Thiruvanchikulam Temple, Thrissur, kerala

Date built: 9th century
Deity:
Architectural style:
Major festivals
Locale: Thrissur district, Kerala, India
District:: Thrissur
Address: Kodungallur- Ernakulam Highway, Kottappuram, Kodungallur, Thrissur, Kerala 680664
Phone  04802812061

Thiruvanchikulam Siva Temple (medieval Thiruvanchaikkalam Temple) is a Hindu temple situated in Kodungallur in Thrissur district in the South Indian state of Kerala in India. Constructed in the Kerala style of architecture, the temple is believed to have been built during the Chera period in the 8th century. Shiva is worshipped as Mahadeva and his consort Parvathi as Umadevi.

The presiding deity is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the Nayanmars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam, one of the 276 temples that find mention in the canon.It is the only temple in Kerala in the list. As per Periyapuranam, Sundara Murthi Nayanar,one of the four great saints in Tamil Shivism ascented to heaven from this place. The temple is open from 4 am – 12 pm and 4-8:30 pm on all days except during festival days when it is open the full day. Four daily rituals and three yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the ten-day Vaikasipournami Brahmotsavam festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May – June) being the most prominent. The temple is maintained and administered by the Thiruvanchikulam Devaswom under the Cochin Devaswom Board.

Architecture

The temple is built in Kerala style of architecture with entrance towers in all four sides. The sanctum occupies the centre portion of the temple, which is fortified. The sanctum is approached through a flagstaff, which is axial to the entrance tower and the sanctum. The flagstaff has images of Asthavidyesavara. The presiding deity is in the form of lingam. The image of Narasimha is sculpted on the vimana. The images of Sundarar and Ceramanperuman are maintained at Bhagavathi temple and brought to the temple during Svati festival during July – August. There are two temple tanks in the temple, located in the second precinct.

Legend / Local stories

Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple boasts of a history of more than 2000 years. The temple, located in Kottappuram, is remarkable for its number of representations of Lord Shiva. There is a Namaskara Mandapam, with 16 pillars in front of the Sreekovil  is one of the major attractions of this temple. The Utsavam (annual festival) is held in the Malayalam month of Kumbham (Feb-Mar), during which the festival of Shivratri is celebrated in a grand manner. Aanayottam (Elephant race) is conducted as part of the festival attracts lot of devotees to the temple. Devotees attend the Palliyara pujas, held just before the temple closes in the evening, on full moon nights, to pray for happy married life and to be blessed with children. The western entrance of the temple is on the Kodungallur- Ernakulam highway. The temple is located about 6 km from Kodungallur.This is the only Thevaram Paadal Petra Shiva sthalam in Kerala. Shiva is the family god of the Cochin Royal Family (Perumpadapu Swaroopam after they came to power following the decline of Chera Empire). The temple has very good mural paintings and is a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India. The temple has the oldest reference in history in Thevaram Hymns sung by Sundara Murthi Nayanar (also known as Sundarar in Tamil), one of the four Saiva Acharyas. The images of Sundara Murthi Nayanar, and of Cheraman Perumal Nayanar can also be seen in the temple premises. It is one of the oldest Shiva temples in South India, where Shiva is said to live along with his whole family.It was from here, Sundara Murthi Nayanar reached Kailash by sitting on an white elephant,sent by Lord Shiva on Adi Swathi day (July/August). He was followed on horse back by Seraman Perumal Nayanar. On his way to Kailash, Sundara Murthi Nayanar sang a Padhigam which was sent back to Thiruvanchikulam on his request. The temple is associated with Chidambaramtemple in Tamil Nadu.

The capital city of the Kulasekharas, Mahodayapuram, was built around the temple; it was protected by high fortifications on all sides and had extensive pathways and palaces. This temple was attacked and damaged during Tipu Sultan’s invasion of Kerala; the copper roofing and gold and jewels were looted. Tipu’s Muslim soldiers fled the temple complex only after the arrival of the Travancore Army of Dalawa Keshavadas Pillai. The temple was rebuilt by Paliath Achan of Kochi/Perumpadappu Swaroopam.

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