The sarawathi temple in the panachikadu village of Kottayam district, Kerala is known as Dakshina (southern) Mookambi. Eventhough many sarawathi temples perform pooja only during the ‘Navarathri period, this temple offers pooja throughout giving ‘darshan’ to the devotees.
Two things specially to be noticed here are the creepers and the immaculate spring. The leaves of the creepers which cover the idol are considered saraswathy leaves. The water comes from the spring here flows touching the feet of the “Devi” never dries even in the peak time of summer. Since the devi remains on such a “Saras” (small rivulet) the name saraswathy becomes meaningful. The water required for poojas and other needs are taken from the spring. No well or other water sources are available here. Above the saraswathy temple on the western side there is a natural habitat made of exotic plants and their fragrant flowers. Here lives the ‘yakshi’ who is atonce fastidious and easily made happy. The idol of ‘brahmarakshasu’ is also installed here. Eventhough there are yakshi shrines in other temples, as well, the power of the yakshi at panachikadu seem to be super. In addition there are idol of Siva, Sastha, Ganapathi, Nagayakshi, Nagaraja and the like sub deities too here.
When we reach the precincts of the temple we see first a “Vishnu temple” just a few metres south of the Vishnu shrine we can see the ‘saraswathy temple’ in a natural valley with the water dripping and flowing around the idol. The temple does not have the traditional sanctum sanctorum and other pompous structures of the temples elsewhere. There is a rectangular pond like structure as though it has been caved out of a granite hillock. In this pond there grows lush green creeper plants of exquisite beauty. Covered by the creeper the original ‘idol’ of saraswathy remains. Near the original idol of “devi saraswathy” there is another alternate idol on which all the poojas are performed.
In the ‘lthihyamala’ of kottarathil sankunni there is a detailed description of this temple-this temple having more than one thousand years of history, there are three Brahmin families, kizhupuram,Karunad and kaimukku,asits traditional care takers. From among these illams a respectful Brahmin from the kizhupurathillam disappointed by not getting a male child, took up a journey to Ganges to take holy bath. On the way reaching mookambika he stayed there for a few days praying to the deity there. One day the devi appeared before him and advised him to go back to his native place. She told him that a nampoothiri lady of Karunattillam is now pregnant and that she will deliver two children. One of the children be adopted by him as his own and bring him up. As directed by the devi the next day the devotee took bath, worshipped the devi and returned to his house. In his palm leaf umbrella there was Devi’s blessing and power. When he reached Panachikad,the palm umbrella become stiff without any movement. then holy Godman appeared before him and pronounced that there is devi’s power and blessings in the umbrella. He advised the Brahmin to do poojas and the power of saraswathy be installed in a temple at Panachikadu. An idol which was lying deserted there was seen. The Brahmin was told to incarnate the power of the devi in this old idol which was worshipped by Godman with supernatural power long time ago. Since such Godmen with supernatural powers are not available now an alternate idol was installed in Panachikad. Even today in the temple of the care takers traditional rituals and poojas are performed as of then. The order in which Pooja performed to Mahavishnu, sarawathy, Ganapathy, Siva, Sastha,Yakshii, and Nagaraja. Like the Ganges which touches the feet of Vishnu it is form the feet of Vishnu that the holy water flows to the shrine of Saraswathyi.
From various parts of India devotees come here for ‘Darshan’ Irrespective of religions people come here for ‘Vidyarambham’ (the ceremony of beginning education). Except on the days of ‘Durgashtami’ and ‘Mahanavami’ all other days ‘Vidyarambham’ is performed here. The ghee enriched with; Saraswatha Manthram’ is distributed to devotees from here. The intake of this ghee enriches the intelligence of children for intelligence and education this is considered very good. For saraswathy and Vishnu, yakshi, Rakshas , Shasta, Siva, Ganapathy separate is offering can be made. Everyday early morning Pooja is performed to saraswathi and Vishnu—for saraswathy ‘Saraswatha Sooktharchana’ and for Vishnu Purusha Sooktharchana’. On the Durgashtami’ Day special ‘Pooja’ is performed for text books, literary works and ‘Thaliola books’ of ancient wisdom. On the ‘Vijayashtami’ day these books are returned to the owners after Pooja.
Eminent writers and literary stalwarts like Karthika Thirunal RamaVarma Maharaja (Dharma Raja), Kerala Varma Vliakoi thampuran, A.R.Raja Raja Varma, Ullore the famous poet and other famous writers have come and stayed here for ‘bhajan’. It is believed that the famous writer A.R. Raja Raja Varma was dump during childhood and he got out of the illness and became a famous writer and orator on the blessing of the Goddess here.
Thousands of literacy workers, artists, musicians etc. consider this temple as their last resort for help. The temple is becoming more and more famous, day by day. The three Brahmin families Kizhupuram, Karunad, and Kaimukku in addition to a manager look after the up-keeping and pooja etc. here.