Spriritually appealing Mahadeva Temple, Ettumanoor, Kerala

Ettumanoor Temple North Gate Entrancecommons. wikimedia.org
Kerala, the South western state in the peninsular India, is dotted with more than 2000 Hindu temples that enhance the beauty of this serene landscape endowed with nature's bounty. The fascinating aspect of Kerala temple is, with some exceptions, most of them are made of high quality  intricately designed timber wood. Many of them are dedicated to Lords Krishna, Vishnu, Shiva and Goddess Kali or Amman.
Among the Shiva  temples in Kerala such as   Mahadeva temples at Chengannur (Alappuzha), Kaduthuruthy and Vaikom (Kottayam), Ernakulam in Kochi City and Vadakkumnathan (Mahadevar) in Thrissur, Ettumanoor Mahadevan Temple is  equally quite well known and is being visited by devotees from Kerala and adjacent states. More over, it is  one of the wealthiest Devaswoms in Kerala, and  has many valuable possessions - gold statues, jewelery precious stones, etc.

Built in 1542 AD, this temple is dedicated to Shiva as Ettumanoorappan. This temple has the unique distinction of having been visited by the great Hindu Philosopher  Adi Shankara of Kalady  centuries ago who  wrote  "Soundarya Lahari" right here during his stay.  Important festival is Thirulsavam in Kumbham. The name of the place  is derived  from the word 'manoor', which, in local parlance, means the land of deer. This ancient temple is believed to have been visited by Pandavas (of Mahabharata) and sage Vyasa. It was in  1542 AD, the temple was rebuilt. There are superb mural paintings inside the temple and they reflect the Dravidian style of work. An interesting feature is the beautiful presentation of Pradosha Nritham (Dance of Shiva), which is believed to be one of the best in India.
Ettumanoor  Mahadev Temple.www.youtube.com
Mahadeva Temple, Ettumanoor – Keralaraxacollective.wordpress.com
Yet another feature that grabs our attention is the Dwajasthambam - flag staff made of gold, There is an image of bull on top of it  surrounded by small bells and metal leaves of the banyan tree.  Inside the temple there are small shrines dedicated to  Sastha, Ganapathy, Bhagavati Amman  and Yakshi. The Kerala style of temple architecture is quite impressive  and the temple roof is  covered with copper sheets and it has 14 ornamental tops.
Ezharaponnaana festivalEttumanoor Mahadeva Temple www.tripyourdays.com
Arattu festival  is an important one celebrated on a grand scale with devotion on the Thiruvathira day in February–March every year. Lots of  devotees participate in this festival on the 8th and 10th day  when  "seven-and-a-half golden elephants” are taken out in the procession. Each of the shinning statues taken  out in the procession contains nearly 13 kg of gold. The all seven golden elephants stand 2 feet tall, whereas the eighth one is just one foot tall; hence the name Ezhara Ponnaana. Along with the golden elephants stand  majestically  caparisoned temple elephants. 
Ettumanoor Mahadev temple, Ezharaponnaana festival .raxacollective.wordpress.com
The golden elephants were donated to the temple by a ruler of Travancore  State in the past.