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Thirumathaliyappan Mahadeva Temple – Nedumpuram Thali - History - Architecture

Thirumathaliyappan Mahadeva temple, also known as Nedumpuram Thali, is located at Thali village in Varavur near Wadakkanchery in Thrissur district, Kerala. The temple is also known as Nedumbrayur Thali, Wadakkanchery Thali and Nithya Vichareshwaram Thali. The main deity worshipped in the temple is Shiva.

The darshanam of Thirumathaliyappan kshetram is towards east. The sreekovil here is considerably big is square in shape – Chaturakriti.

The Upa Devatas worshipped in the temple are two Ganapathys, Sri Krishna, Sastha and Bhagavathy. The Ganapathys in the temple face in the opposite direction one is towards east and the other is towards west. There is also another Shiva temple outside the Chuttambalam – the Shiva worshipped here is Dakshinamurthy and is referred to as Puram Shivan.

The head of the Nandi in the temple is turning towards north. There is a belief that when the head of completely turns the world will come to an end.

As per local history, Cheraman Perumal had built 108 Shiva temples in the region and this is one among them. The murti was consecrated here by Khara Maharishi. The sankalpam is that Shiva who is in a trance after hearing the news about the death of Goddess Sati in Daksha Yagna. Yet another belief is that the Shivling was installed by Parshuram avatar of Vishnu.

The temple was part of the capital of the ruler of Nedumpurayur (the present Thalappilly, Palakkad and Chittoor region). Nedumpurayur was one of the 14 regions of the Kulasekhara dynasty (who ruled the region between 7th and 10th century CE).

The temple is believed have been constructed during between 700 and 900 CE. The architecture of the temple shows Pallava – Chalukya influence and is noted for sculptures and wood works.

A big temple pond extending about 12 acres locally known as 'Arakulam' is located 400 meters east of the temple. On the top of a nearby hill there is a Kizhthali temple.

Thirumathaliyappan Mahadeva Temple Architecture

The temple, facing east, is inside a 2.75 acres of land surrounded by walls on all sides.. After entry to the temple compound 'deepasthambham', 'valiya balikkal' and 'agramandapam' are sighted first. Deepasthambham is a later structure while valiya balikkal is as old as the temple. Agramandapom is in traditional style with a granite 'nandi' on the center of the hall wooden seats on the south and north. Agramandapam is locally known as 'nandippura'. The door in the western wall is the entry to the adjacent structure, vatilmadam.

Sreekovil is of square dwitala (double roof) in style with tiled roof. The wall is of laterite covered with lime plaster. Adhishtanam is covered with cement plaster (later intervention). The adhishtanam has the mouldings of 'padukam', 'jagathy', 'vritha-kumudam', 'galam','kampam' 'gala-pati' and 'vedi'.

The sreekovil has 'mukha mandapam' (a projection in continuation of the sreekovil ). The roof of the mukha mandapam is supported by wooden pillars. There is sukanasa at the front of the mukha mandapa.

The sreekovil is of sandhara type i.e., there is a space between the wall of the 'garbhagriha' (sanctum sanctorum) and the outer wall of the sreekovil (circumambulatory).The garbhagriha has its own roof built of laterite and lime. The roof of the sreekovil is above the roof of the garbhagriha.

The sreekovil have three 'ghanadwaras' (false doors) on three sides and one functional door. There are niches with beautiful designs on all three sides. There are some stucco reliefs of faces on the walls. Aesthetically designed stucco sculptures called salabhanjaras are seen on the 'greeva'. The granite 'pranalam' has makarasimha face at the base, multifaceted sundu with pearl rings and curved end with 'gomukha' tip.

The 'sopanam is of granite' with eight steps leading to the mukha mandapam. The banisters on both sides have vyali figures on top and figures of Ganapathi and poornakumbham and also niches on the sides. There are two 'dwarapalakas' beautifully carved on granite on either side of the entrance of the mukha mandapam.

There is no namaskara mandapa for the main sreekovil. The space between the vatilmatam and sreekovil is known as 'kannadithalam'.where special poojas are performed.

A sub shrine of 'kannimoola Ganapathi', an independent square structure having a side of 3.5 meter is located on the south west corner of the main sreekovil.

The 'chuttambalam' (the rectangular building surrounding the sreekovil ) has entrances from four sides. The northern part of the chuttambalam is used as 'oottupura (dining hall ) which is in the esanakone of the temple structure.

Mahasala is the first floor of the valiyambalam. Mahasala is closed on all four sides with wooden rafters and brackets. The wooden floor of the mahasala has two floors. There is a gap of about two feet between the lower ceiling and the upper ceiling. The purpose of the gap is unknown. Mahasala have wooden seats and was used by the family members of the 'uranma' or the managers of the temple to participate in the temple festivals and other temple functions in olden days. The wooden staircase to the mahasala is on the southern side of the valiyambalam. There are two sub shrines on the southern and northern portions of the valiyambalam. Both shrines face west. The southern sub shrine has Bhagavati, Ganapati, Sastha, and Naga. This shrine is on the 'agnikone' of the temple. The northern sub shrine has Sree Krishna as the deity. This small sub shrine or sreekovil has a small namaskara mandapa built in traditional style.

On both the sides of the passage (vatilmatom) from agramandapam to Sreekovil, on the north and south basements of the valiyambalam, have inscriptions that belongs to the period of 11th and 12th centuries. The inscription is in vattezhuthu script and old Malayalam language. Though there is no definite date in the inscription historians have calculated tenth century as the period of the inscriptions. The open spaces on the north and south have been used temple festivals and other auspicious occasions. Koothu and Patakom were performed in these halls formerly. The open spaces have six wooden pillars on each side.