Achankovil is a famous Sastha temple located at Achankovil village in Kollam district of Kerala. The gorgeous Achankovil River flows in front of this famous Hindu pilgrim site. Achankovil Temple is just like Sabarimala shrine as it is also nestled in the middle of thick forest. The temple is located almost 950 meters above sea level. Lord Ayyappa is the presiding deity of this temple and has great significance as a Sastha temple. It is believed that the idol of this temple has been installed by Lord Parasurama many centuries ago even before the Christian era.
Achankovil Temple is one of the five most important temples in Kerala dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. Unlike other Ayyappa temples, Lord Ayyappa is depicted in this temple as a family man. The idol of this temple is worshipped with his two wives named Purna and Pushkala. It is believed that Lord Parasurama created this temple after he got ‘Darshan’ from Lord Ayyappa. The idol of this temple has miraculous powers and is believed to be made using Rudraksha. So, it is known as the ‘Rudraksha Sila’.
People from different regions reach this temple to get the sandal paste from the hand of the idol to treat different diseases. The left hand of the idol holds Chandan, the sandalwood paste. Both the Chandan and the Theertha (holy water) in this temple have medicinal qualities effective to treat snake bites. Since the temple is surrounded by a large wall, wild animals cannot enter inside it. Achankovil Temple is on the Kerala border and its rituals and festivals have strong influence of Tamil Nadu.
Unlike other Sastha temples in Kerala, females above the age of 10 are allowed to enter the temple and climb up the 18 holy steps. The annual festival of the temple is celebrated in the Malayalam month of Dhanu (December-January) which last for 10 days. Mavelikkara is the nearest railway station which is nearly 29 kilometers way from the temple. Devotees can reach this temple via Pandalam - Kaippattoor Road, Kollam railway station is about 56 kilometers away. Trivandrum International Airport is around 102 kilometers from Achankovil temple. Log on the website of Tour My India to get more information about this Sastha temple in Kerala.