Welcome to the Vadakkunnathan Temple! This centuries-old architectural wonder in wood and stone is standing tall in the heart of Thrissur and is surrounded by a nine-acre walled patch of green. I mean, who doesn’t want to visit a temple that looks like it’s from a fairy tale?
This temple is so remarkable that it received the ‘Award of Excellence’ at the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.
With its beautiful mural paintings that are more than 400 years old, this temple is the perfect place to dive deep into the rich cultural heritage of Kerala.
The temple follows the traditional architectural style of Kerala and is situated on a hillock, which is surrounded by a vast stone wall encompassing an area of 9 acres. It’s got four gopurams that face north, south, east, and west, which makes it easier for you to find your way around the place. Just take a moment to appreciate the craftsmanship and skills put into constructing this place? It’s incredible!
Inside the temple, you’ll find a multi-shrine complex with three main shrines, including Vadakkunnathan, Lord Rama, and Hari-Hara or Shankaranarayana. And don’t forget to check out the theatre known as Koothambalam, where some old ritualistic art forms of Kerala are preserved. You can also take a look at the old museum inside the temple, which consists of old wall paintings, wood carvings, and art pieces belonging to ancient times.
And if you’re lucky, you might get to witness traditional performances called Nangyar Koothu, which take place in one of the largest Dance Halls, Koothambalam. It’s like a whole different world inside this temple!
The history of the Vadakkunnathan Temple dates back to 1,000 years, and as per legends, Guru Adi Shankaracharya was born to the Shivaguru-Aryamba couple of Kalady after a lot of prayers made by them to God Vadakkannathan. And did you know that Adi Shankara got freedom from the embodiment, also known as Videha Mukti in the Vadakkunnathan Temple?
But before you enter the temple, you’ve got to follow the strict dress code. Men need to be shirtless and wear a dhoti, so don’t forget to pack accordingly. And for our non-Hindu friends out there, although you can’t enter the temple, you can still stand outside and admire the beauty of the place.
In conclusion, visiting the Vadakkunnathan Temple is like stepping into a different world altogether. You get to witness history, culture, art, and heritage all in one place. So if you’re ever in the Thrissur area, don’t forget to check it out!