Location: Thiruvalla (Kerala, India)
District : Pathanamthitta
Sreevallabhan Temple is the only temple in India where Kathakali (classical dramatic dance form of Kerala) is played daily as an offering of devotees. You can offer Kathakali by spending Rs.15,000/-. Daily 2 to 3 stories are played here, which lasts till next day early morning.
Kathakali: This classical dramatic dance is originated over 500 years ago in the nearby town called Kottarakkara (65 K.ms from the Sreevallabhan Temple) This spectacular classical dance form of Kerala is a combination of drama, dance, music and rituals. The word ‘Katha’ in Malayalam means Story and ‘kali’ means Play. Thus Kathakali literally means ‘Story-Play‘.
This beautiful temple is on the banks of the River Manimala in Thiruvalla town of Pathanamthitta district. This temple of orthodoxy is also well known for its architectural grandeur and unique customs that can be found in no other temples. The stone-wooden carvings and fine mural paintings inside the temple are worth seeing. Garuda Sthambha, the 54 ft. flag pole is made of a single block of granite. This temple follows its own worship protocol which is known to be followed by no other temples in India.
Festivals of Sreevallabha Temple: There are two main festivals apart from many other festivals. The two are Thiru Uthsavam (Arattu or Holy Bath) & Uthra Sree Bali.
Thiru Uthsavam-is a 10 days festival in the month of February-march. On the first day a whopping 12,001 bunches a special variety of bananas are made as offerings (Pantheerayiram vazhipadu). It’s customs and procedures are much complicated and start with kodiyett (raising the festival flag). Two days before kodiyett ceremony temple sanctifying procedures are performed. On the seventh day night, pallivetta(custom done on the belief that the Lord hunts away all evil spirits) and tenth day the holy bath of the deity (Aarattu). It is done at a nearby river and the deity is taken back to the temple after offering prayers at Mahadeva Temple near the river, accompanied by large & colourful procession.
Uthra Sree Bali-is the biggest festival of this temple, in the month of March–April. In this festival, three Goddesses who had been asked by Sree Vallabhan to protect the town of Thiruvalla where the temple is, visiting here from their temples situated nearby. Sree Vallabhan receives them by playing 18 groups of instruments. Many traditional dances are the part of this festival. Holy bath of the deities (3 Goddesses) are an important part in this festival. When the celebrations gets over, the 3 deities are taken back to their respective temples. Taking part in the whole Uthra Sreebali is said to wash away sins of all births as all vedic and puranic deities are taking part in it.
By road: Thiruvalla KSRTC Bus Stand is about 2 K.ms,
By rail : Nearest railway stations are Thiruvalla (2.5 km), Alappuzha (30 K.ms)
By air : Nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport (123 K.ms)