Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple
Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is an ancient Shiva temple in Kottayam, Kerala, India. It has brought glory and fame to the place. Myths have it that the Pandavas and the sage Vyasa had worshipped at this temple. The name of the place has its origin from the word 'manoor', which means the land of deer.
This temple is situated in Ettumanoor, a small town near Vaikom. It is believed that an Asura called Khara got three Shivalingas from Lord Shiva himself. He brought them to Kerala, holding one by his teeth and one each in his left and right hand. While the Lingam held by his teeth was consecrated in Kaduthuruthi, the one held in his right hand was consecrated in Vaikom and the one held in his left hand was consecrated in Ettumanoor. After consecrating all these three temples in the same day, Khara is believed to have become a deer and was doing service to the Gods. It is believed that the God in Ettumanoor took the deer in his hand and held it there, Because of that, this place was called Udhruthaina Puram, which translated to Malayalam became Ettumanoor (The place where the deer was lifted).
The major worship in this temple is lighting of lamps. An ever glowing, very big lamp can be seen as soon as you enter the temple. The devotees pour oil on to this lamp. Lately, since the oil is being received more than needed for the lamp, a vessel has been kept near by where if the lamp is full, devotees can pour the oil they have brought into it. There is apparently, a story behind this. It appears a brass metal worker once made a huge bronze lamp, brought it to this temple and pleaded with its management to buy it from him. They simply laughed at him and informed him that the temple had no necessity to buy a lamp since they already had sufficient lamps. Crest fallen, the metal worker pleaded with the Lord consecrated there and lo ! suddenly a big storm started around the temple. The temple management realized that God was angry at their behaviour and bought the lamp and installed it there. From that time the lamp has been constantly burning in front of the deity.
Though the uthsava idol of Shiva is an eight handed figure and is in a 'roudra bhava' (appearing in a very angry posture). the devotees only see Him as a merciful form.
The temple is very artistically constructed and has a copper roof. Several wooden sculptures can be found around the temple. There are also statues of two bulls in this temple. There are also temples for Dakshinamurthy (very rare in Kerala), Ganapathi and Sastha in this temple. There is an engraving in the temple which indicates that it was constructed about 400 years ago.
The festival in this temple is celebrated in the month of Kumbham (February-March), and lasts for ten days. The Thiruvadira festival and Shivarathri are also celebrated in this temple. The eighteen part worship for Shivarathri is famous. People refer the God in this temple as “Ettumanoor-appan”.
Location : Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, Ettumanoor, Kottayam, Kerala, India.
Gods : Lord Siva
Landmark : Nearest Airport: Ettumanoor Temple is located at Ettumanoor, which is 73 km away from Cochin International Airport. Nearest Railway Station: Ettumanoor Railway Station connects the temple with the network of Indian railways. This is a halt for some express trains of the region. Nearest Bus Station: Ettumanoor is located 11 km north-east of Kottayam district and 65 km away from Cochin. Main Central (MC) Road of the state connects the town from various towns of the region.
Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple hosts the Arattu Festival celebrated on a grand scale on the Thiruvathira day in February–March every year. Lot of people come to this temple on the 8th and 10th day of the festival when seven and half elephants (in Malayalam: ezharaponnaana) made of gold (nearly 13 Kgms) will be held in public view.
'Ezharaponnaana Ezhunallathu', which is procession with the image of deity is happened on 8th day. On this occassion temple's unique treasure, the seven and a half golden elephants (ezhara ponnaana) denoting the 8 dhik paalakas or the guardians of the cardinal directions are displayed.
The Thulabharam is one of the important rituals of this temple. People make offerings to God for favours received. On balance, the child or man for whom offerings were promised to God, is weighed against offerings ranging from gold to fruits.