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Valiyasala Mahadeva Temple - Festival - Kanthalloor Mahadeva Temple - Story Of Snake And Missing Nandi

Kanthalloor Mahadeva Temple located at Valiyasala in Thiruvananthapuram is dedicated to Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. The main deity in the shrine is Shiva. The 10-day annual festival at Valiyasala Mahadeva temple ends with Arattu on the Thiruvathira nakshatra day in Kumbham month.

The annual festival begins with flag hoisting – kodiyettam. Gaja Pooja, aanayoottu and pallivetta are held a day before Arattu. The arudra darshanam (thiruvathira) ritual is held on the last day.

One Of The Oldest Temple In Kerala

Valiyasala Mahadeva Temple is one of the oldest temples in Kerala and is located inside 4.5 acre compound. It is more than 1000 years old and there is historical evidence which proves that the temple was built before 1045 CE. Most scholars agree that the temple was built during the 7th century CE. This is the second biggest temple in Trivandrum after the Padmanabhaswamy temple.

Brahma and Shiva have Vatta Sreekovil or circular sanctum sanctorum. No pujas are offered to Brahma. The shrine of Brahma is without a kodimaram or flag post Brahma's shrine is the smallest, but sits in the center. On either side are the shrines of Vishnu and Shiva.

The two storied Vishnu shrine is noted for its intricate carvings in granite. Devasura Yudham,  Palazhi Madhanam (Churning of ocean) and other important incidents from Puranas can be seen here. Various forms of Krishna and Sage Narada playing Thamburu are magnificent sculptures. Goddess Narayani in lasya bhava and Goddess Devi in Lalithambika bhava are also part of the sculptures.

The Upa Devatas worshipped in the temple are Sri Krishna, Bhoothathan, Murugan, Sastha, Devi, Ganapati and Vishkasenan.

There are 56 balikkal in the shrine.

Shanku Varayan Snake Sculpture

There is a unique sculpture atop the sopana mandapam of Vishnu temple. It is a Shanku Varayan Snake sculpted out of single rock and it is tied using iron chain. The belief is that the place was earlier full of snakes and it was impossible to even walk during day time. A powerful Siddha captured the power of the snakes and transformed it into the sculpture. The belief is that the day the chain breaks, the area will once again become filled with poisonous snakes.

The greatness of this sculpture is that it is carved out of a single stone - the snake and the chain.

Story Of Origin Of Valiyasala Mahadeva Temple

Valiyasala Mahadeva Temple is said to have been founded as the result of a rather violent and bloody war between the Chola king and his opponents, the Chera and Pandya kings. All the kings and thousands of soldiers perished in the battle. The widows performed sati – jumping into the pyre of their husbands. Emerging from the ire on the pyre was a blazing ember that transformed into a Shivling. In order to pacify the ferocious form Shiva, which appeared from the flames, murtis of Brahma and Vishnu were consecrated nearby.

No Nandi In Front Of Valiyasala Mahadeva

There is a pavilion in front of Shiva but the usual Nandi is missing. It is said that Nandi walked away from the temple as he was unhappy and angry at the shoddy manner in which the temple priests were conducting the daily pujas in the temple.

It must be noted that the pavilion facing Brahma has a Nandi.

Shiva went in search of Nandi and found him sitting at Thaliyal village on the banks of Karamana River. Shiva and Parvati appeared before Nandi and allowed him to stay at Thaliyil Shiva Temple. For his courage and independent stand, Shiva offered him food here. Even today during the annual Arattu of Valiyasala Mahadeva temple, Shiva stops at Thaliyil Shiva temple to offer food to Nandi. He then proceeds along with Vishnu and Brahma to have Arattu in the Thaliyal temple pond.

Margi Kutiyattam center is a famous school for traditional Kerala dances, including Kathakali, Kootiyattam, Nangiarkoothu, Chakyar Koothu and Paatakom in Kerala. The center is housed in an old building on the grounds of Sri Mahadevar Temple.

The ancient Veda Pathashala of Kanthalloor Shala was located near the temple.