After my post on Sri Parasurama Temple at Tiruvallam in late August, I am giving details of another Mahadeva Temple famous in Kerala. It is the well known ETTUMANOOR MAHADEVA TEMPLE AT ETTUMANOOR.
I hope members will find it interesting as almost all necessary information are furnished.
Happy Deepavali wishes in advance.
varadarajan


ETTUMANOOR MAHADEVA TEMPLE

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The town of Ettumanoor is famous for the renowned Mahadeva Temple. Ettumanoor is situated some 11km north of Kottayam. The State Highway No. 1 (MC Road) passes through the town.

The temple of Ettumanoorappan has a special sanctity and glorious history of its own. Owing to the potency and all prevading power of the “Aghora Moorthy” the Temple stands first among the pIaces of worships and pilgrimage in South India arid it attracts devotees not only from India but also from abroad.

Legend

Great Saint “Khara Prakasha” worshipped God ‘Paramasiva” to wash off his sins and prayed “Siva” to bless him so that he could install “Sivalinga’ for the betterment of humanity. Lord Siva appeared before him, blessed him and presented Lord’s own idoI. Saint Khara installed this Siva Linga facing West at Ettumanoor. This “Aghora Moorthy” is said to be grave in nature, Saint Khara left the place after he had installed the idol In the present position . For many years it remained quite unknown and this place became a dense forest.

The identity of this Sivalinga was then explored by a Harijan woman. Once she was collecting arrow roots with her sickle and struck a stone which at once began bleeding. Simultaneously her tool and basket were thrown off which fell at the Vadayar near Vikom and at Ettumanoor itself.

The lady then informed this matter to the authorities and thence the presence of divinity was publicized. A ridge is still visible on the Siva Linga believed to be the sickle marks.

At this stage an Astrological Survey was conducted by the local administration whence it was determined that this Sivalinga was brought to this place by a Saint together with other two SivaLingas. One of them was consecrated at Vaikom and another one at Kaduthuruhy enroute.

Unfortunately another Sage who visited this place later happened to be disrespected by the locals and he impricated that this place should remain unnoticed and abandoned. After thousands of years, Saint Vilwamangalathu Swamiyar revealed the divinity here and the temple was removated. This was further reconstructed by Pandya King Chanda Bhakaran in the present form around 1540 AD. A Brahmin house at Ettumanoor ‘Ettonnasseri illom” offered vast lands to the temple and in return became legatees to one-eighth of the temple offerings.

Many vedic names are associated with this temple and it is believed that Pandavas, Sage Vyasa and Religion Shri Adi Shaankaracharya, devotee of Lord Shiva composed his Soundarya Lahari here.


Prominent Features Of The Temple

Valiyavilakku - (a Divine Oil Lamp)

At the entrance to Sanctum a large oil tamp keeps ever awake. The Temple was rebuilt in the present form in 1540 AD. During this period one evening an unknown ardent devotee brought to the the temple a big oil lamp. When somebody raised doubts as to how such a big Iamp would remain lit, he replied that even if there was none to oil the Iamp, it would go on kindled. He disappeared after fixing the lamp at its present position in ‘Balickalpura’. It is believed that when this lamp was fixed, there was lightning and thunder which lit the lamp for the first time. This lamp has since been called the “Valiyavilakku” and it is cotinuously spreading spiritual light to millions.

One of the rnain offerings of this Temple is Gingelly oil for Valiavilakku. The soot that accumulates on the under surface of its shade has been found to cure many eye diseases.

Vrishbha Vahanam - (Ox made of bronze)

( Two imposing images of bulls, one in granite and another in copper – tin alloy add to charm to the richly carved mandapam. Chempakassery Raja” Devanarayan in the middle of the 8th century (ME- Malayalarn Era)suffered from acute stomach pain. He came to Etturnanoor Temple to seek blessing of “Aghora Murthy”. He worshipped Ettumanoorappan ardently and offered “Aghora Murthy” “Vrishbha Vahanam’(Ox made of Bronze) filled with”Chennellu” ; a kind of paddy grain. He got cured of his, incurable disease very shortly.

Ezharapponnana (Elephants made of gold)

Among th wealth of precious metals and stone of the tempIe, th images of seven large elephants and one baby elephant in solid gold along with a Pazhukka Kula( a bunch of Arecanuts)made of Gold were gifted by the Mahaharaja Karthika Thirunal in ME 964(MalayaIam Era). No temple in the world has such beautiful and heavy Golden Elephants. These are brought out for public exhibition on the 8th and 10th of the Annual Festival (Utsavam) celebrated in February/March every year. Each of the seven elephants weigh about 210 lbs and the small one, half of it. During the period of “Mahotsavam”, in the brilliant lights of ‘Theevaties” (Big Oil Torches )the sight of each eIephant carried by four people is thrilling indeed. A large number of Devotees visit this temple during its annual festival to have a glimpse at these beautiful elephants.

Peroorkavu - (A small temple for Kali Devi)

The ten days’ annual festival of this Temple is concluded with the holy bath of Ettumanoorappan in the nearby river at Peroor a small village 4 Kms.southward of Ettumanoor. The Peroor Kavu is the dwelling pIace of His Lordship’s daughter Kali Devi) and the Arattu journey is also meant to visit here. Another halt during this journey at Chalackal Krishna Temple for supper on return. The festival comes to a close with the Tantri bringing down the ceremonial flag on the holy mast as soon as arattu processon accompanied by many caparisoned elephants and traditional temple orchestra reaches here from Peroor.




Around the Temple

Western Gopuram - (The main entrance of the temple)

The imposing main entranc of this temple is the Western Gopuram which richly decorated with others.

Holy Mast for Flag - (Kodimaram)

Inside the Temple a glittering golden Holy Mast (Kodimararn) is mounted on an elevated square platform that welcomes the devotees, where the idols of the eight Guardian-Gods ‘‘Ashthadik Palakas” are installed.

Sanctum Sanctorum - (Sreekovil)

A narrow corridor Ieads to the inner chamber central. to which the Sanctum sanctorum situates. This sanctum of the presiding deity “Akhora Moorthy (Lord Siva) is consecrated on an elevated sloping deck assessable through a flight of steps, admission into the sanctum being strictly restricted to the Priest(Melsanthi) and his deputies. Only a handful of people are able to take adarsana (vision) of deity at a time since space facing the angle of vision is limited within the same sanctum and with its frontage on the south, a Siva Linga Dakshinamoorthy is consecrated and “Lord Ganapathy” a little westward.

Sasta Temple - (Lord Ayyppan temple)

A subshrine is situated on northen side of inner chamber dedicated to Lord Ayyappa

Mandapam - (A square hall)

Opposite to main deity is a large mandapom, and one of pillars on the northern side is dedicated to Bhagavaty(Goddesss) and one on the eastern side to Yakshi, the demon.

Lord Krishna Temple - (Krishnankovil)

Just outside the main walls (on the north western side) a small beautiful temple is dedicated to lord Krishna.

Temples of Anthimahakalan and Sastha

On the north, few yards away from the main temple, there are two sub shrines one for Anthimahakalan , the Chief Messenger of Lord Siva and another for Lord Sastha.




A need to protect the priced possessions of the temple

The present Ettumanoor Sree Mahadeva temple building, with its gopuram and the fortress around it, was reconstructed in 717 ME (1542 AD). There are Dravidian mural paintings on the walls inside and outside of the main entrance. The fresco of Pradosha Nritham (Dance of Shiva) is one of the finest Wall painting in India. There is a golden flag staff inside the temple. On the top of it is the idol of a bull surrounded by small bells and metal leaves of the banyan tree and in terms of architecture this temples stands out to be an ultimate testimant for the vishwakarma Sthapathis, for their engineering skills. The temple roofs are covered with copper sheets and it has 14 ornamental tops. Bhagavati, Sastha, Ganapathy and Yakshi are installed here as subordinate deities.

The golden seven and half elephants (in Malayalam: Ezharaponnaana) made of gold (nearly 13 Kgms), donated by a Travancore Maharaja is a priced possession of the temple. The temple, one of the wealthiest Devaswoms in Kerala, has many valuable possessions.

These priced possessions are part of Kerala’s rich and varied heritage and need to be protected for generations to come. Several parts of the temple building need to be maintained to ensure long life. The Ezharapponnaana is now displayed only during festival time. There have been continuous requests for a permanent display. There is also a proposal to arrange a permanent display for elephant caparisons.



Pooja Timings


Morning AM
Opening the Sanctorum 4:00
Nirmalyam 4:00 to 4:30
Abhishekam 4:30 to 5:00
Madhavipalli Pooja 5:30 to 6:00
Ethruthu Pooja 6:00 to 6:30
Panthiradi Pooja 8:00 to 8:30

Abhisekangal
Dhara, Navakam etc… 10:00 to 10:30

Noon AM
Ucha Pooja 11:00 to 11:30
Ucha Sreebali 11:30 to 12:00

Evening PM
Opening the Sanctorum 5:00
Deeparadhana 6:30 to 7:00
Athazha Pooja 7:30 to 8:0
Athazha Sreebali 8:00 to 8:30





Contact

All communications to:

The Administrative Officer
Ettumanoor Mahadevar Temple
Ettumanoor, Kottayam (Dist)
Kerala, India
PIN: 686631

Tel. 91 481 2719375
Email: mail@ettumanoortemple.in

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