Temples Vaikom - Kerala
Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is one of the supreme shrines of Lord Mahadevan. This temple is popularly known as the Kashi of South and is devoted to Lord Shiva. The deity of Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is known by the name "Vaikkathappan". The vast temple courtyard stretches over an area of about 8 acres. The temple has four gopuras with the images of epic characters from Hindu Mythology. It is one of the few temples which is worshipped by both the Shaivites and the Vaishnavaites. This temple is a classic example of traditional Kerala architecture which is believed to have been built by Parasurama, the incarnation of Vishnu.
Vaikathashtami is the most prominent festival of the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple which is celebrated with much pomp and grandeur. It is celebrated between the months of November and December which extends to 12 days. The elephant pageants and the traditional art performances are the major highlights of Vaikathashtami.
History of the Temple:
As per legends, saint Vyaghrapada saw Lord Shiva along with Goddess Parvati at this place on Vrishchikam, which is the Krishna Paksha. Hence, the people began calling this place as Vyaghrapadapuram. Later, when the Tamil language became popular here, Vyaghrapadapuram came to be known as Vaikom.
Another popular myth about this temple is related to an asura named Khara. On receiving the Shaiva Vidya Upadesh from Malyavan, Kharasura went to Chidambaram and did severe penance and Tapasya for the attainment of Moksha. Being pleased with his penance, Lord Shiva presented Kharasura three Shiva Lingas. Kharasura returned to Kerala from the Himalayas with all three Shiva Lingas, holding one on his left hand, one in right and the third one was hung from his neck. During his journey, he felt tired. So, he kept the three Shiva Lingas on the ground and sat to rest. When he got up, he was not able to lift the Lingas. Suddenly, he heard a voice from the heaven saying that the Lingams will remain there to help people attain moksha. Hence, after attaining moksha, Kharasura entrusted the Lingams to saint Vyaghrapada and left the place. The Shiva Linga which was held in the right hand of Kharasura was consecrated at Vaikom, the one which was hung in the neck is at Kaduthruthy and the one held in his left hand at Ettumanoor. The devotees believe that Lord Shiva grants all their wishes if they worship at these three shrines on the same day before Ucha Pooja.
Another myth about Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is related to saint Parasurama. One day, as the saint Parasurama was passing by this place, he saw a Siva Lingam in water with holy rays. When he understood that this Shiva Lingam was placed by Kharasura, he worshipped the Shiva Lingam to attain moksha. It is believed that saint Parasurama built the Mahadeva Temple at Vaikom and he is the one who planned all the customs of this temple. It is regarded as the oldest temple of Kerala where the devotees worship Lord Shiva regularly. Locals believe that the Shiva Lingam dates back to the Treta Yuga and in all these years the Pooja of the temple took place daily with no break. Lord Shiva is worshipped in three different forms at this temple. In the morning, Lord Shiva is worshipped as Sri. Dakshinamurthy who grants knowledge, wisdom and understanding to the devotees. At noon, he is worshipped as Kiratha Moorthy who removes all dangers and grants success in all work. In the evening, he is worshipped as Shakti Panchakshari who blesses devotees all worldly pleasures. Shakti Panchakshari is the form in which Lord Shiva is with his wife Goddess Parvati and sons Lord Ganesha and Lord Karthikeya.
The holy ash which is given as prasadam is believed to cure people from hysteria, poison and wounds as per myth. At the north of the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple, there is a pond which is believed to have been created by Lord Shiva from the Ganges from his hair as per the request of saint Parasurama.
At the north-eastern part of this temple, there is a well. And the myth regarding this well goes like this: Nidagha, once came to the saint Vyaghrapada and requested him to take him as his disciple. Saint Vyaghrapada took Nidagha as his disciple and taught him hymns of Lord Shiva. On an Ashtami day, they were worshipping Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha. Lord Shiva was very happy with the hymns, so he came to the north-eastern part of the shrine to perform Anand Thandava. While he was dancing, a few drops of water fell from his hair which he named as Sivananda Theertha.
At the eastern side of the temple, there is a pond. And the myth regarding this well goes like this: once, two Brahmins from Kanyakumari, named Shankara and Mukunda came to Vaikom while they were travelling to Kashi. While Shankara was busy listening to the Bhajans and having food at the shrine, Mukunda left him and set off to Kashi. A few days later, Shankara felt lonely and was sad that he could not take a bath in River Ganges. He also fell in severe fever. So, he prayed to Lord Shiva. As a result, Lord Shiva came to him in his sleep. The Lord asked him to take a bath in the pond at the eastern side of the temple to fulfil his wish. Next morning, Shankara took bath in the pond and he felt as if he was bathing in the Ganges. This pond is considered as good as the River Ganges and the people call it Arathihara Theertha.
Speciality of the Temple
Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is one among the three powerful Shiva temples in Kerala and the other two temples that fall in this list are Ettumanoor Shiva Temple and Kaduthruthy Mahadeva Temple.
The devotees believe that Lord Shiva grants all their wishes if they worship at these three shrines on the same day before Ucha Pooja.
It is one of the few temples which is worshipped by both the Shaivites and the Vaishnavaites.
Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is one among the biggest temples in Kerala and has a vast courtyard of about 8 acres. The temple premises is levelled by river sand.
The Sreekovil of the temple is covered with copper sheets. Also, the Sreekovil has a front chamber, known as the Mukha Mandapa. The Mukha Mandapa is built with stone and wood. The Sreekovil also has a second chamber which is square in shape and is built with stone.
The Shiva Lingam which is of black stone and six feet in height is kept inside the Sreekovil. The Shiva Lingam has three eyes, nose and four hands and wears a Chandrakala which means the crescent.
There is a flagstaff made of gold at the temple. One can find a stone image of Lord Ganesha near the Balikkalpura of the temple. The Balikkalpura means the sacrificial stone. The inner roof of the Namaskara Mandapa depicts stories from Ramayana. The temple also has a single rock cut statue of Nandi, which is considered as the vehicle of Lord Shiva.
- 5 AM to 12 PM.
- 4 PM to 9 PM.
Festivals in the temple
Vaikathashtami: Vaikathashtami is the most prominent festival of the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple which is celebrated with much pomp and grandeur. This grand temple festival extends for 12 days and is celebrated between the months of November and December.
Shivaratri: Vaikom Mahadeva Temple also celebrates Shivaratri festival.
Dress Code to visit the temple:
Traditional wears are the most preferable attire while visiting the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple. Women can wear Saree, Churidar, and Pavada and blouse to this temple. Men are not allowed to wear shirts while entering the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple.
Best Time To Visit
Vaikom Mahadeva Temple can be visited throughout the year. But the best time to visit Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is between the months of November and December as you can take part in the Vaikathashtami.
Way to reach :
By Air - Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport to Vaikom Mahadeva Temple which is situated at a distance of 76 Km. On reaching the airport, one can hire a taxi or bus to reach the temple.
By Rail - Vaikom Road Railway Station is the nearest railway station to Vaikom Mahadeva Temple which is situated at a distance of 12.5 Km. On reaching the railway station, one can hire a taxi or bus to reach the temple.
By Bus - Vaikom Bus Station is the nearest bus station to Vaikom Mahadeva Temple which is just 1Km away. Many state transport buses and private buses are easily available from major cities to Vaikom.