Cherthala (formerly known as Shertallai) is a Taluk and a municipality in Alappuzha district in the state of Kerala, India. It is 36km from Cochin and 22 km from Alleppey on the Cochin-to-Alleppey section of National Highway 47 Road Route and Railway Route. Cherthala is in Alleppey District, of which Alleppey is the district headquarters. Cherthala is a Major Taluk consisting of 20 villages of which Cherthala is the Taluk headquarters.

.Places of importance

Aroor,Arthunkal,Andhakaranazhy,Chennam Pallippuram (Pallippuram),Kanichukulangara,Kokkothamangalam,Muhamma,Pathiramanal,Panavally,Pattanakkad,Poochakkal,Thannermukkom,Thiruvizha,Vayalar

Famous Temples

Cherthala is a town near the present-day Alapuzha in Kerala. The Karthyayani temple is located here. There is a story about this temple. It seems that Vilwamangalam Sawmiyar was returning to Guruvayur after consecrating the Ananthapadmanabha temple in Thiruvananthapuram . He reached the present Cherthala and was taking rest below a Thambaka tree. He noticed several swans swimming in the several ponds in that place. Suddenly he saw a divine lady swinging in a swing, tied to the Thambaka tree. He recognized her as goddess Karthyayani and approached her whereupon she jumped into a nearby pond. Though Vilwamangalathu swamiyar searched for her in the pond, he could not locate her. The next day also he saw her in the same place and this time she jumped into a second pond. This continued for six days. On the seventh day, the swamiyar managed to catch hold of the hair of the Goddess and pulled her up before she could submerge. He could only pull up her head (thala) exposing her neck. Also, several hairs which he was holding got uprooted. The seventh tank was full of slushy mud called 'Cher' in Malayalam. Because of this incident the place was called Cherthala. (This being a great centre for coir manufacture was also called Shertala by the British).The present idol has only the head visible. You can see these holes from which hairs have been pulled out. So after Abhisheka, this part of the idol forming the head is mopped by using a cloth. Also while doing flower offerings to the Goddess, these parts are covered with a cloth. It seems the swamiyar got angry with her because he was not able to catch her. So, commemorating the event, in the month of Edavam (May-June), the people playfully abuse the goddess during a pooram festival. The Goddess in the sanctum sanctorum is consecrated below the floor level. Outside the temple, there are separate temples for Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The devotees hand over cocks as an offering to the goddess Karthyayani.So you can find several cocks at this temple. Near the sanctum sanctorum of the goddess, there are separate temples for Ganapathy and Lord Dharma Sastha also. Just outside the temple is the place where Vilwamangalam Swamiyar is said to have found her in a swing.
It seems once a gandharva was giving a lot of trouble to the people around this temple. So the goddess requested Shastha to teach the gandharva a lesson. Lord Sastha went out side and killed the Gandharva. When he was returning to the temple, the Goddess asked him to stay outside itself so that he can protect the people. A separate temple was built there. The Sastha in this temple is called Kavu udayon(he who has the job of security or He who has a Kavu). He holds a mace in his hand. People who are in fear or are attacked by evil spirits make a mace of wood, colour it and give it as an offering to Kavu udayon.
The arattu (bathing in a tank) festival is celebrated in the month of Edavam (May-June) for eight days. Each day Goddess is dipped in a different pond and on the eighth day she is brought back to the temple along with Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.
There are two very special and peculiar prasadam offerings at this temple. They are called Iratti and Thadi. Iratti is nothing but the Ghee Payasam with double the quantity of jaggery used in its preparation.Thadi is made by the following method:
Rice flour, Jaggery, and coconut are mixed along with powdered dry ginger and other spices. This is then made in to a paste form and placed in a sheath of areca nut frond and tied at both ends. Then sand in an oven is heated by burning fuels like sticks etc. A small depression is made in the sand and the above bundle is inserted inside and covered with hot sand using fuels such as coconut shells which are burnt over it. This type of baking is peculiar to this temple. This offering is made only if devotees desire for same.

Varanad Devi Temple

The Varanad Devi Temple is a very Ancient Temple situated on the North Eastern side of Chertala. It is about 3 kms from the Chertala Transport bus - stand. The Devi is represented as riding on the Vethala after killing the demon Darika. She is decked in Ornaments and ready to Bless her devotees. The Holy Place is always througed by divotees coming from different parts of the country seeking the Blessings of the goddess. In almost all the famous Devi Temples of Kerala Pongala is performed as an offering. The devotees of Varanad are very particular that the Pongala should be performed in the 'Varanad Devi' Temple. The Devi of this Temple is said to Bless all her devotees and grant all their prayers and wishes.
The Devotees have informed the Devasom officials of the fulfilment of their prayers like the curing of incurable diseases, blind people being able to see and the dumb being able to speak, unmarried girls getting good marriage proposals, enimies turning into friends and the removal of various problems by the Blessings of the goddess. The Bharani Festival during the Malayalam month of "Kumbham" is the most important Festival. The "Garudan Thooku" is an offering particularly favoured by the Devi and it is popular among the devotees 'Otta Thooku' is also an important 'Vazhipadu' or offering. Uma Maheswara Pooja or Swayamvara Pooja is performed for removal of obstruction and delay in marriages. Many unmarried girls and boys are said to have benifitted by the  special poojas and got good proposals. To remove obstacles caused by enemies and turning them into friends and to once come many problems the 'Shatru Samhara Pushpanjale and "Rakta Pushpanjali are performed Thousands on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. "Guruthi" is performed in this Temple in the afternoon, and it is a very rare offering. Arunazhi Payasam is the another important offering to Devi by devotees. Advance booking is needed for this offering. During the "mandalakalam" that is from Vrichikam 1st (the middle of November) for 41 days there is a special Pooja every day. The Devis figure with four hands is drawn and works hipped by singing devotional songs and it is called "Kalamezhuttu" and "Pattu" on the 41 st day the Divine figure of the Devi is represented with 16 hands holding many weapons and devotees rush to the Temple to have the Darshan of the Bhagawathy in this form drawn in the "Mukhamandapam" of the Temple. This is supposed to be the "Poorna Roopam" of the Devi - the full Forms which can be seen only on this particular occassion.
Bharani Festival- This festival lasts for 14 long days. On the "Bharani" day the festival ends with the offering called "Garudan Thookam". Usually the festival is held in the month of FebruaryMarch. An important aspect of the festival is the hoisting of the temple flag on the first day and the community feast soon after that. Thereafter for 13 days (day and night) the Devi goes to the houses of Her devotees to see the~ personally. The devotees welcome her with 'Nirapara' and 'thalapoli' on the 13th day the Devi completes her personal visits to the houses of her devotees and on her return she is welcomed and accompanied by a ground procession of 11 elephants, divine music and beating of drums (Pandimelam), this scene is memorable and unforgettable to the devotees. On the 12th day evening also I there is a procession of 11 elephants accompanied by the "Panchari Melam" of the best  of Kerala. Even the foreign visitors are I attracted by the grandeur of the scene. On all the 14 days of the Festival the Devaswam makes arrangements for the performance of various artistic entertainments. Great artists from South India participate in the festival which last for 14 days. With the "Garudan Thookam" on the 14th day the festival comes to an end. Lakhs of people from various countries gather in this place to participate in this function.
Lord Siva - Lord Siva is considered to be an important Upadevata of this temple. He is respected and adored as a father. In this temple, daily offerings and Archana's are conducted separately. 'Pradosha Pooja' and 'Sivarathri Pooja' are the most important poojas of this Sivakovil.
Rakteswari Devi - Outside the temple wall there is the main Upadevatha 'Rakteswari Devi'. Certain ailments related to women, small pox etc can be cured if we pray to the Devi with faith that's the belief of the people. To cure such diseases there are special poojas conducted here. On the last Friday of every Malayalam month these poojas are conducted.
Kodumkali - Another Upadevatha is 'Kodumkali'. Every day during the midnoon Pooja "Guruti Abhishekam" is conducted daily and this is the main offering. One of the chief offering is the "Kodumkali Guruti" which is conducted at night. This is performed Special Offerings for Ordinary Days - 1. Every Sunday without fail Kali Sahasranamarchana is performed. This is done during mid noon pooja 2. Tuesdays, Shatrusamhara Pooja. 3. On Mondays at the Siva Upadevata Temple 'Siva Sahasranamarchana' is performed. Besides this 'Udayasthamana Pooja, Trikalapooja, Navagraha Pooja' etc are important poojas. Pongala is conducted in the month of Makara in the Bharani day. Route to the Temple - From Alappuzha, get down at Cherti.ala Transport bus stand and just 3kms east, the Varanad temple is situated. From Kottayam to Cherthala just 30 kms and from Vaikom temple just 20 kms to the Varanad temple.


Kanichukulangara Bhagwathy Temple

Situated 13 km north of Alappuzha town, Kanichukulangara is famous for the Bhagavathy temple. It is believed that the shrine was consecrated by a Brahmin who happened to recognize Devi who had reached the shore. The souls of the brahmin and the maiden who is said to have fallen in love with Brahmin have been consecrated in small shrines inside the temple.Later the temple was constructed by the karnavas of kaikara,manjezham and chelattu kudumbam .They provided the land and other materials for the construction and taken care of the nithya pooja and festivals.

Thiruvizha Shiva Temple

                                                                    This temple is situated 40 km away from Ernakulam on the Ernakulam –Cherthalai road. There is a Shiva temple which is consecrated in a pit where water keeps on ebbing. It is believed that people who are mad or people who have been under the control evil effects set on them by black magicians get cured at this temple. The famous Nadaswara Vidhwan, Thiruvizha Jaya Shankar hails from this place.
There was a very dense forest in this area belonging to arakkal panikkars. There was a pond in the forest which had lot of tortoises. A group of hunters called Ulladaas used to catch these tortoises for their living. They would introduce a long sharp staff in to the pond and keep on hitting. Then the injured tortoises would come up. Then they would catch them. Once when a lady of their tribe was doing it, suddenly she saw blood ebbing out of the pond. The entire pond became the colour of the blood. Then they started pumping out the water of the pond. After three full days of removing the water, they saw a stone in the bottom of the pond from which the blood was oozing out. On the fourth day, a great sage came and applied sacred ash on the wound. The blood immediately stopped. He told the people there to build a temple over the pond without removing the stone from that place. They filled up the pond, partially by sand. Even today, we can see the Linga only at the bottom of the pond, where water would be constantly oozing out. In rainy season, the idol will be covered by water and we would not be able to see it. So in rainy season the pooja is performed only to the Uthsava moorthi.
Immediately after the temple was built a mad man belonging to the Thalakkatt family of nairs used to daily visit this temple. The devotees were afraid of him and prayed to the Lord to cure him. That day, one nair was instructed in his dream “Tie up the mad man overnight. Next day, a new plant will appear near the temple. Collect one hand full of leaves from this plant and hand it over to the priest. He would take out the juice inside the temple, mix it with cow’s milk and do Pandeeradi pooja to the God, Then keep, three chakras (The coin of Travancore) before the temple and take out the milk and make the mad man drink it. (The mixture would first become blue, then become dark red and then black and later become yellow and then white.) One hour after he drinks the milk, give him tepid water to drink. Then that mad man would vomit a lot. Then in the noon make him eat the milk kheer (paal Payasam) offered to the Yakshi. He would become all right.”
This was followed and the man regained his sanity. People who were mad were then brought to the temple and the same treatment followed. Most of them became all right.
People who are mad, are brought to the temple in the previous night itself. Then after the evening worship of the temple they attend the saffron (kuruthi) worship to the “Bhootha kala Yakshi” which is outside the temple. Then next day the treatment described above will be done at 9 Am. Most of them become absolutely all right. So large number of pilgrims bring the mad persons from all over India to this temple. The right to bring the holy medicinal leaves is forever with Thalakkat family, to which the original mad man belonged.
There is a custom of worshipping lord Shiva by abhisheka (anointing) of tender coconut water and milk, The abhisheka(ceremonial drenching) with milk for 1001 times is special to this temple.
It is believed that the Goddess in Kanichukulangara temple in the neighborhood of this temple is the daughter of Lord Shiva. So everyday noon the Goddess is brought to this temple for an offering of Payasam along with her father
The temple opens at 5 Am immediately there is Abhisheka and the god is adorned with sacred ash and sandalwood paste. Immediately puffed rice (Pori) is offered to the god. At 8.15 Am, Pandeeradi pooja is done and later the medicinal milk is distributed to the patients. At 11 am, Payasam is offered to Lord Vishnu who is having a temple in this complex itself. This also is given to the patients after they vomit the milk taken by them.
In March April, there is Arattu festival in this temple. There is a festival in the month of Dhanu (Margazhi-November –December), which lasts for ten days.


Thuravoor Mahakshethram

Thuravoor Mahakshethram, an ancient Devasthanam located by the side of NH-47, approximately 25 km south of Kochi city, is the sacred abode of Lord Sree Narasimhamoorthy and Lord Sree Mahasudarsanamoorthy. The entire temple complex can be seen from the road.
Two separate temples in close proximity - within the same compound - reflect the synthesis of a unique and mysterious divine power. The idol of Sree Narasimhamoorthy is said to have originated in the holy city of Kashi (Varanasi). Swami Padmapadar (8th century AD), the principal disciple of Adi Sankaracharya, had worshipped the very same idol at Kashi.
Distinctive in its architectural and artistic grandeur, Thuravoor Mahakshethram is one of the most venerated places of worship in Kerala. Twin-Sreekovils in a single Nalambalam, two gold-plated flagmasts that tower into the skies, a majestically tall Anapandhal (elephant rostrum - the largest in Kerala) and a strict regimen of observances of vrathas for the priests, days after days of rituals and festivals, chanting of Vedic hymns and presentation of learned discourses on Puranas throughout the year ... all these attract streams of devotees to the temple from within and outside the State.Vedi - vazhivadu is one of the popular vazhivadu or offering in the temple.