Vaikom Mahadeva Temple
The Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is a temple for the Hindu god Shiva in Vaikom, Kerala. The temple, along with Ettumanoor Siva Temple, Kaduthuruthy Thaliyil Mahadeva Temple is considered a powerful trisome. The belief is that if a devotee worships at these three temples before ‘Ucha pooja’, all the wishes are fulfilled.
The Vaikom Mahadeva temple is one of the few temples which is held in reverence by both Shaivaites and the Vaishnavaites. Vaikom’s Shiva is fondly called Vaikkathappan. The Shiva Linga here is believed to be from the ‘Treta yuga’ and considered as one of the oldest temples in Kerala where pooja has not been broken since inception.
Kharasura on receiving the Shaiva Vidya Upadesh from Malyavan went to Chidambaram, and did severe penance and Tapasya for the attainment of Moksha. Pleased with his penance Lord Siva granted all the boons he asked, and presented him with three great Siva Lingas drawn out of Him. Assuring that He will ever be present in them, Lord Siva disappeared, asking Khara to worship the Lingas to attain Moksha. When Khara was returning south from Himalayas with the three Lingas, one in his right hand, one in left hand and other by the neck, he felt tired and rested awhile. After rest when he tried to pick up the lingas, they wouldn’t budge. He realized that it was Shiva’s maya and when called unto, the heavens spoke thus, “I shall remain here giving Moksha to whom so ever * take refuge in Me”. Khara having attained Moksha entrusted the holy Lingas to the custody of Maharshi Vyaghrapada who had followed him invisibly and asked the sage to protect and worship them.
One of the bigger temples in Kerala, the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple has a courtyard of about eight acres of land. The premises levelled with river sand is protected by compound walls with four Gopuras or towers on all the four sides. The Sreekovil is round in shape roofed with copper sheets and with two chambers. The Mukha Mandapa – the first chamber is built in shaped stone and single piece woods. The walls and pillars are very strong. The Garbha Griha(Sanctum Santorium) – the second chamber is built completely in stone including the roof in a square shape.It is a very curious and peculiar fact that we are unable to obtain the Darsana of the Supreme Saiva Chaitanya from this Sreekovil without passing through a ‘six steps’ either from the Gopura or the Nada. It may be reminding us the Shad (six) vikaras (emotions) such as Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Madha and Mathsarya or the thantrik chakras as per the thanthrik Kalpana.
The closed door
The Vaikom Temple was in the ownership of one hundred and eight families in olden days. The owners were divided into two groups and one group joined the ruler’s side. Their disputes and quarrels increased day by day. One day a section of the divided group came to the temple at noon. The chief among them a certain Njallal Namboothiri was prepared to stop the pooja in the noon. At that time the Nivedya was used to be placed in the western side of the Namaskara Mandapa. There was an entrance in the western courtyard. The Njallal Namboothiri after keeping his apron (Randam Mundu) above the western door came near the Nivedyas and spat the remains of his betel chewing on the Nivedya. So the pooja was disrupted. On return, while he was taking his apron from the door top it is stated that a highly poisonous snake bit him to death. He crawled himself outside the west and died. The Western door of the temple courtyard automatically closed itself then and a voice was heard from inside the Sreekovil thus “This door should not be opened any more”. The door remains closed to this day to show the wrath of the Great Lord against the disruption of His poojas