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.
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.
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.
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.