Sarkara is one of these famous sites within a short driving distance from Thiruvananthapuram where tourists arrive mostly for enjoying one-day tours and exploring the region in and around. Located at a distance of just 35 kilometres from the city of Thiruvananthapuram to its north, Sarkara is known far and wide for being home to a number of religious sites such as the Bhagavathi Temple and the Sarkaradevi Temple.
Sarkara as a religious site
Sarkara is more famous as a religious site and a great place for one-day outing, and for people interested in watching the gala celebrations of the local festivals, mostly the Sarkara Bharani and the Kaliyoot festivals, a single-day visit to Sarkara is just perfect. The Sarkaradevi Temple is religiously very significant in the southern limits of the country located in the northwestern part of the district of Thiruvananthapuram. The towns of Varkala and Attingal are situated nearby Sarkara, the city being positioned westward from Attingal at a distance of about 6 kilometres only. Sited southward from the Chirayinkeezhu Taluk, the Sarkaradevi Temple began to gain popularity as a historical site in 1748 when King Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma of Travancore started to celebrate the Kaliyoot festival in Sarkara.
Hindu Goddess Bhagavathi is worshipped at the Sarkaradevi Temple in the form of Bhadrakali. The rituals associated with the worship at the temple reminds everybody here of the old customs that were followed in the ancient times to worship the deity. The Nakramcode Devi Temple of Attingal, located in Avanavanchery, has some connections with the Sarkaradevi Temple, due to some specific reason. Sightseers interested in visiting historical sites explore the temples of Sarkara to obtain a clear view of the history associated with this region. The premises of the Sarkaradevi Temple are ideal for spending a day with a tour in and around the temple.
Kaliyoot Festival in Sarkara
The Kaliyoot festival and the Meenabharani festival are also some of the prime attractions in Sarkara and visitors from near and far come to watch and witness the eventful celebrations of these regional festivals of Kerala. Kaliyoot is celebrated in the month of March, which coincides with the month Kumbham according to the Malayalam calendar. It is a unique experience for the tourists in Sarkara to watch the traditional enactment of the fight between the good and evil. The conflict between Bhadrakali and Darika is enacted as a part of the Kaliyoot celebrations, in which Bhadrakali, the embodiment of good, wins over the bad being personified as Darika. Kaliyoot is the artistic representation of age-old traditions that are closely associated with agriculture and farming. The second season for harvest in Kerala is the month of Makara Koithu, which comes before Kumbham according to the Malayalam calendar. Thus Makara Koithu also coincides with the month of March and celebration of Kaliyoot at this time of the year marks its association with the rituals followed during the season of harvest in Kerala.
Meenabharani Festival in Sarkara
The celebrations of the Meenabharani festival also attract sightseers from faraway places, this great festival being celebrated at the time of Attavishesham puja or the annual worship ceremony. The 10-day long celebrations of the Meenabharani festival are also intrinsically based on local religious beliefs. The celebrations begin with the hoisting of a flag, the ritual being known as Kodiyettu and end with the sacred submersion of the idol in the water tank situated within the premises of the temple. A one-day visit to Sarkara during the celebrations of this annual festival at the Sarkaradevi Temple is worth experiencing, the opening and closing ceremonies of this festival being the most interesting. However, watching the live performances conducted by the local artists during the 10-ten day celebration of the Meenabharani festival also happens to be a special experience for the sightseers in Sarkara.