Sree Muttath Tirumala Temple, Shertallai
Shertallai or Cherthala town (known as Muttath in olden days) is about 27 Km from Cochin on the Cochin-Alleppey highway NH47, mid-way between Cochin and Alleppey. The temple in the heart of the town about 1 km from the private bus stand. The temple is believed to be constructed in 1763 AD.
The main prathista is Venkatachalapathy with Bhoomidevi and Lakshmidevi. There is also a Narasimha Salagrama worshipped in the Srikovil. It was given by Srimat Madhavendra Tirtha Swamiji of Kashi Mutt in 1763 AD at the time of punaprathista in the newly constructed temple. There are idols of Hanuman and Garuda also placed in the srikovil.
There was a small Siva temple at Muttath owned by a Namboothiri Brahmin, in the 18th century. The Namboothiri gave the temple and the associated land to GSB two families (Alungal and Kothakulangara) and left the place. These familes dedicated the temple and its properties to the GSB community of Muttath. A temple was later constructed (facing East) and prathista done in 1763 AD by Srimat Madhavendra Tirtha Swamiji of Kashi Mutt.
At the time of prathista Sri Swamiji gave a comparatively large Narasimha Salagrama to the temple for worship, which is placed in the Srikovil along with the Venkatachalapathy idol. This salagrama is believed to be very auspicious and powerful. Many consider it as the main prathista in the temple.
It is believed that, before the construction of the temple, the Venkatachalapathy idol was brought here and worshipped under a Nelli Tree (Awla tree) which exists even today at South-West corner of the temple premises. This tree is considered divine and poojas are done at the tree.
The Siva temple orginally belonged to the Namboothiri who gave away this land, is seen even today at the North-East corner of the temple premises and faces West. There is Yakshi and Naga prathista next to the Siva temple.
Theft in the temple
On 1st July 1974, the idols from srikovil (except Narasimha Salagrama) and some pooja vessels were stolen. The thief was caught by the police within few days and the idols were recovered. When the trial was going on in the Magistrate court, the thief told that he could not take away the Salagrama (covered in gold sheet) since he felt like electric shock when he tried to touch it. The recovered bhoomidevi idol was found deformed and hence a new one was made and the punaprathista was done by Srimat Sudheendra Tirtha Swamiji on 24-02-1975.
The temple is finacially sound and is under Muttath Tirumala Devasowm managed by locally elected committee.
Shertallai or Cherthala is a taluk headquarters in Alleppey district. The famous backwater resort Kumarakom is about 14 KM from the town. Many believe that coastal region of Cherthala was originally under water and later developed from the salt and silt deposits that helped give them shape. The main industry in the area is coir. The famous village of Vayalar from where the Punnapra-Vayalar revolt led by communist party started in Kerala in 1946 against the Travancore state police, is at the suburbs of Shertallai town.