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Thodikalam Temple – History – Kannavam Thodeekalam Shiva Temple Mural Paintings

Thodikalam temple is located at Kannavam village on the Koothuparamba – Edambara road in Kannur district, Kerala. The shrine is dedicated to Shiva. The sankalpam is that of Mrityunjaya Shiva. The darshanam of Kannavam Thodeekalam Shiva is towards east. The temple is famous for its mural paintings and architecture.

The Upa Devatas worshipped in the temple Ganapathi and Ayyappan. A granite Nandi is mounted on the square-shaped Namaskara Mandapam.

Thodeekalam Temple Festival

The annual festival in the temple is held on Saptami and Ashtami day in Vrischikam month (November-December). The temple also celebrates Shivratri in the Malayalam month of Kumbham (Mid February- Mid March). Elephants are not allowed to participate in the temple festival. During festival days Thidambu Nritham and Bhagavathy Theyyam are performed.

Kannavam Thodeekalam Shiva Temple History

As per history, the temple was built by Harischandra Perumal who established the Kottayam kingdom.

As per some scholars the temple belongs to the period of Mooshika Vamsam. It is said that Kottayam kingdom helped Kolathiri in his fight against Tulu Nadu. For this help, the temple was given by Kolathiri to Kottayam kingdom.

The temple was owned by rulers of northern Kottayam celebrated as Pazhassi Kovilakom, a branch of the Chirakkal (Kolathunadu) Royal family. This temple was renovated by Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja in the last quarter of the 18th century. During the war with the British East India Company, Pazhassi Raja often used this temple as a hideout. The British army stormed the temple with cannons in 1797. The gopurams and the Nalambalam were destroyed by the British. Only the main sreekovil was left.

Thodikalam Temple Architecture

The present shrine was built during the 16th century CE. The temple has dwidala chaturasra vimana with copper sheet roof.

The ornate wall of the sreekovil is of laterite with plaster coating on which auspicious murals are portrayed. The upper storey of the sreekovil is smaller than the ground and both of them are structured by relief pillars. The walls of the ground floor are beautified with murals and they are divided in the middle by false doors except for the eastern wall. The protruding relief statues (Sudhasilpa) representing various Gods and Goddesses adorn the walls. They are made out of wooden skeleton, white lime, clay, laterite powder, jaggery, sand and tree extracts. The Pranala, the stone drain pipe used to drain fluid offerings is long and carved at the tip.

The temple tank is located at the South - East of the temple complex.

Kannavam Thodeekalam Shiva Temple Story

A Brahmin who lived in Mayapuram in Tamil Nadu had a dream that his son would die at the age of sixteen by snake bit. To avoid this fate, the Brahmin performed Bhajanam and meditation in the temple. With the blessing of Shiva, the son was saved and he completed his 16th year of life. As a token of thanks, the Brahmin renovated the temple and also donated large amount of land to the temple.

Kannavam Thodeekalam Shiva Temple Mural Paintings

The famous mural paintings seen in the temple were created during this renovation.  Here there are nearly 150 mural paintings, on an area of 700 sq ft. in about 40 panels, drawn on the four walls of the sreekovil.

Based on Shaivism and Vaishnavism themes, the murals here portray the village life from the 16th to 18th centuries. These are depicted along with scenes from Hindu epics.

The temple was forgotten and remained unattended for long period after the British attack. The temple was rediscovered and brought to the attention of public by artist Krishna Kumar Marar.

The wall paintings in the temple were restored by Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy. The temple paintings are more than 500 years old. Some of the paintings include Dashamukha Ravanan, sleep of Kumbhakarna, fight with Ravana, Rukmini and friends, Adi Shankaracharya, a Malayali woman, Rukmini swayamvaram, Ravana Vadham and Krishna Kuchela meeting.

Thodikalam Temple Timings:

6:00 AM to 12:00 PM
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM