A divine monkey kingdom
Unsuspecting devotees to the Sasthamcotta temple near Kollam, Kerala, would be surprised to find themselves landed in a ‘monkey kingdom’. The mild mannered primates, whom the devotees revere as the divine retinue of the lord, are locally known as ‘ambalakuranganmar’ or temple monkeys in the local parlance.
The playful hosts are often feted by the visitors. Nearby is a market and another tribe of monkeys known as ‘chanda kuranganmar’ or market monkeys. They are a rowdy lot snatching things from market sellers and buyers and fighting amongst themselves.
The Sasthamcotta temple is one among the five ancient temples dedicated to Lord Sree Dharma Sastha. The other temples are at Achankovil, Aryankavu, Kulathupuzha and the famous Sabarimala temple.