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Pundareekapuram Sree Mahavishnu Temple – History – Offerings – Mural Paintings – Sculptures

Pundareekapuram Temple is one of the most famous Sri Krishna temples in Kerala. The temple is located at around 4 km north of Thalayolaparambu and 14 km northeast of the famous Vaikom Mahadeva temple.

One has to climb nearly 50 steps to reach the shrine which is atop a mount in Mittayi Kunnu.

Unique Murti In Pundareekapuram Sree Mahavishnu Temple

As per Dhanya Shloka of the temple, the Sankalpam of the murti is that of the Vishwaroopam of Sri Krishna returning along with Sathyabama after the annihilation of demon Narakasura. The main deity worshipped in the temple is the vishwaroopam of Sri Krishna.

The murti in the temple is ugra bhavam of Sri Krishna – very rare as Sri Krishna is usually worshipped in peaceful form. Garuda here also has an ugra bhavam.

The murti is one of its kinds – Sri Krishna sits on the shoulder of Garuda and Sathyabhama sits on the lap of Krishna. Thus the sanctum has Sri Krishna, Garuda and Sathyabhama together.

The sreekovil in the temple is square in shape – samachatura sreekovil and it faces west. The temple has a namaskara mandapam, chuttambalam, and a balikkal pura which touches the chuttambalam and is pushing towards the west side. The roof of sreekovil and mandapam are covered in copper sheets.

The upa devatas worshipped in the temple are Ganapathy and Nagam. There are more than 100 naga prathishtas in the temple. There is also a strong presence of Subrahmanya in the temple.

The most auspicious day in the temple is Deepavali.

The Pond in the temple is believed to have been made by Garuda, the vahana of Vishnu. Garuda used his beaks to dig a well inside the temple and the water from the well is connected to the pond through the cave. The water in the well has medicinal value and it cures various stomach related ailments.

Pundareekapuram Temple History

The temple is older than 13th century AD.

The belief is that an elder person of Venimangulam Illam once went to Muvattupuzha river to take bath. He saw a strange sight of tulsi leaves going up and down in a part of the river. He decided to venture into the area. He went deep into the river in the spot and found the murti that is worshipped in the temple.

He took the murti to his Illam. He was amazed and wonderstruck by the powerful Vigraham. Venimangulam Namboothiri decided that he should build a temple to consecrate the murti. But that night he had a dream in which Sri Krishna told him that he would like to go anywhere else. Thus Venimangulam Illam was converted into a temple.

As Sree Krishna is in ugra bhavam – dhara or pouring of holy water on the Vigraham is performed. It must be noted that Dhara is only usually performed in Shiva temples. Water is also offered because the murti was found in river. 

Pundareekapuram Sree Mahavishnu Temple Offerings

A unique offering in the temple is Kerala Settu Mundu. This is offered by people who are facing problems in their marriage. This settu mundu is worn by the murti in the temple. Mundu is worn by Sri Krishna and Settu is worn by Sathyabama.

Another important offering in the temple is Malarpara Naivedyam. Malar is filled in para and is offered to Sri Krishna. This is performed to achieve peace, prosperity and for desire fulfillment.

The belief is that after the murti was retrieved from the river it was first offered malar. The ritual is performed in the namaskara mandapam. Malar is offered along with jaggery and banana to Sri Krishna. The ritual is offered only two times in the morning after 7:30 AM and 9:30 AM. This is given as Naivedya to Sri Krishna.

Garuda Samarpanam is another offering in the temple. This is done to overcome Sarpa Dosham and Naga Peeda.

Pundareekapuram Temple Mural Paintings

Pundareekapuram Temple is a protected by Archaeological Survey of India and is famous for its mural paintings.

The belief is that the paintings on the walls of sreekovil were done by Ashwini Kumars.

It is said that when the temple was being constructed one night two Gosais came to the Illam and asked for a place to stay at night. The elder member of the Illam asked to stay in the compound where the temple was being constructed.

It is said that next morning when people arrived in the temple they saw the four walls of the Sreekovil covered with paintings. The Gosais had disappeared from the temple.

The Mural paintings are based on Devi Mahatmyam, Ramayana, Bhagavatham and Shiva Purana. There are world famous 8 mural paintings and 20 small paintings. The paintings include that of Shiva – Parvati, Mahishasura Mardini, Sundara Yakshi, Sri Krishna hiding the clothes of gopis, poothana moksham, pradosha Shiva, dakshina murthy, Ganapathy puja and pattabhishekam of Sri Rama.

The most important mural painting in the temple is that of Sastha who goes for hunting. The picture captures the complete life of a society.

Pundareekapuram Temple Sculptures

The top portion of Balikalpura is filled with wooden sculptures especially that of Goddess Lakshmi. Other sculptures are that of Keeratamurti  and Goddess Parvati. There is also sculpture of Keeratamurthy of Shiva giving pashupatastra to Arjuna. There are also complete sculptures based on samudra manthan or churning of ocean. There are also complete sculptures of nagas here and what is amazing is that they have their body twisted.

There are sculptures of Ananthashayana form of Vishnu, Garuda, Adi Sesha, Ganapathi, Sri Krishna, Saraswati and Sage Narada. Dwarapalakas

There are several Garuda murtis in the temple made of wood, panchaloha and granite. There is also a Garuda hanging in Namaskara Mandapam.