The curse

Photo gallery


Sree Vittala temple is situated close to the market about 1 km on the eastern side of NH47 Highway at Kayamkulam. This temple is locally know as the Konkani temple. One can reach the temple from Railway station or KSRTC bus stand by Auto. It is about 2 km from bus stand and 4 km from the railway station.

The temple is about 400 years old and the main deity is Sree Vittala. It is believed that Vittala or Vithoba is Naada Murthi and is fond of bhajans and He does not need other poojas. The speciality of the temple is its Chariot and the Ratholsavam (pulling of the Chariot around the temple) on the ninth day of the two festivals celebrated annually.

temple front gopuram
Main entrance - The temple chariot is seen covered

The temple is well woven with the day to day life of GSB community of Kayamkulam than any other GSB temple in Kerala.


Vittala moorthi

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.


Sketch of temple complex

1. Sreekovil and inner temple
2. Dwajam
3. The temple pond
4. The Chariot location
5. Siva shrine
6. Naga shrine and Vitobji
7. Althara

click for the temple and Vitobha school in Google map

Entry to inner temple and Srikovil. The Dwaja and Temple Bell are seen in pic

Temple view from the road  - Recently constructed permanent enclosure for the chariot

The decorated chariot on the Ratholsavam day


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 Siva temple owned by the Raja

Related temples

The Venkateswara Temple near Vittala Temple
where the Vittala idol was kept for some time

Nagaraja templeThe Nagaraja Temple

Due to financial crisis many family temples around the Vittala Temple were entrusted to the Temple Trust. The most  important one is the Nagaraja temple near the Vittoba school complex across the road.

 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.

 The curse of Gokarn Swamiji

In 1910 Sree Indirakantha Swami of Gokarna-Partagali Mutt on his pilgrimage visited Kayamkulam also. Since the GSBs in Kerala belonged to Kashi Mutt, he was not properly received at Kayamkulam. It is said that some notorious members arranged a country boat for the Swamiji to travel which was a fishing boat carrying fish. Considering this as an insult, the Swamiji cursed the community members. But this was not considered serious by the members. However, after this incident the community in Kayamkulam deteriorated. In 1936 the Dwaja of the temple fell down and in 1941 the Temple Elephant died. The Dwaja was later reinstated in 1950. The deterioration in the status of the community affected the temple also and the temple affairs were generally neglected. Many lost in business and became poor and the community lost its prominence. Health problems became common in families. Many believed that this was due to the curse of Indirakantha Swami.                               

The 3 Swamijis in 1937

L to R -> Sukratindra Tirtha (Kashi mutt) Indirakantha Swami (Gokarn mutt) Kamalanatha Swami (Gokarn mutt)   

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.

Other activities

The Temple Trust is running a School (now grown to Secondary level) which is located across the Temple Road.

The Vitobha school located across the road

About Kayamkulam

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.