4.jpgTravel essay 1 .jpg            paramekkavu temple                                                  (The lady i saw there)7.png                                                                              (  kudamattam)89.pngIlanjitharamelam


Trissur pooram(The site from which i took the photo is WWW.southdreams.com)


Vadakunnathan temple


15 October was  really special to me because on that day I  went to two great temples in Kerala, the Vadakkunnathan temple and the Paramekkavu temple. I went to these temples with my Amma(mother). We started our bus journey at 6.30 am. It was a half hour journey. In the bus I sat with an old lady. She was about 60 years old and she had put some sandal paste on her forehead. Her hair was white in color. She asked me, “Where are you going?” I replied, “I am going to the Vadakkunnathan temple”. Then she suddenly said, “Shiva, Shiva, if anyone goes there with any wishes and he/she  prays deeply then that wish  comes true”.Her words made me excited. Soon we reached the heart of Trissur city where both the temples are located.

Before entering the Vadakunnathan temple  Amma bought some jasmine flowers for us to put in our  hair.  I was not happy because I don’t like the smell of jasmine flowers. Then suddenly the lady selling the flowers said, “You should wear jasmine flowers in your hair at least when you are going to the temple”. Amma laughed at me. Then I put the flowers in my hair and we entered  the Vadakkunnathan temple. The locality of the temple is called Thekkinkadu Maidhanam. The Maidhanam or field got this name because of the teak trees which grow on it. In Malayalam, “thekkinkadu” means “teak forest”. The temple is open to all from 4.00 to 10.30 in the morning and 5.00 to 8.30 in the evening. Here, Shiva is known as Vadakkunnathan. The Vadakkunnathan temple has won the UNESCO award . It is one of the biggest Shiva temples in Kerala. The temple has a ground where the world famous Trissur “pooram” or festival is celebrated.

The outside atmosphere  of  the temple was really cool so most of the people were sitting  under the trees. Then finally I entered   the temple. The calmness inside the temple amused me. And everywhere we could  smell the fragrance of sandal wood paste, prasdham,ghee. We prayed in front of the Shiva linga(An ideal form of lord Shiva) . Many people were going around the temple  chanting “Ohm nama Shivaya” and my Amma also did the same. I was really surprised that we couldn’t even see the shiva linga because the Shiva linga was covered with ghee, used for the ‘Abhishekam’(ablution). The ghee mound is eleven feet in height. And this is the only temple in which the lingam is not visible because of the ghee and it is also heard that  the ghee offered here is centuries old but it does not have any foul odour and it does not melt even in the summer. While speaking to one of the old ladies in the temple I got to know that this Shiva lingam was made by lord Parasurama(one of the ten form of lord Vishnu). No one knew the exact year in which the temple was built. She told me that there are many stories in relation to the creation of the temple. But she told me one of the stories  is when Parasurama retrieved Kerala from Varuna (sea god) by throwing his axe from gokarnam,he prayed to Shiva to save the people from all dangers and give prosperity. Then Shiva(Hindu god)  and Parvathi devi(Hindu god) gave “Darshanam”(showed themselves visually to the devotees)  here, which is the middle portion of the retrieved area. In this temple there is one pepal tree which is on the outside of the temple, people believed that under which Shiva and Parvathi devi are said to have given darshanam to Parashurama. So this place is called “Sreemoolastanam”. Here the main upadeva’s are Mahavishnu,Sankaranarayanan and Ganapathy. The temple is also a house of museum for ancient wall painting and carvings. They are made in the exact style of kerala. I noticed there were  no small children inside the temple. Because children below the age of 1 are not allowed to get inside the temple. I got “Prasadham”(which is given by the priest after the pooja) which is mainly turmeric powder. Basically it’s a big temple and so many idols  are there so the devotees follow special  order for praying inner and outer sanctum of the temples. There is a particular dress code for both males and females, for boys the dress code is pancha or mundu(in malayalam).And they have to remove their shirt and hold it in one side of the shoulder when they are getting inside the temple. For girls they can wear kerala saree or ordinary saree,churidhar with dhupatta or half saree. Both men and women are not allowed to wear jeans and slippers   inside the temple. I found one family from Thamilnadu. I spoke with them and asked about their experience in this temple. They said that they where really happy to be here because they believed that after coming here they get some sort of satisfaction and energy. So they used to come here atleast twice a year. The main festival here is ‘Maha Shivaratri’. On this day the cultural and musical programs are held in the temple. Around one lakh of lamps are lit during this festival. The second largest festival is “Aanayoottu” in which many elephants are lined and  the people feed them (‘Aana’ means elephant ant ‘oottu’ means feeding). The people are come to pray and offer some thing for their wishes.

After spending some more time Vadakkunnathan temple we went to Paramekkavu temple. It is so surprising that they are really close to each other separated by a single road. So we just crossed the road and went to the temple. Comparing Vadakunnathan temple it is much smaller  but it is one of the biggest Shiva temples in Kerala. Here also the same dress code is being followed. After entering in to the temple I saw many people were ordering small lamps and “Vazhipadu(vazhipadu means people will pay money to get something for their benefit)” in the counter. Small children were running here and there. Many people were going around the temple by chanting “Devi Sharanam”. Inside the temple everyone was really concentrating on their prayer. Suddenly one girl said that “ most of the devotees are college boys so they might have an exam today”. I laughed at her but she suddenly went away seeing me laughing. Like Vadakkunnathan temple here also I could see the architectural ability of ‘people who are lived in that era’. I prayed for some time in front of the idol of the Baghavathi(god). Then I got “Theertham” which is mainly the Pooja water so we have to drink and put in our head. The idol has eight arms and is in a seated posture. Here  I met the same people who were in the vadakkunnathan temple.We got ‘Prasadham’ , the prasadham is sandal wood paste and Kunkumam(red colored powder).and also they gave some Thulsi(holy basil) and flowers. Then we sat there for some time and came out of the temple. Many people who were going for jobs through roads stood in front of the temple and closed their eyes for a minute and prayed to the god. The two temples are situated at  the center of the city so there are many hotels and shops near  the temple. The Tamil family I met went to have their breakfast. Because when we go to the temple we shouldn’t eat anything. It’s not a rule but it’s a norm. The story behind the temple is really interesting because everyone says that the ‘Karanavar’ (older member) of ‘Kuruppal Tharavad(house name)’ was used to visit Thirumandhamkunnu Bhagavathy regularly. But when he become old he decided to visit the Bhagavathi for the last time. After visiting he returned and he took some rest under the ‘Illanhi’ tree. He put down his umbrella but after resting he wasn’t able to take his umbrella back because it was fixed on the ground. Because a divine power had revealed itself in that umbrella. Then the divine power shifted to  present paro tree. So the goddess is came to know that parokkavu Bhagavathy. Later it changed to Paramekkavu Bhagavathy.

The main festival here is Thrissur Pooram. It’s a biggest gathering festival in Asia which is  celebrated in front of Vadakkunnathan but truly  this temple has no role in this festival. The principle  participants are Paramekkavu Bhagavathy temple and Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna temple. They are faced each other 500 metre apart. These places are filled with lakhs of  people during the festival day. The main events are “Ilanjithara melam”(Is an assembly of percussion performance artist held at llanji tree at the courtyard of the Vadakkunnathan temple). fire works and “Kudamaatam”.Kudamattam is one of the best display of Trissur pooram festival. Color and display of umbrellas over the top of elephants are very beautiful. Both temples will have 15 elephants. They are decorated and stand in a line so that they are faced to each other. Then their friendly competition will occur in which they shows their beautiful umbrellas to each other on the elephant. Many foreigners will also  come to watch this. It is mainly held on in the months of April and may months. Lakhs of people come to watch this.

After I saw these things my will really questioned me that, “What is the role of temples in everyones life”? Then I found the answer that it depends on each person. The temples which I went was huge and beautiful. There I could feel all senses. Because for eyes it’s a wonderful scene, the priest decorate the idol with colorful cloths and ornaments. It’s beautiful to see that the idols are really awesome in the presents of lambs. And also it’s amazing to hear the music inside the temple which will help us to concentrate on our praying. The “Payasam” given by the temple was really super(We have to pay the money for the payasam), which made my tongue more able to sense the taste. The smell I get inside the temple is sandals paste, ghee, payasam etc. So which made me more and more excited. Then our body is always in touch with the thing that are there in the temple. Totally for me the two temples gave me an overall satisfaction. The number of devotees coming to these temple is increasing day by day because of it’s architectural beauty, to see the invisible Shiva linga,or may be to get rid of all tensions . Majority of the people who came to the temple came because they worshiped the gods. In these temples I found the difference that everyone who came here is equal in the name caste and place. They were came here and prayed in the same place. The temples are situated in city but I couldn’t find it’s a city because the sky was really spectaculars to to see and the places were I went was calm and quite,and there was no disturbance from the outsiders. Totally the two temples are fabulous for me.
Time was 11.30am the doors of the idol was closed. And I was so hungry because of the norm. We went to the bus stop and caught a bus. Wow…..there was a surprise waiting for me fortunately it was the same old lady in the bus. Then also I could smell the sandals paste and ghee. The temples impacted a lot in terms of spiritual thinking,satisfaction and so on.

Wikipedia , https://www.facebook.com/temples.southindia/posts/355188921264714