--> Skip to main content

Vaikathashtami 2023 Date - Complete Guide To Vaikathashtami Festival At Vaikom Mahadeva Temple

Vaikathashtami, observed in the Malayalam month Vrishchikam on the eight day after full moon day, is one of the most popular temple festivals in Kerala. Vaikathashtami 2023 date is December 5. The annual festival in Vrischikam month begins on November 24, 2023. Arattu is on December 6. The festival is held at the famous Vaikom Mahadeva Temple at Vaikom near Kottayam in Kerala. Rishabha Vahanam is on November 30.

Vaikathashtami 2023 date in Kumbham month is on February 13. This is a minor festival compared to the main festival  held in Vrischikam month. It is observed on the 8th day after full moon day in Kumbham month and is known as Kumbhashtami.

Vaikathashtami Date

Lord Shiva is popularly known as Vaikkathappan here and he appears in three forms in a day – morning he is Dakshinamurthy, noon he is Kiratamurti and in the evening he is Sambasivan along with Goddess Parvati. The huge Shiva Linga worshipped here, which is five feet in height, is believed to have formed during the Treta Yuga.

The Vaikathashtami festival lasts for 12 days and the most important day is the Ashtami day. Ashtami is the eighth day after full moon and no moon as per traditional Hindu calendar.

Story Of Vaikathashtami

Sage Vyaghrapada meditated and offered bhajan to Vaikathappan daily. On an Ashtami after Velutha Vavu in Vrischikam month, Vaikathappan appeared in the dream of the sage and told him that he will appear before people on this day. From that day on onwards the Ashtami day after full moon in Vrischikam month is being observed as Vaikathashtami.

Vaikathashtami Festival Highlights

The festival attracts thousands of people and one of the major highlights during the festival is the Ashtami Vilakku or lamps. 

It is believed that Shiva appears in his complete form and performs all his leelas on the Vaikathashtami day.

Vaikathashtami is the 12th day of the festival. The main rituals on the day are Shiva darshanam, Sadya (lunch) and the visit of Udayanapurathappan. 

Devotees start the darshan of Shiva from 3:00 AM on the day.

Vaikathappan Performs Annadanam But He Fasts On Ashtami Day

The sadya offered in the temple on the day is Annadanam by Vaikathappan for the victory of his son (Subrahmanya) who has gone to fight Soorapadman. 

Vaikathappan does not eat any food on the day as He is fasting for the victory of his son. On Vaikathashtami day no puja and naivedyam are offered to Vaikathappan.

In the anna panthal (elephant shed) in the eastern side of the temple, Shiva waits for the arrival of his son. 

Vaikathappan And His Son Meets

Lord Muruga (Subrahmanya) from the nearby Udayanapuram Subramanya Temple arrive after defeating Soorapadman. Udayanapurathappan arrives atop a caparisoned elephant in complete fanfare with traditional music and accompanied by people and temple arts and dance.

Udayanapurathappan reaches the temple at around 1:00 AM. 

Vaikathappan then welcomes his son with Pradakshina. 


Udayanapurathappan and Kuttumal Bhagavathy enter the premises on the day through the north gopuram. Moothiledathu Kavilamma, Cherukkumel Bhagavathy enter the tempel through the south gopuram. All of the deities assemble in the elephant shed in east side of the temple. All the deities appear atop caparisoned elephants to the accompaniment of traditional temple music. This annual meeting of six deities of the nearby temple is known as Koodipuja. 


After Koodipuja, Valiyakanikka is performed. First kanikka or donation is done by Karukayil Valiya Kaimal. People assembled then make sound (kooval) when Kaimal returns. This is done to avoid kanneru dosham. After this those assembled give kanikka. 

After the Valiyakanikka, fireworks and pradakshina of elephants are performed. 

Then father (Vaikathappan) and son (Muruga - Udayanapurathappan ) bids farewell. This ritual is known as Koodipiriyal. 

After the ritual, Vaikathappan returns to sreekovil.

Arattu is performed on the next day and the annual Vaikathashtami festival comes to an end.