Unique Tali temple, Kozhikode, Kerala

Tali Temple, Kozhikode., Kerala. www.keralatourism.org
The Tali temple at Kozhikode (also known by Calicut) is one of the oldest temples of Kerala. Like many Hindu temples, this one too has legends  about its origin and historical events associated with it. In Kerala Thali actually means abode of God’ and the kings used to run their kingdom with justice and fairness in the name of God, a tradition followed in neighboring Tamil Nadu by the kings there. Tali may also refer to Lord Shiva, the presiding deity with out his consort Parvathi on the same premises. Kaduthuruthi Mahadeva Thali Temple has numerous Nambudri villages around it, hence Siva temple in the Namdudri place is referred to as a Thali temple.

Built in the 14th century, it is  one of the Brahminical temples  closely associated with the Zamorin rulers of the coastal Malabar, the other being  the Valayanaattu Kavu. It was during the Zamorian rule Vasco da Gama and his fleet arrived on the Kappad beach near here in 1498. The temple is considered one of the spiritual and cultural centers of Kozhikode. This temple located in the center of the city  is  famous for the annual cultural and intellectual event called Revathy Pattathanam.

. Tali temple surroundings, Kozhicode, Kerala,/www.google.co.in
The Tali temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva (the term Tali commonly refers to Shiva). The main deity enshrined in the sanctum is Umamaheswara and, it is believed, that  sanctum  was installed towards the end of Dwaparayuga (deluge/catastrophe)  by Sri  Parasurama, supposedly the creator of  of Kerala,  by retrieving the land   from the ocean  by throwing his powerful axe from the top of Sahyadri. The sanctum is two storied with stone sculptures and carvings depicting Puranas. The salient features of his temple are use of combination of  wood and laterite in the building, intricate brass-relief work on the walls in the sanctum, detailed brass carvings nicely done on the wooden roof. All these combined features enhance the beauty of Kerala style of architecture.
Kohzikode location, Kerala..www.holidayiq.com
This ancient temple is replete with stories related to the dark side of human mind  driven by  ego, black magic, curses, revelry, etc.  Centuries ago the grammas (similar to villages) were managed by kazha-kams or Advisory Boards, each under an officer called the Taliatiri.  Among the numerous Talis, eighteen were important, of which  Kozhikode Tali was the most prominent. The Nambudiri  Brahmins, native of Kerala,  consisting of fifty families were in charge of the temple. They conducted the regular pooja protocols, etc and ran Patasala for Vedic teaching called  Salapuram (Chalapuram). They, it is believed, had close relationship with the Thampurattis or princesses of the royal family. Around A. D.1200 Zamorians  invaded this region and expelled the  Porlatiri.
Tali Temple, Kozhikode.Keraka www.letsseeindia.com
There are legends behind this temple. On the advice of Nambudri, a Porlatiri, somehow managed to get in to the Zamorian royal family  posing as Brahmin. He fell in love with a royal woman and one day he eloped with her. When Zamorian came to know about this incident, they concluded that this was done  by the misguided advice of Nambudries. In retaliation, they  allowed them  to die. 

The other legend has it that when the Nambudri Brahmins, in order to vent out their frustration, resorted to ''fast unto death''(pattini) atop a mound called 'surgam', the Zamorian became just mute spectators because the honor and dignity of their Royal family was sullied and became a subject  of criticism and ridicule. Soon numerous Numbudries faced death slowly. Consequently a stigma was cast on the Zamarian  for indirectly responsible for the death of highly  scholarly well-read people(Pundits), and thus they acquired Brahmahathi Thosam (killing of Brahmins) - possession of some evil spirit.  The astrologers warned that this would spell disaster in the family and cause misery and pain and they had to absolve themselves of this sin.  On the advice of Kolkunnathu Sivankal, the Zamorin instituted the annual Pattattanam in A.D.1309-1310 at the Tali temple to avoid Anishtam or unpleasant event in the royal family in the future. This annual event  attracts scholars for discussion and exposition of their knowledge. The composer of Narayaneeyam (in praise of Lord Vishnu) was one such recipient. Today  Rig Veda laksharchana was also conducted to commemorate the historic Revati Pattattanam.  

The unfortunate invasion by Hyder Ali and his son Tipu of Mysore Kingdom almost destroyed several  temples  in Kerala and the Tali temple was one among them. In the 18th century,  the Zamorin of the day renovated the building. The present temple was built by Manavikraman the great.  Following a 'Devaprasnam' (astrological prediction), a common practice in Kerala temples, renovation was done in 1967. The flag staffs for Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna were installed as per temple rites.

Daily  five Kala poojas and three  processions of gods (Sivelis) are conducted here. In the evenings Namajapam or  repeated chanting of Lord`s names is practiced here. The annual utsavam (festival) begins on Vishu day (Kerala New Year`s day) and lasts for  seven  days. On the 8th day the Arattu or bathing ceremony is held. 

Granite slabs with carvings of  mythical figures were unearthed from the premises of the Tali Siva temple in Kozhikode recently and they are being studied by the State Archaeology Department.