Aluva Mahadeva Temple
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Aluva is located on the banks of Periyar river, 21 Kms from Ernakulam. The Mahadeva Temple is situated at a distance of 1Km from the Marthanda Varma bridge in NH-47. Periyar river splits into two near Aluva railway bridge and after the splitting one part is called Mangalappuzha. Aluva Mahadeva Temple is located on the sand bank in between the Mangalppuzha and Periyar river. Aluva Mahadeva Temple is managed by Travancore Devaswom Board.
The unique feature of Aluva Mahadeva Temple is that the Shivalinga is not enshrined in a Sreekovil. The Swayambhoo Shivalinga installed by Lord Parasurama and worshipped by Lord Sree Rama rises out of the sand banks of the Periyar river. This place is called the Aluva Manal Puram (land with sand).
There are many legends associated with this temple. After installing the Lingam Parasurama built a temple here but was destroyed by flood. Lord Shiva told him that no temple structure will exist at that place because He does not want a temple structure for protecting the Lingam. Another legend goes like this. The Bhuthaganas of Lord Shiva worshipped the Lingam every night. They decided to construct a temple there. But Lord Shiva told them that they must complete the temple in a single night. Bhuthaganas agreed and started the construction. When the foundation was completed, Lord Vishnu came there, disguised as a cock and crowed to mislead the Bhuthaganas. The Bhuthaganas, fearing that dawn had approached, left the work unfinished. Sri Rama, during his search for Sitha, performed tharpana for Jadayu here. Another legend is associated with Vilwamangalam Swamiyar. One day he visited this place and realised the presence of Lord Shiva and identified the Shiva Linga installed by Parasurama. He started worshipping the Linga and Lord Mahadeva appeared infront of him and told him to start poojas there. Pottayil Ilayathu, Thottathil Nambiar and Idamana Nampoothiri made proper arrangements for Shiva Pooja and Vilwamngalam started the pooja. But there were no vessels to offer Nivedyam. So Vilwamangalam used a Kavungin Pala (aracanut leaf) to offer Nivedyam. Even today the nivedyam is offered in Kavungin Pala and is called Palanivedyam. Later Vilwamangalam and his associates - Ilayathu, Nambiar and Nampoothiri - constructed a temple but it was destroyed by flood in AD 1343. During the monsoon season the whole region gets flooded and the Shivalinga gets submerged in water. So the Ooranma Nampoothiris were decided to construct a small temple on the bank of the river inorder to perform poojas during monsoon season. This temple is called Bala Kshetram. It is a fact that though unfinished in nature, this temple has withstood many a flood and still stands as an enigma to the architects, regarding its foundation and structure. The Travancore Devaswom Board authorities constructed a temple structure here some years ago. but the Deva Prasna conducted later revealed that constructon of the temple structure is against Lord Shiva's wish.
The Shiva Linga faces east. There is a Nandi prathishta infront of the temple. There is only one pooja daily. From Makaram 1 to Medam 1 only athazha pooja is performed and on other days only nivedyam is offered. Shivarathry in Kumbham, Utsavam in Meenam, Vavu Bali in Tulam and Karkkidakam are the festivals. Dhara and Rudrabhishekham are the main offerings.
The most important festival of Aluva temple is the Maha Shivarathry in Kumbham (February-March). There is no other place in Kerala where Shivarathry is celebrated on such a grand scale as in Aluva. The Shivarathry festival is a colourful celebration and devotees stay away the whole night in prayer and pay homage to their ancestors. The celebration of Shivarathry in Aluva is as famous as the festivals like Ashtami at Vaikom, Pooram at Thrissur etc. The sand bank is extensive and the pilgrims running into several thousands congregate here. People belonging to all classes, castes and creeds assemble for this festival, some for worship, some for merchandise and some for sight-essing. There are rows of sheds built where merchants exhibit every kind of merchandise for sale. On the night of Shivarathry pilgrims keep awake and recite the puranas. There are shows, dances etc. meant for keeping the pilgrims awake throughout the night. In addition to the observance of Shivarthry rites, most of the pilgrims offer Bali (sacrifice) to their ancestors in the morning succeeding the holy night. A dip in this river at the Brahmamuhurtha after observing the rituals of Shivarathri is considered very sacred. A fair is also organised for a month from the Shivarathri day. Daily Ezhunnallippu of the deity atop a caparisoned elephant, a procession known as Dikvijayam is conducted on the third and fourth days, and pallivetta ceremony on the fifth day. The festival concludes with the Aarattu on the next day of Shivarathry.
There is an Ayyappa temple near the Temple. The Aluva Sree Krishna - Balarama temple, Aluva Adwaitha Ashramam and Aluva palace are situated on the opposite bank of Mahadeva temple.
To see the ariel view of the temple go to Wikimapia page.
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