Achankovil is a small village in the deep western ghat forests of Kerala, known for its amazing natural beauty and a famous Achankovil temple. This is one of the most famous temples of Lord Ayyappa and is believed to have a statue, consecrated by Lord Parasurama himself. A lot of visitors come to see this picturesque temple, which is very similar to the famous shrine at Sabarimala and also to witness the stunning Manalar falls and the Kumbuvurutty falls. The Achankovil, also known as Achencoil is an important pilgrim center of Kerala, which attracts pilgrims from Kerala and Tamilnadu throughout the year, especially at the time of Sabarimala season.
This magnificent temple is located amid the lush green forests of Western Ghats in Kandamala, near Kollam. Legend has it that, it is the same place where God Ayappa, gave 'Darshan' (showed presence) to Lord Parasurama, who entered into a long term penance. The idol of Ayyappa at this temple is called Rudraksha Shila and the two important festivals that takes place here are Mandala Pooja and a festival held at 'Ravathi' (Janaury –February).
The temple is also known for the treatment of poisonous snake bite. It is believed that the sandal paste in the hands of the idol of the Dharma Sasta has a miraculous cure for the snake toxin. So, the people take this paste along with some water, offered by the chief priest from the temple well, to cure poisonous snake bites. The famous Achankovil River flows through this region and is an important part of Achankovil Temple.
The Achankovil Shastha Temple, or the Dharamsastha Temple, is one of the five most important temples in Kerala, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. Surrounded by a big wall, the temple complex also has other deities, associated with the Ayyappa legend.