Temples for villains? Why would anybody build a temple for evil people? Just dig into one of the great epics Mahabharata to know why! You must have come across an article on Duryodhana Temple on our website! If you haven't 'Click Here'. Interestingly, there is also a temple for Duryodhana's favourite uncle Shakuni. He is said to be the main reason for the Kurukshetra War. Some believe Mahabharata actually happened while some say it is just a fiction. However, there are so many places that relate to the epic and Shakuni Temple is one of them in India situated at Kerala.
Shakuni in the dice game
Photo Courtesy: Ramanarayanadatta astri
The story of Shakuni is fascinating; today his name is often used as a metaphor to refer for a cunning person. Shakuni is known for his intelligence, cunningness, manipulation and his influence over his nephews (Kauravas).
Shakuni, a prince of Gandhara Kingdom, loses his parents and dynasty to Bhishma. And also his sister Gandhari gets married off to Drutarashtra (a blind prince) without her knowledge. Angered by all this, Shakuni, who comes to stay with Gandhari decides to take revenge against Bhishma and his clan. He starts sowing seeds of poison in the minds of his nephews against the Pandavas, their cousin brothers which finally leads to the Kurukshetra War.
The Mayamkottu Malancharuvu Malanada Temple in Pavithreswaram is dedicated to the great villain Shakuni. As per the local legends, Shakuni attained moksha (liberation) by praying to Lord Shiva at this place. A large granite stone inside the shrine is believed to be the seat where Shakuni performed his penance.
Photo Courtesy: Girishchavare
No doubt, Mayamkottu Malancharuvu Malanada Temple is one of the unique temples in Kerala. Here they don't perform any pooja or rituals like in other temples. Instead, devotees offer toddy, silk, tender coconuts, etc.
Although it sounds crazy to see a temple for the arch villain, the ideals behind its creation is interesting. Hinduism has different schools of thoughts and one of them is to celebrate the 'traits' or 'Gunas'. In this shrine, Shakuni's intelligence and his determination to win against all odds are praised and celebrated. A community called Kuravar worship Shakuni as a God and believe he is not a villain in the real sense! They believe it is the circumstances that changed Shakuni to take revenge.
Interesting Facts: Pavithreswaram is a village in Kottarakkara in Kollam. Earlier, it was known as Pakutheswaram. The legend says, Shakuni travelled along with the Kauravas in search of the Pandavas. When they came to this region, the Kauravas divided their weapons at the place where the temple is situated. Hence, it became popular as Pakutheswaram. Later, the place was named as Pavithreswaram.
Inside the temple, there are other deities of Kiratha Murthy, Bhuvaneswari Devi and Nagaraja.
Another fact is that Poruvazhy Peruviruthy Malanada Temple (Duryodhana Temple) is not far from the Shakuni Temple in Kerala.
It is amazing to know how mythologies are connected to the places in India. These two temples for the villains serve as the great examples!
How To Reach Kottarakkara
Kottarakkara is around 65km from Thiruvananthapuram. It is around 16km from Kottarakkara Taluk to reach Pavithreswaram.
- By Bus: There are several buses from main cities of Kerala to Kottarakkara. From there it is better to arrange for private vehicles.
- By Train: Munroturuttu Railway Station (30km) is the nearest railway station to reach Kottarakara.
- By Air: Thiruvananthapuram Airport is the nearest airport.
Best Time to Visit Pavithreswaram
Malakkuda Mahotsavam is the annual festival that happens in the month of January-February (28th of Makaram month in Malayalam Calender). It is one of the best time to visit Shakuni Temple as you can enjoy the festival and get to see some unique rituals.