Lord Vamana or Thrivikrama is the fifth avatara(incarnation) of Vishnu, and the first incarnation of the Treta yuga. Also he is the first avatar of Vishnu which appears with a completely human form, though it was that of a dwarf brahmin.Vamana took birth as the son of Kashyapa and Aditi in the month of Bhadrapatha. He is also sometimes known as Upendra or Indranuja.
The legend of Bhagavata has it that the Vamana avatar was taken by Vishnu to restore Indra's authority over the heavens, which was taken away by force by the demon king Bali. Vamana in the disguise of a short Brahmin, carrying a wooden umbrella requested three steps of land for him to live in. Given a promise of three steps of Land by King Bali against the warning given by his Guru Sukracharya, Vamana, The Supreme God grows so huge that he could cover from heaven to earth, earth to lower worlds in two simple steps. King Bali unable to fulfil the promise of three paces of Land to the Supreme God, offers his head for the third step. Thus Vamana places his third step on King Bali's head and gives him immortality for his benevolance.
Vamana taught King Bali that arrogance and pride should be abandoned if any advancement in life is to be made, and that wealth should never be taken for granted since it can so easily be taken away. Vamana then took on the form of Mahavishnu. He was pleased by King Bali's determination and ability to keep his promise in the face of his spiritual master's curse and the prospect of losing all his wealth. Vishnu named the King Mahabali since he was a Mahatma (great soul). He allowed Mahabali to return to the spiritual sky to associate with Prahalada (the demoniac Hiranyashipu's pious son, also a descendant of the demon race) and other divine beings. Mahavishnu also declared that Mahabali would be able to rule the universe in the following yuga (age).
Mahabali is supposed to return every year to the land of his people, to ensure that they are prosperous. This is celebrated as the Onam festival in Kerala, and he is also called Maveli.
Vamana Temples in Kerala
Vamana temples are very rare in Kerala. Thrikkakkara Vamana Temple in Ernakulam is the most important Vamana Temple in Kerala and is closely associated with Onam festival.
1. Thrikkakkara Vamana Temple
Thrikkakara Temple is situated in Thrikkakara, 2 kilometers east of Idapally near Cochi. The name Thrikkakkara means the holy place where Lord placed His foot. Thiru-kal-kari later became Thrikkakara.
The legend is closely linked with the story of Mahabali and Lord Vishnu's Vamana or Trivikrama incarnation. Mahabali was an efficient and popular Asura king. His kingdom stretched the earth, the patala (the underground), and was threatening the skies. The gods (suras) grew worried of Mahabali's rule and popularity. Vishnu, in his avatar as Vamana, asked Mahabali for a piece of land only three paces wide. Bali, ever the generous king, granted this wish, whereupon Vamana grew to an immense size and covered the heavens with one step and the earth with another. There was no space left for Vamana to measure his third pace. "Where is my third foot of space?" asked Vamana. Tricked by this deceit, but as one who would never go back on his promises. Mahabali offered his own head for Vamana to place his third step. These events were happened at this place. As he was pushed down into Suthala, King Bali made a last request. He requested that he be allowed to visit Kerala once in a year to ensure that his people were still happy, well fed and content. Lord Vishnu was pleased to grant Mahabali his wish. Mahabali comes to visit his people and his land during Onam. This is the legend behind the Onam festival. Another legend associated with this temple is that Kapila maharshi did penance here and Vishnu pleased with the rishi’s penance appeared before the rishi. At the behest of the rishi, Vishnu decided to stay in this place. More....
2. Mithranandapuram Vamana Temple
Mithranandapuram Temple is an ancient temple situated in Peruvanam Gramam (Thrissur District). Mithranandapuram is about 10 Kms from Thrissur city on Thrissur-Thriprayar route. One can get down at Perumbillissery Centre (near Cherpu) from the bus and walk less than 0.50 km towards west to reach the temple. Thrissur-Triprayar road and Thrissur-Irinjalakkuda-Kodungalloor road meets at Perumbillissery junction.
Lord Vamana is the principal deity of this temple. According to the legends, the idol worshipped here is more than 1500 years old. This age is calculated on the basis of the Malayalam recital “Ayathu Sivalokam” depicted in the nearby Arattupuzha temple where the famous Arattupuzha pooram called Deva Mela is celebrated. The temple is owned by three ooranma namboothiri illams namely Alakkattu Mana, Pattachomarayath Mana and Akkarachittur Mana. The Chief Priest or Thanthri of the Temple is Nedumpilly Tharananellur Mana, Irinjalakuda. More....
3. Anakudy Thiruvamanapuram Vamana Temple Vamanapuram
Anakudy Thiruvamanapuram Temple is located at Vamanapuram in Thiruvananthapuram district, 1 km from Vamanapuram on Anakudy route on Vamanapuram river side. Main deity is Vamana. The 8 day long annual festival is in Kumbham and utsavam ends with aaratu on thiruvonam day.
4. Chelamattam Vamana Narasimha Sreekrishna Temple
Chelamattam temple is situated on the bank of Periyar river near Vallam (between Kalady and Perumbavoor) in Ernakulam district. Devotees can reach the temple through M.C Road. The beautiful alnkara gopuram welcome the devotees to the temple. Chelamattom is located 21 kms from the Aluva Railway Station and 8 kms from Kalady and 11 kms from Nedumbassery Airport. More....
5. Kalattu Vamanamoorthy Temple
Kalattu Vamanamoorthy Temple is located at Niramruthoor near Tanur in Malappuram District. More details available at http://kalattuvamanamoorthytemple.com/
6. Thelakkad Vamana Moorthy Temple
Located at Thelakkad in Malappuram District. Ganapathy and Sastha are the upadevathas. The Ooranma illams (owners of the temple) are Paruthi, Kulapram, Thevarkad and Kunnam. Punartham in Meenam is the Prathishta dinam.
7. Mevelloor Vamana Moorthy Temple
Mevelloor Vamana Moorthy Temple is the only Vamana temple in Kottayam district. It is located at Mevelloor near Thalayolapparambu. Elephants are not permitted to enter the temple compound.
8. Chettarikkal ( Udhayanapuram) Vishnu ( Vamana) Temple, Kuranniyoor
9. Thrivikrama Temple in Suchindram Sthanumalaya Perumal Temple Kanyakumari Tamil Nadu
Sthanumalaya Perumal Temple is located at Suchindram in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. This temple is dedicated to Trimurthis - Brahma,Vishnu and Shiva. The name Sthanumalaya denotes the combination of the Trimurthis. Sthanu is a synonym for Siva, Mal for Vishnu and Ayan for Brahma. It is believed that the top, middle and base of the Linga in the temple represent Siva, Vishnu and Brahma respectively. Suchindram is also famous as Njanaranyam. There is a seperate Sreekovil for Lord Vishnu near to the sreekovil of Sthanumalaya Perumal. Here Lord Vishnu is worshipped in Thrivikrama form. Thrivikrama is the form taken by Vamana to measure three worlds. Thrivikrama temple has a copper dwaja prathishta. More....