to heaven. Deeming her to be an incarnation of Goddess Kali
or Mother Goddess, Senkuttuvan, a Chera king, went north and brought a stone from the Himalaya Mountains
to be set up as her image. It was consecrated as "Chengamalavalli" with great pomp and ceremony.