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vadakkunathan Temple

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Temple Timings

03:00 to 10:30 (All days of the week (Morning)) 
16:00 to 20:00 (All days of the week (Evening)) 

Main Deity

Sri Vadakkumnathan


Other Deities

Sri Krishna, Sri Nandikeswara, Sri Ayyappan, Sri Adi Shankara.

Temple Famous for :

This Hindu temple in India is world famous for the Thrissur Pooram festival celebration held in April-May every year. The fireworks at the Pooram festival are an amazing view.

Belief / Faith :

Domestic Issues, Education, Fulfill Wishes, Prosperty, security,

About Vadakkumnathan Temple :


This Hindu temple, along with the mural paintings found here, has been declared as a national monument by the Indian government,  under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. 

According to popular legend, this is the first temple built by Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Maha Vishnu. Tekkinkadu ground, encircling the Vadakkumnathan temple, is the main venue of the Thrissur Pooram. Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the temple.

In the year 2012,  the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had recommended 14 sites, including the Vadakkumnathan temple and palaces from Kerala to be included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Vadakkumnathan temple is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Kerala, located in the heart of Thrissur city. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that the Vadakkumnathan temple was built by Parashurama. The temple showcases the classic architectural style of Kerala. The interior of the temple is beautifully decorated with murals depicting the episodes from Mahabharata.

The story of the origin of the Vadakkumnathan temple is that,  Parasurama exterminated the Kshatriyas twenty one times. In order to remove the sin,  he performed a yagna, at the end of which he gave away all his land to Brahmans as dakshina. He wanted to retire to some new land to do tapas and so he requested God Varuna to throw up  a new piece of land from the sea.

According to another version, some sages approached him at the end of the yagna to give them some secluded land. Parasurama then made a request to Varuna for their sake. Varuna gave him a winnow and asked him to hurl it into the sea.  As he did,  a large territory of land was thrown up by the sea. This territory that rose out of the sea was Kerala. It was then known by the name 'Surpakara' from the word surpa meaning winnow.

According to another account,  Varuna asked Parasurama to hurl his axe into the sea.  Parasurama wanted to consecrate this new land. He went to Kailash to his guru Shiva and requested him to stay in Kerala and thereby bless the region. Shiva accompanied by Parvathi, Ganesha, Subramanya and his ganas went along with Parasurama. Shiva stopped at a spot, now called Thrissur and later he and his party disappeared . Parasurama saw a bright and radiant Shiva Linga at the foot of a huge banyan tree. This place where Shiva first manifested his presence through the Linga came to be called the Mula Sthana. For sometime the Linga of Shiva remained at the Mula Sthana at the foot of a huge banyan tree.  The ruler of Cochin later decided to shift the Linga to a more convenient place and enclose it in a temple. Arrangements were soon made to reinstall the idol in the new place. The Linga could not be removed without cutting off a large part of the banyan tree. While cutting the branches of the tree there was the danger of a piece falling on the idol and damaging it. When the ruler and the others did not know what to do, the Yogatirippadu came forward with a solution. He lay over the idol so as to cover it completely and asked the men to cut the tree. The cutting began and to the wonder of al, l not a  single piece of the tree fell anywhere near the idol. The idol was removed with all due rituals and installed in the new place where it has remained. Then a beautiful Hindu temple was built according to the rules laid down in sastras.

During the invasion of Tipu Sultan, the temple was not attacked by Tipu’s Army. Even though Tipu Sultan destroyed many temples in Thrissur district at that time, he never touched Vadakkunnathan temple because of its divine power. When Sakthan Thampuran (1751–1805), ascended the throne of kingdom of Cochin, he changed the capital of Cochin from Thripunithura to Thrissur as the king had a personal relationship with Vadakkunnathan temple.  He later cleared the teak forest around the temple and introduced the world famous Thrissur Pooram. The king’s interest in the temple also changed the fortune of Thrissur city.

This Indian temple is famous for the rarity of the temple murals, of which the Vasuki sayana and Nrithanatha murals are of great importance and are worshipped daily. The temple also houses a museum of ancient wall paintings, wood carvings and art pieces of ancient times.  A study done by Archaeological Survey of India on two paintings in the temple has revealed that it is 350 years old. These two rare paintings were a reclining Shiva and a Nataraja with 20 arms. The main feature of the temple is a Koothambalam, stage with hall for performing Koothu, an antique dramatic form of art which is popular in Kerala. Koothambalam can be seen on the left side as you enter the temple via the western entrance gopuram.

The statue of Shiva is in the form of a huge Linga and is not visible. It is covered under a mound of ghee, formed by the daily abhishekam with ghee over the years.  A devotee looking into the sanctum,  can now see only a 16-feet-high (4.9 m) mound of ghee,  embellished with thirteen cascading crescents of gold and three serpent hoods at the top.  According to traditional beliefs, this represents the snow-clad Mount Kailash, the abode of Parvathi and Shiva. This is the only temple in India where the Linga is not visible.  It is said that the ghee offered here for centuries does not have any foul odour and it does not melt even during summer.

In the outer temple there are shrines for Shri Krishna, Shri Nandikeswara, Shri Parasurama, Shri Simhodara, Shri Ayyappan, Shri Vettekkaran (Lord Shiva as a hunter) and Shri Adi Shankara.  In the northern side, there is a circular structure with Shiva facing west. The figure of Parvathi faces east and is just behind Shiva in the same shrine.  These non-facing installations denote Ardhanarishvara concept.  Between these two Shrikovils stands a third one, circular and double-storied in shape, which is dedicated to Sankaranarayana, the combined form of Shiva and Vishnu,  facing west.  There are "mukhamandapams" in front of all the three central shrines. The Ganesha shrine is positioned facing the temple kitchen and offering of appam(a prasad make of rice flour , jaggery and ghee)  to Ganesha is one of the most important offerings at the temple.  Worshipping Ganesha here is believed to be a path to prosperity and wealth.

One of the most colourful temple festivals of Kerala, Thrissur Pooram is conducted in the temple premises,  but the temple is not a participant in this festival.  There is no special pooja or special offering during the pooram day.  The main attraction of the Pooram is the Elanjitharamelam, a two hour Chendavadyam (with five instruments ), which  is held near Koothambalam in the temple, by the top most artists from the state. 


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