The Oachira Temple, also known as Ochira Parabrahma Temple, is a unique and ancient Hindu temple located in Oachira, a small town in the Kollam district of the Indian state of Kerala. What sets this temple apart from many others is its distinct lack of traditional temple structures and idols. Instead, it is an open-air temple dedicated to the concept of Parabrahma, the universal consciousness, or the formless aspect of the divine.
Key features and beliefs associated with the Oachira Temple:
- Idol-less Temple: Unlike most Hindu temples, Oachira Temple does not have a sanctum sanctorum (garbhagriha) or a presiding deity in the form of an idol or deity image. Instead, the temple is dedicated to the worship of the universal consciousness, and it is believed that the entire area of the temple premises represents this formless divine entity.
- Religious Significance: The temple is considered a place of great religious significance for devotees who follow a form of monistic or non-dualistic philosophy (Advaita Vedanta). It is a place for meditation and introspection, where individuals can connect with the divine without any physical intermediaries.
- Annual Festival: The Oachira Temple hosts an annual festival known as the Oachira Parabrahma Temple Festival. This festival, also known as the Oachira Kali festival, typically takes place in June or July and includes various cultural programs, traditional Kerala art forms, and processions.
- Unique Rituals: The temple is known for its distinctive rituals and practices. Devotees offer symbolic items such as tender coconut, rice, and traditional oil lamps as offerings to the divine consciousness. The temple’s priests play a significant role in conducting these rituals.
- Open-air Setting: The temple complex is essentially an open ground with a central area where devotees can sit or walk barefoot. The absence of walls and structures reinforces the idea of the formless divine.
- Historical Significance: Oachira Temple is believed to have ancient origins, dating back over a thousand years. It is closely associated with the historical and cultural heritage of Kerala.
Overall, the Oachira Temple is a place that exemplifies a unique approach to Hindu spirituality, emphasizing the worship of the formless divine and offering a distinct religious experience to its visitors.
Oachira Temple is one of the ancient temples in Kerala and is situated on the borders of the Kollam and Alappuzha districts. Oachira temple has neither a structure to house nor an idol to worship. Oachira is dedicated to the formless, infinite Para Brahmam, the Absolute and Supreme Principle. The annual festival ‘Ochirakali’ and ‘Panthrandu Vilakku’ is held during the first and second of the Malayalam month ‘Mithunam’. Ochirakali commemorates the historic battle between the Chempakasseri and Kayamkulam Rajas. During the festival, men dress up as warriors and enact mock wars wielding wooden sticks, brandishing swords and shields, enacting a kind of martial dance, and standing knee-deep in water. Two days of this ritual is followed by a few days of brisk trading in cattle and agricultural produce, an old tradition now being revived.
The Oachira Temple is peculiar in the terms of it does not have covered structures for temples. People worship the Para Brahma (the original formless power that manifests as the three Supreme forms of God, namely Brahma/Vishnu/Siva) under neatly preserved trees. Millions of pilgrims visit Oachira temple for worship especially in the month of July and October.
There are many beliefs exist about the origin of the name of Oachira. The prominent belief is that the place Oachira has its name from Uvachanchira as Uvachan means Lord Shiva. The town of Oachira is located at a distance of 32 km north of Kollam.