The origin of the name “Ochira” is steeped in various beliefs and tales. Some suggest it may have derived from “Omkarachira,” while others propose “Oymanchira” as its source. Mythologically, the name is thought to come from “Uvachanchira,” where “Uvachan” refers to Lord Shiva. The primary deity of Ochira Temple is Param Brahmam, and the name of the location is significant to religious individuals based on this supreme entity. “Om,” symbolizing Parambrahmam, the god of all gods, is combined with “Chira,” denoting a part of the land. This fusion resulted in “Om Chira,” signifying the “land of Parambrahmam,” and over time, it evolved into “Ochira.”
Historically, the name’s origin is linked to a large reservoir at the center of a vast area known as Padanilam. Soldiers in ancient times used this reservoir, called “Chira,” for bathing and providing water to horses used in warfare. It’s conceivable that “Chira” was recognized in ancient times as “Onattuchira,” as the land belonged to the Kayamkulam Raja, also known as the Odanattu Raja or simply Onattu Rajah. Consequently, the phrase “Onattuchira” gradually morphed into the place name “Ochira.”
The Ochira Temple boasts attractions such as the 50-foot-high twin towers or “gopurams” adorned with ancient sculptures. Other significant areas of worship within the temple complex include West Nada, East Nada, Theerthakkulam (sacred pond), Ondikkavu, Mahalakshmi Temple, Ayyappa Temple, and Ganapathi temple. Bulls hold a sacred status in this temple, believed to be the vehicle of Parabrahmam, and offerings are made in the form of well-adorned bulls known as ‘Ochirakkaala’ or Sacred Bull. Devotees also have the option to donate calves as offerings.
The Ochira Temple hosts distinctive festivals, including:
Ochirakkali: A mock fight enacted by men dressed as warriors in the Padanilam. Martial performances are displayed in knee-deep water, symbolizing battles between various teams from different regions, wielding swords and shields and splashing water around.
Vrischikotsavam: Also known as ‘Panthrandu Villakku,’ this 12-day carnival occurs during the Malayalam calendar month of Vrichikam (1 to 12). Devotees, irrespective of their social status, participate in the festivities by residing in little huts called ‘Kudil’ within the Padanilam, creating a unique and unified community.