Sunday, 14 August 2011


Ananthapuram Lake Temple is the only lake temple in Kerala, This 9th century temple is considered to be the  moolasthanam (original abode) of Anandapadmanabha, the deity of Sri Padmanabha Swami temple, Thiruvananthapuram. It is located at Ananthapuram,Kumbala- Kasargod. This is the only temple were lord vishnu ,the all pervading reality is symbolised as sitting on the coils of Anantha,the eternal time,in an active state of maintaining the phenomenon of the universe ,surrounded by a lake that represents Ksheera-sagara,the milky ocean,the eternal energy from which all phenomena emerge.

The Vishnu Idol is like sitting on top of Aadiseshan.On each side there is "Boodevi, and Sree Devi" besides them Hanuman and Garuda worshiping the vigraha. on either side of the idol there are Naga Kannikas on the wall. Heavenly maidens fan  the load and his consorts from behind. Jaya and vijaya,loard Vishnu's attendants,stand in guard at the entrance.  
  The walls of the temple are adorned by murals depicting themes from the Puranas and there is a cave which opens out to a small pond where the water level remains steady regardless of climatic changes.

This temple is associated with the great mystic Vilvamangalathu Swami who is believed to have offered penance at this spot.It has been believed that Swami Villua mangala was living here worshiping the Lord Mahavishnu. Once he was offering prayers a  small boy came and started distracting him and finally he got angry . So he pushed the boy by his left hand.Immediately the boy disappeared in a cave next to where he worshiped saying that "If you want to see me again come to Ananthakaadu".Immediately Sree Villua mangala  understood the boy which was Sreekrishna himself and immediately swami followed him to through the cave which take him to the beach side after that the boy completely disappeared. From there he travelled along the beach reaching another krishna temple where he lived for a while and again he continued is journey to the "Ananthakadu which is today's Thiruvananthapuram".

Another unique feature is that the original idol were neither metal nor stone, but made of  a rare combination of about 108 meterial called Kadu-sharkara-yogam. In addition to the external organs, internal organs like heart, lungs, skeletal joints and nervous system are also are realized. In Karingali wood shoolam ( Main skelton -Bone sysytem) made,nerves made of Green cocunut fibers.Other part and body made of kadu-sarkkara-yogam. Kadu-sarkkara-yoga idols are not used for abhishekam. Bahuvera vidhana style pooja is performed here(separate vigraham for Abhishekam,Archana & Ulsavam).Abhishekam performed outside the sreekovil (mukhamandapam), and other pooja will be inside the sreekovil.

The temple is situated in the centre of the Ananthapura Lake, on a remote rocky hill in a calm isolated region. The shrine is encircled by a 'Chuttambalam' (an enclosed verandah running around the building), its walls are adorned by murals and there is a cave within that opens out to a small pond where the water level remains steady regardless of climatic changes.

A very unusual phenomenon of this temple is the presence of a single  crocodile named 'Babia' in the lake .The memory of the very aged  is said to inhabit the lake which is supposed to be the guard of the temple and the interesting fact it that when one dies, another mysteriously takes its place.Its presence in the lake arround the Maha Vishnu temple reminds one of the well-known Gajendra Moksha stories in the Bhagavatha puranam. 'Babia' is friendly and harmless to human beings.

 It is vegitarian crocodile ,every day after the ucchapooja (noon worship) , babia is fed with the prasad (a kind of gruel made of rice and jaggery) offered by the devotees to the deity. In 1945 one british officer shoot crocodile and the officer died same day,Next day new crocodile present in the pound. Current crocodile is the third one, having a age of 65+.

Near the south west corner of the lake there is a shrine housing a very graceful idol of sreekrishna  (Goshala Krishnan) belived to have been the same idol worshipped by  Sri villua managala swamy. 
 Mahaganapathi ,vanasasta and rektheswari are the other prathiksta.

The annual festival is celebrated in the second fortnight of April. The temple is open to all devotees regardless of caste or creed.

Temple timings: Morning: 5.30  am to 1.00 pm    Evening : 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm
Main offering  : Crocodile feeding (Muthalayoottu) @ 11.45 every day.
Main pooja : Karthika pooja
Annadanam 1.00 pm every day.

How to reach :-
 Kasaragod –mangalore Highway (NH-47) – Kumbala Town
From kumbala -4 km towards to Badiyadukka town - Naikappu
Naikappu to Ananthapuri -1 km
GPS Position : 12.58417749754625    74.98194694519043

Address :-
Sri Ananthapadmanabha swamy Temple 
Ananthapura (p.o),Kannur (Via).
Kumbala -Kasaragod (Dt).
Kerala -671321 -India.
Ph: +91 4988 214360

Photos  @ Thekkillam Hari

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Madhur Madanantheswara Siddhi Vinayaka Temple

Madhur madanantheswara Siddhi Vinayaka Temple is located 8 km north-east of Kasaragod town. The imposing structure of the temple rises majestically against the beautiful landscape of hills, paddy fields and gardens with the river Madhuvahini flowing leisurely in front of it. Lord madanantheswara or Shiva is the presiding deity. The Shivalingam of the temple is said to have been found by a   "low caste" lady "Madura" discovered an "Udbhava Murthy" (a statue that was not made by a human) of shiva linga  .The Ganapathy statue was drawn by a priest's son, a small brahmin boy, on the walls of the Garbhagriha(sanctum sanctorum) while playing. Day by day it became big and fat; so that the boy called Ganapathi as "boddajja" or "bodda ganesha" . Although Shiva is the presiding deity, Lord Ganapathy is more famous like in Kottarakkara temple and Vazhappally temple.This is one of the most famous Ganapathi temples of six ganpathi temples of ancients Tulunadu.

Devotees usually offer prayers to Mahaganapathi in the form of "Udayastamana". "Appa", Madhur's famous prasad, is a very tasty preparation. This is prepared daily and anyone offering prayers can avail these at the counters. Among the special poojas that are performed, "Sahasrappa" (Thousand appas) is very prominent. It consists of making an offering of thousand appas and then the devotees get to take home all these (and eat them with full relish). Another very special pooja that happens is Moodappam Seva which involves covering the Mahaganapathi statue withAppam. This is usually done on a community scale. Ganesh Chaturthi and Madhur Bedi are the occasions when the temple is at its busiest.

This temple has a huge three tired 'Gaja prishta' type sreekovil. Top two stories are copper covered.The temple is centuries old and todate is very well maintained. The ceiling of the Namaskara Mantapam of the Madhur Temple has been decorated with beautiful figures of puranic heroes in wood carving. A closer examination of the wood carvings would disclose the various episodes of the Ramayana, beginning with the Putrakame-shtiyagam and ending with Sitha Swayamvaram. The second and third storeys of the sreekovil are also profuse with attractive and exquisite wood carvings. The temple dwaja is also copper covered. The architecture of Madhur temple is unique.   

In 1784 Tippu Sulthan attaked Kumbala border and entered to Madhur area,after drinking water from the well of the temple, he changed his mind on attacking and demolishing the Garbhagudi and marched towards Malabar. But to satisfy his soldiers and Islamic scholars he made a cut with his sword symobolising the attack. The mark is still visible on the building that is built around the temple well.

 Kasi Viswanantha, Sastha, Durga, Subrahmanya and Narasimha are the upadevathas. Pachayappam, Unniyappam and udayasthamana pooja are the main offerings. 

 Vinayaka Chathurthy, Navarathry, Vishu and Shivarathry are the main celebrations. The five day long annual utsavam begins with kodiyettu on Medavishu samkrama day.

How to Reach:

By road:  NH -17 –Kasaragod Town -8 km north-east
By Rail: Kasaragod Rly station .
By Air : Mangalore Airport

Shree Madanantheshwara Siddhivinayaka Temple, Madhur
Kasaragod (Dt), Kerala.
Pin : 671 124 -India
Phone: 04994 240240,
           04994 240666
Temple Guest house available for overnight stay.
GPS Position : 12.55366290890375   75.00991702079773

Saturday, 6 August 2011

TaIiparamba Rajarajeswara Temple

 Rajarajeswara (Rajarajeswara is one of the names of Shiva) Temple is situated at Taliparamba, 23 km away from Kannur. Taliparamba or Perinchalloor was one among the 64 brahminical settlement. The old name of Taliparamba was 'Lakshmipura' as this place was considered as an abode of prosperity. All the fame and prosperity to Perinchelloor Gramam is because of the presence of Sree Raja Rajeswara temple and the blessings of Perum Thrikkovilappan.Perinchelloor Gramam has been referred in the Tamil book "Pathittupathu",Chelloor Nadhodaym Chambu (Sanskrit), Kerala Pazhama, Kerala Mahatmyam,Jambukolpathi,Kokila Sandesam, Keralolpathi and many more. Between A.D.216 and 333 Perinchelloor was the capital of Perumakkans as referred in "Pathittupath".


     This temple has a prominent place amongst the numerous Shiva temples in South India. If any problem is encountered in temples of South India, the final solution is sought in this Temple through a prasna, a traditional method of astrological decision making. The prasna is conducted on a peedha (a raised platform) situated outside the temple. Taliparamba is one among 108 Shiva Temples in Kerala(ancient Kerala from Gokarnam to Kanyakumari) created by Lord Parasurama. Among these temples 12 are considered as most important and called Dwadasa Shivalayas(12 shiva temples). They are Gokarnam Mahabaleswara Temple(now in Karnataka), Taliparamba Rajarajeswara Temple, Kottiyoor Perumal Temple, Thrissur Vadakkunnatha Temple, Peruvanam Mahadeva Temple, Kodungalloor Thiruvanchikkulam Mahadeva Temple, Vaikom Mahadeva Temple, Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, Kaduthuruthy Mahadeva Temple, Chengannur Mahadeva Temple, Kandiyoor Mahadeva Temple and Suchindram Sthanumalaya Perumal Temple(for more details about these temples visit 108 Shivalya page).

Taliparamba is regarded as one of the ancient Shakti Peethams. Legend has it that the head of Sati fell here after Shiva's tandavam following Sati's self-immolation. So this temple is popularly known as Rajarajeswari Temple. Siro Peetham or Sirassu is the other names given for Rajarajeswari Temple in some ancient documents. Interestingly Taliparamba Rajarajeswari Temple is also included in the list of 108 Durga Temples created by Lord Parasuram. In the list Taliparamba is mentioned as "Sirassilum".


The quadrangular sanctum has a two tiered pyramidal roof. In front of the sanctum is the namaskara mandapam. The temple has no kodi maram (flagstaff) as opposed to other temples in Kerala. The balikkal has no roof but is embellished by a mysterious figure with a peculiar face. In front of the balikkal is a small rectangular building with a pyramidal roof, which is not usually found anywhere else. An inscription on the structure of the temple tank (which is a little away from the temple on the north side) indicates that the temple and the tank were renovated in 1524 A.D.

Sub Deities - Upadevathas

The Shiva linga here is believed to be thousands of years old. Legend has it that Shiva gave three sacred Sihvalingas to Parvathy for worship. Once sage Maandhatha propitiated Lord Shiva with intense prayers. Shiva was so pleased that he presented one of the Shivalingas to him with the injunction that it should be installed only at a place where there was no cremation ground. The sage, after searching all over, found Taliparamba the most sacred spot where he installed the linga.

After his death the linga however disappeared into the earth. Then his son Muchukunda offered similar prayers to Shiva and got a second linga, which too disappeared in course of time. Centuries passed. The third Shivalinga was handed down to Satasoman, a king of Mushaka (Kolathunad) dynasty who then ruled the region. He was an ardent devotee of Shiva. On the advice of sage Agastya he prayed to Lord Shiva who granted him the Shivalinga. Parasurama installed the Lingam in the present temple built by Satasoma.

Glory of Namaskaramandapa

The Namaskara Mandapa (mukha mandapa) infront of the Sreekovil(sanctum sanctorum) is the place where Lord Sree Rama (on his way back to Ayodhya from Lanka after defeating Ravana) prostrated before Raja Rajeswara. As a respect to Sree Rama no one is allowed into this namaskara mandapa and offer prayers, which is permitted in other temples for Brahmins.

Pooja Timing

The temple opens at 4.00 am in the morning and after Uchha pooja the temple will be closed at 12 am. The temple opens again at 5 pm. The Deepaaraadhana is performed at 6.30 pm and the last pooja, the Athazha pooja takes place at 8 pm.

While men are allowed to enter the Nalambalam always, woman are allowed only after the Athazha pooja in the night. At this time the Lord is supposed to be happy in the company of his consort, Parvathi, and pleased to grant the desires of His devotees whom pray to him with humility and sincerity and this is considered to be the most auspicious time for women to enter the Naalambalam as they get the occasion to worship the divine couple.

Thanthri - Chief Priest

There are four Thanthris belonging to four Illams such as Poonthottathil Pudayoor Mana, Eruvesi Pudayoor Mana Edavalath Pudayoor Mana and Naduvath Pudayoor Mana. The present Thatris are Brahmasri P.P.Vasudevan Namboodiri, Brahmasri P.P.Pandurangan Namboodiri, Brahmasri E.P.Harijayandan Namboodiri , Brahmasri E.P.Kuberan Namboodiripad and Brahmasri N.P.Narayanan Namboodiri.

Traditional way of visiting the temple- Darsana Krama

According to the traditional system of visiting this temple the devotee first worship Lord Krishna at the shrine of Vasudevapuram located at the southern bank of the vast temple tank known as Aashraamath-chira, where there is a beautiful idol of Krishna playing the flute. Then, proceeding towards Sree Rajarajeswara temple one worship at the shrine of Sree Bhoothanatha (Kumbhodhara), who is the chief lieutenant of lord Shiva. The main entrance is on the east and before entering the nalambalam one turns eastwards and offers prayers to lord Vaidyanatha(kanhirangaatt-appan), an aspect of lord Shiva worshipped as the lord of physicians, enshrined in temple about 6 km from Rajarajeswara temple.

On entering the eastern gate the devotee makes a circumambulation of the whole central shrine before stepping inside the shrine. Towards the northern side there is a small shrine of a guardian deity called Yakshi. Usually a Yakshi is considered to be a female spirit with malevolent propensities, but the Yakshi installed here represents a prosperity-giving and benevolent spiritual power. The figure is a life size wooden sculpture of unique charm. The Yakshi is represented as one who is intently into a mirror.

After worshipping this guardian deity the devotee, proceeds towards the front of the central shrine and worships the Rishabha, the bull  mount of lord Shiva out side the central shrine facing the lord. Near Rishabha is the Balikkallu of huge proportions, made of granite with many figurines and intricate carvings. Because of its great antiquity it calls for replacing it with a new one, maintaining its exact proportions and carving.

While circumambulating the Naalambalam (the outer structure around Sree Kovil, the sanctum sanctorum), one walk towards the left side and from the Nirarithikonam (south-west corner) worships Goddess Annapoorneshwari of the famous shrine in Cherukunnu, a few kilometer away, and standing on the west one worships Goddess Bhadrakaali enshrined in another renowned shrine of divine mother in Maadaayikkavu. Originally, it is said, that goddess Bhadrakaali was worshipped in the western Gopuram of Sri Rajarajeswara temple and later the idol was taken and installed in the shrine at Maadaayikkavu.

After making the circumambulation outside the Nalambalam the devotee enters the inner space around the sanctum sanctorum to worship lord Rajarajeswaras Jyothirlingam. As usual in the temples of lord Shiva, the circumambulation is performed only up to the theertha-channel and it is completed with a reverse circumambulation up to the channel.

On the west of the sanctum sanctorum is the seat of divine mother Pravathi, the consort of lord Shiva. The door here is permanently closed. There is a symbolic legend regarding the permanent closure of this door. This legend is related to the active presence of both Shiva and Vishnu aspects of reality in this shrine.

Like many a temple legend this aspect is also symbolized by a very personalized legend relating to lord Shiva and lord Vishnu through an interesting story. According to it, once Goddess Mahalakshmi, consort of lord Vishnu, came to the shrine to pay obeisance to lord Rajarajeshwara. On seeing the arrival of Mahalakshmi, the lord decided that there should be her prosperity-bestowing presence also in the shrine. Therefore, the lord immediately assumed the form of Mahavishnu and goddess Mahalakshmi entered the sanctum sanctorum presuming that it was her lord and seated beside him. And only when lord Shiva assumed his original form did Mahalakshmi realize the mistake. After paying her respects to the lord, she was about to make a hurried exit through the back door when lord Shiva ordered his attendants, the Bhoothaganas, to permanentely close the door on western side at the seat of goddess Parvathi so that the aspect of material prosperity which goddess Mahalakshmi represented should also be vibrant in the shrine for the benefit of the worshippers.

Later, when lord Vishnu arrived at the temple in search of his consort, lord Shiva’s attendants prayed to him to allow the presence of goddess Lakshmi also in the temple for the benefit of the devotees, which lord Vishnu gladly conceded to before taking his consort along with him.

The legend thus signifies in a way interesting to the common people the special message that the spiritual presence in the shrine benefits the devotees for their material and spiritual well being. Signifying this combination of the Shaiva and Vaishnava aspects in the shrine, twice a year, during Shivaratri and Vishu, the Uthsavamoorthi of the nearby renowned Srikrishna temple of Trichambaram is ceremoniously brought to Sri Rajarajeshwara temple and both are worshipped on the same peetha. This is a unique custom in Taliparamba temple and thousands of devotees gather here on these days to have the darsan of Umamaheswara and Lakshminarayana. The Vishukkani darsanam in this temple is thus auspicious. This also signifies the fact that Shiva and Vishnu are the same. There is no Shaiva Vaishnava difference exists in Kerala.

The place Taliparamba is also known as Lakshmipuram and it is believed that the name is related to this legend. In some hymns to lord Rajarajeshwara the lord is also addressed as the Aishwarya prabhu, the lord of prosperity and Lakshmi Puraadheeshwaran the lord of Lakshmipuram.

Taliparamba Temple is also connected with two more temples - Thrichambaram Sree Krishna Temple andCherukunnu Annapoorneswari Temple. Taliparamba, Thrichambaram and Cherukunnu temples are collectively called Moonnambalams (three temples). Those who visit Taliparamba temple should also visit Thrichambaram and Cherukunnu temples. Visit to these three temples is called Moonnambalam Thozhal. Though it is not practised as widely as it was in the earlier days, it is still a religious custom among many local Hindu women to visit four prominent temples in Taliparamba when they are pregnant. For getting good children and for normal delivary pregnant women (before 5 months) usually visit these three temples along with Kanjirangad Sree Vaidyanatha Temple. It is believed that Shiva at Rajarajeshwara temple assures the child a high status, Sri Krishna of Trichambaram bestows with good nature and mental qualities, Goddess Annapoorneswari at Cherukunnam with wealth and the deity at Kanjiragat temple with long life. Now these four temples are well connected with roads. It is very easy now to visit these temples in a single day. Many pilgrims from different parts of the State visits these temples every day. These temples also attract devotees from neighbouring States especially from Karnataka.

Offerings - Vazhipadu

Ghee in small pots are offered to the presiding deity Shiva and are placed on steps leading to the sanctum. Its called Neyyamrithu in Malayalam language. The custom is that just as kings and emperors are seen only by offering some gifts-kazhchha-the Lord of Taliparamba, who is King of Kings, can be seen only by placing naiamrithu on the sopanam (steps leading to the sanctum). The ghee offered is used for abhisheka and for lighting the lamps in the central shrine. On auspicious days like Mondays, pradosham etc., hundreds of such small naiamrithu pots can be seen placed before the deity.

Festivals - Utsavams
Mahasivratri and Vishu are the two main annual festivals here. The 21 days annual festivals start in first week of March every year.

Rajarajeswara Stotras
The most distinguished of the royal poets of the Zamorin of Calicut, Uddanda Sastri, being a Nirgunopasaka was never given to worshipping of deities. Whenever he visited any temple he simply stood before the deity folding his hands. But when he stood before Rajarajeswara, the Kings, at Taliparamba he was so overwhelmed by the magnificence of the deity that he unconsciously uttered the words, 'Hara Hara Mahadeva', and prostrated himself before the Lord. Then and there he composed a verse to the effect that when he saw the splendorous crescent adorning the idol his hands automatically joined together in prayer. "Moon on your head is like an actual moon which makes the devotees fold their hand as if a water lilly does in the moonlight".

Kings and Rajarajeswara

In the past Kerala was divided into many small kingdoms and there were many kings/rulers. They all considered Lord Rajarajeswara as their Chakaravarthy (Rajarajeswara or King of Kings). The region was ruled by Zamorins(Samoothiri) of Kozhikkod and they were devotees of Lord Rajarajeswara. One of the Zamorins was an ardent devotee of the Lord of Taliparamba. After years of intense worship he is said to have entered the sanctum sanctorum and merged with the God. Even today when the elder Zamorin dies the information should be given to the temple authorities and the Lord is supposed to observe mourning. Even the distant Travancore kings paid obeisance to the deity by offering an elephant whenever a ruler is crowned or visited the temple.

The Taliparamba temple also was subject to attack by Tipu Sultan. One finds relics of the old gigantic gopuram at the entrance, which was demolished by Tipu's army. The story goes that when the temple was under siege, the head priest was inside the sanctum sanctorum and prayed ceaselessly day and night. it is further said that a black snake bit the commander of the army and a hooded serpent appeared before every soldier thus immobilizing the army and saving the temple from total destruction.

The place is considered as most sacred for performing Koodiyattam and Chakyar Koothu. Whenever a new Koodiyattam is being directed, first it is usually performed at this temple. However only the 'Maani' family of Chakyars solely posses the right of performing Koodiyattam here. Legendary Koodiyattam and Chakyar koothu maestro, Natyaachaarya Vidushakaratnam Padma Shri Maani Madhava Chakyaar had performed here for many decades. The title 'Vidushakaratnam' was awarded to him from this temple. One of the greatest appreciation or award that an artist/scholar can get, is the 'Veerashringhala'- Golden Bracelet, from the temple, given by the unanimous approval of the scholar body of the temple. Guru Mani Madhava Chakyaar is the youngest and last person to get the Veerashringhala from here.

Contact Details
Taliparamba Rajarajeswara Temple
Taliparamaba,Kannur, Kerala

Phone: 0460 203457
A guest house with modem facilities at low cost is ready for devotees in the temple premise,
Ph : 0460 2206929.

How to Reach:

By Road:  Kannur–Taliparamba(NH -17) -23 km from Kannur
By Train: Kannur /Payyanur Station
By Air : Kozhikode /Mangalore Airport.
GPS Position : 12.043869170345593  75.3568822145462