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Last Updated Wednesday January 18 2017 07:32 PM IST

Iringole Kaavu: The tale of a temple in love with monsoon

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Iringole Kaavu Iringole Kaavu temple. Photo: Ravi Shankar

The call of birds, the sound of rain drops rustling down the green canopy and the chattering of squirrels provide you with a lively tropical forest experience. But, Iringole Kaavu, is not legally a forest. It is one of the largest sacred groves in Kerala.

Located near Perumbavoor city in Ernakulam, Iringole Kaavu is a beautiful destination you would love to opt for a monsoon walk. And yes, like any sacred grove, Iringole Kaavu has a temple – this one is dedicated to the mother goddess.

Iringole Kaavu The temple at Iringole Kaaavu. Photo: Ravi Shankar

The locals say that according to a famous astrologer Kaimukku Parameswaran Namboothiri, the temple is said to be 2,746 years old. But, its been only 1,200 years since the rituals and ceremonies and the arrival of devotees to the temple began.

Legend has it that, on a heavy rainy day during Lord Krishnan's era, goddess Durga in the form of a baby girl, glided away from the hands of Kamsa, who was trying to kill her and turned into a lightning. It is believed that the temple has been erected at the exact place where that light first fell on earth and was initially called as Irinnol, meaning the residing place of the Goddess.

Iringole Kaavu The forest around Iringole Kaavu. Photo: Ravi Shankar

The forest surrounding the temple gives a rare combination of divinity and wilderness. Devotees say that the giant trees with roots branching out in all directions are the 'Devas' who sing and chant praises to the Bhagavathy. And so, the forest is protected and not even a twig is taken out from the forest vicinity. The place is rich in fauna and flora especially medicinal plants.

Iringole Kaavu : The tale of a temple in love with monsoon The pond inside the forest. Photo: Ravi Shankar

Spread over nearly 50 acres of land, it will take you a whole day to cover the entire forest. Incense sticks and fragrant flowers are barred from the temple premises. Only Tulsi and non-fragrant flowers such as lotus are used for rituals. The turtles at the pond adjacent to the forest are another attraction. The kaavu at present is managed by the Travancore Devaswom Board.

Reaching Iringole Kaavu

Iringole temple is near Perumbavoor. It is about 35 kilometres from Ernakulam and 20 kilometres from Kalady.

Cochin International Airport is about 15 kms away. 
The nearest railway station is at Aluva about 18kms away. 

Need to know

The entry to the temple is restricted to those who practice Hindusim. 

To walk around the Kaavu will take you the whole day. 
If you are carrying plastic material, please take it out with you. This forest is not your dump yard. 
There are snakes. Be careful about where you step. 

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