Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is a very popular shrine in Kerala, South India. The origin of the temple is traced to the Ramayana period. It is believed that the murti worshipped in the shrine was installed by Khara. Ettumanoor Temple is located around 13 km from Kottayam town. Ettumanoor Railway Station is an important stop on the Kottayam – Ernakulam Railway line.
Bhagavan Shiva is worshipped here in Aghoramurti form. Another belief is that Shiva is here in the Samharamurti form of Sharaba (read more about Sharaba form of Shiva). Daily there are five pujas. On Shivratri day there are 18 pujas.
The subsidiary deities worshipped in the temple are Ganesha (inside the main sanctum), Mother Goddess Shakti, Dakshinamurti, Sastha and Yakshi. Bhagavan Vishnu is worshipped outside the main shrine.
The main srikovil is circular in shape. The three-foot Shivling faces west. A golden form of Shiva in human form is placed in front of the main Shivling after morning puja. This murti is 2.5 feet tall.
Mother Goddess Parvati is believed to reside in the eastern portion of the sanctum sanctorum. The east door of the sanctum is never opened.
Two Nandi murtis are found in the Mukhamandapam.
Architecture of Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple
Ettumanoor Shiva Temple is famous for its architecture, woodcarvings and mural paintings. The paintings and carvings belong to the 16th or 17th century period.
The main sanctum sanctorum, built in 1545 AD, is circular with a conical roof covered with copper plates.
The exterior structure around the sanctum has columns of lamps fixed on a wooden framework covered with metallic trellis work.
The brilliant and exquisite woodcarvings on the exterior of the main sanctum sanctorum depict scenes from the Ramayana and Bhagavad Purana. The carvings include that of Shiva Tandava, Coronation of Bhagavan Sri Ram, Vamana measuring three worlds, Ganesha, Krishnaleela, Surya and Vishnu.
The mural paintings on the temple tower depict Shiva as Nataraja, Anantasayana Vishnu and Garuda.
Ezhara Ponnana of Ettumanoor Shiva Temple
Ettumanoor temple is famous for its gold jewelry famous among them is the Ezhara Ponnana – miniature forms of seven and a half elephants. The temple also has a bunch of areca nuts made of gold. It can only be viewed on the eighth day of the annual festival in Malayalam Kumbham Month.
Nandi Murti at Ettumanoor Temple
Chempakasseri Raja donated one of the Nandi murti in Ettumanoor Temple. The Raja was suffering from a chronic stomachache and he got relief from it after offering prayers to Ettumanoorappan. As a thanksgiving, he donated a Nandi Murti. The Nandi murti is filled with grains of paddy. Devotees can collect grain through a A hole in the belly of the Nandi. It is believed that consuming the grain will help in curing stomach related ailments.
There is a sacred oil lamp in the temple. The black soot from the lamp is believed to cure eye related ailments.
The main festival in the shrine is observed in Kumbham month (February – March). The most important event during the weeklong festival is the Ezhara Ponnana Darshanam on the eighth day. The view of the miniature seven and half elephants gold elephants with real caparisoned elephants in the backdrop is breathtaking. The festival ends with Arattu.
Another important festival in the shrine is the Shivaratri.