Vadakkunnathan Temple is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Kerala, located in the heart of Thrissur city. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that the Vadakkunnathan Templewas built by Parashurama. The temple showcases the classic architectural style of Kerala. The interior of the temple is beautifully decorated with murals depicting the episodes from Mahabharata.
This Indian temple is famous for the rarity of the temple murals, of which the Vasuki sayana and Nrithanatha murals are of great importance and are worshipped daily. The temple also houses a museum of ancient wall paintings, wood carvings and art pieces of ancient times. A study done by Archaeological Survey of India on two paintings in the temple has revealed that it is 350 years old. These two rare paintings were a reclining Shiva and a Nataraja with 20 arms. The main feature of the temple is a Koothambalam, stage with hall for performing Koothu, an antique dramatic form of art which is popular in Kerala. Koothambalam can be seen on the left side as you enter the temple via the western entrance gopuram.
The statue of Shiva is in the form of a huge Linga and is not visible. It is covered under a mound of ghee, formed by the daily abhishekam with ghee over the years. A devotee looking into the sanctum, can now see only a 16-feet-high (4.9 m) mound of ghee, embellished with thirteen cascading crescents of gold and three serpent hoods at the top. According to traditional beliefs, this represents the snow-clad Mount Kailash, the abode of Parvathi and Shiva. This is the only temple in India where the Linga is not visible. It is said that the ghee offered here for centuries does not have any foul odour and it does not melt even during summer.
In the outer temple there are shrines for Shri Krishna, Shri Nandikeswara, Shri Parasurama, Shri Simhodara, Shri Ayyappan, Shri Vettekkaran (Lord Shiva as a hunter) and Shri Adi Shankara. In the northern side, there is a circular structure with Shiva facing west. The figure of Parvathi faces east and is just behind Shiva in the same shrine. These non-facing installations denote Ardhanarishvara concept. Between these two Shrikovils stands a third one, circular and double-storied in shape, which is dedicated to Sankaranarayana, the combined form of Shiva and Vishnu, facing west. There are “mukhamandapams” in front of all the three central shrines. The Ganesha shrine is positioned facing the temple kitchen and offering of appam(a prasad make of rice flour , jaggery and ghee) to Ganesha is one of the most important offerings at the temple. Worshipping Ganesha here is believed to be a path to prosperity and wealth.
One of the most colourful temple festivals of Kerala, Thrissur Pooram is conducted in the temple premises, but the temple is not a participant in this festival. There is no special pooja or special offering during the pooram day. The main attraction of the Pooram is the Elanjitharamelam, a two hour Chendavadyam (with five instruments ), which is held near Koothambalam in the temple, by the top most artists from the state.
This is the primary Shiva temple made by Lord Parasurama. Shiva here is all the more prevalently known as Vadakkunnathan. Vadakkunnatha Temple is arranged at the heart of Thrissur city. The name Thrissur is gotten from ‘Thiru-Shiva-Peroor’, which actually means “The city of the hallowed Shiva”. Thrissur was otherwise called Vrishabhadripuram, Vrishachala and Thenkailasam or Dakshina Kailasam(Kailasa of the south) in old days.
Vadakkunnathan temple is encompassed by a monstrous stone divider encasing a territory of about 8-9 sections of land. Inside this fortress there are four gopurams demonstrating the four headings – North, South, East and West. Aside from these four gopurams there is a multi-shrined complex in the inside with three chief places of worship devoted to Shiva or Vadakkunnathan, Shankaranarayana and Rama. Master Vettekkaran (Shiva in a seeker shape) is likewise adored inside the nalambalam nook.
In the northern side there is a round structure with the god confronting west. The figure of Shiva-Parvati confronts east and is simply behind Shiva,in a similar hallowed place. The two-storied place of worship of Sri Rama confronting west is situated in the south. Between these two srikovils stand a third one, round and twofold storied fit as a fiddle, devoted to Sankaranarayana and confronting west. There are mukhamandapams before all the three focal places of worship.
The symbol of Shiva, which is not unmistakable, is secured under a mount of ghee, shaped by the day by day abhisheka (bathing) with ghee throughout the years. After abhisheka a part of the ghee is come back to the fans and they take it home as the ghee has supernatural forces to cure all illnesses. An aficionado taking a gander at the sanctum now observes a thirteen-foot high mount of ghee decorated with thirteen falling sickles of gold and three serpent hoods at top. As indicated by conventional conviction, this speaks to the snow-clad Mount Kailas, the dwelling place Parvathy and Parameswara.
Outside the nalambalam, there are hallowed places for Lord Krishna, Vrishabha, Parasurama, Simhodara, Dharmasastha and Adi Sankaracharya. Adi Sankara is accepted to have been destined to the Shivaguru-Aryamba couple of Kalady in reply to their petitions before Vadakkunnathan, as amsavatara(incarnation) of the Lord. Legend has it that Shiva appeared to both a couple in their fantasies, and offered them a decision: a fair child who might carry on with a long life, or a remarkable child who might not live long. Both Shivaguru and Aryamba picked the last mentioned. The child was named Shankara, out of appreciation for Shiva.
For the situation of physical structures, as well as in the matter of customs, poojas and even in the request of development of an admirer from sanctum to sanctum, the temple keeps up its very own uniqueness. It is trusted that you need to take after a specific request when moving between the sanctuaries. It is prudent to approach some individual inside this temple for this. The temple opens at three in the morning and closes around 10-30 after the morning customs. For the night revere it opens at four and shuts down at 8.30 around evening time after trippuka, the last ceremony for the day.
The wall paintings in the temple are known for its irregularity and two of them – Vasukisayana and Nrithanatha – are even loved frequently. A genuinely vast white bullock on the verandah of the Nalambalam is venerated as Nandikeswara. In the temple quadrangle, there are determined spots at which the fans can offer their greetings to Lord Shiva of Kasi and Lord Chidambaranatha of Chidambaram, Lord of Shiva of Rameswara, Sree Kali of Kodungallur, Urakam Ammathiruvadi, Lord Bharatha (Koodalmanickam) at Irinjalakuda, Sree Vyasa, Sree Hanuman and serpent divine beings.
The temple theater, known as koothambalam, has no parallel to refer to anyplace else on the planet. The four heavenly entryways called gopurams and the elevated workmanship divider around the temple quadrangle are likewise forcing bits of craftsmanship and expertise.
Master Ganesh in the temple is situated confronting the temple kitchen and offering of Appam (sweetened rice cake browned in ghee) to Mahaganapathy is a standout amongst the most vital offerings at Vadakkunnathan temple. Appeasing Ganapathy here is accepted to be a way to thriving and riches. The aficionados adore elephants as Lord Ganesh incarnate. It has been the standard yearly practice at the Vadakkunnathan Temple throughout the previous 20 years to lead a substantial scale Ashta Dravya Maha Ganapathy Havana and Aanayoottu (stately nourishing of elephants) on the first day of karkkidakom month according to the malayalam date-book. Gajapooja additionally is directed once in four years.
Vadakkunnathan temple is one of the most seasoned in South India as indicated by the archeologists. Vadakkkunnathan Temple is one of the biggest sanctuaries in Kerala that is committed to Lord Shiva. This temple is an exemplary case of the Kerala style of design with lovely wall paintings of the seventeenth century portraying graphically the narrative of Mahabharata. The holy places and the Koothambalam show impeccable vignettes cut in wood. It is said that Tipu Sultan stayed outdoors close to this temple amid his assault on northern Kerala. Be that as it may, this reality is debated by various history specialists.
There is no yearly celebration for Vadakkunnatha. The imperative service of this temple is Shivarathri and the icon of Vadakkumnatha is not taken out for parade. On the Thrikkarthika day in Vrischikam(November-December) morning poojas for Vadakkunnatha are directed at the Southern compound wall.It is trusted that on this day Lord Vadakkunnatha will sit on the compound divider looking Southwards to see his wife’s(Kumaranalloor Kathyayani Devi) return parade after the Thrikkarthika shower in Meenachil waterway. Vilwamangalam Swamiyar once went by this temple in the morning on Thrikkarthika day. He understood the nonappearance of Vadakkunnatha inside the Sreekovil. So he went around and found the Lord on the compound divider. It was Vilwamangalam who began the pooja on Southern compound divider on Thrikkarthika day.
The sprawling Thekkinkadu maidan, en circumnavigating the Vadakumnathan temple(Thrissur Swaraj Round), is the fundamental setting of the Thrissur Pooram in Medam(April-May). Vadakkunnathan is a negligible observer at this celebration, loaning its premises and reason for the considerable occasion. The pooram is commended by chiefly other two temples and Vadakkunnathan is not participating in the celebration or in the parade. Thrissur Pooram is the most beautiful temple celebration of Kerala and it pulls in extensive masses of enthusiasts and onlookers from all parts of the state and even outside. It comprises of parades of luxuriously caparisoned elephants from different neighboring sanctuaries to the Vadakumnathan temple. The most great parades are those from the Krishna Temple at Thiruvambadi and the Devi Temple at Paramekkavu which is a significant critical occasion for its enthusiasts.
The Pooram Festival is praised by two opponent gatherings speaking to the two divisions of Thrissur Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi competing with each other in making the show of firecrackers more stupendous and more vivid. Every gathering is permitted to show a greatest of fifteen elephants and all endeavors are made by every gathering to secure the best elephants in South India and the most imaginative parasols, a few sorts of which are raised on the elephants amid the show. Beginning in the early hours of the morning, the festivals last till the break of first light, the following day.
The parade of the Thiruvambadi Pooram to the grounds of Vadakkunnathan Temple and back is vital, as well as entirely animating. The great and in addition otherworldly impact of the Panchavadyam, a mix of five percussion and wind instruments is to be felt and delighted in. Among the assortments of celebrations celebrated in Kerala, Thrissur Pooram is the most booming, fabulous and stunning. The primary fascination of the pooram is the Elanjitharamelam, a two hours Chendavadyam ( with five instruments ) close koothambalam, by the top most craftsmen in the state. The fifty and odd caparisoned elephants accumulate outside South gopuram vis-à-vis, known as “Koodikazhcha” with the backup of Panchavadyam. At that point the Kudamattom ( Changing of parasols ) is performed. The fancy smooth parasols spread out, of a few sorts and hues changed intensely. It is a statement of prominent interest for sound and shading, and in view of the display, it speaks to all individuals. The pictures of the divinities from all sanctuaries of the town are gone up against elephants to the principle temple. The peak of the celebration is the display of thirty elephants and the well known firecrackers at 2.30 am nearby time.
The two century old festival of spectacular procession of caparisoned elephants and enthralling percussion performances in a never ending succession is an 36 hours marathon event of incredible beauty, a feast for the eye and the ear, unfolding between 6 a.m. to noon the other day. Different from the usual temple festival, Thrissur Pooram is participated and conducted by people across all barriers of religion and caste.
Before the advent of Thrissur Pooram, the largest temple festival during summer in central Kerala was the one-day festival held at Arattupuzha, 12 km south of the town. Temples in and around Thrissur were regular participants of this religious exercise until they were once denied entry by the responsible chief of the Peruvanam area of Cherpu, known for its Namboodiri supremacy. As an act of reprisal and also in a bid to assuage their wounded feelings, Raja Rama Varma (1751-1805), also known as Sakthan Thampuran the ruler of the Cochin state invited all these temples to bring their deities to Thrissur where they could pay obeiance to Lord Vadakunnathan. Further he directed the main temples of Thrissur, Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu, to extend all help and support to these temples. It is this historical background that determines the course of the Pooram program and it is specifically the ruler’s antipathy to the Brahmin aristocracy to open Thrissur pooram for the common man.
Adhering to the medieval Peruvanam tradition, the festival is confined to the temples of Devi (goddess) and Sastha (divine combination of Shiva and Vishnu). Ten deities from the neighboring temples pay obeisance to the presiding deiety of Thrissur and only spectator of the Pooram events, Lord Siva at the Sree Vadakkunnathan temple.
Principle participants are Paramekkavu and Tiruvambadi. Also participating and known as ‘Cherupooram’ are the suburban temples at Kanimangalam, Karamukku, Choorakkattukara, Laloor, Ayyanthole, Neithilakkavu, Chembukkavu and Panamukkampilly altogether 8 deities.
Vadakkunnathan Temple Timings
Vadakkunnathan temple wins UNESCO award
India has won the top UNESCO prize ‘Award of Excellence’ 2015 for the remarkable conservation efforts of the majestic Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple in Kerala, the U.N. body
“The award recognises the remarkable conservation effort undertaken at the sacred site which employed age-old rituals and conservation techniques drawn from Vastu Sastra focussing on architecture and construction,” UNESCO said in a statement.
As such, the tangible attributes of the temple were inextricably linked with its intangible heritage which dates back generations, thus ensuring that “spirit of place” resonates throughout the site, the U.N. body said.
Other Attractions Near Vadakkunnathan Temple Thrissur, Kerala
Vazhani Dam Kerala, Thrisur, Thrissur (Dist), Kerala
Peechi Dam Peechi Kerala 680653, Thrisur, Thrissur (Dist), Kerala
Peechi Dam is a popular attraction in the vicinity of Thrissur city, situated at a distance of 20 km away. It is built across River Manali to serve the irrigation needs of Thrissur and surrounding areas. Facilities for Boating are available at Peechi Reservoir.
Bible Tower Our Lady of Dolours Basilica Church Cir Thrissur, Kerala, Thrisur, Thrissur (Dist), Kerala
Bible Tower is the bell tower of Puthen Palli or Basilica of Our Lady of Dolores of Thrissur, which is situated behind the church at a height of about 80 m. Bible Tower is the largest church tower in Asia and is decorated with wood and brass carvings, stained glasses, oil paintings, terra cotta paintings, canvas paintings and murals.
Vazhachal Waterfalls Athirapilly Rd Kerala, Thrisur, Thrissur (Dist), Kerala
Vazhachal Falls, famous for its waterfalls, is a popular picnic spot located at a distance of 60 km from Thrissur city and 5 km from Athirapilly Falls, nearby Sholayar ranges of Western Ghats. Vazhachal Falls, situated with a scenic backdrop of dense forests of Sholayar ranges, is a part of River Chalakkudy.
Charpa Waterfalls Athirapilly Rd Kerala, Thrisur, Thrissur (Dist), Kerala
Charpa Falls is a one of the scenic attractions of Thrissur. It is a part of River Chalakkudy and is situated in the midway between Athirappilly Falls and Vazhachal Falls.
Punnathurkotta Elephant temple
Punnathur Kotta Kottapadi Rd Kerala, Thrisur, Thrissur (Dist), Kerala
Punnathurkotta Elephant temple, located at a distance of about 23 km from Thrissur city and 2 km from Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple at Kottapadi, is home to about 66 elephants which belong to the Guruvayur temple. This temple, which was once the fort and the palace of Punnathur Raja, consists of shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and Bhagavathy. Known also as Elephant Fort or Anakotta, Punnathurkotta Elephant temple is regarded as the largest elephant temple in the world.
Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary
Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary Chimmini Dam Rd Kerala 680304, Thrisur, Thrissur (Dist), Kerala
The sanctuary is an important bird area with 192 recorded avian species. Five Western Ghats endemic bird species occur here, including the grey-headed bulbul (Pycnonotus priocephalus), Indian rufous babbler (Turdoides subrufus) and white-bellied blue-flycatcher (Cyornis pallipes). Other interesting species found here include-Ceylon frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger), Indian edible-nest swiftlet (Collocalia unicolor), Malabar trogon (Harpactes fasciatus), Malabar whistling-thrush (Myiophonus horsfieldii) and Loten’s sunbird (Nectarinia lotenia) (Islam and Rahmani 2004). A recent survey recorded the presence of the lesser fish eagle (Ichthyophaga humilis), which until recently was only known from the foothills of the Himalayas.
Chalakkudy River Puthenvelikara, Kerala, Thrisur, Thrissur (Dist), Kerala
Chalakudy River or Chalakudy Puzha is the fourth longest river in Kerala.
St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
Palayur Church Palayur Rd, Palayoor Chavakkad, Kerala 680506, Chavakkad, Thrissur (Dist), Kerala
St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Palayur is located at Palayur (also spelt Palayoor), in Thrissur district in Kerala on the west coast of India. According to tradition, it was established in 52 AD by St Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ.
Vilagan Hill Rd Thrissur, Kerala, Thrisur, Thrissur (Dist), Kerala
Vilangan Hills is a hillock located in Adat Panchayat, near Thrissur city of Kerala state in India. The hill gives a panoramic view of Thrissur city and Thrissur Kole Wetlands from the top. The hill was referred as a Oxygen Jar of Thrissur city.
How to Reach Vadakkunnathan Temple Thrissur, Kerala
Kerala is well networked with roads. Hence, traveling via road is the best option to explore the important temples of Kerala, including the Vadakkunnathan Temple. Public transport is readily available both to and from the temple. It is easy to rent a cab or another private vehicle to the temple.
The nearest airport to the temple is Nedumbassery International Airport at Kochi, which is 55 km away. Though cabs are easily available to and from the airport and from here you can easily catch a flight to any of the major cities of the world.
Thrissur Railway Station is the nearest railway station to the temple. From this railway station you can catch a train to any of the major cities of India.