Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is at Kottayam. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity here. The temple is a must visit to view the exquisite sculptures and paintings of the 1542- 1545 AD. The idol of Lord Shiva is 3 feet tall. There is also a holy tank on the northern side of the shrine which is oval in shape.
History and Legend of Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple
This is an ancient temple of Kerala. Hence there are several myths associated with this shrine.
- The construction of the temple has a long history. As per myths, Saint Kharasura had a pupil named Pingala. Pingala was poor and hence after completion of his education, the saint did not ask for anything from him. Pingala persuaded the saint to ask for something. Kharasura was angry and asked for 180 billion gold pieces from his disciple. Pingala was distressed and the compassionate saint thought of helping him out. Both of them travelled to Harinadweep and worshipped Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. When Lord Vishnu appeared Pingala asked for the 180 billion pieces of gold and offered the same to Kharasura. After that Lord Shiva appeared and Kharasura used all the gold to worship the Lord. Pleased with his worship, Lord Shiva offered the same amount of gold to the saint. The saint then used the gold to worship Lord Vishnu. Lord Shiva reappeared and gifted three Shiva Lingas to Kharasura. One of these Shiva Lingas stayed buried at Harinapura. After thousands of years, a woman hit the Linga while digging for edible roots and the Shiva Linga began to bleed. Lord Shiva appeared angry in front of the lady and turned her into a stone. The Shiva Linga was brought at Ettumanoor and the Mahadeva Temple was formed.
- Another myth states that Saint Lomharsha came to offer prayers at the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple and fell in the tank while bathing. People laughed at him and he cursed that the place will turn into a jungle. It gradually became a jungle until Vilwamangalathu Swamiyar discovered the Siva Linga within the forest. He also reconstructed the temple and established the rituals that are performed at this temple.
- There are two Dwaarapaalakas at the Sreekovil sanctum. They are the guards of the temple. It is said that these guards used to beat the devotees who came to the temple. Hence to stop them, holes have been placed on their hand and feet.
- Another myth states that Goddess Parvati stays at the eastern end of Sreekovil. Hence this door is never opened.
- There are two large Nanni statues at the Mukhamandapam. One statue is made of wood and the other is made of bronze. As per legends, the bronze statue was gifted by the King of Chempakassery after he was cured of stomach pain. This statue was filled with paddy.
- Another myth states that if a grain from this statue is eaten it can cure stomach ache. There is also a hole in the belly of the statue for this purpose.
- Adi Shankaracharya wrote Saundarya Lahari on his visit to Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple. He is a famous Indian philosopher.
Significance of the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple
The temple bears the rich culture and history of Kerala. Some of the important features of the temple are:
- Lord Shiva is worshipped in three forms. In the morning He is worshipped as Ardhanareeshwara. In the afternoon He is worshipped as Kirathamoorthi and in the evening He is worshipped as Samhararudra.
- There are other Hindu gods at the temple. Lord Ganapati, Goddess Bhagavathy, Lord Dakshinamoorthy, Sastha and Yakshi are some of them.
- The temple is also famous for its mural paintings. The most famous mural of the shrine is that of Nataraja, which is present within the Gopuram. The Ezharaponnana painting is also famous. This painting shows seven and half elephants finished in gold.
- The other mural paintings of the temple exhibit Anantasayana on the northern wall. The Akhoramoorthi and Pradoshathandava paintings decorate the southern part of the sanctum.
- The Thandava painting represents Lord Shiva in a dancing pose. This mural represents Lord Shiva with River Ganges and crescent moon on his coppery, matted hair. He also holds a bow and drum in the right hand. While the bow is known as Pinaka, the attached drum is named as Udukku. There is a sword and arrow in another hand. The sword is Khatwanga in local language and the arrow is Varunapaasa. There are bells, fire and a blazing mace in the other hands. This idol depicts the courageous and angry Lord Shiva. This painting is present in the main sanctum. The main gopura is at the western side.
- The Sreekovil is a circular gopura with wood sculptures. The sculptures narrate stories from Purana which is the mythological book of the Hindu religion. The sculptures show Ashtaaavakra Maharshi, Lord Ganesha with his wife, Raasaleela, Aditya, Vaamana, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva in Tandava pose and Sree Rama’s coronation ceremony.
Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple Timings
The Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple opens early in the morning with the first rays of the sun.
- At 4.00 am Sreekovil sanctum temple opens.
- Within 4.00 to 4.30 am Nirmalyam takes place.
- From 4.30 am to 5.00 am Abhishekam takes place.
- Madhavippalli Pooja, also you can call as Usha Pooja, is between 5.00 am to 6.00 am.
- Ethruthu Pooja takes place within 6.00 am to 6.30 am.
- Pantheeradi worship takes place between 8.00 am to 8.30 am.
- At 10.00 to 10.30, Dhaara and Navakom rituals takes place.
- Ucha Pooja takes place between 11.00 am and 11.30 am.
- From 11.30 am to 12.00 pm Ucha Sree Bali worship takes place.
- The temple closes during afternoon.
- The temple again opens at 17.00 pm.
- Deeparadhana is between 18.30 pm and 19.00 pm.
- Athaazha Pooja takes place between 19.30 pm to 20.00 pm.
- Athaazha Sree Bali worship is the last phase of ritual which takes place on a day. This is performed between 20.00 pm and 20.30 pm. The temple closes after that.
Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple Food Timings
After the daily worship at the temple, devotees can have prasadam.
Dress Code at Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple
Though there is no specific dress code at the temple, people prefer traditional dressing. Men have to remove shirt before entering the temple. Also, tourists need to remove shoes.
Festivals celebrated at Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple
This temple celebrates all the rituals associated with Lord Shiva.
- Ezharaponnana Ezhunallathu Festival: This is the most famous festival at the shrine. The festival goes on for 10 days. It is during February or March. The month name is Kumbha as per Malayalam calendar. Araat is a significant part at the festival. This falls on the Thiruvathira day. Also, on the 8th day, the idols of seven and half elephants are brought outside the temple. There is a great procession during the festival.
- Shivaratri: This is also celebrated with great pomp and show at the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple. The festival generally takes place during February or March. Thousands of devotees gather here to bath Lord Shiva with milk and offer flowers, fruits and sweets.
Poojas and Rituals at Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple
There are some special rituals at this temple.
- The temple has a golden idol of Akhoramoorthi. This idol is placed before Lord Shiva every morning and is removed from the place the next day, after Nirmalya Pooja. The idol of Akhoramoorthi is two and a half feet tall.
How to Reach: Road, Rail and Air
Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is famous among the devotees of Lord Shiva. Hence easily accessible from all parts of Kerala.
By Air: The Cochin International airport is the nearest airport to Kottayam. This airport is at 77 km from the place. There are private cars available from the airport which takes tourists directly to the shrine.
By Rail: The Ettumanoor railway station is the nearest railway station to the temple. The railway station is at 2 km from Kottayam. The other nearby railway station is the Kottayam railway station. This main railway station is at 11 km from the temple. Local vehicles are available outside the railway station which can directly take you to the temple.
By Road: The temple is near the MC road and 10 km from the main Kottayam city. besides bus, you can hire private cars to the temple.
Hotels in Kottayam: Where to stay
There are both budget and premium hotels near the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple. The Palakunnel Residency is a budget hotel at 0.7 km from the temple. The Abad Whispering Palms is a luxury hotel at 18.7 km from the shrine. Kumarakom Lake Resort, Cocobay Resort and Lakesong Resort are the other options.
Where to eat
Due to the immense popularity of the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, several eateries have developed round it. The Astoria and Annapurna restaurants are just 2 km from the shrine. These eat outs serve also serve non vegetarian dishes.
Kottayam is a famous pilgrimage in Kerala. The place is famous for Hindu, Christian and Muslim pilgrim centres.
- Vaikom Shiva Temple: This is another famous Shiva temple of Kerala. The temple is at 31 km from Kottayam. The temple is also legendary as associated with Parasurama. It is a beautiful temple featuring Kerala style of architecture. Also, the temple is the Kasi of South. Several elephant pageants and art performances takes place at the temple complex. The Vaikathashrami is the largest festival here. The festival takes place during November or December.
- Thangalppara, Kottayam: This is a Muslim pilgrimage. Thangalppara is the mausoleum of Sheikh Fariduddin. The mosque is also a major tourist destination as located near the Kurathikallu hill station.
- Kurisumala, Kottayam: This is a popular Christian pilgrimage of Kerala. During the Christian holy months, numerous devotees climb the hill with wooden cross in their hands. Also, there is a monastery at the hill top. The serenity of the place brings out prayer from the deep core of your heart. Moreover, as you travel to Kurisumala, the scenic beauty enthrals you.
- Muruganmala Temple, Kottayam: Near the Kurisumala church, there is an ancient shrine. God Murugan is the presiding deity at this temple. Murugan is the son of Lord Shiva.
- Vavarambalam, Erumeli: This mosque has strong connection with Hindu worship. Here devotees worship Vavar. As per myths, He is the companion of Sree Ayyappa. Hence before worshipping Sree Ayyappa at the Sabarimala Temple, devotees need to worship here. The Erumeli Pettathullal is the major festival here. It is generally during January. In case you are planning on visiting Sabarimala Temple, here is the Sabarimala Festival Calendar for 2019-2020.
- Mortal Remains of Saint Alphonsa, Bharananganam: The church has mortal remains of Saint Alphonsa. Thousands of pilgrims visit this church every year. The Feast of the St. Alphonsa is a major festival. This festival takes place during July.
- St. Mary’s Church, Manarcad: This church is just at 8 km from the Kottayam main city. Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christians worship at this church. The Ettunompu is a major festival. During the festival, devotees fast 8 days. The festival takes place from 1st to 8th September.
- Alapra Thacharikkal Bhagavathi Temple, Alapra: This shrine is amidst dense forests. The deity is Goddess Bhagavathy. Furthermore, it is the only place in Kottayam to perform Padayani ritual. The place is also a tourist hotspot. It has several caves, waterfalls and muniyaras.
Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, Kottayam is just not a pilgrimage for devotees for Lord Shiva, but a holy abode for people seeking some respite from the hassle and bustle of daily life.