Vadakkumnathan Shiva Temple

Vadakkumnathan Shiva Temple is one of the famous temple of Kerala and Thrissur . It is also coined as Tenkailasam and Vrshabhacalam . It is an ancient temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva . Vadakkumnathan Temple is situated in the heart of Thrissur town in Kerala. Temple Architecture depicts the great art and architecture style of Kerala at ancient times. The statue of Shiva is in the form of a huge lingam and is not visible covered under a mound of ghee. It is said that the ghee offered here for centuries does not have any foul odor and it does not melt even during summer. Beautiful mural paintings are there on the outer walls of the shrines.Scenes from the Mahabharata epic and the Tandava poses of Shiva, depicted in typical Kathakali style, are worth seeing.

The temple, along with the mural paintings, has been declared as a National Monument by India under Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act.

Legends and Myths

History of Vadakkumnathan Temple dates back to over 1,000 years with the birth of the great Kerala scholar, Guru Adi Shankaracharya. Shankara was born to the Shivaguru – Aryamba couple of Kalady, in answer to their prayers to God Vadakkunnathan. According to legends, Lord Shiva appeared to both husband and wife in their dream. He offered them a choice that they could have either an ordinary son who would live a long life or an extraordinary son who would die early. The couple chose the second option. They named the son Adi Shankara, in honour of Shiva. It is said that Adi Shankara attained Videha Mukti (Freedom from embodiment) in Vadakkunnathan temple.

Temple Architecture

Vadakkumnathan Shiva Temple have an excellent architecture style of Kerala . Temple is located in a Hillock surrounded by a massive stone wall enclosing an area of nearly 9 acres .There are four gopurams facing north, south, east and west directions inside this fortification. The four magnificent gateways called gopurams and the lofty masonry wall around the temple quadrangle are also imposing pieces of craftsmanship and skill. There is a multi-shrine complex called as Nalambalam or Chuttamabalam in the centre, with three main shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva as Vadakkunnathan, Shankaranarayana or Hari-Hara (a combined form of Shiva and Vishu) and Lord Rama.

There is a theatre hall called “Koothambalam” at the left of the entrance with beautiful structure and sloping roof of copper plates.The theatre is used for ancient ritualistic art forms of Kerala .

There is an old museum here in the temple that consists of ancient wall paintings, wood carvings and art pieces of ancient times .

Festival and Rituals

Maha Shivratri is the main festival celebrated here in the temple .Cultural and musical programmes are held in the temple premises. Devotees from all around come here on this grans celebration .

Another festival is Thrissur Pooram , one of the most colorful and dynamic festival of Kerala . Celebrated every year in the month of Medam (mid-April to mid-may), Trichur Pooram is called ‘the pooram of all poorams’ (festivals).The celebrations last for over 36 hours and also include parasol displays and firework shows.

Aanayoottu Festival is also celebrated here which is the feeding of elephants here , one of the biggest festival of Thrissur .It involves a number of unadorned elephants being positioned amid a multitude of people for being worshipped and fed. Devtoees from all over come to feed the elephants here.

Temple Timings

  • Vadakkumnathan Shiva Temple opens for darshan from 03:00 AM to 8.30 PM daily.
  • The morning darshan timings are from 3.00 AM to 10:30 AM.
  • The evening pooja timings are from 04:00 PM to 8.30 PM. The ‘Trippuka’ ritual is the last rite for the day.

How To reach Vadakkumnathan Shiva Temple

Temple is around 290 km from Trivandrum, the state capital. Vadakkunnatha Temple is 58 km from Ernakulam.

By Railways Thrissur Railway Station is the nearest railways station to the temple . Thrissur is well connected by trains to all major stations in India.

By Airways Nedumbassery International Airport at Kochi about 55 km from here .Cochin Airport is connected to all the major cities of India and have regular flights from here.

By Road – There are 3 main bus stations in Thrissur – the Central Bus Station, Sakthan Thampuran Bus Station and North Bus Station. Thrissur Central Bus Station is operated by Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). Buses services to Palakkad, Malappuram , Kozhikode, Kannur, and Kasargod are available here . Chennai, Salem, Coimbatore and Bangalore buses are also available from Thrissur bus station.

Vadakkumnathan Shiva Temple

By- Adarsh Padmanabhan(Flickr)

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