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Ayalur Shiva Temple – History – Festival

Ayalur Shiva Temple is located at Ayiloor near Nemmara on the banks of Ayilur puzha in Palakkad district, Kerala. The sankalpam of Shiva worshipped is that of Shiva performing tapas - the deity is known as Akhileswaran - meaning 'god of people'. It is also believed that the area was surrounded by Akhil trees and hence Shiva go the name Akhileswaran. Another belief is that Shiva is residing here along with Goddess Parvati (Parvatisamethanaya Shivan).

Ayalur Shiva Temple – Story

It is believed that the Shivling in this temple was installed by Khara Maharishi. Khara Rishi got three Shivlings as a result of his intense penance. He carried these
one Shivling in his right hand, second in left hand and third one on the teeth. He installed the right hand Shivling at Ayalur, left hand Shivling in Trippalore and the third one in Pallavur. All these temples are situated within five kilometers.

The darshanam of Ayalur Shiva is towards east. The Nandi Vigraham is on the thekke nada not facing the main sanctum, which is the normal temple custom. The Upa Devata  worshipped in the temple are Ganapathi, Ayyappa, Subramania, Chandikeshwara, Dakshinamurthy and Saptamatrikas. 

On the right side of Nandikesan along the Pradakshina path is located saptamatrikas namely Brahmani, Maheswari, Vyshnavi, Kaumari, Indrani, Varahi and Chamundi. Goddess Parvati is considered Simhavahini and lamp is lit on the western side of the temple behind Nandikesan. There is a sculpture of Dakshinamoorthi at the southern side of the temple. Naga Pratishta is on the South-west corner of the temple, outside the sreekovil.

Ayalur Shiva Temple Festival  

The annual festival in the temple concludes on Karutha Vavu (the Amavasya or no moon day) in Thulam month. Arattu is held on Ayalur puzha. Earlier Kulangattu nair is used to go along with the arattu procession (akambadi sevikkuka). On the bank of the river where Aarattu festival is conducted ( aarattu kadavu) there is a banyan tree, a temple with pratishta of Ganapati.

The famous Ratholsavam is held on Thiruvathira nakshatra in Dhanu month (December – January). Ratholsavam is celebrated for three days. First day Udayasthamana Pooja is offered to Bhagavan Parthasarathy (who is worshipped in a separate temple in the same compound), second day Udayasthamana Pooja is dedicated to Shiva as Akhileswaran. Makayiram Vilakku is held on the second day night. The third day, Thiruvathira) nakshatra day, the famous Ratholsavam is held.

Procession by five caparisoned elephants with Panchari Melam,Pandi Melam,Panchavadhyam, Thayambaka and special programs like Kathakali, Music etc. are held on this important on this day apart from Radham Ezhunnallippu. The chariot is so huge that elephants are used to push it around.

The Thiruvathira day in Dhanu Masam is also famous as Arudra Darshanam - the day Shiva performed dance in Nataraja form. Poornabhishekam to Shiva in the temple starts early morning at 3:00 AM on the day and concludes at 7:00 AM with Japa, Mahanyasam, Rudram, Chamakam and Sooktham. Arudra Darisanam  (Jyothi Darshan - Maha Deeparadhana) is performed around 5:30 AM.

Vishu vela is held on the next day of Vishu in Medam month.

Ayalur Shiva Temple – History

The temple belonged to a local ruler named Kodakara Nair. Later it came under the control of Kochi kingdom. The temple was known as Akhileshwaram as there was lot of Akhil in the area. The name got shortened to Akiloor and over a course of period it came to be known as Ayalur.

The temple is now maintained and administered by Nair samajam.

Ayalur Shiva Temple Timings

Ayalur Shiva temple is open for darshan in the morning hours from 5:00 AM to 9:00 AM.
Evening darshan hours is from 5:00 PM to 7:15 PM