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Vadakunathan Temple in Thrissur

The Vadakunathan Temple in Thrissur is the most popular and most important temple in the town. It is now a national monument and has even been recommended by the Archeological Survey in India to be declared as a world heritage site. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

The temple dates back to hundreds of centuries ago and is said to have been built by Parashuram, who is said to have built many more temples in Thrissur.

Vadakunathan Temple Thrissur

The temple is famous for hosting many festivals every year like Mahashivratri and the Thrissur Pooram festival.

Vadakunathan Temple History

The idol at the temple is of great significance. It is believed that Parashuram was keen on having god Shiva make Kerala his home. He went and requested Shiva to accompany him to Kerala and Shiva did not disappoint his devotee and accompanied him to Thrissur. At a particular spot there, he is said to have taken his seat under a big banyan tree. After a while, and to Parashuram's surprise, a shivling is said to have been left behind by Shiva. The linga is said to have stayed there for a long time until the king of Cochin decided to give it a better place to rest in.

The temple itself was built in the 7th century in typical Kerala style of architecture. It then, however, went through a lot of changes and influenced by several other religions such as Jainism and Buddhism.

The temple is said to have exchanged several administrative hands, since Thrissur faced a lot of power exchanges. The royal family of Cochin initially took care of the temple before it is said to have fallen into the hands of The Namboodhiris. After their defeat by the Dutch the reigns of the temple is said to have fallen back into the hands of the royal family.

The great ruler of Cochin, Sakthan Thampuran, was a great devotee of Lord Shiva and is said to have started the Thrissur Pooram festival at this very temple. Tipu Sultan, who was friends with Sakthan, is said to have attacked several temples in Thrissur barring the Vadakunathan temple. It is believed that an unknown force stopped Tipu from attacking the temple and there is another story of him having borrowed utensils from there, during his stay in Thrissur, and then returned them back along with other gifts to the temple.

The Samorin of Calicut is also said to have controlled the temple during his reign in Thrissur but had to give it up after his defeat.

The temple is said to have played a big part in the birth of one of India’s most noble saints, Adi Shankaracharya. His parents are believed to have been great devotees of Lord Shiva and sought his help in trying to attain a child. They are said to have sung 40 hours of devotional songs in praise of Lord Shiva. Impressed by their devotion, Lord Shiva is said to have blessed them with a boy child who the couple named as Shankaracharya. The final place of rest of the famous saint is also said to be located inside the temple.

Vadakunathan Temple in Thrissur Architecture

The temple is located on top of a hill. Traditional Nalakettu style of building is prevalent inside the temple. It has four entrances that all have large gopurams on top. The west and east entrances are the only entrances that are open to the public whereas the north and south entrances are not open to the public.

The idol at the temple is extremely unique and unlike any other idol in Thrissur. It is covered in mounds and mounds of thick ghee. This mountain of ghee is a result of several years of it having been poured as ablution. It is now 16-feet-tall and is said to be a mixture of the latest and old ghee that is several years old. There is also a big three serpent hood at the top.

The ghee here apparently never emits an unpleasant odor no matter how old it gets and never melts however hot that it might get. The belief here is that Lord Shiva once developed a headache owing to a fight that he had with Arjun and as a remedial measure he was advised to apply ghee to his head by the resident chikitsak.

The mound of ghee now signifies Kailash which is the permanent residence of Lord Shiva and his family.

Best Time to Visit: The best time for tourists to visit the temple is during the two main festivals celebrated at the temple with one being Mahashivratri and the other being the Thrissur Pooram festival.

Shivratri is a festival wherein all devotees of Lord Shiva stay up the entire night and indulge in meditation. The temple is all lit up with around one lakh lamps and hosts hundreds of devotees who spend the night away at the temple. Several cultural programs are conducted during the night to keep the crowds entertained.

Festival at Vadakunathan Temple in Thrissur

Thrissur Pooram is a festival started by the great king Raja Rama Varman who was a devotee of lord Shiva. He is said to have started the tradition of celebrating the festival at the temple on a grand scale by organizing parades and encouraging more and more people to take part in it.

He also successfully united all the other temples in Thrissur and started a tradition of each temple god visiting the Vadakunathan temple to pay their obeisance.

Elephants are a big part of the temple and take part in not just the various festival celebrations but also in the various routine activities. The Anayoottu is a festival that is dedicated to these elephants as they are believed to be a form of Lord Ganesha. These elephants are worshipped on that day by many people who visit the temple and also feed these elephants their favorite food.

The Vadakunathan temple not only forms a key piece of the religious puzzle of Thrissur but is also a gateway for the hindu's into attaining moksha or nirvana.

Offerings Timings: 4.30 am to 11 am, 5 pm to 8.30 pm.
Phone: +91 487 - 2426040

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