Thiruvalla Temple - Kerala

Introduction :

Thiruvalla Temple is the oldest-known temple situated at a small town called Thiruvalla in Pathanamthitta district. Believed to have been built in 59 BC, the Thiruvalla Temple is the biggest place of worship in Kerala in terms of its antiquity and the area it covers. Lord Maha Vishnu and Sudarsanamurthy are the presiding deities of this temple.

Thiruvalla Temple

Lord Vishnu is known by the name Sree Vallabha at this temple. It is believed that the place came to be known as Thiruvalla from the name of the deity. Hence the temple is popular as Thiruvalla Sree Vallabha Temple and is one among the 108 Divya Desam glorified by Alvars. Kathakali, the unique dance form of Kerala is regarded as the greatest offering of the Thiruvalla Sree Vallabha Temple. Kathakali is performed every evening on the mandapa at the Eastern Nada of this temple.

History of the Temple:

In ancient times, Thiruvalla was a small village known as 'Mallikavanam'. It was a beautiful place situated near the banks of River Manimala which was inhabited by more than 3000 Brahmin families who were true devotees of God. Sankaramangalam was one such Brahmin family who lived there. At that time, Mallikavanam was ruled by a wicked and cruel Asuran named Thugalan, an ardent devotee of Shiva who persecuted all the Vishnu devotees who lived there. There is a place named Thugalassery near Thiruvalla which got its name because of the palace of Thugalan that situates there.

Because of the cruel behavior of Thugalan, many Brahmin families left the place except the Brahmin family of Sankaramangalam. Narayana Bhattathiri was the head of the Sankaramangalam family. He and his wife Sreedevi Antharjanam were very passionate devotees of Lord Vishnu. They were childless, so they spend most of their time in prayers, feeding Brahmins on Dwadashi day and observing Ekadashi Vratham to have children. Even though both of them observed the Vratham without any failure, they were not blessed with children.

As time passed away, Narayana Bhattathiri died. Sreedevi Antharjanam continues the Ekadashi Vratham even after her husband's death. She was referred to by people as Sankaramangalathu Amma (Chamkrothamma). On a Dwadashi day, no Brahmin came to partake her food and she was very disappointed about that. After sometimes, there came a Brahmachari of glowing beauty. It is believed that the Brahmachari who came there as her guest was Lord Vishnu. Seeing him, the Chamkrothamma requested him to take bath in the nearby well and come in to have food. But he asked her whether there are any rivers nearby for him to take bath. She told him that there is a river nearby, but the Asura named Thugalan, living near the river will not allow anyone to take bath there. Chamkrothamma knew that it was Lord Vishnu who is standing in front of her as a disguised Brahmachari. Lord Vishnu went to the river and killed the Thugalan with his Sudarshana Chakra and washed the Chakra in the river. Since then, the place is known as the 'Chakrashalanakadavu'. The Shivalinga which was worshipped by Thugalan was consecrated at a hilly area and a temple was built there which is now known as the 'Thugalassery Mahadeva Temple'.

When Lord Vishnu returned to the house, Chamkrothamma fell down at his feet and worshipped him. She then gave him a grand feast which was served in areca nut sheath. This feeding in areca nut sheath is done even today at Thiruvalla Temple and is referred to as Paala Bhojanam. Padathipazham and Amblanivedam are the other offerings of this temple. It is believed that Lord Vishnu lived there as the son of Sankaramangalathu Amma and he consecrated His Sudarshana Chakra facing the west on the eastern side of the house. Sacred ash known as Vibhuthi is given as the Prasadam in this temple of Sudarshana Chakra.

The idol of Sree Vallabha was consecrated many years after the installation of the idol of Sudarsanamurthy, during the rule of Cheraman Perumal. Cheraman Perumal’s wife was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. One night, the Lord appeared in her dream in the form of Garuda (Lord Vishnu's vehicle) and told that a Vishnu idol is also needed in the Sudarsanamurthy temple as well as pointed out the exact location of the idol. Likewise, the King found the idol from the exact place Garuda has informed. The King consecrated the divine idol at an empty temple in Thiruvalla which was waiting for a suitable idol. The idol here is eight-foot tall and in the standing pose which faces east. When the Sage Durvasa visited this temple, he used Padathipazham (Padathi Banana) as an offering. Since then, Padathipazham is offered to the God at Thiruvalla Temple. The temple is built in such a way that if one is looking at the face of the idol, one will not be able to see his feet and vice versa. Instead of sacred ash Vibhuthi, sandalwood paste is given as the Prasadam of Sree Vallabha Temple.

Speciality of the Temple

Thiruvalla Temple is the only temple in India where Kathakali is being performed the maximum number of times every year. Kathakali is regarded as the greatest offering to Sreevallabha. As per legends, Villwamangalath Swamiyar once visited the Thiruvalla Temple and he found the Lord watching Kathakali along with the audience. Thereafter, they keep a seat covered with silk and a lamp is lit near this divine seat whenever Kathakali is performed at this temple.

Thiruvalla Temple was once famous for Vedic schools. It was famous as Thiruvalla Sala and there were more than 1000 students and 100 teachers in this Vedic school.


  • 4:30 AM to 11:30 AM.
  • 5 PM to 8 PM.

Festivals in the temple

Uthra Sree Bali: The North Nada of the temple remains closed throughout the year except on the auspicious day of ‘Uthra Sree Bali’ during which all the three Goddesses assemble together in the North Nada and are received with all spiritual austerity. Then, all the three Goddess goes inside the temple to invite Sreevallabha and Sudarsanamurthy.

Ekadashi Festival: Celebrated on the eleventh day of every lunar fortnight, Ekadashi Festival is an important event of the Thiruvalla Temple. The Vrishchikam Ekadashi is also of special importance. The commemorative plaque for Gajarajan Kesavan is the main highlight of this festival.

Utsavam or Annual Festival: The annual festival or Utsavam of Thiruvalla Temple is celebrated between the months of February and March and is meant for the purification and revitalizing the powers of the deity.

Dress Code to visit the temple:

Traditional wears are the most preferable attire while visiting Thiruvalla Temple.

Best Time To Visit

Thiruvalla Temple can be visited throughout the year. But the best time to visit Thiruvalla Temple is from October to February.

Way to reach :

 By Air - Trivandrum International Airport is the nearest airport to Thiruvalla Temple which is situated at a distance of 126.1 Km. On reaching the airport, one can hire a taxi or bus to reach the temple.

 By Rail - Thiruvalla Railway station is the nearest railway station to Thiruvalla Temple which is situated at a distance of 5 Km. On reaching the railway station, one can hire a taxi, bus or an autorickshaw to reach the temple.

 By Bus - Thiruvalla Bus Station is the nearest bus station to Thiruvalla Temple which is situated at a distance of 3 Km.