During Navarathri, it might feel like the world flows only through this place, on the banks of Souparnika, to the abode of the goddess of speech, to Mookambi. Lakhs of people with the sole aim of learning, despite the differences in their language and place, flock here. In fact, there will be a flood of people here. Eminent people from all walks of life, including artistes and sportspersons, come here to be at the foot of Jagadambika, who uttered mantras to Adi Sankara, along with many ordinary people who reap success through learning.
It’s not just the thousands of people from Kerala and the Mangala region that come together en route to Kollur. During Navarathri, the whole of south Karnataka reaches the peak of a Jugalbandhi that creates a cross section of India. Whether it is Mangalore or Kundapur, devotees from faraway places seeking their way to Kollur fill these places on those days.
Of the 108 shakthi peedams, Kollur Mookambika Temple is of great importance because, along with the soul of Devi, the power of Shiva is also present here. Since it is a temple of accomplishment, it is believed that starting learning and presenting maiden performances here would be auspicious.
The soul of the goddess rests in the self-manifested form in the inner sanctum. It has not been possible to ascertain the antiquity of this jyothirlingam. This self-manifested jyothirlingam is considered to be the central point of the Maha Sri Chakra that radiates up to Gokarnam. A golden line divides this into two. The small portion on the right side represents Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara, the lords of creation, preservation and destruction. The bigger portion on the left side represents the three forms of Adi Parashakthi as Kali, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. Behind the concept of the golden line is the unity of the essence of Brahman and Parashakthi.
On Navarathri days, the surroundings of the temple resonate with the sound of music. Musicians from all parts of the country seek the blessings of the goddess by offering compositions.
A great chariot festival is held every year on the day the goddess’s star sign of Moolam comes in the month of Meenam. This festival will last for nine days. There will be an unbroken flow of devotees to the valley of Kodachadri during the chariot festival too.
The day’s events during the great chariot festival begin at 2.30am with Nirmalyam. Within an hour, Usha Pooja will start. On normal days, Nirmalyam is at 5am. On the day of the chariot festival, Usha Pooja would have mostly started by this time. After daybreak, it is time for the goddess’s entry into the chariot. This is when the image of the goddess is placed on the chariot adorned with flowers and fruits, accompanied by Panchari Melam and chanting of prayers. Then till afternoon it is the time of worship. By afternoon, the sanctum will be closed. By 5pm the chariot will begin to roll, marking the beginning of the festival.
The chariot carrying the goddess will be ceremoniously rolled from the entrance of the main tower to the Olaka Mandapam and back. At night, there will be an arattu in the temple pond, followed by teerthashuddhi homam in Souparnika and a symbolic hunt in a boat. Next day morning, the image of the goddess placed in the Olaka Mandapam will be brought to the inner sanctum. Following this the flag will be lowered, marking the end the festival.
Along with that, a Poornahoothi will be held in the sacrificial area in front of the Veerabhadra Temple, after which a Kalasabhishekam will be held for the goddess, followed by Deeparadhana. The festival will end with the distribution of Prasadham. As part of the chariot festival, there is also a function where saris are presented to the goddess as offerings.