Vidyaarambham in Mookambika

Solilo has written about the custom of Vidyaarambham amongst Malayalis. It refreshed memories for me, of my daughter’s Vidyaarambham in the Sri Kollur Mookambika Temple in Mangalore, during our last vacation to India.

Normally, as Solilo has mentioned,the parents or other elders present , perform the initiation by writing ‘Om hari sree ganapataye namah’ on Vijayadashami day. In some cases like ours, where my husband was travelling at that time, one of the places that people go to do the Vidyaarambham done, is the Sri Kollur Mookambika Temple in Mangalore. Here, in this temple, Vidyaarambham can be done at anytime of the year. The temple is in the middle of a forest, and for miles before we reach it, it is quite a thick forest land. It is at the foot of the Western Ghats and on the banks of the River Sauparnika. People generally wash their feet at the River and then proceed to the temple.

The temple has an interesting history. Apparently Adi Shankaracharya, meditated in the Himalayas to Vaishno Devi. When she appeared, he begged of her, to come down to Kerala where he wanted to set up a place of worship for her. She agreed, on the condition, that he would have to lead the way, and not look back to see if she were following.Β  She said, that if he did look back, then she would stay where she was and not go any further.

So all through the journey, Adi Shankaracharya, kept leading the way, and he could hear the Devi’s anklets , so he knew that she was following. Then when they reached Kollur, the sound of the anklets stopped. So he turned, and as promised, the Devi stopped where she was. After a lot of beseeching, she agreed to come further and set abode in Chottanikkara, near Ernakulam in Kerala. On the condition that another place of worship would be created for her at Kollur where she stopped. Apparently, the Aarti is first done and completed at Kollur before it can be done at the Chottanikkara Temple.

The Kollur Mookambika temple is apparently completely packed by devotees wanting to get their children’s Vidyaarambham done on Vijayadashami day. We did not go on that day, but our driver was telling us about how when he took his son for his Vidyaarambham, on Vijayadashami day, it was so crowded that not a single hotel or lodge was available, they actually stayed with some priest’s family. Apparently this happens quite a lot.

When we went, it was not ‘peak’ season, so it was a wonderful experience. The priest who did the Vidyaarambham was wonderful, he recited the shlokas and translated it for the benefit of anybody who did not understand and it was done in such a pious way, that I just could not take out my camera to take a pic.Β  It was one of the few times, that I felt rather spiritual and moved. And it is one of the customs, that have a special place in my heart. Although I don’t have pictures to show my daughter, I do hope to take her there again to show her and let her experience it for herself again.

60 thoughts on “Vidyaarambham in Mookambika

  1. Pingback: Vidyaarambham inΒ Mookambika | TRAVEL | POLOTPDA.COM

  2. wow, I didn’t know this story till now. Chottanikara temple has indeed a glory…Good you wrote harishree in rice. Did they write in toungue also with silver/gold?

    Yes, they did that too – I missed mentioning it 😦 I love these temple legends!

    Now vijayadhashmi is coming and it is time to start a new learning….

    Good post
    Aryan’s Mom

    Thank you, Aryan’s Mom!

  3. Our stories never cease to surprise me, nor do rootless and “west-washed” people who say India was created by the British!

    Yes, absolutely! I love temple legends especially – they are so fascinating, aren’t they? ‘West -washed people’ – that’s an interesting term πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing this.
    I love temple legends – I should probably write down the others I know or come across from now on. Some of the stories I have heard about Mahaavataar Babaji and others are even more fascinating.

  4. It is great you went to Kollur Mookambika for Poohi’s vidyarambam. I have never been there. We used to visit Dakshina mookambika temple in North Paravur, Kerala.

    Is there a Dakshina Mookamika too! wow! I had no idea!

    This year we are doing vidyarambam for my younger daughter A, at home only.

    Oh wonderful! It must be wonderful to do it at home!

  5. Wow this was really interesting!!! Love such legends. I can imagine not being able to take out the camera because you were moved… you can take pictures and share with us, when you take Poohi there again.

    I love such legends too. And a lot of temples seem to have them – old and new! Yes, pictures, next time πŸ™‚

  6. Interesting story…these kinda stories fascinates me from childhood….I would like to do same when angel will start studying thought its not in my tradition…but still it looks good to get blessing from god.before starting new chapter of ur life…

    thanks for sharing this with us..

    There are so many traditions in India which are so profound. We could all take the best ones and follow what really makes sense to us.. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

  7. Nice Info Smitha and also we have got very interesting stories behind them πŸ™‚

    I love them πŸ™‚

    I love these kind of stories – do share if you happen to know some too.

  8. Vaishnu devi came down south at the request.. interesting na.. i dont think any formal vidyaarambh is done for the child in north.. i only know of ann-prashan where the child is fed something other than mother’s milk for the first time.

    I don’t think there is an equivalent of vidyaarambham in the North, either. We have something called ‘choroonu’ that is the equivalent of ‘Ann-prashan’ – but that is around 6 months of age. Yes, the legend is quite interesting. Apparently all the priests in Mookambika are Kashmiri Pandits who were brought here by Adi Sankaracharya. And the poojas are very similar to the ones in Vaishno Devi too. I find these legends fascinating.

  9. This is a beautiful post, Smitha! The legends of our temples are never-ending. Every temple has got its own story.

    Thank you, Sandhya! I remember the first post that I read on your blog was on temples too πŸ™‚ I love temple legends πŸ™‚

    Mookaambika temple has become very very famous now. Sachin, Abhishek-Ash and so many others have started going there and Kukke Subrahmanya temple (a few Km. away from Mookaambika temple) that these temples are crowded year round.

    Oh is it? Did all these celebrities go there too? I had no idea of that. I can imagine how celebrities coming somewhere must have made these places ‘must visit’ sites!

    Your idea of taking Poohi to the temple again for her to experience the Vidhyarambham, is very nice. We think the children are too small and they will not remember, but they do remember always or they remember when they visit there again.
    I certainly hope so!

    We did Vidhyarambham at home, for my children. A priest came home and did some havan and then the children wrote ‘Ohm’ in Sanskrit, Kannada and Tamil on a bed of paddy. We have to hold their hand and write.

    That must have been wonderful! I think, doing it at home, is wonderful – you can do things your way.

    Yes, photographs would have been nice to see. We will wait!
    Yes, whenever we manage to go there again πŸ™‚

  10. Smi, Such legends. Love them. You know while writing my post I thought of adding Mookambika angle too but then it was getting long. Good that you mentioned it here. πŸ™‚

    Husband’s cousin took their 2nd child last year to Mookambika for vidyaarambham. Poohi will love when she visits the place after couple of years and will probably remember it. These kids have fabulous memory.

    Out of all our traditions, I love vidyaarambham the best. It is so good that it is now followed by many faiths in Kerala.

    Hugs to Poohi mol and I am sure coming Monday too she will love writing on the rice. You can take pictures then, Smi.

  11. Nice post smitha, got know more about our traditions and culture from urs and solilo’s post.

    We have a temple exclusive for akasharabashyam where the puja is performed and the mother makes the kid write OM on the grains and the temple gifts the child a slate and a chalk.I went for my sister son’s akasharabashyam and for varu i got it done here in a temple.

    We were not supposed to give pencil or chalk to the kids below 2/3 but u know pinkuda takes pencils from varu and scribbles so no akasharabashyam for her.

    The sarawathi temple where they perform akasharabashyam serves free food for all the devotees and it is yummy,i still remember the taste after 6 years.That temple is quite old and once in 3/5 years pushkars are held there,beautiful temple and quite close to the city.

  12. Thanks for sharing this story, Smitha. As I mentioned on Solilo’s blog, I learnt something new from both these posts.

    Many Indians also celebrate Saraswati Puja on Basant Panchami, usually in Jan/Feb. It used to be very prevalent when I was growing up, but I really haven’t seen it being celebrated in Mumbai.

    These posts have made sure I’ll remember it this time.


    Quirky Indian

  13. Nice info:)..In the north we have the same type of story with Krishna Bhagwaan with sakshi temple in Mathura.

    For vidhya we also do some pooja, but on any auspicious day at our it..patti pooja..patti was the slate people used in old times.

  14. U hd taken her to Kolluru Smithu .. thatz one of my fav places πŸ™‚

    Is it? It is lovely, isn’t it? We all loved it!

    Missed u soooooo much Smithu .. hw r u n Poohikutty? Vacation season gng on or khallas?

    Vacation season totally over 😦 Now next vacation only during Christmas time.

    • N u hv narrated the epic tale so well Smithu πŸ™‚


      Thank you Swaram! Hugs!!!!! I missed you! So glad that you are back πŸ™‚

  15. Wow, such a nice description of Kollur temple. I am from Mangalore and the temple is close to my home town..Just love that place!
    Nice to know you had a wonderful experience there:)

    Welcome here, K. I just loved it there! We loved the journey too. Mangalore is very scenic! Next time, we plan to visit the beaches as well πŸ™‚

  16. Thats a nice narrative. I am so ignorant about these traditions…guess the MIL has a huge job to do, to induct me first :))

    I am rather ignorant of traditions too – apart from the few that I like πŸ™‚ I like these stories though. Legends of these sort fascinate me πŸ™‚

  17. I took both my kids to Mookambika for their Vidyarambam. Having Vidyarambam through out the year is extremely convenient especially for folks who live outside Kerala. Did you go up to Kudajadri?

    Yes, it is very convenient, isn’t it? You took both your kids there too πŸ™‚ No, we did not go to Kudajadri. We were on a very tight schedule, unfortunately.

  18. We have a similar custom of Haathe-khodi (roughly translated t0-holding a pen/chalk) which happens on the Saraswati Puja day (Basant Panchami) of the year when the kid begins formal education.. and then the long years at school happen!

  19. lovely πŸ™‚

    i remember hearing this ‘aidehyam’ before but thanks for reminding me all over again. such traditions are lovely to hear, remember and follow … they are so quaint πŸ™‚ and naadinu swantham!

    my chorunu was done at mannarshala temple… i’ve been there once after i grew up… when my parents explained that i have a history there, the priests were like: “ividathe kutttiyanalle?” i felt goosebumps on hearing it πŸ™‚ it was chooo cute πŸ˜€

    hope poohi gets to go the place again when she is old enuff to understand. i m sure she will love the experience..

  20. lovely smithu!!!! πŸ˜€

    and hugssssssssss for that bit about when u did not feel like taking a pic! i can imagine, it must have felt so pure and divine for any kinda intervention! MUAHS!!! nice that poohi princess had such a lovely vidyaarambham πŸ™‚

    the legend! i did not know of! i knew of chottanikara temple, but did not know of how the Kollur temple has its puja first and then it begins in chottanikara! πŸ˜€

    i tell u Smithu, i am learning so much of my tradition and so much mallu too πŸ˜› , from you, and soli, EOG, Vimmuuu !!!!!!

    πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    ADI POLI!!!!! πŸ˜›

    my vidyaarambham was done in Guruvayoor temple in trissur πŸ™‚

  21. What a wonderful experience it must have been, Smits, can imagine! That was a very interesting story you shared about the temple πŸ™‚

    It was amazing, Deeps! I am so happy we decided to go and perform her vidyaarambham in Mookambika.

    God bless Poohikutty always. May she rise and shine in life and continue to make you & N proud πŸ™‚

    Thanks Deeps πŸ™‚

    Happy Vijayadashami to you, N & Kunju from me, R & Namnam πŸ™‚

    Wish you R and Namnam the very same πŸ™‚ Especially on this extra special Vidyaarambham for Namnam πŸ™‚

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