Vadakkumnathan Temple in Thrissur

This articles contains description of the charming and unique vadakkumnathan temple situated in trichur district of kerala.

Vadakkunathan temple is a Shiva temple which is located at the centre of the Trichur town in the state of Kerala. Trichur is basically a sea of temples and Vadukkunathan is one of the most famous among them. One can say that the glory or charm of Trichur is the Vadakkunathan temple. As mentioned before, the primary deity worshipped in this temple is Lord Shiva though the idols of many other Lords are also present here. The architecture of this temple is really mesmerizing. It stands majestically on an elevated small hill and the most unique feature of it is that it is situated at the heart of the town with a large ground around the temple where many people come daily to take a stroll or to just relax in the proximity of the temple. This ground is known as Thekkinkadu maidan. The famous temple festival called Thrissur pooram takes place in this area which surrounds the temple. Some other rituals that take place here are Gajapooja, Aanayoottu and Maha Shivrathri. Since it has such a vast area, there are many entrances (gopurams) to the temple, one facing each direction (North, South, East and West). The main entrance faces the West direction. The Vadakkunathan temple is also known by two other names namely Thenkailasam and Vrishabhachalam.

The temple also contains a Koothambalam (a theatre hall for staging Koothu (mythological story telling) and Koodiyaatam (dramatic dance) performances). Inside the temple there are many mural paintings depicting parts of the Mahabharata. The temple has been declared by the Union government as a National Monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. Hindu mythology says that the temple was built by Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the legendary hero who recovered Kerala from the sea. Apart from the four gopurams, there is a multi-shrine complex in the middle with three shrines devoted to Shiva as Vadakkunathan, Shankaranarayana and Rama. Outside the temple, there is a separate room where people are allowed to feed the poor and needy in the name of charity. It takes place only on few days in a week and on such days, there are endless queues outside the room. During the festival of Onam, there is an exhibition where clothes, shoes, bags and all sorts of stuff can be bought. This exhibition is also kept within the enclosed area outside the temple. On other days too, many stage performances and programs regarding the temple take place.

Non-Hindus are not allowed into this temple. Apart from Lord Shiva, some of the other idols placed inside the temple itself (called the naalambalam) are Sree Parvathy, Lord Ganesh, Lord Shankaranarayana, Sree Rama and Lord Vettekaran. Sree Parvathy is placed to the exact opposite direction of Lord Shiva. While Lord Shiva faces west, Sree Parvathy faces the east direction. Outside the temple, one can find the shrines of Lord Krishna, Lord Ayyappan, Lord Hanuman, Simhodaran, Vrishaban, Parasurama and Adi Shankaracharya. At the entrance of the naalambalam, there is a large bull representing the Nandikeswara (or Nandi) bull. Other than the shrines that have been mentioned here, there are few more Lords who are worshipped in this temple but their statues have not been placed anywhere. They are only represented by slabs. Only those people who have good knowledge about the temple will turn towards the particular direction and pray and other people will just pass by the slabs without knowing that they can pray even in that area.

Vadakkunathan temple is a very ancient one which ages back to about 1000 years. Another rare factor about this temple is that it is the only temple in which the statue of the Lord Shiva cannot be seen properly. This is because over the years, so much ghee has been put over the statue during the abhishekams (ablution) that the statue is no longer properly visible to the devotees who stand outside and pray. It is surprising that even after so many centuries, the ghee on the statue does not emit any foul smell nor does it melt even in the scorching summers. There are numerous people who believe in the powers of this temple.

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Author: Ramanathan A R16 Apr 2011 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 1

Ms Lakshmi ramdas has given a very vivid picture of the Vadakkunathan temple of Thrissur.

It is to be noted that the Thrissur pooram is considered as a festival of the Vadkkunnathan temple though the active participants are Paramekkav and Thiruvambadi along with other temples. This is because the main items of the pooram are performed within the premises of Vadakkunnathan temple. The Pooram festival as it is performed is devised by the Saktan Thampuran.

There is also a gossip or information that the major part of the thekkinkadu maidan was a thekkin kaadu (forest of Teak trees). It was cleared by the Rama Varma Kunhjipilla Thampuran/Rama Varma IX popularly known as the Sakthan Thampuran (Sakthan meaning powerful), inspite of the opposition from those connected by the temple.

I have given a brief detail of the procedures of dharshan at Vadakkunnathan temple in my thread 'Proceedures of Darshans at Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur'.

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