Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is one of the oldest Shiva Temples in South India, situated at Vaikom, in Kottayam district of Kerala, India. Referred as Thekkan Kashi (Southern Kashi), Vaikom temple enshrines Lord Shiva as Vaikkathappan - is the presiding deity of the temple. It is believed that Lord Shiva manifests himself as Dakshinamurthy in the Panthirathi pooja in the morning, Kiraata Murthy during the Uchcha pooja at noon and as Satchitananda in the evening. Lord Shiva is. Vaikom Shiva Temple is considered as one of the largest and the oldest of all Kerala temples. Vaikom Mahadeva Shiva Temple, along with Ettumanoor Shiva Temple and Kaduthuruthy Mahadeva Temple is considered a powerful tri-some. Vaikom Temple is 33 km south of Ernakulam and 40 km north of Kottayam.
Vaikom Temple Architecture
Vaikom Sree Mahadevar Temple spreads over eight acres of land with five prakarams (enclosures) and four towers. There is a Balikalulpura (the place of the sacrificial stone) where Stambha Ganesh is found at its north-east corner. The Namaskara Mandapa bears the story of Ramayana sculptured on its inner roof. On the east of this hall is a huge Nandi (the celestial bull) made in a single stone and a small one for Archana.
The Sreekovil or the sanctum of Vaikom Siva Temple is oval in shape, covered with a copper plated roof and a golden kalasam at its top. It has two chambers. Mukhamandapa (the main hall) is the first chamber, built in shaped stone and single piece woods. Garbha Griha (Sanctum Santorum) is the second chamber, built completely in stone with the roof in a square shape. A Peedhom or platform is seen here, which is of about three feet high. On this Peedhom is the six feet high Siva Lingam of Shree Vaikathappan which is made of chaste black stone. The Linga is decorated with Chandrakala (crescent), three eyes, nose and four hands with ornaments in the form of ‘anky’ in pure gold. The outer walls of Sreekovil are decorated with wooden sculptures and stories from Puranas. The golden flagstaff is about 317 feet high. The deity here is also known as ‘Annadana Prabhu'- giver of feasts. Hence, feeding the public, devotees and visitors are considered to be offerings to propitiate the God. They are fed at the 340 m long double-storey structure called the Uttuppura or the dining hall which is on the northern side of the sanctum. The temple has two large tanks (Pushkarinis) which are considered sacred.
In the south-east corner, outside the Sreekovil, is the Vighneswara Prathishta on a Peedhom of stone, Maha Ganapathy in the south and Sakthy Ganapathy in the north. These idols are made of Panchaloha (an alloy of five metals). The Ashtadikpalakas or Lords of the eight directions are consecrated in the yard of the Sreekovil and Varuna, the Lord of water, is consecrated in the west. To the south side of Vaikom temple yard is the shrine of Panachikkal Bhagavathi. There is also a shrine for Snake Gods, where poojas and rituals are offered only once a year.
Vaikom Ashtami is the major temple festival celebrated in the Malayalam month of Vrischikam (November - December). The temple also celebrates an Ashtami festival in the Kumbha Masam (February - March). Mahashivaratri and Thiruvathira are other important Hindu festivals celebrated at Vaikom Mahadeva Temple.
How to reach Vaikom Mahadeva Temple
Vaikom Road Railway Station, on the Ernakulam - Kottayam line, is the nearest railway station. However, the nearest major station is Kottayam Railway Station, about 25 km away.
Cochin International Airport is about 76 km from Kottayam.
Regular bus services are available to Vaikom from major cities and towns nearby including Kottayam, Ernakulam, Kozhikode, and Thiruvananthapuram. Vaikom Bus Station, operated by KSTRC, lies on the Ettumanoor - Ernakulam Highway (State Highway 15).
Famous Temples near Vaikom Temple
Chottanikkara Bhagavathi Temple, Udayanapuram Subrahmanya Temple, Ettumanur Siva Temple, and Kaduthuruthy Thaliyil Mahadeva Temple are some of the famous Hindu temples situated nearby.