Mangaladevi Temple, Periyar

Around 2000 years ago, a woman wronged by her king's rashness, burnt an entire town to ashes. When people found out about the tale, odes were written along with a beautiful granite temple being built in her name. Kannaki's tale is one of love, loss and vengeance that resound strongly with all who visit this quaint spot to this day.

At over 1337 m over sea level, the Mangaladevi Temple is a stark reminder of the willpower and strength of an enraged wife, who had just found out that her husband, had been falsely put to death by his king. With sheer force of will, she burnt down the Town of Madurai to avenge her husband. To this day, Kannaki remains as a symbol of the moral power that resides in an ordinary woman who is able to take on royalty because her cause is just.

Located in Idukki district, the temple, more popularly known as the Mangaladevi Kannaki Kottam, opens up for public viewing just once a year. One can only worship the Devi here during the Chitra Pournami festival every summer (April or May). You are greeted by imposing boulders, with temples and sanctorum for Lord Shiva and Lord Ganapathy respectively, visible on both sides. There are tales of an underground passage that is said to have a secret route leading to Madurai, the site burnt to ashes by Kannaki.

The 12 km trek to the 1000 year old Mangaladevi Temple is placed dead centre in the midst of a floating green forest of the Periyar Tiger Reserve that sets the mood for a rather sombre experience. Devotees are given one chance annually to worship their Goddess and they turn up in the thousands to pay homage. The Ghats are visible at the summit, forming the perfect backdrop for this legendary site.




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