Achankovil Sastha Temple is one of the 108 Sasthalayas, located in Pathanapuram tehsil of Kollam district in the Indian state of Kerala. The Manalar falls and the Kumbuvurutty falls, which additionally has a Nature Interaction Center, are end route to this temple. Achencovil temple is almost above 950 mtrs height from the sea level. Achankovil Shastha Temple, or the Dharmasastha Temple, is one among the five important temples dedicated to Lord Ayyappa in Kerala. Achankovil is a small village in the deep western ghat forests of Kerala, known for its amazing natural beauty and a famous Achankovil temple. The other four temples are Aryankavu Sastha Temple, Kulathupuzha Temple, Kanthamala Temple and Sabarimala Temple.
The symbol introduced in the temple is accepted to be the most established vigraha introduced by Parasurama. Here Lord Ayyappa is in the form of “Grihasthasrami”. Lord is sitting along with his two wives ‘Poorna’ and ‘Pushkkala’.The temple is surrounded by a big wall,it is meant to prevent wild animals entering inside the temple. Behind the main shrine of the temple, there is a beautiful Kavu. It is the place for worshiping the serpent Gods. Ladies infertile use to do pradakshina (circumambulate) and give offerings at this Kavu. In front of the main shrine there is a Karuppaswami Kovil. This Amman Kaavu which famous for its prayers towards the blessing of Children needs, these places recive a lot of visitors around the year.
The icon of Swamy Ayyappan in the temple is known as “Rudraksha Sila” and is known for its inexplicable mending power for snake venom. The left hand of the icon of Ayyappa at Achankovil Temple holds sandalwood glue (Chandan) and sacred water (Tirtha). The chandan and Thirtha are said to have therapeutic properties for curing harmful snake nibbles. The Achankovil, also known as Achencoil is an important pilgrim center of Kerala, which attracts pilgrims from Kerala and Tamilnadu throughout the year, especially at the time of Sabarimala season.
The Achankovil Sastha Temple is famous for curing poisonous snake bites. The left hand of the idol of Ayyappa at Achankoil Shastha Temple always holds ‘Chandan’ (sandalwood paste) and Thirtha (holy water). The Chandan and Thirtha are considered to have medicinal properties to cure snake bites.
The temple is celebrated in two festivals every year during the four months of December-February. Generally the December – January Perios of the calender year celebrate the Mandala Pooja where Ravathi will be held at the season starting from January-February. The Achenkovil Sastha Temple allows women above 18 years to climp the 18 holy steps, where it’s not allowed to them in the other famous ayyappa temples at Sabarimala and Aariyangavu.
The Achankovil village is not easily accessible by road from Kerala.However, it can be reached through forest routes.Achankovil Temple is around 17 km from Kottarakkara in Kollam District of Kerala.
The nearest railway stations are at Thenmala, Kottarakkara and Punalur. Alappuzha Railway station is a major hub and is very well connected to the rest of the country.
The nearest international airport is Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) international airport which is about 130 kms away.
- Sri Thirumalai Kumaraswamy Temple
- Aryankavu Ayyappa Temple
- Shree Krishna Temple
- Mulamthadam Mutharamman Temple
- Kadakkal Devi Temple
- Sree Sankara Narayana Swamy Temple