Parakovil Sri Krishna Temple at the hill top of Thirumala
Thirumala is located in the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram city, and the place name is coined from two words – ‘Thiru’ and ‘Mala’ which means Holy Mountain. Parakovil, which literally means rock temple is situated at the hill top and the presiding deity is Lord Krishna. There is a small shrine for Lord Ganesha too. On the foot of the hill, there is an Ashram for goddess too. The mountain has around 95 steps leading to the temple, and after mounting to the hill top, one can get the full visuals of Thiruvananthapuram city. That’s the peculiarity of visiting this Krishna temple. The temple is located on Kattakada-Neyyar Dam road, 6 kms away from Thampanur. Bus facility is available from city frequently. Have a look at the gallery of pictures here.
Thirumala and its surrounding places are known for several rock structures. The massive stone hill where Parakovil is located is indeed famous and attractive. The huge monolith was extracted in the year 1731 for the construction of Ottakkalmandapam during the reign of Marthanda Varma. The work was carried forward by Dharmaraja. As per records written in 1768 the work was done by Ezhava laborers who completed 28 Mantra Moorthi Pillars. Traces of their crafts work is still found in Thirumala.
The big single rock, for which the temple is famous for, is also called Mani Para. Folklore tales say that it’s a stone that Bhima got while having his dish, and that the temple is built by him. There is a popular belief that there is a treasure hidden inside the rock, and that the treasure includes gold and diamonds. If you knock the rock with a stone, and place your ears on the rock, you can hear the voice of a bell. Bell in Malayalam means ‘Mani’ and stone, ‘paara’. That’s how the rock got the name Mani Paara.