Annamanada Mahadeva Temple

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Annamanada Mahadeva Temple is one among the 108 Shivalayas created by Parasurama. In the Shivalaya nama stotra it is mentioned as Koratty Temple (There is a bridge connecting Annamanada to Koratty (NH 47) via Valoor - pulikkakadavu palam -which is constructed almost 10 years back). Annamanada is a small town in the southwest corner of Thrissur district. It is situated 8 km from Mala and 10 km south of Chalakudy. The name Annamanada came from some Brahmin families (Manas) where Brahmins used to get free food (Annam) in older days. The village where Food (Annam) serving Brahmin families (manas) situated, later known as Annamanada.



Originally Annamanada was a part of Adoor gramam (one among the 64 brahmin gramams created by Parasurama and Annamanada Mahadeva Temple was the grama kshetra. Some of the neighboring villages still known as Meladoor, Keezhadoor etc. Meladoor Bhagavathy Temple is one among the 108 Durga Temples created by Parasurama.



Annamanada Mahadeva temple is located near the bank of Chalakudi River. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva. The shivling is almost four feet tall and is considered as the Kiratamoorthy in a pleasing mood while giving Pashupatastra to Arjuna.



The temple faces to the east and the sanctum is square shaped. There is a low Valiabalikkal in front of the Agramandapam on the eastern side and a bali peetha equal in height of the basement of the shrikovil. The sopana with carved hasti-hasta railings on either side provides access to the square Mukha Mandapam. The doors on the south and the west lead to the shrines of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Parvati respectively. The Mukha mandapam and the shrikovil have dvi-tala structure, which is covered with copper sheet. The nalam balam of the temple has two thidappallies. On the northern side of the nalambalam lays the shrine of Lord Vishnu. In the outer prakaram (outer courtyard) there is a tank and the oottupura in the north-east corner. The other deities of the temple are Shasta, Goshala Krishnan, Mahakali, Nagaraja, Durga mounted on lion and Narasimha.



The annual festival is celebrated during Kumbham (February or March). The festival lasts for ten days and is observed with pomp and pageantry. People from surrounding villages gather here for worshipping lord Shiva and Parvathy. Laksha deepam (one lack chirags) on sixth day is very famous. The Thiruvathira arattu on the concluding day of the annual festival is done in the Annamanada River. Tantries or chief priests are from Kuttalakkatt and Avanaparambu Nampoothiri illams. Annamanata Mahadeva Temple is a Mahakshetra by all criteria, though less popular and known outside Thrissur district. It has all the constituent units of a Mahakshetra. Five poojas and three shribalis constitute the daily pooja routine. Pradosham, Shivarathri and Ardra (particularly in Dhanu) days are of special significance. With three Vishnu sannidhis, ashtami rohini also assumes importance in this temple.



Being one of the thirty two grama kshetras in the Kerala coast, the nucleus of the temple can be dated to an antiquity of at least 1200 years. Earlier the temple was being administered by about 10 or 12 mamboothiri illams who were the traditional uraymas of the temple. Subsequently, by the middle of the eighteenth century, the melkoyma (overlordship) was usurped by the Zamorin of Kozhikode. Cochin (in whose territory the temple was situated) successfully colluded with Travancore to oust the Zamorin from the over lordship of the temple. The namboothiris of the gramasanketham who did not relish the overall administration of Cochin, surrendered the melkoyma rights of the temple to the Travancore ruler. Travancore claimed and exercised sovereignty over the temple for about a century. Cochin ruler approached the British East India Company to mediate in their dispute with Travancore regarding melkoyma of the temple. By 1814-15 the East India Company who were meddling with the affairs of the princely states ruled that Cochin had sovereign rights over the Adoor Grama and the Annamanada temple, but certain rights of the temple were conceded to Travancore state. Later, considering the difficulty of exercising those special rights in a foreign territory, Travancore conceded those rights as well to the Cochin ruler in 1902. Now the temple is being administered by the Cochin Devaswom Board.



The main peculiarity of this temple is the sinking valiya balikkallu. The sinking of the valiabalikkal is attributed to the traditional explanation that it was ordained by the Lord for affording clear darshan from outside the naalambalam to the untouchable Pakkanar or to Perumthachan of the legendary Parayi petta Panthirukulam. The namaskaramandapa which is usually present in all the Mahakshetras is conspicuous by its absence. The mukhamandapam with wooden slat enclosure is devoid of the usual dvara-paalaka sculptures, but dvara-paalakas are supposed to be prakshiptham (concealed) as they have their share in bali oblation. The wood carvings in the Shrikovil and mukhamandapam as also those in the ceiling of the tow dvaragopurams deserve special mention.



The temple was well endowed earlier with an annual paattom (levy) of 64,000 paras of paddy and the agram (daily nivedyam) was of the order of 10 paras of rice per day. The temple has also contributed to the promotion of Koothu and Koodiyattom. Out of the 18 traditional Chakyar families of Kerala, the Mekkatt family had its original habitat near Annamanata temple and they were the sthanis there. Later, this family along with two other families - Valia Parisha of Ambalapuzha and Cheria Parisha of Kidangoor merged with the Kazhakuttom chakyars. Cheria parisha Parameswara chakyar is credited with the formulation of Mantrankom Koothu of Bhasa in current format in the Annamanata temple in the latter half of nineteenth century. The mantrankom koothu and koodiyattom used to last for 41 days during the Mandala Kaala starting from Vrishchigam first (Nov - Dec). In the absence of a Koothambalam, the valiambalam was the venue for staging plays and Annamanata temple is one of the two temples in Kerala where such marathon performance of Koothu used to be held in the Valiambalam in front of the main sannidhi.



The temple faces east. Main road access to the temple is on the western side. Entering through the east nata one comes across an astonishingly low Valiabalikkal just in front of the agramandapam. While generally, the height of the principal bali peetha is equal to the height of the adhishtana (basement) of the Shrikovil, here the uppermost layer i.e. the padma-peetha alone projects outside the base to a height equal to the jagathy (lowermost square moulding) of the adhishtana.



Past the balikkal and agra mandapa one enters the inner courtyard (akathe balivattom) of the temple. There is no namaskara mandapa in front of the Shrikovil. The Sopana with carved hasti-hasta bannisters on either side provides access to the square mukha mandapa. The sanctum is also square in shape. Both the Shrikovil and mukha mandapa are built up of granite up to the vedika. Further up, the shrikovil is built up of laterite, plastered over and decorated with panjaras and plain rectangular vertical niches interspersed in between. The ghanadvaras (false doors) on the south and west are utilised for the pratishtas of Ganapathy and Parvathy respectively. The ghanadvaras are adorned with toranas. Underneath the ghanadvara on the north runs the granite pranala supported on a dwarf figurine. The sanctum contains the Shiva linga, almost four feet tall and is considered to be Kiratamoorthy in a pleasing mood while giving Pashupatastra to Arjuna. The mukha mandapa in front is enclosed on the three sides with horizontal wooden slats fixed on outwardly sloping carved wooden frames. The upper floor walls of the mukha mandapa are made up of intricately carved wood panelling. Both the sanctum as well as the abutting mukha mandapa are dvi-tala in structure, covered over with copper sheets. The upper floor eaves are supported by free standing carved wooden figures at intervals and the roofs are punctured and decorated with shuka nasas.



There are two thidappallies forming part of the naalambalam on either side of the main sanctum. Through a door on the northern side of the naalambalam, opposite the pranala one comes to an enclosure which contains the circular eka-tala shrikovil of Vishnu with a square namaskara mandapa in front supporting a pyramidal roof. Both the structures have tiled roof. The vilakkumaadom structure encloses the naalambalam of Shiva sannidhanam as well as the Vishnu enclosure on its northern side, along the outer periphery. The independent gabled roofs of the two valiambalams, that of Shiva and Vishnu, present independent mukhappus (frontage) of the two major sannidhis, while that of Shiva extends forward over the agra mandapa in front accentuating its primacy.



In front of the agra mandapa is the extraordinary valiabalikkal, beyond which on the eastern side is the aanapandal with a tiled roof and the dhwaja stambha piercing that roof. In the outer balivattom are located the Shasta sannidhi facing west on the southern side of the naalambalam and the Goshala Krishnan adjoining the western boundary wall in the south-west corner. In the north-east corner of the outer courtyard are located the tank and the oottupura. The courtyard is enclosed by a tall compound wall pierced by openings in the four cardinal directions, of which those in the east and west natas are decorated with dvaragopuras with dvi-tala tiled roof and with carved ceilings.



Outside the eastern dvaragopura on its south is situated the Mahakaali sannidhi and on the north-east are the sannidhis of Nagaraja, Durga mounted on lion, Narasimha and Krishna with a large tank in between. The Annamanata river flows by facing the eastern facade at a distance of around 500 metres, wherein the aarattu of the Lord takes place on the concluding day of the annual festival. The devaswom office is located on the west nata beyond the dvaragopuram on the north-west side. The main access to the temple is from the western side and the distance to the road point (Chalakkudy-Mala bus route) is about 200 metres.



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