Panniyur Sri Varahamurthy Temple,, Kuttipuram, Kerala. - a temple of great antiquity

The God's own country  - Kerala has innumerable  temples dedicated to Lord Sri Vishnu  The following temples  are worthy of mention: Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple  on the banks of River Pamba in Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district,

Sree Lakshmi Narayana Temple where God Vishnu is with  Goddess Lakshmi situated at Panjal village near Thiruvilwamala in Thrissur district,

 Janardhanaswamy Temple at Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram, close to Varkala beach,

Sree Chakrapani Temple, about 5 km north of Payyanur and 3 kms south of Trikaripur  in Kasaragod district,

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram  (richest temple in the world and a good example of a blend of Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture), and 

Sree Vallabha temple  (400-year-old)  situated on the banks of the River Manimala at Thiruvalla in Pathanamthitta (famous for 54 foot tall   Garuda Sthambha,  made from a  single block of granite (monolithic) stone   by the legendary architect Perunthachan. The image of the god in the sanctum is 8 foot tall.      

The Panniyur Sree Varahamurthy Temple:

As far as the third avatar of Sri Mahavishnu Varahamurthy, there are only a few temples dedicated to him . Between the two famous temples dedicated to Varahamuthy in Kerala, the one at at Kuttippuram – Panniyoor of Northern Kerala is a famous center of pilgrimage for the Vishnu worshippers. The other one is at Thiruvananthapuram  city. 

The Panniyur Sree  Varahamurthy Temple, about 15 km south of Kuttipuram Town in Palakkad  district of Kerala is  a strange one in the sense, it is an incomplete temple. Normally worship of deities is conducted only in fully completed temples and tradition has it pujas are not allowed in  incomplete temples. The exception being Panniyur Sree Varahamurhy temple. 

Panniyur Sri Varahamurthy Temple, Kuttipuram

The presiding deity  of this temple is Lord Varahamurthy (3rd avatar of Sri Vishnu)  and it is the first temple  established by Sage Parasurama in this region. This temple has been here for more than 4000 years.  Here, the main deity is with thayyar /Goddess Bhumi Devi  after annihilation of demon king  Hiranyaksha. 

VarahaMurthy,Kumbidi, Palakkadu.

According to the legend the famous architect Perunthachan had a plan to build this temple with amazing beauty and splendor  that no other temple n this region could match.  Lord Indra, the god of rain was quite envious and kept troubling the architect to make any further  progress. The demigod's perpetual attempt succeeded and the temple was never finished and visitors could see unfinished structures on the temple premises even today.   

Regarding antiquity of this temple there are endless debates among scholars. Stone inscriptions found in the temple suggest that there existed 1200 years ago an organization called  ''Panniyuraayiram’ consisting of about 1000 members whose work was confined mainly to administration, religious and cultural activities of  this ancient temple  This highlights the fact in the bygone era this temple was a famous destination for the pilgrims and  the temple was a popular one then. The land  created from sea by sage Parasurama went through   certain cataclysmic changes - expansion, destruction, upheavals, etc. It was not stable and unfit for living. On  sage Narada's advice   Parasurama meditated on God Vishnu.  Vishnu  told him that he would stabilize the land  during his third avatar Varaham. His  Varahamurthy  form would  save the world from destruction and instability and  the place would be blessed with everything needed for comfortable living.   

Metal idol of Vraha and Bhumi Devi.

Varahamurthy. painting by Raja Raviverma.

Above image: Varaha (Sanskrit: Varāha means  "boar") is the  third avatar of ten incarnations (dasavatara)  of  Hindu god Vishnu; human body with the head of a boar holding the globe and saving it from destruction and deluge. in the form of a boar.

According to the legend Varaha is  lifting the Earth (personified as the goddess Bhudevi) out of the cosmic ocean. Demon Hiranyaksha stole the earth and hid her in the primordial waters, Vishnu  took the form of  Varaha to rescue he Bhudevi (earth) by slaying  the demon. Thus he retrieved the earth from the ocean  and put it back  in the universe.  Thus Bhudevi  was restored and the lord is seen in many temples with Bhudevi on his one side. Varaha is in an anthropomorphic form, with a boar's head and the human body. His consort, Bhudevi, the earth, is often depicted as a young woman, lifted by Varaha.............................

Accordingly sage Parasurama had a temple built and consecrated Varaha Muthy Swami in the Sri Kovil  in the fragmented land (now called Kerala). Besides, he initiated the puja and worship protocols  for the main deity as per Sastras.   This temple was a silent spectator of revelry between two villages dominated by learned  Pundits Namboothiris over their wisdom and scholarship. Their enmity went beyond the limits of tolerance, hence the local ruler Zamorin interfered and  lowered their ranks. 

Mahapundit Appath Adeeri, a learned scholar 600 years ago predicted this place would become a famous place of worship. Today this  place has become  the Panniyur Mahakshetram. It is said that 

devotees  who believe in Shri Varahamurthy and his divine power  would be blessed with ‘Abhishta Karya Sidhdhi’ (i.e. the realization of everything that one had prayed for). Devotees believe that when in serious trouble,  if one utters the words ‘Varahamurthy Rakshikane’ (save me, Varahamurthy) thrice, the God  would rescue one from all ensuing  problems and predicaments. The concept of Saranagathi - Total surrender to the almighty  applies here