Sree Vittala Temple, Kayamkulam
The temple is well woven with the day to day life of GSB community of Kayamkulam than any other GSB temple in Kerala.
The temple in pictures
Unlike other GSB temples, this temple is facing the West. The temple pond is inside the temple on the right side after entrance from the main gate. An idol of Vittobji who brought the Vittala vigraha from Pandharpur is seen near the Naga prathista inside the temple premises.
The temple has a very disturbing history.
The temple is believed to be constructed in the early 18th century by the GSBs of Kayamkulam with the help of Raja of Kayamkulam who was a devotee of Lord Krishna. Some of the families who migrated to kerala in the late 16th century settled in Kayamkulam. A pundit by name Vittoba once took a pilgrimage to North India and on the way reached Pandharpur which is the seat of Panduranga Vittala. He got a divine idol of Vittala from a temple in Pandharpur and carried it with him back to Kayamkulam. He kept the idol in his house and worshipped it as his Kuladevata. Once he had a dream that Vittala wanted him to offer the idol to the public for worship. The idol was then shifted and kept in the Venkateswara Temple (a family temple) at Kayamkulam near the present Vittoba Temple (about 500 m away).
The community chiefs met the the Raja of Kayamkulam and requested for help to construct a permanent temple for Vittala. The Raja gave land and wood for construction of the Temple. There was a small Siva temple in the land donated by the Raja and this shrine is seen even today within the Vittala Temple complex.
The Royal connection and Stories
The rope for flag hoisting on the first day of the Annaul festival has been given from the Royal palace. In memory of this, the practice is still continued by the Eruva Dewaswom Board.
To assertain the reasons for such a state of affairs, an Ashtamangalya Prasnam (which lasted 6 days) was conducted in the temple in 1973 by Astrological experts and attended by the community members. The curse of the Indirakantha Swami was concluded as the main reason for the state of affairs. It was suggested that remove the curse, the present Swamiji of Gokarn mutt should be invited and all the members appeal to him to pardon the mistake done. A golden statue of Indirakantha Swami should be made, all should request him for pardon and the statue to be offered to the Gokarn Mutt Swamiji. The community members formed the Sri Vittoba Temple and Charitable Trust for the purpose. By this time, Indirakanta Tirtha Wader took samadhi at Pratagali. Indirakanta Tirtha had accepted Kamalanatha as the shishya, but the latter passed away prematurely, and subsequently, Indirakanta initiated Dwarakanatha Tirtha as the Pontiff of Gokarn Mutt. The Trust members visited the Gokarn Mutt at Pratagali, Goa and submitted their request to the Dwarakanatha Tirtha who agreed to visit the Kayamkulam temple shortly. The Trust members returned and started to make arrangements for the Swamijis visit. Unfortunately, Dwarakanatha Tirtha took samadhi prematurely and Sri Vidyadhiraj Tirtha succeeded the Peetha in 1973. The Trust members again visited the new Swamiji and repeated their request. Sri Vidyadhiraj Tirtha had failing health in initial years and his visit to Kayamkulam was delayed.
Finally, he visited the Temple in May 1976. In the presence of the Swamiji, the community members admitted their mistake and requested for mukthi from the curse. A golden statue of Indirakantha Swami was submitted to the Swamiji. He blessed the community members and also unveiled a portrait of Indirakanta Swami. He also spend about 4 months in the temple and had his Chaturmasa Vrita here and then left for Mangalore in Sep 1976.
Sree Vittala or Vithoba is fond of bhajans and He does not need any other poojas. Hence daily bhajans is an important offering in the temple.
The Temple Trust is running a School (now grown to Secondary level) which is located across the Temple Road.
Kayamkulam Lake, spread over an area of 60 sq km, is one of the most scenic backwaters in Kerala. It is a shallow lake which merges in the sea at Kayamkulam barrage. With a length of 30 km, Kayamkulam Lake is a favorite destination for nature lovers. Kayamkulam Lake connects Ashtamudi lake by the Chavara - Panmana canal.