Sri Visalakshi Sametha Sri Viswanatha Swamy Temple, popularly called as Kalpathy Temple, is located in the Kalpathy village of Palakkad District in Kerala. Locally called as Kundukovil and Dakshina Kashi, the temple enshrines the deities of Lord Shiva who is worshipped as Lord Viswanathaswamy and his consort, Goddess Parvati, who is worshipped as Visalakshi. Kalpathy Temple is situated by the banks of the Kalpathy River (Nila Nadhi), a tributary of Bharathapuzha, and surrounded by the four Tamil Brahmin agraharams or traditional villages, namely, New Kalpathy, Old Kalpathy, Chathapuram and Govindarajapuram.
The presiding deity, Lord Viswanathaswami is surrounded by a Kshnaiga lingam. The idol of Lord Subramanya is flanked by his consorts, Valli and Devayani, and Kalabairava. On the right side of the inner prakara is the Kanaka Sabhai where you can see the bronze idol of Lord Nataraja.
Another interesting feature of this Dakshina Kashi Temple is that the idols of Sri Viswanathaswamy and Sri Visalakshi are attached to the pedestals by Ashtabandhanam which is a mixture of eight elements. These help fix the idol to the peetham or base. The Viswanathaswamy idol is a Bana Lingam which extends four carpenter’s angul (inch) higher than the pedestal, while the idol of Vishalakshi is placed twenty four inches above the pedestal up to the top of the crown.
The Kalpathy Vishwanatha Swamy shrine is the oldest Shiva temple situated 3 kms from Palakkad.The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Location : Kalpathy Temple, Kalpathy, Palakkad, Kerala, India.
Gods : Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati
Landmark : Nearest Bus Station : Kalpathy Temple is just 3 km from the town of Palakkad. Palakkad Central Bus Station operates bus services which connects Palakkad with all nearby towns and cities in Kerala including Guruvayoor, Thrissur, Ernakulam (Kochi), and Thiruvananthapuram. Palakkad Bus Station also operates interstate bus services to many cities including Bangalore, Coimbatore and Chennai. Nearest Airport : Coimbatore Airport in Tamil Nadu is the nearest airport to reach Kalpathy, just 55 km away. Other nearest airports to reach Kalapthi are the Karipur Airport or Calicut International Airport (130 km), and Cochin International Airport (140 km) at Nedumbassery, Kochi. Nearest Railway Station : Palakkad Junction Railway Station, one of the major railheads managed by the Southern Railways, is the nearest railway station to reach Kalpathy Viswanatha Swamy Temple. Located at Olavakkode, the station is also known as Olavakkode Railway Station. Palakkad Town Railway Station is another nearest railway station situated inside the town limits.
The annual Kalpathy Ratholsavam celebrated during November is the most famous temple festival celebrated here, it lasts for seven days. On the last three days, beautifully decorated temple chariots are ceremoniously drawn through the streets by thousands of devotees whose soul stirring chants rent the air.
The festival is dominated by three magnificent chariots, bedecked with flowers and flags, each sanctified by the presence of the lord.
Teeming crowds of people and millions of hands try to reach out to be one of the privileged to have the honour of pulling the chariots, as they proceed in stately grandeur.
This chariot festival which is held in November attracts numerous devotees who throng here to witness the beautifully decorated temple chariots which are ceremoniously drawn through the streets.
Vedic recitals are held in the temple throughout the festival. Vedic chants sonorously recited by the Vedic scholars escorting the god, makes Kalpathy come alive with the spirit of true devotion and joyous celebration. The Tamil Brahmin villages adjacent to the temple have been declared a World Heritage site. A visit to these villages offer a glimpse of the cultural life that existed 1000 years ago.
Kalpathy Viswanatha Swamy Temple is linked to the Kasi Viswanatha Swami Temple, because the main deity here is Lord Siva and the temple is on the banks of river Kalpathy, like Kasi on the banks of river Ganges. Hence there is a saying, Kasiyil Pathi Kalpathy, that is, half of Kasi is Kalpathy. The shrine is situated at the bottom of eighteen steps that lead from the eastern Gopuram. There is a huge Dhwajasthambam which is of 40 feet high in front of the temple. The banyan trees on the right side of the temple are considered as Sthala Vriksham (sacred tree) and the serpent gods consecrated here are offered Poojas.
There is a stone inscription in front of the Kalpathy Shiva Temple which tells that it was built in the Malayalam Year 600 (1425) by Sree lttikombi Achan Raja of Palakkad. Hence Kalpathy Viswanatha Swamy Temple is regarded as the oldest temple in Malabar. Next to the stone slab is the Bhadralingam (Bhadra Linga). The idol of Gnana Nandikeswarar is seen in front of it, facing Lord Viswanathaswamy. The eight sides of the prakaram are for Lord Indra, Lord Agni, Yama Deva, Niruruthi, Lord Varuna, Lord Vayu, Lord Kubera, and Lord Eesanan. The idol of Sri Viswanathaswamy is situated in the direction of Kubera, facing east, and near to this is Goddess Visalakshi facing south. Nandikeswarar, who is seen in front of Sri Viswanathaswamy, appears in three forms. The three forms indicate Aathmathathwam, Vidyathathwam and Sivathathwam.