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Avittathur Mahadeva Temple – Festival – History

Avittathur Mahadeva temple is located at Avittathur in Thrissur district, Kerala. The shrine is dedicated to Shiva. The shrine is one among the 108 Shiva temples in Kerala. The annual festival in the temple ends with Arattu on Thiruvathira nakshatra day in Makaram month.

Shiva is worshipped in the form of Kirathamoorthy in the morning, Dakshinamoorthy in the noon and Parvathi Paramasivan in the evening. 

The temple is the gramakshetram of Avittathur which was one of the 64 Namboothiri villages in ancient Kerala. The temple existed before 10th century CE. As per local belief the original Shivling in the temple was installed by Parashurama. The shrine is also associated with Sage Agastya.

It is said Sage Agastya installed the murti of Shiva, the main deity, in the temple and thus, the temple was known as Agastyatrippadathoor which meant ‘the place sanctified by the holy feet of Agastya’. Agastyatrippadathoor later got abbreviated to Avittathur. The Homakunda (fire place where Maharshi Agastya performed pujas) is still seen near to the temple.

The temple has a vattezhuthu (a writing system emerged from the Tamil Brahmi) inscription belonging to 20th regnal year of the second Chera emperor Ko-Kotai Ravivarman dated to 903 CE.

The temple sanctum sanctorum faces west and is round shaped (vatta sreekovil) with copper tiled double storey. Ambalavattam (Nalambalam) is majestic in shape and the extensive Nadapura (Anakottil) at west side having huge pillars as its support while the valia balikkal near the inner entrance is large enough to hide the direct view of the sanctum sanctorum. 

Another important festival observed in the temple is Mahashivratri. Thiruvathira in Dhanu Masam is also of great significance.

Kiratham, Palazhy Mathanam and Ramayanam stories are inscribed on the inner roof pillars and sculptures around the Sreekovil.

The annual prathishta festival in the temple is held in Malayalam Mithuna Masam (June - July).

Avittathur Mahadeva Temple Timings

Morning Darshan Timings is from 5:00 AM to 10:00 AM 
Evening Darshan Timings is from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM

Avittathur Festival History

As per history the temple used to observe festival for 28 days. The 28 day utsavam is confined to only 3 Temples - Kottiyoor, Suchindram and Avittathur are the 3 temples.

 In olden days the festival commenced with the flag hoisting on the “Thiruvathira” during the Malayalam month of “Dhanu” and culminated with the “Arattu” (holy dip) on the “Thiruvathira” day in “Makaram”. The “Arattu” was held at the “Kandozhinjaru” near Chalakudy. In connection with the festival “Manthrankam koothu” which used to last for 41 days was also to be performed.

Now the festival was confined to 10 days and the “Arattu” shifted to the temple pond near the temple.

Important Sculptures 

Avittathur Mahadeva temple in Thrissur district has three finest depictions of Kiratarjuniya in wood. It is rare that three different depictions of the same story are found in the same temple. Two of them are found as bracket figures in first and second talas (tiers) of the sreekovil (sanctum sanctorum) and the third one occurs at the namaskara mandapam (the hall in front of sanctum sanctorum).