Cheras were noted for their devotion. Imaiyavarampan, one of the earliest kings who
reigned for fifty-eight years, filled the land with temples and shrines. His younger
brother Palyanai who succeeded him worshipped the Vedic gods. The most celebrated among
the Chera Kings was Senkuttuvan who prayed to Siva and Vishnu and above all deified
Kannaki as Kodungallur Amma or the guardian mother of Kodungallur and of the empire of
which it was the capital.
Many of these ancient
shrines are in ruins today, thanks to the depredations of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. But
the Bhagawati temple continues to remain the most permanent memorial to Senkuttuvan's
55-year reign. His elder brother, llango Adikal, in the celebrated Tamil epic, describes
the consecration of the temple, Silappadikaram composed by him.