Palaruvi Waterfalls

Posted by Admin | 7:26 PM

The lovely cascade, extending over 300 feet and aptly named "the stream of milk", has been the summer getaway of the Travancore royalty since the 17th century. The tourism society, formed under the Forest dept., has now set up safe bathing and boarding facilities near the waterfalls for tourists. It is a favourite picnic spot for visitors from all over south India. The journey to Palaruvi through the dense tropical forest is a spellbinding experience. The water lavishly bubbles down with a white tinge and a hiss caused by a natural churning that gives it a milky hue, thus aptly christened Palaruvi. The remnants of yesteryear grandeur in the form of 'mandapams' and a stable can still be seen here. To get to the falls, one has to trek through narrow paths that run through the woods. Covered with dense tropical forests, the scenic beauty of the place enhanced by hills, valleys and cascades, is breathtaking. The surrounding mist-clad blue hills and green valleys form a stunning backdrop to the milk-white burst of foam whose muffled roar resounds through the otherwise tranquil virgin forest. 75 Kms away from Kollam on the Kollam-Shenkottai Road near Aryankavu, is the Palaruvi waterfalls. There are frequent buses from Kollam to Aryankavu. A sought-after picnic spot, the Palaruvi Falls is managed by the local community and is best visited after the summer months.

75 Kms away from Kollam on the Kollam-Shenkottai road near Aryankavu, is the Palaruvi waterfalls. There are frequent buses from Kollam to Aryankavu.

Waterfalls in Kerala

Posted by Admin | 7:24 PM

Waterfalls in Ernakulam :

Mulamkuzhi :
This is a tiny village nearly 15kms from Malayattur. The crystal clear medicated water of the River Mulamkuzhi and the waterfalls of Venanbravady near Malayattur is an enchanting sight. There is also a confluence of the rivers Periyar and Perumthode.

Waterfalls in Idukki :

Attukal :
This place is located between Munnar and Pallivasal, and a beautiful sight of waterfalls and rolling hills can be seen here. Attukal is also ideal for long treks.

Cheeyappara :

The Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls are located between Narimangalam and Adimali on the kochi-Madurai highway. The Cheeyapara waterfalls cascade down in seven steps. It is a real feast for the eyes.

Nyayamkad :

10 Kms from Munnar, located between Munnar and Rajamala Nyamkad is a land of breathtaking waterfalls. The Waters cascade down a hill from a height of about 1600 meters, the enchanting surrounding make an excellent picnic spot and trekking point.

Power House Waterfall :
18 Km from Munnar, this waterfall is on the way to Thekkady from Munnar, which cascades down to step rock 2000m above sea level. The spot is enriched which the scenic western mountain range and is an ideal place for a break on the way to the Periyar Wildlife sanctuary.

Thommankuthu :
28 km from Thodupuzha is Thommankutthu, which is famous for its numerous waterfalls. This place is ideal for natural lovers as the seven-step waterfall here is a much loved picnic spot. At each step, there is a cascade and a pool beneath to enjoy the panoramic beauty; the best way is to undertake a trek that takes one to the top of the mountain, a 12 km. climb.

Waterfalls in Kozhikode (Calicut) :

Thusharagiri :
Lying 50kms east of Kozhikode, Thusharagiri is a little tribal tourist spot in Kerala. Tow streams originating from the Western Ghats meet here to form the River Challipuzha. The river diverges into three waterfalls, creating a snowy spray, which gives the name 'Thusharagiri' which means 'snowy peak'. A 5km trek upstream will take one to the stream's origin. Of the three waterfalls, the highest is the Thenpara that drops 75 metres below. .

Waterfalls in Kottayam :

Kesari Waterfalls :
The Kesari waterfalls, also known as Valanjamkanam falls, lies between Kuttikanam and Murinjapuzha on the Kottayam-Kumaly route. Valanjamkanam is a 3 hr. journey from Kottayam by any bus to Kumaly; trek to Kuttikanan offers additional adventurous spirit and closeness to nature.

Maramala Waterfall :

This lies a few kms away from Eerattupetta. It is exactly 7 kms from Teekoy rubber estate. From here a private vehicle can take you further 2 kms after which the road is not motor able. To reach the falls one has to trek through the estate over the rocky path. The waterfall is about 60 metres in height, falling into a 12-meter deep pool and joins the River Teekoy way down.

Waterfalls in Palakkad (Palghat) :
Dhoni :
A Dhoni waterfall is a 3 hours trek from the base of the Dhoni Hills. A thick reserve forest surrounds it. Dhoni is about 15 kms from Palakkad.

Meenvallam :
A Meenvallam waterfall is around 8kms from Thuppanad junction on the Palakkad- Manarkkad route. It is a combination of enchanting beauty and scenic splendor. The water falls from nearly 20 to 25 feet and the depth is around 15-20 feet. There are 10 steps of waterfalls of which eight are located in the upper hills inside the dense forest. They are inaccessible, only

the remaining two steps are accessible. One has to hire a jeep from Koomankund junction and then trek a distance of 1.5 km by crossing the river Thuppanad.

Waterfalls in Pathanamthitta :

Perumthenaruvi :
Perumthenaruvi is a famous waterfall on the banks of the River Pamba. Here, the water flows down a rocky bed into a ravine 60 to 100 feet deep. The place is a favourite picnic spot for both domestic and foreign tourists.

Waterfalls in Quilon (Kollam) :

Palaruvi Waterfalls :

This waterfall falls in the border of Kerala and Tamilnadu. Its access is 35 kilometers east of Punalur on the Quilon - Shenkottah road. It is near Ariankavu mountain pass. 5 kilometers away is the spectacular Palaruvi waterfall at an attitude of 300 ft. with smaller cascades nearby. There you can see ruins of ancient temples. The water is said to be medicated as it flows down from the forest and is said to be a preventive for many diseases.

Waterfalls in Trichur (Thrissur) :

Athirapally and Vazhachal Waterfalls :
East of Chalakudy, near the entrance of the Sholayar forest ranges are the beautiful waterfalls of Athirapally and Vazhachal, 5 kms apart.

Waterfalls in Trivandrum :

Aruvi Waterfalls :
60 kms from Thiruvananthapuram and 7 kms from Bonecaud estate are the beautiful Aruvi

Waterfalls in the Peppara forest range. This 4 feet cascade is one of the most verdant and untouched spots in Kerala. Road accessibility is only up to Bonecaud, there on; the Kanni tribesmen accompany trekkers along the mountain path. Prior permission from the forest department is required before approaching the area.

Kombaikani and Meenmutti Waterfalls :
These are two magnificent waterfalls on the upper reaches of the Neyyar Reservoir. A trek of 2 kms through dense forests, would take one to Meenmutti waterfalls and a further 2 kms, to the Kombaikani waterfalls. The waterfalls and forecasts around them are worth experiencing.

Waterfalls in Wayanad :

Chethalayam Waterfalls :
Chethalayam Waterfalls is located 12kms from Sultan Bathery. One has to trek around 4kms from Chethalayam for having a glimpse of this lovely waterfall.

Kanthanpara Waterfalls :
This waterfall is about 30 m in height and gives a panoramic view. It is located 12 kms southeast of Kalpetta

Meenmutty Waterfalls :
Meenmutty Waterfalls has a cascading waterfall in three tiers, from a height of 500 metres. It is located 12kms east of Meppadi

Sentinal Rock Water Fall :

Sentinal Rock Water Fall is 22kms at Soochipara near Meppadi, south of Kalpetta. A three step water fall of more than 200m in height with a fantastic scenery provides for white water rafting, swimming, bathing, etc., The tree top huts at Soochipara will give unique view of the valleys of Western Ghats. It is also an ideal place for rock climbing.

Soochipara Waterfalls :
Soochipara Waterfalls is located 22 kms from Hotel Green Gates. One can reach the waterfalls only after a 2-km walk into the dense equatorial forest of Wayanad.

Snuggled cosily in the Western Ghats, are the gurgling waterfalls of Thusharagiri. Meaning the snow capped mountains; Thushargiri exhibits a unique kinship between the land and water.

The three waterfalls on the backdrop of the Western Ghats provide an exhilarating and spellbinding sight to the visitor.

The best roar of the waterfalls can be enjoyed from September to November. The waterfall with its gentle spray is sure to soothe every eye. The cascading waters of the waterfall slides past with surfy smiles.

Two streams originating from the Western Ghats meet here to form the Chalippuzha River. The river diverges into three waterfalls creating a snowy spray, which gives the name, 'Thusharagiri'.

Of the three, the highest waterfall is the Thenpara that falls from an altitude of 75 metres. Situated at Kodencherry in Kozhikode district, the plantation destination that abounds in rubber, arecanut, pepper, ginger and spices is also a trekker's delight.

Trekker's start early morning from the second waterfalls at the hills and climb up through the pristine dense evergreen forests teeming with exotic birds and animals to reach Vythiri and Waynad district by evening. There is a dam located around 45 km from Calicut.

The place offers challenging trekking and rock-climbing through river path and numerous waterfalls. There is another dam at 60 km from Calicut. It is a place of beauty, calm, and serenity. The place has a crocodile farm run by the state forest department.

General Information

11 Km From Kodenchery, Kerala
Main Attraction

Located 20 kms from Thodupuzha, Thommankuthu is a small and beautiful, wild waterfall. Thommankuthu attracts thousands of tourists every year. The wild beauty of the scenic waterfall will steal the heart of any traveller.

Thommankuthu Waterfalls is a marvellous wonder of the nature situated 74 kms from Cochin. There are buses from Thodupuzha, which is 18 kms away from Thommankuthu.

There are accommodation facilities available in and around the city of Thodupuzha. Hotels and restaurants are available at Thodupuzha.

General Information

74 Kms From Cochin
Main Attraction
A Picnic Spot
Malayalam, Hindi, English

Soochipara Waterfalls is located 22 kms from Hotel Green Gates . On alighting the vehicle, one can reach the waterfalls after a 2-km walk into the dense equatorial forest of Wayanad.

Here, one can find nature at its thundering best. Soochipara is a 3-tiered, powerful waterfall. And the cliff face here is ideal for rock climbing.

General Information

Wayanad, Kerala
Main Attraction
3-Tiered Powerful Waterfall
Rock Climbing

Located 12 kms from Sulthan Bathery on the Pulpalli Main Road, are the breathtakingly beautiful Chethalayam Waterfalls.

For a glimpse of this lovely waterfall, one has to trek a distance of around 4 kms from Chethalayam. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary is another tourist spot. Here you can see elephants, spotted deer, guar, sambhar and sloth bear.

About 15 km from Sultan's Bathery, the Wildlife Sanctuary covers over 344-sq. km. and forms part of the area of Mudumalai Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and Bandipur Sanctuary in Karnataka.

General Information

12 Kms From Sulthan Bathery, Kerala

The Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls are located between Neriamangalam and Adimali on the Kochi - Madurai highway. The Cheeyappara Falls cascades down in seven steps. It is a real feast for the eyes. This is also a great place for trekking.

Valara waterfalls are 10 km from Adimali on the Kochi - Madurai highway. Valara has a chain of waterfalls surrounded by thick green forests.

General Information

Kochi-Madurai Highway, Kerala
Malayalam, Hindi, English

Athirappalli and Vazhachal, the two scenic and popular waterfalls on the edge of the Sholayar forest ranges are just 5 km apart.

The falls are very popular with tourists. Athirappally is located 78 kms from Kochi, located at the entrance to Sholayar ranges, this waterfall is a popular picnic spot.

Affording to the onlookers, one of the most bewitching sights, Athirappally Falls is about 80ft. high and located in the forest area.

Combined with the greenery, it infuses freshness into any tired soul. The Athirapally Falls join the Chalakkudy River after plummeting a drop of 80 feet.

Vazhachal is a picturesque spot just a short drive from Athirapally and is adjacent to dense green forestland. Vazhachal is part of the Chalakkudy River.

Both the waterfalls, their cool, misty waters cascading down in the backdrop of thick green forest and rocky terrain, are a scintillating experience to visitors.

How To Get There

By Air
Nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport, about 58 kms from Thrissur.
By Rail
Nearest railway station is at Thrissur, about 63 kms.
By Road
A good motorable road takes you to Vazhachal and Athirappalli from either Kochi or Thrissur town.

General Information

63 kms from Thrissur, Kerala
Main Attraction
A Picnic Spot

On the banks of a beautiful river near Thrissur in Kerala almost bordering the trunk road is a big temple dedicated to Sri Rama, which combines attractive location, traditional legend and superb architecture. In the dim past, this river is believed to have skirted the temple on three sides and hence the sacred place is called Thirupuraiyar or most popularly as Triprayar.

The main idol of Sri Rama which is installed and worshipped at this temple is believed to have been originally worshipped by Sri.Krishna at Dwaraka in Sowrashtra coast. When Dwaraka was submerged, the idol of Sri Rama was lying in the sea bed along with the further idols of Lakshmana, Bharata and shaturghna.

After many centuries, when some fishermen went out into the sea for fishing, the idol, of Sri Rama, along with the other idols got entangled in their fishing nets. They brought them ashore and handed over to the local chieftain Vikkal Kaimal. He consulted the astrologers and came to know about the previous history of these idols. At that time, there was a divine ‘asari' who informed him that the idol of Sri Rama should be installed at the place where a peacock would be visible in the sky.

Accordingly, all the preparations were made for the installation of the idol, but even after several days, no peacock was visible. At last, a devotee pilgrim carrying a bunch of peacock feathers came to this spot, followed by a live peacock also. The idol of Sri Rama was installed at that very spot where the peacock feathers and the peacock were found.

The idol is Bharata was installed at Irinjalakuda Koodalnickam. Lakshmana's idol, was installed at Moorikunni village 10 kms. away similarly the idol of Shatrughna was installed at an adjacent place called payamel. The chieftain is said to have constructed the original shrines at all these places for the respective idols. Among all these, the shrine of Bharatha at Irinajalakuda came to prominence as that was the only temple built separately for Bharata in the entire region.

According to the local legend, it is said that the idol of Sri Rama kept on revolving after it was installed until an ascetic did some rituals and prayers and a nail driven at the base. The majestic deity of Sri Rama is worshipped here as Maha Vishnu due to its posture and the attributes. He holds in his two hands the bow and garland and the other two hands hold the discuss (chakra) and conch (Shankha). The chest is adorned with srivatsa and Kaustubham. Some time later, the ‘Saparivara Pratishta” of Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi was also done on the right and left side of the deity.

An outstanding peculiarity of the ‘sanctum sanctorum' si that there are idols of Dakshinamurthy, Ganapathi and a lamp at the back of the deity. The local devotees call the idol as ‘Trimurthy' as it is supposed to represent Brahma also. Hanuman is said to be present at the ‘Namaskara Mandapa' although there is no separate idol for him.

Devotees possessed of evil spirits throng to this place and the cure is miraculous due to the presence of Hanuman. He is supposed to be always running about the temple chanting ‘Drishta Sita, Drishta Sita'. The periodical fireworks conducted here also emanate the same type of sound. As is in the temple of Thrissur , there is no ‘Dhwaja Stambha' in this temple also. Devotees offer prayer first to the‘Namaskara Mandapa' before worshipping Sri Rama.

Located on a picturesque spot on the banks of river Triprayar, the temple occupies a vast area as the main Shiva temple at Thrissur. The ‘garbhagriha' is square in plan, on a massive base, and includes sveral tiers sending in a conical roof. According to an inscription, historically the temple is ascribed to the 11th century. a number of pillars, beautifully carved, uproot the roof of the structure which has a pyramidal roof covered with copper sheets. The Namaskara Mandapam has a treasure of carvings on wood. Mural paintings are found on the walls. The panels have fine carvings depicting the ‘Navagrahas'. Around the Srikovil are carved episodes of Ramayana in the style of sculpture that blend with the architecture of the shrine.

About 3 kms. to the north-east of Thirupuraiyar, there is a place where a bund was supposed to have been erected on the river similar to the ‘Sethu Bhandana' at Dhanushkodi. In the month of Kanni on Thiruvonam star, the deity is taken to that place every year. This place is known as Raman Chitra or the bund of Sri Rama.

The ‘Arattu', something similar to the south Indian temple Brahmotsavam of the deity is celebrated in the Arattu Kadavu, known as Mandarathi Kadavu. An important feature observed here is a kind of drama acting with a single person, known as ‘Kuttu'. The festival lasts for twelve days. The theme is usually episodes from Ramayana such as Hanuman locating Sita in Ashoka vana, presentation of ‘Chudamani' to Sri Rama, etc. Major part of the presentation is the conversation between Hanuman and Sita.

According to the‘Sthala Purana', when Parasurama created Kerala and brought the Brahmins to inherit the area, they complained about the absence of a sacred river for bathing purposes. Thereupon, Parasurama prayed to Brahama for the grant of the sacred River, who sent the seven ‘Kanyas', Ganga, Yamuna, Sindhu, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada and Kaveri to flow here as river triprayer. It is believed that these seven divine ‘Kanyas' come to this river every year on the‘Vrat' day of the deity.

Thirupuraiyar ‘Ekadashi' in ‘Vrischika Krishna Panchami' (Dark fortnight) is a very auspicious day at this ‘Kshetra'. Thousands of pilgrims and devotees flock to this temple to participate in the celebrations. Another important festival is Arathupuzha Pooram, held in March-April attracts a large crowd to witness the fireworks and the elephant procession. Till a generation ago, more than a hundred elephants decorated with glittering howdahs, umbrellas and ornaments used to take part in the procession.

Thirupuraiyar is only 24 kms. form Thrissur railway station. Kochi is the nearest Airport. An excellent road connects this sacred ‘Kshetra' with many important cities in Kerala and Tamilnadu. The State and Public Transport authorities operate in this route in addition to hired taxis nd vans. A moderate choultry is maintained at this ‘Kshetre' by the temple authorities, but Thrissur would be the most convenient place for overnight stay as good lodging facilities are available here.

Kerala is well known as a land specially blessed by nature. Thought it is sometimes designated as ‘The Kashmir of the South' (in the olden days), it si distinctly more than that. It represents a happy blending of the wonderful beauties of land and sea which is found nowhere in India .

Varkala, a sea side town, also known as Janardanam, is a sacred pilgrim centre situated near Thiruvananthapruam in Kerala, and is famous for its ancient temple of Krihna , who is popularly called as Janardana. In Sri Maha Bhavatham, mention is made that balarama, the elder brother of Sri Krishna, visited this shrine during this pilgrimage to Kanya kumari temple and also a few other temple in the south. Also, it is as ‘the Gaya of the South'. Varkala has many attractions peculiar to the place and draws hundreds of pilgrims and visitors all the year round.

Saga Narada, after paying his respects to Sri.Narayana, left Vaikuntam to see Brahma. Enraptured by the sweet music of Narada, Narayana followed him unobserved. When Narada reached Brahmaloka, Brahma saw Narayana following his son Narada reached Brahmaloka, Brahma saw Narayana following his son Narada, and offered salutations to Him, at which Vishnu, realising the awkward situation, suddenly disappeared. Brahma found that the person whom he had revered was his own son, Narada.

The prajeapathis who were laughing at this incident were cursed by Brahma that they would be born on earth and suffer the miseries of human beings. Narada advised them to perform penance at the place he himself would select for them. Narada threw his ‘Valkalam' (bark upper garment0 into the air and at the place where it fell down, they consecrated a temple for Sri Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu. Hence the name Varkala is a corruption of‘Valkala', but the name came into prominent usage.

The temple of Sri Janardana is situated on the summit of a table-land adjoining the sea. It is located on one of the hill-tops, which is reached by a long and wearisome flight of steps and one feels tired on arriving at the feet of the Lord. At the entrance to the inner shrine are the idols of Hanuman and Garuda on either side and in the main shrine is the idol of Sri.Janardana with Sri.Devi and Bhoo Devi.

The temple of Janardana is a fine ex maple of Kerala art and architecture. The circular ‘Sanctum sanctorum” surmounted by a conical dome of copper sheets, the square ‘mandapa' with beautiful wooden carvings of Navagrahas on the ceiling and copper-plated roof over it, the quadrangular enclosures (prakara0 around them, a hall containing a ‘bali peetha' in front of the inner temple are the characteristic features of Kerala style of architecture. The construction period of this temple saw the rise of highly embellished temple. one of the inscriptions indicates that the temple was improved during the reign of Umayamma Rani, who ruled this region during 1677-84 A.D.

The main idol has a striking appearance with four arms having all the attributes of Vishnu. It is the only shrine dedicated to Vishnu in the name of Janardana in this part of the country. Normally all such temples are known only as Krishna temples. In the south-western corner and on the north-eastern side of the outer enclosure are the shrines of Sasta and Shiva with Nandi.

To the scientist, Varkala is well known from its geological formation and has been inspected and examined carefully by hordes or geologists and volumes of interesting literature are carefully preserved in the archives of the Government of India . Besides the enchanging sea-view, there is the backwater journey by canal hewn out of the tremendous heights of hills on either side of it. The vegetation on either side of the canal, rising in height is a magnificent sight, has given rise to a series of springs form which gushes out sparkling water throughout the year. The water in supported to have medicinal properties which cure certain ailments. Even a single bath is a tonic which no traveller or visitor should miss.

It is believed that brahma performed a sacrifice (Yagna) at Varkala. The striate of lignite and mineral waters found in Varkala are attributed to this sacrifice. Tradition also has it that when the west coast was reclaimed from the sea by parasurama, earthquakes were frequent and that land was unfit for human habitation. To remedy this situation, the founder is believed to the performed a sacrifice at Varkala.

In the central shrine there is a huge Dutch bell with an inscription on it is Latin. Centuries ago, a Dutch vessel reached the shore of Varkala and could not proceed further in the sea as there was absolutely no breezed at all. The captain offered the bell from the ship to the temple priest who prayed to the Lord for providing suitable wind to enable the ship to sail on its further voyage. Very soon a good breeze started to enable the ship to move on its voyage. The captain installed this bell at the temple before he set sail from Varkala. It is also says the bell was presented to the temple when the Dutch evacuated Fanjet where they had established a factory.

A tamil inscription assigned to 1252 A.D. is engraved on the southern base of the central shrine. From the base to the top it is built with granite. The Sri Vimana is covered with copper sheets. recently the structures were renewed along with the ‘Mukha Mandapam' and the main idol in the shrine was also consecrated.

The sanctity of Varkala is further enhanced because of its association with Sri Narayana Guru, a great religious teacher-leader and social reformer of Kerala. The Sivagiri Matha and the Yoga Vedantha Ashrama founded by the ‘guru' in 1904 are situated in the midst of beautiful surroundings about 4 kms. from Janardana temple. At Varkala is Sivagiri, the Samadhi of Sri Narayana Guru. He proclaimed a simple faith; ‘One caste, one Religion, one God'. His religious teachings are propagated by the Sri Narayana Dahrma Sangham, an order of monks set up by this disciples. This has become to be one of the biggest organisations in Kerala fully representative of the Ezhavas.

Varkala town is only 41 kms, north of Thiruvananthapuram and is connected by rail route and a very good road. It is 25 kms. from Quilon. State and private buses and vans operate form all places to this pilgrim centre at frequent intervals. There is a good Dharmashala and a rest house maintained by the temple for the convenience of pilgrims and visitors. Tourists and visitors can also stay at Tiruvananthapruam which is also the nearest airport, where there are excellent hotels and lodging to suit every purse.

About six centuries ago there was a palace at Kottarakkara which belonged to the Elayidathu Swarupam. The place got its name only after the shifting of Elayidathu Swarupam to Kilimanoor. Before that his headquarters of the Swarupam was known as Kunninemal. Here there is a Siva temple which faces to the east. It is known as Manikandeswaram temple. The main deity is Lord Siva. At the shrine Goddess Sree Parvathy faces to the west and Sree Ganapathy to the south. The temple is not much superior to other temples with regard to dignity and decorum. The gold flag staff in front of the temple has been put up only recently. The shrine where the main deity has been placed is round in shape and the roof is thatched with copper sheets. First of all devotees need to worship Lord Siva and Parvathy and then only Vigneswara, is the custom to be followed. Though the temple is actually an abode of Lord Siva, it is popularly known as a Ganapathy temple.

The idol of Vigneswara, is a magnificent one carved in wood by Perumthachan. As a part of the daily ritual smearing of oil is being carried out. As a result, the idol has been turned to black and looks as if it were a some idol. It is 3 feet high, with a small trunk and four hands, carring coir, hook, rice cake, and plantain fruit. On the neck there is a chain with beads of rudraksha and on the forehead a golden pendant. In order to get a good divine view the front portion is barred. The sub-deity Sree Dharma Sastha is located outside the main shrine.

People believe that if there take refuge for help and worship Ganapathi, they will be able to accomplish everything in life to lead a happy and prosperous life.

The annual festival of the temple is celebrated in the month of Medom (April/May). On the day of Thiruvathira the temple flag is hoisted. The festival lasts for 10 days with elaborate ceremonial offerings, grand processions with all kinds of musical instruments, and a wide variety of entertainments including Kathakali.

The favourite offering to the deity (libation) is a kind of rice cake fried in oil. The making of the cakes is to be done in front of the Ganapathy. So that he can see and enjoy the fragrance of the cake! In the past there was a special kind of offering in which the whole idol was covered with fried rice-cakes.

There is a legend behind the construction of the idol of Ganapathy in Kottarakkara temple.

It was the item when the wood-work was being carried out at the temple. Many carpenters from different parts of the state were lodged there to do the work. They competed among themselves to perform the most attractive artistic works. An old carpenter, who was among them, was a stranger and he seemed to perform his task in the most perfect manner. So everyone praised him. At night when the evening rituals were over, this carpenter ate some remnants of food offered tot eh deity and slept the temple premises.

While the carpenter was sleeping in the lonely and calm atmosphere of the temple, there occurred in this mind a beautiful form of Ganapathi. At once he stood up and looked around, but there wasn't anybody. The enchanting form of Ganapathy was still in mind. Then he decided to engrave the form on a piece of wood. To his amazement he saw a piece of root of a jack tree nearby. It is an abandoned piece of root due to its hardness. He took it and began to engrave with the help of the light coming out from fire that he made himself using small pieces of wood. He worked on it for a few hours. As a result he became so tired that he could not continue his work. Soon he fell asleep. In the morning when he woke up, he was fortunate enough to see a beautiful idol of Sree Ganapathy among his scattered tools. He bowed his bead before the idol with reverence and adoration. It is the very idol that we saw now in the main shrine. The master builder of the idol was none other than the legendary carpenter Perumthachan.

Thirunelli is a place located nearly 32 kms from Mananthavady town, Vayandu. Attached to the Kadaku mountain ranges there is a hill called Brahmagiri whose beautiful valley is considered to be a holy place where we can see the amous Thirunelli temple.

The idol in the temple is placed by Brahma, who made the place holy by ‘Yaga' (holy sacrifice). The name of the hill confirms the act that the place is related to Brahma.

There is a legendary story behind the name of the place;-

The Brahmins set out a journey in search of God. The journey through the thick forest made them tired and hungry so they looked for some fruit in the forest. Finally they saw a gooseberry tree. There ate gooseberries as many as they could, drank water from the forest spring and slept there. They had dreams by which they understood that the gooseberries had got some divinity. They also realised the presence of Maha Vishnu and Parama Siva in the forest. Since they considered the gooseberries as the gift of the Gods, they named the place as ‘Thirunelli'.

The archeologists who found out the copper inscription from Thirunelli, reveal the fact that the temple was famous even at the time of Bhaskara Ravi Varma. The ‘Unniyachee Charitham' which is considered to be written in the 13 th century has got references of this temple. So the temple must be nearly 700 years old.

The shrine is dedicated to Maha Vishnu. The stone image which face to the east has got 3.5” tall and bears divine weapons. There is neither an elephant shed nor a flag staff at the temple. The walls of the shrine are made of black stones and they have sculptural works. A ‘Thampurn' from Kudaku paid more interest in the construction of the temple. But the owner of the temple did not like it. (Some people believed that the temple belonged to Vellattiri and others are of option that it belonged to Kottayam Thampuran.) So the construction work was interrupted. Some important works were left undone. The floor of the temple building is made of blackstone without using cement or mortar. Sheets of stones are used for the roof and of course, thick pieces of stones were used for pillars.

It is strange thing to have a temple without a well. From Brahmagiri hill a stone passage was made for a spring to flow though to the temple all the year round.

To the west of the temple about one furlong away is the ‘Papanasini' (destroyer of sin). It is believed that the water in the Papanasini has got the power of washing away our sins, so as to enable us to get salvation.

The Hindus believe that if they perform oblation at the ghat the departed souls of their dear ones will get redemption and finally find a place in heaven. It is said that Sri.Rama and Parasu Rama had performed oblation here for their ancestors.

Panchatheerthakulam' is another pond very near to the temple. In the midst of this pond there is a rock on which two feet are symbolically carved as that of Maha Vishnu in addition to his usual wearing's. It is believed that Maha Vishnu gave this advice to Brahma by standing on this rock!

At some distance away from the ‘Panchatheertham' there is a small cave temple. This cave had been made by burrowing a big rock. Though it is a Siva Temple , it is believed that the trinity is also present at the temple. After performing the oblation at the ‘Papanasini' it is customary that the devotees must get into the temple to worship the Gods.

Sree Poornathreyeesa Temple, Thripunithura

This temple is located at Thripunithura town. Sree Poornathreyeesan is the family deity of Cochin royal family. The glorious devine rests under the five hood of Ananthan.

While Arjuna was in Vaikundom, the adobe of Vishnu, an idol was presented to him. Vishnu wanted it to be installed on the earth. Arjuna put it in his quiver (Pooni in Malayalam). It was and idol of Maha Vishnu. After reaching on the earth, as desired by Sreekrishna, Arjuna gave the idol to a Brahmin. The brahmin was none other than the Brahnin described in the story of ‘Santhana Gopalam'. He installed the idol in a ‘thura' (a place where people gather) observing all ‘tantric' rituals. Hence the place is known as ‘Thripoonithura'. After the Brahmin's death, his ancestors (the Puliyoor family) have been performing all ‘Poojas' at this temple.

The scholars say that the word ‘threyee' means Veda and so the devine who knows the whole veda is known as ‘Pooranthreyeesan'. It is compulsory that the priest who perform poojas at this temple should have thorough knowledge of Vedas.

This temple has got a reference in the ‘Sukasandesa' and old poem in the form of a message. The reference of a ‘Fullayaru' and Vishnu temple in the poem are actually the ‘Pazhupuzha' and the thripoonithura Vishnu temple. In those days it was considered as a village temple and was the only temple for those who belong to the villages chowvara. Peruvanom, Irinjalakuda and Vedanadu.

It was a time when the Vaishnava movement was at its zenith in South India . As a result the Thulu Brahins were attracted to the temple and they tried their best for the progress of the Poornathreyeesa temple along with the local Nampoothiris. The Thulu Brahmins sought help and advice from the Nampoothiris as and when needed and in duel course took over the charge of the temple. The priests performed all temple rituals. Today the Vaishnava Brahmins from the Uduppi village in Mysore are the chief priests of the temple.

During the reign of Sakthan Thampuran the administration of the temple was taken over by him and when the Indian Union came into existence, the management was handed over tot eh Cochin Devasom Board.

In 1096 M.E. a huge fire consumed the temple buildings leaving the idol and the shrine unhurt. Later under the supervision of the architect Mr.Echara Warrier, the temple was renovated as we see it today.

There are three gate towers (Gopurams) of which the east and west are the most important. The southern gate tower is closed and there is no tower on the opposite side where there is located only a mess hall.

The idol of Poornathreyeesa, having four arms, in about 4” tall under the five hoods of Amanita. It is placed on a separate pedestal.

There is an ever-burning oil lamp at the shrine. It is believed that Arjuna had placed it after the placement of the idol. The favourite offering of the divine is lighting the oil lamps and it is known as ‘Olpenna'. There is no sub-deites at the temple except Sree Ganapathy.

There are four major festivals at the temple. They are thulam festival (October/November), Vrichikom festival( November/December), Moosari festival (August-Septemebr) and festival of ‘Nagappennu' (February/March). Among them Vrichikom festival is the most important one. On the day of ‘Chothi' (Star) flag is hoisted with ‘tantric' ceremonies and on the ‘Thiruvathira day' the festival ends with ‘arat' (divine bath). On each day of the festival the Lord accompanied by 15 elephants and ‘Panchari melam' goes round the temple. Variety entertainments add flavour to the festival. The people of Thrippunithura, forgetting their cast or creed participate in all these festivals and it can rightly be called a ‘Unity in diversity'.

The temple is situated mid-way between Vaikom and Ettumanoor. Kaduthuruthy is a small town, the northern and western parts of which are spread over by Vembanattu backwaters. During the tenth century this place was under the administration of Pandya Kings. However, it was divided into Vadakkumkoor and Thekkumkoor. Kaduthuruthy became the headquarters of Vadakkumkoor dynasty. The rulers were the supporters of Zamorins. When Marthanda Varma conquered Vadakkumkoor, he showed respect to the rulers by giving them pensions. Gradually this dynasty was declined and removed from the pages of Kerala history.

As it has been mentioned earlier in this book when describing the history of the Vaikom temple, Kharasura had got three idols of which the one he took in his mouth, had been placed at Kaduthuruthy, marking the origin of a temple on the top of a small hill. Now this temple comes under the Travancore Devaswom Board.

The Sivalinga of the temple faces to the east. It is the smallest of the three Sivalingas, only 3” tall. The mandapam in front of the shrine has got an array of wood carvings. The story of ‘Karthaveerarjuneeyam' has been carved and displayed here with architectural elegance. About 300 years ago most part of the temple was consumed by fire, but the mandapam, with its splendid carvings, was remained unhurt. While the fire was spreading out, the chief priest clasped the idol at his breast and cried aloud, but the flames of fire had put an end to his life. An idol of this chief priest had been erected at the northern part of the shrine in order to commemorate the event. At the southern side there stands an idol of Sree Ganapathy. Besides, Dharma Sastha, Goddess Durga had also been placed at the temple.

One Vadakkumkoor Rajah used to worship the three deities at Kaduthuruthy, Vaikom and Ettumanoor on the same day but because of his old age he could not continue it. Instead, he made arrangements at Kaduthuruthy temple for the placement of the other two deities also. As a result, Ettumanoorappan was placed at the southern gate and Vaikathappan at the north. So it is believed that the devotees will get the triple benefit by worshipping the deity at the Kaduthuruthy temple.

A ceremonial 10 day festival is conducted at the temple every year, but it is not so famous as the one at Vaikom or Ettumanoor. In olden days when the place was under the rule of Vadakkumkoor dynasty and anna festival lasting for twenty eight days was celebrated at the temple, but gradually it came to an end.

In fact, it was under the reign of Maha Rani Sethu Lekshmi Bai that the festival had been revived. She enforced orderliness and punctuality in the temple observances. Though in the eighteenth century Vadakkumkoor dynasty had become the part of Travancore, the family deity of the Rajah had fallen into misfortune. It was difficult for the priests to meet with the daily expenses of the temple, and this condition lasted for nearly a century. But a change had occurred when the two families Mangalathur (Panicker) and Thazhathu (Kaimal) came forward and helped financially to maintain the decorum of the temple. Consequently much progress had been achieved. Now it is one of the major temples that come under the Travancore Devaswom Board.

Ernakulam Siva Temple

Posted by Admin | 7:02 PM

Siva Temple, Ernakulam

In front of the Siva temple in Ernakulam there lies the Cochin backwaters. The deity faces westward and enjoys the beauty of the sea.

It has been an accepted fact that the origin of the Malayalam languages is partly from Tamil. At the time of the construction of the temple the language used at this place was Tamil so that the people called the Lord as ‘Erayanar'.

In the days gone by Ernakulam was a village where there were many canals, small landscapes, backwaters and even small woods. So the spot where the temple was constructed had got the name ‘Erayanarkulam' later became Ernakulam. But popular legendary story tells us another version as follows:-

The age ‘Kulu' who was observing strict penance on the Himalayas had a disciple called ‘devalan'. Once he behaved defiantly against the sage, his ‘guru'. So the sage cursed him to become a serpant. There upon he was known as ‘Hrishinaga'. In order to evade from the curse, as it was advised by the sage, he had to fetch the Sivalinga kept by other serpent in the behula forest. So he set out in search of the idol. He covered a long distance and at last came to the forest where he found teh idol. He took it cunningly from the serpent. On his return journey, he stopped at a place where there was a pond. He placed the idol on the bank adn took a bath. Then he bowed before the idol on the bank and took a bath. The he bowed before the idol and offred prayers and incantations. But when he tried to take up the idol he found that it had been fixed firmly to the ground. He tried his best but failed. Since Hrishinaga worshipped the idol, he gained deliverance from all worldly bonds. So the place was known as Hrishinagakulam, where the present Lord Siva's temple had been cropped up and in course of time the name of the place was shortened to form Ernakulam.

Cheranallur, Vadakuru, Kurumalkuru, Puthukkadu and Kunnathu Nadu were small territories. They were ruled by chieftains known as Kaimals. When they heared about the miraculous event of the fixtures of idol, they rushed to the spot and made arrangements for the sacrifices. With the help of Vilwamangalathu Swamiyar the idol had been empowered as per the Vedic tantras. The place became prosperous. The southern gate of the temple had been closed according to the instruction of the Swamiyar. It is believed that there is the presence of Sree Parvathy at the eastern gate and if anyone worship the Goddess after lilting a lamp will be fortunate enough to have a happy and prosperous married life.

Under the leadership of the Kaimals the construction of the temple began, but later it was taken over by the Rajah of Cochin. During the period of Cochin administration many reforms were made at the temple and they were added to by successive administrators. The construction of a compound wall, the temple tower, the golden flag staff and thatching of the shrine with copper sheets were a few other reforms.

In front of the Siva temple there remains the Hanuman Kovil and on the northern side a small temple of Sree Subrahmania . Both of them are not as old as the main temple.

The important offering of the temple is pouring of a thousand and one pots of water on the idol with the chanting of hymns. Besides, firing of salute guns, thulabharam (offering of a person's weight of gingerly seeds), submission of brass lamps to Sree Parvathy etc are also important offerings. Sree Ganapathy and Nagarajah are other Sub-deities of the temple.

The main festival is celebrated in ‘Makaram' (January/February). The seven day festival ends with ‘Thiruvathira arat'. Each day's festival is conducted on a grand scale with magnificient elephant processions, playing or drums and other musical instruments and a wide variety of entertainments. The temple opens at 4 O' clock every morning. Worshipping of the deity at the time before the removal of the previous day's floral offerings (Nirmalyam) is considered to be a great blessing by the devotees.

Illumination at the item of evening pooja is another important occasion of the temple. Moreover, daily five regular rituals are being performed.

Recently a splendid and glorious arch has been built in front of the western gate tower as that everyone can locate the temple premises quite easily from a long distance. It is another attraction of the temple. Daily a large number of devotees visit this temple in the morning and evening.

Vaikom Mahadeva Temple

Posted by Admin | 7:00 PM

According to popular legend, Kerala was hewn out of sea by Parasuram, the incarnation Vishnu. He brought about abundance of corn, vegetables, plants and trees to his land. He also consecrated several temples sacred to Shiva and Vishnu for the spiritual well being of his people. One such temple is at Vaikom in the Kottayam District of Kerala, dedicated to Lord Shiva, locally known as Vaikuntappan. Vaikom temple is unique by itself, for thousands of pilgrims and visitors throng the temple through out the year.

It is believed that the original shrine was renovated centuries ago by the earliest rulers of old Travancore, who took interest in this temple. The great sage Vyaghrapadar (tiger-footed Rishi) who was responsible for the Chidambaram temple, attained perfection here and the banyan tree under which he used to meditate, still stands in the courtyard of the temple premises.

It is said that the great Rishi Khara, while bathing in the sea, discovered three Lingams which he installed in Vaikom, meaning“Valathu (Right) Ettumanur Edathu (left), Kadathirithi (Centere)”. These three places are equidistant from one another.

Centuries later, the great Parasurama, the creator of Kerala, discovered these Lingams and constructed the original temples for all of them, but the Vaikom temple attained more significance and prominence than the other two. The story goes that one day Parasurama was being airborne northwards, when his eyes chanced upon a beautiful Shiva Linga below, standing in knee-deep water, radiating glory all round. Overwhelmed with joy, Parasurama descended to the spot, tood the Linga and embraced it. He made a square platform and installed the Linga on it according to Sankarshana rituals. It is on this square, that the present temple stands.

The ‘Sanctum sanctorum', the five enclosures (prakaram), ‘mandapam', tower and other structures were also built by Parasurama strictly in accordance with the requirements of Tantric shastras. He also brought Brahmin priests and established daily worship and other rites. He exhorted the people to obtain the blessings of Mahadeva by regular worship, prayer and offerings to the Shiva Linga.

Lord Shiva is considered to be a lover of bathing (Abhishekapria). It is believed that Parasurama himself spent years at this place performing ‘abhisheka' to the Linga with thousand pots of holy water (sahasra Kalashams) according to the vedic rites. In fact, Sahasra Kalasha Abhishekam is a regular form of offering at this place. Those engaged in the pious practice range from ordinary devotees and pilgrims to the princes of the royal family.

Considered as one of the largest and the oldest of all Kerala temples, the construction here is of a rare style. It was the period which saw the rise of highly embellished ‘Bobical mandapa', elliptical in plan. The Mandapams, the Prakarams, the four huge corridors, the spacious halls have all been constructed with slabs of black stone. Mortar, cement or concrete is not used at all, and wood is used only s beams in certain places which may be taken only as later additions. Most of the pillars and beams and the ceiling itself are of sculptured black stones.

Occupying over eight acres of land and surrounded by high walls and four gigantic towers, the Vaikom temple is major structure of Keala. A devotee can have ‘Darshan' of the deity and offerings made for no payments at all.

Public feeding is considered the favourite pleasure of the presiding deity. Apart from the mass feasts arranged by the Devasom, the Government of Kerala and the Maharaja of Travancore, devotees of Kerala and other places in south India, also arrange frequently for such feeding. The famous Uttupura (dining hall), a 340 metres long double storeyed structure is a recent addition, along with several other buildings. Two large tanks (Pushkarinis) are also situated with the temple compound. These are considered very holy and pilgrims use them for bathing purpose.

The Lord at Vaikom is also known as ‘Annadana Prabhu'-giver of feasts. Feeding the public devotees and visitors in general, and feasting on important days are considered to be offerings to propitiate the God. There used to be feasts almost daily at this place. Even now, despite the shortage and low income from the devotees, feasts continue to be held regularly, though on a smaller scale.

As the feast at this temple is regarded as ‘Prasad' given by the presiding deity, every one from pauper to prince partake the food. In fact any one who does into share the food is considered as a sinner. The food offered at Vaikom temple is said to have curative power for ailments like stomach-ache, ulcer, etc. It is the promise of the Lord Vaikuntappan that anyone who offers or feasters at this temple here, gets his desires granted. Similarly, any one who bathes the Shiva Linga with milk or holy water gets rid of the disease and other sufferings.

The ‘Sanctum Sanctorum' of the temple is large and spacious and the Shiva Lingam itself is about two meter high. The annual festival of the temple is Ashtami in the month of Karthige; Ashtami on the 12 th day, and Arattu, the holy water bath for the deity on the 13th day. The Ashtami day is considered as auspicious that it is observed throughout Kerala with special worship to Vaikuntappan. At the temple, each of the days of the Ashtami festival has a special programme, ‘poojas' and rituals, elegant processions, public feeding, music, dancec etc. Thousands of visitors and pilgrims attend each day's function. These celebrations reach the peak on the ashtami day.

From the early hours of this day, devotees crowd the temple for ‘Darshan' as this is considered auspicious. The main event occurs at night when the happy meeting between Vaikuntanathan and His son, Lord Subramanya, the presiding deity of the nearby Udayanapuram, takes place. It is believed that Udayanapuradappan, as the son is called, had gone to a battle with the Rakshasa and the meeting is an occasion for the father to greet the triumphant son.

The coming of Udayanapuradappan accompanied by the Gods and Goddesses of the neighbouring temples, all mounted on gorgeous caparisoned elephants with ‘Nagaswaram' and hundreds of torches (Theevattees), provide a grand sight. Hundreds of thousands of visitors collect to witness the symbolic meeting of the father and the son and make offerings to the deities. It looks as though the Gods converse with each other, meeting as they do, after a ong interval. After going round the temple, the ‘leave taking ceremony' (aarattu) takes place. For this function also, Udayanapuradappan comes to Vaikom and there is a join worship for father and son. After this ceremony, Vaikuntappan also goes to his son's place and has a bath. There are ‘poojas' for the two Gods.

During the recent times, Vaikom became famous for its ‘Satyagraha' movement for temple entry was initiated here. in the beginning, it was given for the right to use the roads leading to the temple. It started as early as in 1924 and lasted for several months. Many prominent political leaders like C.F Andrews, C.Rajagopalachari, Srinivasa Iyengar, hd visited Vaikom Satyagraha Ashram.

This movement was a success. This roads leading to the temple were thrown open to all sections of Hindus. The struggle for the temple entry continued. It was in 1933 that the then Travancore Governemtn by a proclamation removed all the restrictions and permitted worship at temples controlled by the Government. Vaikom was the vanguard of popular temple entry movement throughout the country.

Kochi is the nearest air port. Vaikom is only 40 kms. by road and is connected with Kottayam also, which is 45 kms. away. A number of state and private busies, vans and taxis operate from many principal cities to Vaikom. Kochi and Kottayam have excellent lodging facilities for tourists and pilgrims. Visitors can make use of the State Government launch service on the Vebanad lake.

Vadakkumnathan Temple, Thrissur

The beautiful city of Thrissur (originally called as Trichur), is one of the oldest in Kerala State and is mainly famous for its ancient shiva temple dedicated to Vadakkunathan, which is situated on an elevated hillock right in the centre of the city. The temple attracts thousands of devotees adn visitors from all over teh land. Like many South Indian Temples, it has a solemn atmosphere, associated with age and centureis of devotion, which we do not find in many of the temples of North India .

Once the capital of old Cochin State , Thrissur changed hands from the Zamorin of Cochin to Tippu Sultan of Mysore in the 18th century. In the ancient days the place was known as “Tiru Shiva Perur' or the town with the name of Lord Shiva.

Many years ago, the vast open region around the temple was a beautiful plantation forest of teak treees called ‘Tekkinkadu'. Today, the forest is totally cleared but the tranquil atmosphere of the temple prevails all round. With it is associated the famous Parasurama, the incarnation of Maha Vishnu, who is said to be the founder of this Shiva temple. The name of Parasurama is always with Kerala, as is the naem fo sage Agastya with the Pandyans in Tamilnadu. According to local tradition, it is believed that the great Kerala teacher Adi Shankaracharya was also connected with this temple. Aryamba, the mother of Shankara Worshipped Shiva at this temple to beget a son. It is said that she used to walk to Thrissur from Kalady.

The first feeling one gets on entering through the gates of the temple is the incredible space and light. The elegant architectural style that is unique to Kerala becomes evident. As a major departure from all other South Indian temples with their towering ‘gopurams', the temples of Kerala are not imposing in appearance.

One of the largest temples, it contains several shrines surrounded by a large enclosure wall with four gateways, crowned by pyramidal ‘gopurams' with multiple roofs. While the basement of the gateways is made of moulded granite stone, as in Tamilnadu, the ‘Gopurams' are in the typical style, having elaborately ornamented gables. The shrine is circular in forms and the tower has only one tier. The pillars are arranged in an interesting manner. The comparatively low, tiled roofs and teh liberal use fo wood harmonise with teh natural environment.

Immediately to the left of the entrance is the theatre hall called ‘Kuttambalam'. It si a remarkably beautiful structure with elegant sloping roof of copper plates. Within this is staged the ancient dramatic art form of ‘Chakyar Kuttu'.

The three principal shrines in the tempel are dedicated to Shiva, the main deity called Vadakkunathan, Vishnu adn Harihara. The architectural plan of these shrines is peculiar, with the ‘Vritta' plan and conical brass plated superstructure over it. The conical roof is distinct architectural idium neccessitated bythe heavy reinfall in the west coast. Shrines with square basements as in Tamilnadu are also here. A separate shrine has been built in the enclosure for the Devi.

The ‘Sanctum' of the main shrine has a huge ‘Linga' of Shiva. This however, cannot be seen as it is covered by the traditional ‘Abhishekams' with ghee by devotees over the centuries. Over the Linga, generations of devotees have poured ghee by way of offering, which is never removed, has solidified into a pyramid. With continuous ‘Abhishekam' with ghee over the years, it hs the appearance of a mound of ghee almost three metres around th core of the Linga. It is strange that the ghee does nto melt even inthe hot tropical climate of summer or with the heat of the hundreds of bright oil lamps burning nearby. The ghee mound does not get spoilt even though it is a collection of several hundred years. Small scrappings of this solidified ghee are given to devotees as ‘Prasada', which is believed to have medicinal and curative properties of herbal medicines.

The Harihara shrine, popularly called here as Shankaranarayana temple, is next to the main Shiva temple. This is also circulr in plan and the tower has two tiers. On the other side is the shrine for Vishnu, is also similar to that of Harihara shrine. In addition, there are subsidiary shrines for Ganapathi, Dharma Shasta and also for Parasurama, of the very few of its kind in Kerala.

Thrissur has several other shrines including Paramekkavu Kshetram at the bottom of the hillock on which the Shiva temple stands. Behind is the Bhagavathi temple. Thiruvembadi temple is a little further away in the heart of the town dedicated to Krishna .

The tall and spacious Kootambulam is an impressive structure, containing exquisite vignettes of wood carving and interesting bracket figures. While the artists of Tamilnadu showed their skill in stone by carving magnificent and ornamental sculptrues, their counterparts in Kerala had wood as their medium adn produced intricate workmanship. The Koothambulamis the hall where the kootu or expositon fo a religious story by Chakkiyar is performed through dramatic gestures. From about the 9th century, the Kootu developed into an important art associated with the temples of Kerala.

The outer walls of the shrines are studded with fine mural paintings, the origin of which might date back to 16th century, though retouchings have been done much later. Scenes from the Mahabharata epic and the Tandava poses of Shiva are depicted in typical Kathakali style. The paintings are noted for charm and vigour.

The only festival celebrated with great pomp and religious fervour is Maha Shivarathri. According to the custom in certian temples in South Indian in general and Kerala in particular, pilgrims and devotees have to take off all tailored clothing and wear only dhoti should be of white color only.

The temple of Vadakkunathan is noted for its grand annual Pooram festival in Medam (April-May) which attracts a large number of visitors and tourists from far and wide. A procession fo richly caparisoned elephants and magnificent display of fireworks mark the occasion. The organisers vie among themselves in securing thebest elephants in the localtiy, and the most ornamental parasols to decorate the elephants. Commencing early in the morning, the celebrations go on throughout the night and end the next morning.

As per the normal rituals, the Shiva temple is not directly connected with teh Pooram festival. Infact, it is a festival of two Goddesses, Paramekkavi Devi and another Goddess residing in Tiruvambadi. It is said that a rular of Kochi , Saktan Tampiran who reigned from 1790 to 1805 A.D., founded this ritual and organised it into the present form of festival. At a later date, the Raja of Kochi sponsored the ritual. During the recent times, it is organised by the public out of donations collected from business houses and devotees.

However, the present basis of ‘Pooram' as the assemblage of many divine processions ahs been adopted elsewhere also; for instance in Tiruvaiyaru in Tamilnadu. What makes the Thrissur ‘Pooram' festival distinctive seems to be its elephants, and some perhaps will add, the competitive fireworks. While it is largely made by the elephants, the festival is nothing without Vadakkunathan temple. At present, eight deities assemble for the ceremony; six from the Devi temples including Paramekkavu and Tiruvambadi Devis and two from Sasta temples.

About fifty elephants participate in the grand procession. These are magnificently caparisoned with the ‘Nettupattam' which covers the forehead. This is a thick cloth int which are sewn about six thousand gold plated glittering metal pieces. Each elephant carries three men; one holds the coloured silken parasol; the other two stand on the back. The ‘Panchavadyam' players precede the procession. As all the deities assemble near the Vadakkunathan temple, there will be a musical feast for two hours. A little later, the umbrellas on the elephant are changed to different colour, known as ‘Kudiakazeh'. As the parasols are unfurled, there is an entrancing spectacle of rich array of mixed bright colours. Generally, there will be ten sets with each party. After the functions, the elephants return to their respective temples.

Thrissur is connected by rail with many cities in the country. Kochi which is 78 kms. away. is the nearest airport. Good road transport system connects Thrissur with important cities around. Taxis can be hired to see local places as well as for excursions around. Thrissur has excellent lodging places, guest houses, Y.M.C.A Hostel adn P.W.D Rest house .

Sree Subrahmanya Swamy temple at Haripad is one among the three oldest temples of Kerala. Daily a number of devotees come to this holy shrine. It is believed that the temple was established even before the advert of ‘Kaliyuga'. There are two legends connected with the origin of this temple. One is based on the story mentioned in the ‘Skandapurana' and the other is related to the payippad Snake-boat race. The story in the Skandapurana goes like this:-

When Tharakasura got a boon from Para Brahma that he could not be killed by anyone other than a small child, his atrocities grew to its climax. So the Devas suffered much. They decided to kill the Asura. Hence they sought the help of Parama Siva.

During ‘Dakshayaga' Dakshayani, the daughter of Daksha, and the better – half of Siva, jumped into the sacrificial fire and killed herself. When Siva heard of her tragic end he becake very sad. He went to the Himalayas and began a deep penance. At this time Parvathy, the daughter of Himavan, became passionately fond of him and by their union a baby-boy was born. This boy, Karthikeya, who was endowed with divinity and empowered with divine weapons, got ready to fight against the Asurs. Having got the permission and blessings of his parents, the boy Karthikeya, took command of the Deva army and waged a fight against Tharakasura and his army.

At the same time, Parvathy Devi, who was very anxious about the success of her son in the battle, observed ‘Shashtivritha' for her son's victory.

Karthikeya fought very bravely against the Asura army ad defeated them. He also killed Tharakasura with his divine weapon ‘Sakthivel' (a lance with three sharp pointed ends). On this return from the battle he was accorded a warm welcome by Sree Hari (Maha Vishnu) and the Devas. As Sree Hari san ‘Geethams' (songs) during the reception, the place was known as ‘Harigeethapuram'. On the other hand, it is believed that since the foot prints of Hari and the Devas were imprinted on the earth, the place was known as ‘Hari pada puram' and later it was shortened to form Haripad. In memory of the presence of Sree Hari, Subramaniya and the Devas, the people of the locality built a shrine to worship them. Today, we can see those foot-prints at the eastern main entrance of the temple.

The above –mentioned episode reminds us that at one time in the history of this place there remained the divine power of ‘Bala Subramanya'. But it was only in the 16 th century a proper sample was established for the deity. The legend behind this, as handed down from generation to generation goes like this:-

One day a Brahmin of the locality had a dream in which a divine form appeared before him and told him that there was an idol under water somewhere Kandalloor lake, a place west of Kayamkulam. The next day he flashed the news to the important person of the village. They however, decided to go to the place in country boats. When they reached there they noticed a number of flowers floating on one particular spot. Some men dived into the water ad they were able to lift a beautiful four armed idol of Subrahmanya. They placed the idol in the boat with reverence and rejoiced themselves by singing songs in praise of the Lord and rowed the boat through the water – ways to Haripad, via Cheruthana and Payipadu. The procession at last came to the Nelpurakadavu, a place in the eastern part of the village. Then a Christian family welcomed them courteously and allowed them to take rest in their granary yard. From there, the procession with the idol in front, proceeded to Haripad and the idol was set up on the next day at the present location.

Unfortunately in 1096 M.E. a huge fire broke out and consumed the entire wooden structure of the temple leaving behind the presiding deity unburt. The then ruling maha Rajah of Travancore Sree Moolam Thirunal Marthanda Varma, issued orders for immediate renovation of the temple and the re-construction was completed in a short period. Besides separate abodes were constructed for Maha Ganapathy, Lord Sree Krishna and Sree Dharma Sastha etc within the walls of the temple.

The architectural and sculptural works of the temple are commendable and attractive.

There main festivals are celebrated at this temple every year. During the month of April ‘Chithira' festival is conducted on a grand scale with elaborated in the month of Chingam (August/September). It also lasts for ten days. On the third day of Onam thousands of people throng on both sides of the Peyippad river to witness the boat race which has been conducting in commemoration o the installation of idol at the temple .

Markazhi festival is celebrated in the month of Dhanu (December / January) Which ends on the day of Thiruvathira. It is also a ten–day festival.

Thrikkarthia, Thaipooyam, Navarathri pooja etc are other important celebrations of the temple.

Kumaranallur village is situated nearly 4 kms northwests of Kottayam town. Enjoying the beauty of nature and radiating the glory of ancient civilization, there remains a two storied magnificent temple gate tower. The temple faces to the east. A golden flag staff welcomes the devotees who enter the temple through the east gate. The flag staff was erected in 1089 M.E by the local people. The golden top-dome was offered by the Uthram Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the brother of Swathi Thirunal Maharaj in the year 102 M.E. From the gate tower, at some distance to the north, there is a large temple tank and opposite of this there exists the Devaswom palace.

The way, through the main gate, leads to an elephant shed. The idol of ‘Vana Durga' is just at the south-western corner. Like the Panachickal Devi at Vaikom temple, here also the Goddess remains in the open air, popularly known as the ‘Alunkal Devi'.

The shrine is round in shape and the large building around it proclaims of dignity of the temple. The artistic work above the altar is attractive and commendable. the roof is thatched with copper sheets. At the north western part of the alter is situated an idol of Sree Dharma Sastha. On the altar there is an oil lamp in which 24 wicks can be lit. Chempakaseri Rajah, while he was in power used this lamp in front of this family deity at the palace, but after the invasion of his territory by Marthanda Varma, this auspecious lamp was offered to Kumaranallur temple.

One can have a divine sight only if he or she stands in front of the altar. The stone image of the Goddess is about 3” high in standing position. Wearing red silk and ornaments the Goddess looks beautiful and showers her blessings upon the worshippers.

Anointing of turmeric powder is the favourite offering to the deity. The offered powder s the favourite offering tot he deity. The offered powder is given to the worshippers as ‘Prasadom'.

At his temple the kindling of lights for worshipping the deity in conducted not at dusk but only after the supper ceremonial offerings. It is believed that the trinities will also be present on this occasion.

The important festival begin on the day of ‘Karthika' in Vrichikom (November/December) and ‘Arat' is one the day of astro ‘Rohini'. A large number of people will wait for the Goddess on their return journey after the divine bath. The divine sight on this day is considered to be quite an occasion for remission of one's sins.

It is compulsory to have elephants during the spectacular procession of the deity and only female elephants are used for the purpose.

It is said that the Goddess has a fancy for hearing the playing of drums. During Karthika festival, in addition to the usual rituals, there will be elaborate playing of drums, Nagaswaram and a wide variety of entertainments.

It is said that the consecration of the idol had been performed by Kulasekhara Varman(A.D 800-820). He is considered to be the first Rajah of the Kulasekhara dynasty. So the temple must be about 1300 years old.

The Kulasekharas were very famous during 9th and 10th centuries. They are all firm believers and worshippers of Goddess Karthayani. Large areas of land and other properties were given to the temple for this development. However, by the death of Bhaskara Ravi Varma, the pomp and spendour of the Kulasekhara dynasty suffered declension. Later the trusteeship management of the temples was taken over by the Nampoothiris.

Sree Chithira Thirunal's Temple Entry Proclamation (in 1112 M.E.) enabled all Harijans to enter the temples. At this time Gandhiji, the father of Our Nation, paid a visit to this temple.