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Vadakkunnathan Temple, located in Thrissur/Trichur, is one of the most visited temples in Kerala.

Vadakkunnathan Temple

Location Thrissur, Kerala
Nearest Airport/Railway Station Nedumbassery International Airport / Thrissur Railway Station
Nearby Attractions Guruvayoor, Athirapally, Vazhachal
Best Time to Visit September to March

Vadakkunnathan (also spelt as Vadakkumnathan) Temple of Thrissur/Trichur is one of the largest Lord Shiva temples in Kerala. The temple is also known as Then Kailasam (Kailasam of the South). The temple is located at the heart of the city of Thrissur. According to Hindu mythological scriptures, the temple was built by Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple plays host to the annual festival ‘Thrissur Pooram’, a famous event which is celebrated in the month of April - May, with much grandeur and great gusto. The temple is famous for its Kerala style architecture and exceptional work of craftsmanship on the Gopurams, which are constructed on all four sides of the temple. The temple also houses a number of Indian mural paintings which depict a number of episodes from the epic Mahabharata. The Koothambalam displays a number of intricate carvings on wood. The temple has been declared as a national monument by National Monument by the Union Government under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act.

According to some of the historians in Kerala, many Hindu temples were once Buddhist shrines, including Vadakkunnathan Temple of Thrissur. So Vadakkumnathan temple might also have a close relation to the Buddhist tradition, although during the early 9th century the Brahmin scholars like Guru Prabhakara and Shankaracharya reinforced the supremacy of Hinduism. It is believed that the presiding deity in the second Sreekovil of Vadakkunathan Temple was worshiped by Sakthi Bhadra, the author of a famous scripture Acharya Chudamani.

There is another popular legend, which states that the temple is 1000 years old and was constructed by Lord Parashurama. According per the legend, when one day Lord Parashurama was chanting his morning prayers he was approached by a few Brahmans who wanted a piece of land they could pray on. So, Lord Parashurama invoked Varuna to throw a piece of land out of the sea and thus happened. The Brahmans built a temple around the Siva lingam, which came out with the land. The temple is bordered by tall and thick walls all around, which separate the complex from the outside world.

Key Features
An interesting thing to notice while visiting Vadakkunnathan Temple is that the mythological Siva Lingam is nowhere to be seen, as it is covered under the 16 feet high mount of Ghee (clarified butter). The Ghee has accumulated over the years, because of Abhishekam is done with Ghee every day over the Lingam. It is believed that the ghee never rots or melts. The murals in the temple are quiet famous for their unique look, out of which a couple of murals - Vasukisayana and Nrithanatha - are worshipped every day. The temple theatre or ‘Koothambalam’, where performances are made till date during festivities, is constructed uniquely.

The four gateways called ‘Gopuram’ exemplify the remarkable craftsmanship. These gateways have been crafted with great precision to face each direction. A two-storied shrine, dedicated to Lord Rama, has been constructed in the southern part of the temple. It is believed that Nandi (a large white bull) should be present in every Shiva temple. Therefore, Nandi Bull, referred to as Nandikeswara, has been constructed on the verandah of the Nalambalam of the temple.

How to Reach

By Road

Kerala is well networked with roads. Hence, traveling via road is the best option to explore the important temples of Kerala, including the Vadakkunnathan Temple. Public transport is readily available both to and from the temple. It is easy to rent a cab or another private vehicle to the temple.

By Air
The nearest airport to the temple is Nedumbassery International Airport at Kochi, which is 55 km away. Though cabs are easily available to and from the airport and from here you can easily catch a flight to any of the major cities of the world.

By Rail
Thrissur Railway Station is the nearest railway station to the temple. From this railway station you can catch a train to any of the major cities of India.

Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple | Attukal Temple | Chottanikkara Temple | Ettumanoor Temple | Guruvayur | Kadampuzha Devi Temple | Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple | Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple | Koodalmanikyam Temple | Kottarakkara Sree Maha Ganapathy Temple | Lokanarkavu Temple | Mammiyoor Temple | Padmanabhaswamy Temple | Thirumanthamkunnu Temple | Thodeekalam Siva Temple | Thriprayar Temple | Vadakkunnathan Temple | Vaikom Mahadeva Temple

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