Vaikom Mahadeva Temple- the oldest pilgrimage in South India
The Vaikom temple is located in Kumarakom in Kerala and is famous for its architectural brilliance and religious importance. Vaikom became popular when Satyagraha was held during the freedom movement in India. The place attracts lots of visitors on the occasion of Vaikom Asthami which is celebrated in the month of November every year. The Malayalam calendar determines the actual date of the festival. It is one of the most significant temples in the city with a huge arch of land that extends its courtyard. This famous temple of Lord Shiva attracts a huge number of devotees from different parts of the country. The Shiva of Vaikom Mahadeva temple is known to all as ‘Vaikkathappan’. This Shiv linga is considered the oldest one in the state that has been worshipped since the very ancient period.
How to reach the temple
If you are planning to arrive here by air then Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport from the spot. And if the railway is your selection then the nearest railway station is Vaikom road Railway station and Kottayam is also nearby at a distance of 25 km. You can also reach the temple by roadways. The location is at a distance of 33 km s from Ernakulam. Bus service is available on a regular basis from Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, and Ernakulam. The Vaikom bus stoppage stands on the highway of Ettumanoor to Ernakulam.
Best Hotels to stay nearby
Coconut lagoon, Shri Kailash tourist home, Whitegate Residency, Kottaram, and Aveda Kumarakom are some of the best hotels located very close to the Vaikom temple. They provide a comfortable stay that sets within your budget with all the basic amenities.
Traditional significance of the temple
- The State of Kerala houses three best Shiva temples, one is the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple, the other two are Ettumanoor Shiva Temple, and Kaduthuruthy Thaliyil Shiva Temple.
- The native people believe that if one worships all these three shrines then the Lord fulfills their wishes.
- A golden-colored flag is stuffed at the temple. There is a stone structure near Balikalulpura which images Lord Ganesha.
- On the eastern side of the temple, there is a pond that gives feelings equal to bathing in the Ganges. The pond has great historical significance and is known as Arathihara Teertha.
The Myth of the Vaikom Mahadeva temple
- There is a myth of the temple that states, once saint Vyaghrapada meditated chanting Lord Shiva’s name and was pleased with the saint the Lord and Goddess Parvati appeared before him on the day of Kishna Astami. That is why this day is celebrated as one of the greatest festivals of the temple.
- There is another myth that comes to hear there was a demon named Kharasura who made lord Shiva happy by worshipping him and thereby got three shiv lingas as a boon. On his way to South India, he got tired and kept the lingas on the ground. After a while when he tried to lift it up, he became unsuccessful. And then the sky said that the lingas would help everybody attain liberation. So after attaining mokshya , Kharasura asked saint Vyaghrapada to take responsibility for it. Thereby the above myth followed after that and the three lingas were placed in the three temples as mentioned above.
- Lord Shiva in Vaikom takes three forms at three times of the day and blesses all the devotees with whatever they want, this is the third myth.
- The north side of the temple houses a well that is believed to wash away the sins of suffering people. One of the ancient saints Parasurama came to this temple to worship the Lord and uttered hymns to make him happy. He was moved by the sufferings of common people and requested Lord Shiva to create a holy place that will help people attain sin-free life and thus the well was created as a boon from the Lord.
Other Places of interest in Vaikom Mahadeva temple
Other than this Vaikom Mahadeva temple there are other places of interest in Vaikom.
1. Main Sanctum Sanctorum:
The main sanctum sanctorum of the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is the most important and revered part of the temple complex. It houses the idol of Lord Shiva, which is worshipped by devotees from all over the world. The sanctum is designed in a traditional Hindu architectural style and is surrounded by intricate carvings and sculptures that depict various Hindu legends and myths.
The Koothambalam is a performance hall within the temple complex that is used for traditional Hindu art forms such as Kathakali and Koodiyattam. The hall is known for its intricate wood carvings and stunning architectural design, making it a popular attraction for tourists and art lovers alike.
The Sreekovil is a small shrine located within the temple complex that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is a peaceful and serene place where devotees come to offer prayers and seek blessings from the deity. The Sreekovil is also known for its intricate carvings and stunning architecture, which make it a popular destination for tourists.
The Nalambalam is a four-pillared hall that is used for offerings and prayers by devotees. The hall is known for its beautiful carvings and stunning architectural design, which make it a popular destination for tourists and history buffs alike.
The Chuttambalam is the outer circumambulatory path surrounding the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. It is a peaceful and serene place where devotees come to offer prayers and seek blessings from Lord Shiva. The Chuttambalam is also known for its beautiful carvings and stunning architecture, which make it a popular destination for tourists.
The Ashtamangalyam is a temple pond located within the temple complex that is used for sacred baths and rituals. It is a peaceful and serene place where devotees come to purify their bodies and minds and seek blessings from Lord Shiva. The Ashtamangalyam is also a popular destination for tourists due to its stunning architecture and beautiful surroundings.
Temple Puja Timing
The Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is usually open to visitors every day from early morning until late evening. The exact timing may vary depending on the Hindu festival or season, but a typical schedule is as follows:
- Morning Pooja (prayers): 5:00 AM – 7:00 AM
- Temple opening time: 7:00 AM
- Evening Pooja: 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
- Temple closing time: 8:00 PM
It’s always best to check with the temple authorities for the most up-to-date timing information, as the schedule may change due to festivals or special events. The temple is also closed for a few days during certain Hindu festivals, so it’s best to plan your visit accordingly.