Vennimala is a serene and beautiful place located in the Puthuppalli village panchayath of Kottayam district. Vennimala in ancient days was a dense forest. It is believed that Lord Rama and Lakshmana during their period of exile visited this hillside. At that time numerous sages meditated in the caves of Vennimala. Upon the request of the sages Lakshmana killed many demons that were a threat and nuisance to the sages. Thus the place came to be called ‘Vijayadri’ in Sanskrit. The name means ‘hill of victory’ as Lakshmana won the battle with demons. Vijayadri in Malayalam became Vennimala. A detailed description of this place appears in the famous Malayalam work ‘Aitihyamala’ by Kottarathil Sankunni. Vennimala in medieval ages was inhabited by tribal communities especially Malayarayars. Cheraman Perumal, the illustrated emperor of ancient Kerala consecrated this ancient temple here. He was taken to the beauty of this place and stayed here and built a palace. He earmarked the hill as a sacred and protected place. Sadly, the palace doesn’t remain today.
The temple has two ‘kodimarams’ symbolically dedicated to the two brothers. The temple celebrates 28 days of annual festival every year. The people in the region and nearby places throng here to perform ‘Pithru Tharpanam’ held here on the day of Amavasi of Karkitaka month (July). This ‘Bali Karma’ is offered by people for the salvation of sins and to appease the dead souls.
The temple pond is located about 100m from the temple and it is said that the sacred channel of the temple opens to this pond. There is a huge cave on one side of the hill located barely one kilometer from the temple. It is said that the cave runs up to the banyan tree in front of the temple, but it is closed today by big boulders fallen in place. The cave can accommodate nearly ten people at a time. The inside of the cave is cool and moist and the spot offers a fine view of the undulating rubber plantations below.
The hill had more than sixty large and small ponds scattered throughout the forest. Even today about a dozen such ponds are remaining with sparkling fresh water even in hot summers. Vennimala offers numerous serene walks on the hill. Any visitor to the hillcan crisscross the entire hillside by walking through pleasant and shady ‘nattuvazhis’ (country walks). Flanked by shady rubber plantations they offer a unique charm.
Presently Vennimala has around eighty households on the hillside. Rubber abounds the vegetation of the hill. There are no commercial establishments on the hilltop and it remains silent and serene away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
How to access:
Any visitor can do this trip quite easily from Kottayam or Kumarakom. Take the K.K.Road from Kottayam via Manarkad and turn right at the 8th mile. A board of Vennimala Temple shows the way. The place is about 15 km from Kottayam.