Fascinating Venkitta Thevar Shiva temple, Kottakkal

Kottakkal Venkittathevar Shiva Temple'.plus.google.com
Kottakkal, a municipal town in  Malappuram District of Kerala, S.India, is well known for the Shiva temple (called Venkitta Thevar Shiva temple) '
Beautiful Mural Paintings, Venkittathevar Shiva Temple'.english.mathrubhumi.com
of great antiquity. This temple is more than 1000 years old and is a repository of  beautiful Mural Paintings, depicting scenes from the Hindu epics and scriptures. There are roughly 40 paintings on the temple walls and, unfortunately, they are not well maintained and many of them are either faded or partly peeled off. Mention may be made of Sri Rama's Anantha Sayanam,' Pakshi Durga, Karthaveeryarjuna, etc., There are many miniature paintings, covering the entire length of the wall

The 19the century paintings (1866 - 1878 AD ) are  believed to have been drawn by  artists  Elannumadathil Sankaran Nair and Arangote Bharatha Pisharody.
Mural Paintings, Kottakkal Venkittathevar Shiva Temple'. kerala-delightfulartsandculture.blogspot.com
Kottakkal meaning 'place of Forts' was  once a a military base of the 'Kingdom of Valluvanadu'. A  resident representative of Valluvanadu Kingdom in that region in the first half of 15th century, for unknown reason, killed one of the local  the ministers of Kozhikode ruler 'Zamuthiri'(Zamorin). The Zamorin king of Kozhikode  seized Kottakkal and put a resident representative in charge of that area

The legend has it that once a sage meditated on Lord Shiva for a long time. Pleased with his Tapas (intense meditation to propitiate the lord), Shiva made his presence felt year round at this famous temple,  as requested by the sage. Later the sage had a Shiva Linga image installed, built a temple and consecrated it.
As ill-luck would have it the temple, on account of very poor maintenance became dilapidated and fell in to ruin.  During the reign of Hyder Ali and  Tipu of Mysore, no improvement on the temple was made. After the British took control of this region, the temple was handed over to Kizhakke Kovilakam. The temple is mentioned  in 'Suka Sandesam' and is referred as  "Swetha Durgam" (white fort or Ven Kotta in malayalam) in that text.  A Shepard  and some local people noticed, to their astonishment, the cows produced more milk at a particular spot  and, further examination of that strange place, reveled the presence of an idol of Lord Shiva that lay buried  deep in the mud.  When the ruler of Valluvanad came to about the Shiva idol, he had a fresh temple built and consecrated the Idol in 1200 AD. Later it came under the Zamorin ruler. Kottakkal was earlier  known as 'Venkatta Kotta'.