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.