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Chennamath Shiva Temple – Chathannoor - History - Architecture

Chennamath Shiva temple is located around 1 km north of Chathannoor in Kollam district, Kerala. The main deity worshipped in the temple is Shiva (shivling on a square peedam) and faces south. This ancient temple is specially noted for its architecture - Vatta Sreekovil (circular sanctum sanctorum) built in granite stone.

The Upa Devatas worshipped in the temple are Ganapathy, Rakshas and Sastha. The murti of Goddess Parvati is enshrined in the back of the sreekovil and the deity faces north.

The temple is dated to 13th century CE. The shrine has a circular Vimana, Ekatala Alpavirama and follows Sandhara type (with circumambulatory passage inside). One unified conical roof paved with small tiles is set for the Sreekovil. Two armed Dwarapalakas are seen on the flanks of the main door of the sanctum sanctorum.

The Garbhagriha of the Sreekovil is a square chamber with square Sikhara on it.

The Balipeedam, installed on the eastern side, is in the open.  There is an array of Kostha devatas on the Gavakshas. The entire wall of the Sreekovil is in stonework and a series of pierced window frames are set within the divisions of the wall. The cardinal north and south sides have false doors within Makara torana scheme. The pranala is set in the Kantha on the northern side. The plinth has moulded tiers like Vritha kumuda, Kanta and Kapota capped by a Vedika. The cornice of the Pada is made of stone, and the corners of the cellar are attached with paired pillars. The devatas on the Gavakshas are arranged in a clockwise direction.

The Vattezhuthu inscriptions (famous as Chathannoor Shasanam) seen on the Adhishtana of the Sreekovil state that the construction of the temple started in  kollavarsham 446 (1271 CE) and completed in  kollavarsham 448 (1273 CE). The construction was headed by 'Chathannur Varian Devan Uzhuthiran'. The amount spent for the construction excluding the Peedam and the murti was 105 'achu', a coin circulated during that period. The construction was supervised by Koyilpalli Sankaran Chathan. The temple had been originally managed by the landlords of Mamballi Madom belonging to Chengannur.

At present, the temple is owned and managed by the Mampalikunnu NSS Karayogam.




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