An Ode to Faith – Kerala - Kannur

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India is a teeming with places of worship. There are places of worship at every street corner in this vast and diverse nation.

As a traveller, one is forced to select a few because of the constraints of time and convenience.

Here are the most important temples in the Kannur district of Kerala, India.


Sri Kanhirangad Vaidyanatha Temple

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Temple Deity: Sri Vaidyanatha

Location: The temple is located at Kanhirangad, 6-km from Thaliprambu, on a hill top. The main deity is Shiva, facing east.

Brief History: Here the deity is self-incarnated and as the name (Vaidyanatha) implies, the deity is a celebrated Ayurveda physician. Bhagawathy, Ayyappan and Ganapathy are sub-deities. The main offerings are Ksheeradhara (pouring of milk on the idol) and Jaladhara (pouring of water on the idol).

A series of steps take you to the main temple resting gently on a hilltop. Passing through the structure of the main gate gives a feeling of having entered the doors of any simple house.

Two Theyyam deities are also performed in this temple Ullattil Bhagavathi and Katakulangara Bhagavathi.  These theyyams are believed to be the watch and ward staff of Sri Kanhirangattappan.

Temple Timings: 9:30 AM to 1:20 PM and 4:30 PM to 9:30 PM

Accommodation: Kannur is a good place to stay.


Parassinikadavu Sri Muthappan Temple

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Temple Deity: Sri Muthappan

Location: The temple is located on the banks of the Valapattanam River about 10 kilometres from Taliparamba in Kannur District.

Brief History: Principal deity of the temple is Sri Muthappan, a manifestation of two mythical characters called Thiruvappana and Vellattam. According to the local tradition the presiding deity is a folk deity and not a Vedic deity, but there are recent attempts to associate the deity to Vishnu or Shiva.

Rituals of the temple is unique in that it does not follow the Satvic Brahminical form of worship, as in other Hindu temples of Kerala. The main mode of worship is a ritual enactment of both the characters of Muthappan, through a traditional dance known as Muthappan Theyyam.

Fish, meat and toddy are the customary offerings to Muthappan. Muthappan Thiruvoppana Mahothsavam is the major festival of the temple, celebrated for three days every year on 19, 20 and 21 of Kumbham (the days correspond to 3, 4 and 5 March).

Temple Timings: 5:00 AM to 8:00 AM and 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Accommodation: Overnight accommodation is available within the temple precincts and also on houseboats.


Sri Ramanthali Sankaranarayana Temple

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Temple Deity: Sri Sankaranarayana         

Location: This temple is situated in Ramanthali near Payyannur in Kannur district. The presiding deity is Sri Sankaranarayanan, a six feet tall figure in Panchaloha. The right half side is Siva and left half side is Vishnu.

Brief History: It is the only Tali temple in Kerala where Sankaranarayana is consecrated and the God is installed in its full structure. The sub deity is Bhoothananda and main offering is Kadali plantain.

There is a 6-day long festival which starts on the 17th of Meenam (31st March) and ends on 22nd.

Accommodation: Payyannur is a good place to stay.


Sri Thayyil Venkataramana Temple

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Temple Deity: Sri Venkataramana

Location: Sri Venkataramana Temple is located at Thayyil, a seashore colony in Kannur.

Brief History: Sri Venkatesh Bhat of Mangalore came to Kannur and opened a small Bhajana hall in the 17th century. The Prathisthapana of Sri Venkataramana was performed a few years later and shrine of Goddess Mahamaya was also built and it came to be known as Sri Venkataramana Temple. The temple is about 400 years old.

Accommodation: Kannur is a good place to stay.


Peralassery Sri Subramanya Temple

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Temple Deity: Sri Subramanya

Location: Peralassery Sri Subramanya temple, located at Mundallur on the Kannur - Koothuparambu route, 15kms from Kannur.The temple ‘Chira’ or stepped pond/tank, positioned just outside the temple entrance, is a structure of impressive scale.

Brief History: This temple carries historic importance. The legend is that Rama and Lakshmana on their way to Sri Lanka halted at this temple and sought the blessings of the deity to rescue Sita from the captivity of Ravana.

The temple also has a shrine for the serpent God and has a number of bronze and copper idols of snakes. An important annual attraction is the eight day Kodiyettam festival that is celebrated in the month of December and the festivities have been drawing thousands of visitors here every year.

Temple Timings: 4:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Accommodation: Kannur is a good place to stay.


Trichambaram Sri Krishna Temple

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Temple Deity: Sri Krishna

Location: Trichambaram Krishna Temple is an eleventh century shrine situated at Trichambaram on the National Highway, around 20 km from Kannur and 5 kilometres south of Taliparambu town, which is famous for its spice trade.

Brief History: It is a sacred place of the Vaishnava cult and the main deity of the temple is Sri Krishna in his child form. The temple is known as Trichambaram because the pratishta (idol) here was done by Sambara Maharshi.

The temple complex has three ponds and also a shrine dedicated to Goddess Durga, surrounded by water on all sides. The annual festival or the Trichambaram Mahotsavam, a colourful event is usually held in the Malayalam months of Kumbham-Meenam (February-March).

The temple is of great archaeological importance and contains one of the most wonderful collection of mural paintings in South India. The sanctum sanctorum is double storied and has a copper roof in pyramid shape with a golden stupa (pinnacle) at the top.

The sanctum has beautiful wood carvings which demonstrate scenes from the Epic Mahabharata, and murals paintings that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The sculptures on the walls of the sanctum sanctorum are a class by themselves and displays the craftsmanship of ancient times.

Another interesting fact is that elephants are not allowed into the temple as it is believed that Kamsa had sent elephants to kill Sri Krishna.

Temple Timings: 5:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

Accommodation: Taliparambu is a good place to stay.


Payyanur Sri Subramanya Swami Temple

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Temple Deity: Sri Subramanya Swami

Location: The temple is Located at Payyannur, 21 kilometres north to Taliparambu on NH 17.

Brief History: This temple is known as the 'Palani' of Kerala. A 6 feet tall idol of the main deity Lord Subrahmanya is housed in the temple. There are five Poojas and three Sivelis on each day.

Apart from the main deity, Subrahmanya, there are other deities also being worshipped here. They are Lord Ganapathi, Bhootathar, Kanya Bhagavathi, Sasthavu and Parasurama.  Kshetrapalan and Vairajathan are also being worshipped.

Pavithram is the particular ring worn during performing Vedic rituals or during the "pithrubali” in the Hindu tradition. The traditional Pavitram is usually made of "dharba" grass. Usually Payyanur Pavithram is made of Gold and Silver.

Payyanur Pavithra Mothiram is a uniquely crafted ring shaped like a knot and considered being a sacred ornament.  The Pavithram is to be worn on the right ring finger. It is believed that this ring will bring luck and grace to anyone who wears it with the deep devotion.

Temple Timings: 4:30 AM to 12:00 PM and 4:30 PM to 8:00 PM

Accommodation: Payyannur is a good place to stay.


Kadiroor Sri Suryanarayana Temple

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Temple Deity: Sri Suryanarayana

Location: Sri Suryanarayana Temple in Kannur is located at Kadiroor, a village in Thalassery taluk. It is one of the oldest and the second largest Surya temple after Konark.

Brief History: The temple was built during the 13th century and the day of the Prathistapana is observed to be in the Medam month on the Rohini Nakstram (star) day.

During festival season the main attraction in this temple is the divine dance with the idol of the deity on head, known as Thidambu Nrityam. This traditional dance can be viewed on consecration day celebrations and also during Mandala festivals in December.

Temple Timings: 5:30 AM to 11:30 AM and 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Accommodation: Thalassery is a good place to stay.


Taliparamba Sri Rajarajeswara Temple

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Temple Deity: Sri Rajarajeswara

Location: The Rajarajeswara temple is a Shiva temple located at Taliparamba in the Kannur district.

Brief History: This temple has a prominent place amongst the numerous Shiva temples in South India. If any problem is encountered in temples of South India, the final solution is sought in this Temple through a Prasna, a traditional method of astrological decision making. The Prasna is conducted on a Peetha (a raised platform) situated outside the temple.

Lord Shiva, as worshiped in this sacred temple, is known as Sri Rajarajeswara, which means the Emperor of Emperors — the Lord Supreme. The name signifies the supreme transcendental power in the background of mysterious drama of the boundless universe. That power is invoked here as Lord Rajarajeswara.

The Jyothirlingam in the shrine in vibrant with spiritual power that exerts an enriching influence both on the material and spiritual levels of the earnest devotees. The celebrated ancient sage Agasthya Maharishi is associated with the installation of the Jyothirlingam in the shrine.

Temple Timings: 4:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Accommodation: Taliparamba is a good place to stay.


Thodeekalam Shiva Temple

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Temple Deity: Lord Shiva

Location: Situated around 2 km away from Kannavam near Thalasserry in Kannur district of Kerala, Thodeekalam Siva Temple is one of the popular Hindu temples in Kerala. The temple attracts not just a number of devotees, but also art lovers. The presiding deity in this well-known temple is Lord Siva.

Brief History: It is supposed that the temple was constructed about 2000 years ago in a two storied rectangular building. The reason behind the popularity of this temple is its marvellously painted walls with mural paintings illustrating various stories of Indian mythology and epics. The temple follows different rituals on a daily basis. The rituals in the temple start with Nada Thurakkal at 5:30 a.m. and ends with Athazha Pooja at 7:45 pm.

The temple has a two-storey sanctum constructed in rectangular shape. An outer building and an incomplete Mukhamandapam (portico) opposite to the main shrine completes the whole structure of the temple. It contains around 150 mural paintings, in a 700 square feet area divided into 40 panels, sketched on the four walls of the sanctum sanctorum. Most of the paintings portray the myths related to Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu.

Unusually for a Kerala temple, elephants are not used in the Thodeekalam Shiva Temple festivals. The main Prasadam (food offerings) in Thodeekalam Shiva Temple are Shankabhishekam (ablution with the conch), Pushpanjali (flower shower), Sarpabali and Dhara.

Temple Timings: 5:30 AM to 12:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Accommodation: Places to stay are available near the temple.