Sunday, December 14, 2014

Trikkur Mahadeva Kshetram - Come and be rid of breathing difficulties!

The 7th Century rock cut Trikkur Mahadeva Temple
I first heard about the Trikkur Mahadeva Kshetram through a follower of the Aalayam Kanden Trust facebook page. I had plans of travelling to Guruvayur and Trichur in the following week and hence wrote back to him asking for further details like temple timings, contact details etc but did not hear back from him. Google searches yielded minimal information, but what I got added to the excitement. We did not know the exact location and timings, route or nothing further other than the fact that this was one among the oldest and very few rock cut Shiva temples of Kerala.

As usual, our taxi driver gave us a blank look when we mentioned Trikkur to him. He thought we were mispronouncing Trichur. When we tried to take help on the way, the passersby also gave the distinctive Kerala style shrug and shake of the head to say they did not know.

When we finally found the location and started the climb up the small hillock, we found the priest walking down after locking the temple. We were totally disappointed that all our efforts since morning had failed. The priest however, seeing us slow down, stopped to inform us that the "Chechimaar"were still at the temple and we could go in.

The entrance to the Trikkur Mahadeva Kshetram
The temple is in multiple layers. At the entrance is a multi pillared hall painted in bright colours right in front of the Dwajasthamba. The main temple complex is at a higher level with steps leading to it. There are also another set of crude steps leading to the Ganapathy, Sapthamatrika and other shrines on top of the hillock. There are other shrines around the circumambulatory path and below the main temple complex.

The sanctum sanctorum is within a cave on a hillock. Extensions have been made to include an Artha Mandapa and a Nada with steps leading to the main shrine. Apart from this, the rocks also hold the office block and other shrines. This temple is an ASI protected monument. 

I have not heard of many rock cut Shiva temples in Kerala. Not just that, this temple also had several other unique features.

History of Thrikkur Mahadeva Kshetram:


Trikkur is situated on the shores of the Manali River, around ten kilometers north-east of Thrichur. The Trikkur Mahadeva Kshetram is located about 200m above the sea level. In this temple, Lord Shiva resides as a Syambhoo. The majestically beautiful deity, is over six feet tall and is over two feet wide. 

The Sanctum Sanctorum is located within a cave that is twelve feet long and eight feet wide. The cave opens out towards the north.  In front of the sanctum sanctorum is a Mugha mandapa, that is carved fully out of rock. Even though the deity  faces the east , during the Darshan, the devotees get to see only the right side of the Linga. ( ‘Parshwa Darshan”.)

The stone carved Mukha Mandapam insdie the Trikkur Mahadeva Temple

The temple is believed to be created by the Lord of fire, Lord Agni. It is also believed that Agni eternally resides alongside Lord Shiva. Due to this, the Ezhunnellath ( the ushering of the deity outside the temple) is never done on rainy days or on the days when the atmosphere is cloudy. 

Goddess Parvathi too, perpetually resides alongside the Lord Shiva, personifying knowledge. Towards the West side of the sanctum, Lord Ganapathi is engraved on the wall of the cave. On the East side are two Dwarapalakas and on the Mugha Mandapa, resides a Saalagrama, which is said to have immense Vaishnava Chaithanya .

The floor, laden with rock, and the Namasakara Mandapa, which is constructed from sixteen rock pillars have a large number of beautiful carvings on them. Towards the North of the temple is a hall where Saraswati Pooja and Chakyar Koothu are conducted during Navraatri and Utsavas respectively.

It is also believed that this temple was first found by a person, belonging to a class considered untouchable in those days. He had been searching for his cow that had gone grazing, when he chanced upon this cave. He found the cow in the cave along with the magnificent form of Lord Shiva. He immediately ran and reported this to his master, a Namboodiri.


The Namboodiri, seeing the magnificent form of the Lord manifested in the cave, performed poojas to him. A floor has been erected in front of the temple, in memory of the man who had first sighted this temple. In the Utsava times, it is on this floor, that Kurathiyattam is performed. Since it was here that the temple was sighted – the village was named Dhrukpuram. (Dhrushti – sight) . Over time, the word Dhrukpuram shortened to Trikkur, goes the myth.

Cure for breathing difficulties:

There are numerous temples around the country that offer solace and relief to different problems. The uniqueness about the Trikkur Mahadeva Kshetram is that it gives relief to those who are suffering from breathing difficulties like Asthma, and breathlessness. The method of worship used to be rid of these ailments is also unique.

Kayar Vazhipaadu(The Rope Offering)

Yards of rope are offered at the feet of the Lord, or in the form of  Rope Thulabhara ( offering rope equivalent to one's weight) . This Kayar Vazhipadu is said to have divine powers to heal Asthma  and people belonging to different religions and castes come to this temple to offer Kayar Vazhipaadu to the Lord and cure themselves of respiratory illnesses. This method of cure is termed as ‘Daiva Vyaapaashraya Chikitsa’ in Ayurveda. The Chechimaar at the temple also mentioned that if one paid Rs.500 for this offering, then the Kayar Vazhipaadu would be done on their behalf for twelve years. 

A look at the yards of rope in the temple one could well imagine the number of people who offered such rope to be rid of breathing difficulties.

Yards of rope offered as Thulabara to Trikkur Mahadeva
Apart from the Rope Thulabhara which is the most popular form of offering, devotees also offer Dhara (Abhishekam) of 108 and 1008 pots of water at noon, once they have been cured .

Lord Shiva is fond of Vilvam (Bilwa/Koovaram). Offering Pushpanjali with fifty one Vilva leaves is also another way of expressing gratitude after being cured. For children who are suffering from breathing difficulties, Karuka Homam or lighting of Pin Vilaku (lamp behind the Lord) is also done apart from the Kayar Vazhibadu.

The Dwajasthambam at Trikkur Mahadeva Kshetram
The sacrificial stones (balikallu) and the flag pole (Kodimaram) are situated to the right of the temple. Ganapathi, Sastha, Antimahakalan , Kaali, Bhagavathi and Chaamundi are all found at different spots on the hillock.  The Saptamatrikas are housed in what is called a Matrusaala. This concept and architecture of Maatrusala is found very rarely in Kerala. In the south west corner, the Naga deities are also housed.

The Saptamatrikas on top of the hillock

At the top of the rock, there exists a miniature well, which has a constant, natural supply of water. It is known as the Theertha Well , though hardly anyone ever uses the water in this well. Even in the hottest of summers, this well, miraculously, never runs dry.

One of the shrines on top of the hillock.

There are  numerous rock engravings  found in this temple, closely associated with Jain religion. It is said that many Jain saints have undergone their penance on this hillock prior to it becoming a Saivaite temple.

Procedure for praying at the Trikkur Mahadeva Temple:

All devotees must start their worship by first bowing to the Dhwajasthamba. Above the Dwajasthamba, is a Ganapathi who is worshipped next, either from below or if one has the ability, by going up the rocktop.

Ganapathi on top of the hillock at Trikkur Mahadeva Kshetram

Then they must pray to the Sapthamatrikas and continue to circumambulate to the south west corner and prays to the Nagayakshi and the Nagaraja. After this, they must circumambulate through the North Nada and pray to Ganapathi/Sastha/Anthimahakalan/Bhadrakali/Bhagavathi/Chamundi all found next to each other on the North east part of the temple.

The circumambulatory path around the hillock

 Proceeding to the main shrine , the devotees must pray to Lord Shiva, circumambulate the Mandapa,  say a silent prayer to Lord Ganesha, come back to the main shrine and seek blessings of Lord Shiva again.

A number of festivals like Thiruvathira, Mahashivaratri, Navaratri, and Pradosha Puja are celebrated with great pomp and glory at this temple and people from different parts of the world arrive at this small village to partake in the celebrations and obtain the blessings of Lord Thrikkurappan.



The beautiful pillared hall before the Dwajasthamba

How to reach here:

Trikkur is about ten kilometres from Trichur in Kerala. Google map link here.

Temple timings:

The sanctum sanctorum  is open from 7 am to 10 am in the morning and again from 5 pm to 8 pm in the evening. All other parts of the temple are open through the day.

Contact Details:

Phone Number: 0487- 2359500
Email: trikkurmahadevan@gmail.com

Acknowledgement:

My sincere thanks to Rahul Kochuparambil for helping with the translation of documents received from the temple in order to give complete information in this article.