If Goddess Almighty would desire to descend upon Her own village on earth, we can assume that Her choice will surely fall only on Nochur, a tiny strip of village bountifully nestled in the heart of Koduvayur situated on the outskirts of Palakkad in Kerala. So Koduvayur is located on the Chittoor road about a kilometer away from or adjacent to the Koduvayur Local Telephone Exchange where the long stretch of road leads one to the chaste panoramic Nochur village and the Agraharam , a colony of the Brahmin community. Situated on the eastern and northern sides of the precincts of the Agraharam – NOCHUR AGRAHARAM AND BHAGAVATHY TEMPLE – The Brahmin colony – is the famous Nochur temple enshrined with a self-sprung deity (self- emanated) Shanti Durga Parameswary, as the presiding deity. Such temples enshrined with self-sprung deities are grouped under a common nomenclature ‘VITANGA STHALAM in Tamil language.
In the sprawling premises of the temple, there are separate such shrines for all deities like Shiva, Vishalakshi, Ganapathy, Dharmasastha and Subramonian with equal prominence. There is a separate Krishna temple also at the entrance of the northern side of the Agraharam.
There was a traditional Namboothiri family in the village whose house was popularly known as NOCHULLI ILLAM(house). It is believed that one day, while the workers were laboring in the field belonging to the Illam the spade haphazardly struck on a rock from which blood started gushing out profusely. An astrological examination of this incident revealed that there was the divine presence of Durga, a fierce deity worshipped earlier in the pantheon of Hindus. At this site called the Bhagavathy”s land where the idol was found earlier ,a lamp is lit every day. Later on the villagers shifted the idol and installed at the present place of the temple and the villagers started worshipping the deity. The place was commonly called NOCHIYUR village mainly because of the name of NochulliIllam and the verdant growth of Karunorchi, an Ayurvedic herb, very effective for rheumatic complaints, around the Agraharam. As time went on, the village acquired the name Nochiyur gradually. In course of time, the village got the abbreviated form Nochur the present name.
Gradually, the temple administration slipped from the hands of the NochulliIllam(Mana) and the surroundings became the Agraharam of Brahmins migrated from Tanjore, and Thiruvannamalai in Tamill Nadu. Once the village came under the dominance of the expatriate Brahmins, (Paradesi Brahmins), all Vedic style of rites, rituals as well as other spiritual observances and solemn ceremonies also came in to existence. However, the distinguishing traits of the ever- resplendent Goddess Durga are indescribable. In the ancient times, it is believed, that there used to be animal sacrifice at the temple premises, but, with the passage of time , by dint of special type of rites and rituals for the absolute propitiation, the Grim Goddess(Ugradevata) was mellowed down to a sober and placid deity and consecrated as Shanti Durga Parameswari. Since then, other regular rituals like KUSHMANDA BALI are performed in the traditional way.
The striking speciality of the Nochur Agraharam is the heavily crowded annual Chariot Festival conducted with all its splendour pomp and flamboyance. The festival falls on the first Friday of Makaramasam corresponding to the third week of January every year. On this festive occasion, a special palatable porridge called CHATU SSATHAM, the principal offering for Neivedyam is prepared so scientifically by expert cooks which is a combination of ingredients like rice, Jaggery coconut- milk and a little cardamom for flavour, all in recommended proportion. Navarathri,Karthika lamp, Prathishta Din, (Enshrinement day on 2nd June) etc. are celebrated so ceremonially with utmost fervour and splendour every year. There is also a marriage Hall in the same premises. The divine sword and the Simha Vahana (Lion is the vehicle) are also preserved well in the same premises. Various religious and cultural programs like bhaktiganasudha, vocal concert, Pancharimelam, Harikatha Prabhashanam by eminent and experienced spiritual orators etc. are also organized for the merriment of the devotees thronging the temple premises.Besides, the usual spiritual services to Goddess Bhagavathy, like Poornnabhishekam, Kalabhabhishekam, DwajaAvarohanametc. are also organized very systematically during this festival period.
The Lotus Pond (Thamarakkulam) is sprawling extensively over about four acres of land so ravishingly and synthesizing with the legacy of the past and the present Nochur village. The daily rituals are devoutly performed by learned and experienced priests and acharyas only. Agashyashram is housed at the northern end of the premises. Vedic recitations, Maharudram, Mahakumbhabhishekam etc. are conducted at the Agraharam continually.
During Navarathri festival, the ritual of Vijayadasami arrow -shooting (archery) is customarily performed towards the midnight. It is decidedly a stroke of utmost fortune that Shanti Durga Parameswari is effulgently reigning the whole domain so graciously with the prominence of the past as well as the contemporary splendour – the key note of all our faith – the self – sprung (Swayam bhoo) deity dwells in our hearts, showering Her blessings so bounteously on the devotees !
Those natives especially the Brahmin diaspora who have settled outside or abroad make it a point to visit Palakkad particularly during the chariot festival and make sizeable contributions to the temple fund with which the renovation of the temple and gold plating of the steps to the sanctum sanctorum are stated to have been done very recently at an estimated cost of Rs:80 to 85 lakhs. So liberal donations to the corpus fund alone can strengthen the hands of the templeadministrators to bring about periodical modifications to suit the basic needs of the devotees thronging the temple on festive occasions or otherwise.
A visit to this blessed land, one can for sure return with the rare content of serenity and peace of mind for life which no wealth nor power can command orfetch!
A sip of the delicious porridge chathussatham( Payasam) keeps one free from all ailments and health hazards !
In short, a glimpse of the ever-effulgentGoddess Santhi Durga Parameswary(NochurBhagavathy) brings lots of mental peace and prosperity!
It is a matter of great pride and apt to mention here that BrahmashreeNochur Venkataraman(an ardent devotee of renowned Ramana maharshi) belongs to this hallowed place. It was here, that he conducted the first BhagavathaSapthaham(sennight) of Nochur Temple, in the middle of 2017.and it was a grand success in terms of large attendance, prescribed usual rituals, international coverage and eloquent discourses on all the seven days!
Let us all be the recipients of Her munificent blessings!
Also let us all now recite the popular hymn in Sanskrit :
“NOCHULLI ITHI VIKHYAATHAM
NOCHI SASYESHTA PARIVYATHAM
NUDA PAAPAAM SAMAASHRITHAM!”