Mangala Devi Temple in Thekkady

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The 1000 year old Mangala Devi Temple is a good example of the traditional architectural style of South India. It is situated on the northern boundary of the Periyar Tiger Reserve 1400m above sea level.

The temple is dedicated to Mangala Devi (also known as Kannaki) who remains as a symbol of the great moral power that even an ordinary woman is capable of. According to the legends, Kannaki burnt ancient Madurai with a curse for the mistaken death penalty of her husband Kovalan by the city’s ruler. The flames are said to have reached the northern border of what is now the Periyar Tiger Reserve.

Visitors and pilgrims are allowed inside only when the festival of this temple falls on the day of ‘Chitra pournami’ (full moon day on the month of Chitra). Large numbers of devotees visit the temple every year from both Kerala and Tamil Nadu and separate poojas (prayers) are conducted by the priests of both the states. Some archeologists believe that it was built by Pandians (an ancient dynasty who ruled south India until the 15th century) and some believe it was by Cholas (an even older South Indian dynasty). Today is a Chitra pournami and more than 20,000 people visited the temple between 6 am to 5 pm.

These photos were taken by Mr. Vijay Mampilly.

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