Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur, Kerala
Legend and heritage are in the wind of Kerala. Located in the town of Thrissur is the ancient temple of Lord Shiva, Vadakkunnathan Temple. The temple is very peaceful and you could feel much blessed in the calm and quite temple complex. In 2012, twelve places from Kerala have been selected by the Archeological Survey of India to include in the world heritage site of UNESCO. The temple stands on a hillock amidst the city of Thrissur in the state of Kerala. A large stone wall encircles the temple complex.
The structure of the temple is that of the classic style of the state. There are four towers on its four corners along with a sacred stage for performing rituals and art forms. The inner walls of the temple are depicted with mural paintings dictating episodes of the great epic, Mahabharata. The shrines and vignettes are crafted out of wood. Every year on the day of Pooram (when the moon is seen with the pooram star), the Thrissur Pooram festival is celebrated in Thekkinkadu Maidan.
Legend Behind on Vadakkunnathan Temple
We can feel the vibration of the temple in a more beautiful way if we know the history of the place we are going. As mentioned in the Brahmanda Purana and many other places, it is said that the temple was discovered by Parashuram. He is believed to be the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu according to Hindu mythology. He was born on earth to bring an end to the evil Kshatriya worriers. After exterminating the Kshatriyas he felt himself down, so to purify himself and balance his deeds he performed ‘yogya’ meaning performing puja in the presence of Agni or fire which also includes offerings to Brahmins. In the offer, he gave away all his land and decided to retire to some unknown place. Accordingly, he got a blessing of a piece of land rising up through the sea. This piece of land is now called Kerala. Parashuram requested Lord Shiva in Kailash to once appear on the land raised above. Shiva with his family stopped in Thrissur and then disappeared leaving behind Shiva lingam under a banyan tree. This place is known as Sri Moola Sthana where the divine Shiva lingam was worshipped. Later the ruler of Kochi decided to shift the lingam to a better place and thereby built a temple. This is the history believed to be involved with the temple.
The visiting hour starts from 4 early in the morning till 11 am and then again from 4:30 to 8:20 in the evening. It is to be noted that non-Hindus are not given permission to enter the temple. Poojas and rituals are performed daily in fixed timing of the day. There are various orders according to which the devotees pray in the sanctums of the temple. Lord Vadakkunnathan is not taken out for any possessions. During festivals, the main festival Mahashivratri is celebrated with many cultural programs. Millions of lamps are lit at this festival. Aanayotta, the feeding of elephants is a festival dedicated to Lord Ganesha and Thrissur Pooram is another popular festival of this temple.
Deities of the temple
The main deity of the temple is the Shiva lingam mounted and covered with ghee that took shape of 16 feet high mound. Decorated with gold and there serpents at the top, it is the only lingam that cannot be seen. It has been compared to the snow-covered mount Kailash parvat. The ghee that has not been cleaned for years has accumulated and taken this shape. But to my surprise, there is no foul smell and it never melts in summer. Other deities of the temple sanctum are Krishna, Nandi, Ganesh, Rama, Vishnu, and any other forms of the one and only Lord.
Reaching Vadakkunnathan Temple
The Vadakkunnathan Temple is situated 2 km away from the main city of Thrissur. Thrissur railway station is located nearby. Trains from major cities such as Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, etc are directly connected with Thrissur. There are many budget and comfortable hotels to stay in Thrissur. Highway Palace Inn, Grace Guest House, Gurukripa Heritage, and Central Hotel are some of the places to stop by.
The history of the Vadakkunnathan Temple dates back to several centuries and is steeped in mythology and legends. According to Hindu beliefs, the temple was built by the legendary saint and Hindu warrior, Parasurama, who is considered to be the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu. According to legend, Parasurama is said to have created the state of Kerala by reclaiming land from the Arabian Sea and built the temple to Lord Shiva as a symbol of his devotion.
Over the centuries, the temple has been expanded and renovated several times, and has been an important center of Hindu worship and culture in Kerala. The temple was also a major center of the Bhakti movement, which was a revival of devotional Hinduism that spread across India in the late medieval period.
The temple has also played a significant role in the political and cultural history of Kerala. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the temple served as a center of resistance against British colonial rule and was a symbol of Hindu nationalism. Today, the Vadakkunnathan Temple is considered one of the most important cultural and spiritual landmarks of Kerala, and attracts a large number of tourists and devotees from all over the world.
Festivals at the temple
The Vadakkunnathan Temple is known for several important festivals and rituals that are celebrated throughout the year. Some of the major festivals and rituals at the temple are:
- Thrissur Pooram: This is the most famous and biggest festival at the temple, celebrated annually in the Malayalam month of Medam (April-May). The festival features a grand procession of beautifully decorated elephants, accompanied by traditional music and fireworks, and is attended by thousands of people from all over Kerala.
- Shivaratri: This is a Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Shiva and is celebrated in the Hindu month of Phalguna (February-March). On this day, devotees perform puja (worship) and offer milk and flowers to the deity.
- Navaratri: This is a nine-day festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu goddess Durga, and is celebrated in the Hindu month of Ashwin (September-October). During this festival, the temple is decorated with lights and flowers, and devotees perform puja and offer prayers.
- Aarthi: This is a daily ritual performed in the temple, where a lamp is lit and offered to the deity, accompanied by devotional songs and music.
These festivals and rituals are an important part of the cultural and spiritual heritage of Kerala, and are a testament to the rich tradition and history of the Vadakkunnathan Temple.
Here is some essential information about the Vadakkunnathan Temple:
Location: The temple is located in the city of Thrissur, Kerala, India.
Timings: The temple is open from 4:00 AM to 11:00 AM, and from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
How to reach: The temple is well-connected by road and rail, and is about 58 km from Kochi International Airport. Thrissur railway station is the nearest railway station, located about 2 km from the temple.
Dress code: Visitors are expected to dress modestly and follow the traditional dress code for visiting Hindu temples, which usually involves covering the head and wearing traditional Indian attire, such as a saree or dhoti for men and salwar kameez or saree for women.
Facilities: The temple has several facilities for visitors, including toilets, drinking water, and parking.
Guided tours: Guided tours of the temple and its surroundings are available for visitors who are interested in learning more about the temple’s history, architecture, and cultural significance.
Note: Visitors are requested to remove their shoes before entering the temple premises, and to follow all temple rules and regulations, including those regarding photography, smoking, and the use of mobile phones.
Things to do, Write details
There are several things to do and see when visiting the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur, Kerala, India. Here are some of the top activities and attractions to experience:
Explore the temple complex:
The Vadakkunnathan Temple is known for its beautiful and intricate architecture, with its massive walls, gopurams (towers), and central pond, called “Sarovaram”. Visitors can take a tour of the temple complex and admire its intricate carvings, sculptures, and paintings, which are a testament to the rich cultural and artistic heritage of Kerala.
Attend a puja (worship) ceremony:
Visitors can witness the daily puja (worship) ceremonies performed in the temple, which involve offering prayers and lighting lamps in the presence of the deity. These ceremonies are accompanied by devotional music and chanting, and provide a unique insight into Hindu religious practices.
Visit the museum:
The temple has a museum, which displays a collection of antique idols, weapons, paintings, and manuscripts that are of historical and cultural significance. Visitors can learn about the temple’s rich history and cultural heritage through these exhibits.
Enjoy the festivals:
The Vadakkunnathan Temple is known for its several important festivals, such as Thrissur Pooram, Shivaratri, and Navaratri, which are celebrated with great pomp and show. Visitors can experience the vibrant and colorful festivities and witness the traditional rituals, music, and dance performances.
Take a walk around the temple pond:
The central pond, called “Sarovaram”, is an important part of the temple complex and is considered sacred by devotees. Visitors can take a leisurely walk around the pond and enjoy its peaceful and serene surroundings.
Visit nearby attractions:
Thrissur is a city with a rich cultural and historical heritage, and there are several other interesting places to visit in the area, such as the Sakthan Thampuran Palace, the Our Lady of Lourdes Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Thrissur Zoo. Visitors can explore these attractions to gain a deeper understanding of the city’s rich cultural heritage.
These activities provide a unique and immersive experience of the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of Kerala and are a must-do for anyone visiting the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur, Kerala, India:
What is the Vadakkunnathan Temple famous for?
The Vadakkunnathan Temple is famous for its beautiful and intricate architecture, its rich cultural and spiritual heritage, and its several important festivals and rituals, such as Thrissur Pooram, Shivaratri, and Navaratri.
What is the history of the Vadakkunnathan Temple?
The Vadakkunnathan Temple is one of the oldest and most important Hindu temples in Kerala, and is believed to have been built in the 10th century AD by the ruler Rajasekhara Varman. The temple has a rich history and has been the site of several important cultural and religious events over the centuries.
What is the dress code for visiting the Vadakkunnathan Temple?
Visitors are expected to dress modestly and follow the traditional dress code for visiting Hindu temples, which usually involves covering the head and wearing traditional Indian attire, such as a saree or dhoti for men and salwar kameez or saree for women.
Are there any restrictions for visiting the Vadakkunnathan Temple?
Visitors are requested to remove their shoes before entering the temple premises, and to follow all temple rules and regulations, including those regarding photography, smoking, and the use of mobile phones.
Is there a guided tour available for visiting the Vadakkunnathan Temple?
Yes, guided tours of the temple and its surroundings are available for visitors who are interested in learning more about the temple’s history, architecture, and cultural significance.
What are the timings for visiting the Vadakkunnathan Temple?
The temple is open from 4:00 AM to 11:00 AM, and from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
How can one reach the Vadakkunnathan Temple?
The temple is well-connected by road and rail, and is about 58 km from Kochi International Airport. Thrissur railway station is the nearest railway station, located about 2 km from the temple.