24 Captivating facts of Kaviyoor Mahadev temple, Kerala

Kaviyoor Mahadev temple, Kerala Kerala Tourism 
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 Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple, Kaviyoor, in  Pathanamthitta District of Kerala is on a small hillock. The eastern entrance has 18 steps to access the temple.. This famous Shiva temple has a unique distinction of having a Srikovil (sanctum) dedicated to lord Hanuman who is commonly worshiped in Vishnu temples. The Shivalinga is made by lord Rama himself and this is the reason Hanuman is believed to guard the special linga cast by Sitaraman on his return journey to Ayodhya after his battle against the Langa king Ravana (Lankeswaran).  It is so popular lots of devout Hindus come here on pilgrimage to get the blessings from the lords. It is located on the banks of river Manimala. This temple is a good example of Kerala temple architecture. This time tested architecture has its own individuality and exemplifies  simplicity, serenity and exquisite beauty in unison with Kerala's terrain and climatic conditions. The temple exudes optimum architectural grandeur and beauty -  fine  display of timber structures, with an interplay of earthen tiles and copper.
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Main features of Kaviyoor Mahadev  temple:

01. The Kaviyoor Mahadevar Temple was once the Grama kshethra - Village Temple.

02, It is a temple of great antiquity and though some historians suggest Treta Yuga, exact date of construction is not known and has been a bone of contention among scholars.

03. Inscriptions in the temple  seem to belong to 10 th century  and a bit older. Structurally one of the oldest in Kerala.

04. Vide  inscriptions  of Kali Era  AD 951 and AD 952 this temple once owned  202 acres of donated lands  and these  inscriptions  are believed to be the oldest  in Kerala.

05. That Kaviyoor was one of the 64 Brahmin villages in the Parasurama's Kerala - 32 Thulu villages and 32 Malayalam villages suggests its hoary past.

06. The Main deity is known as Thrikkaviyoorappan. 

07. The Shivalinga at this temple, believed to be made by Sri Rama and Sita themselves  is  made of sand and darbha grass (in Tamil: Darbai pul) taken from the earth here.

08. After slaying Ravana, demon king of  Lanka, who happened to be an ardent devotee of lord Shiva and a scholar, Sri Rama consecrated the Shivalinga, using the local earth to get rid of his sin. 

09. The posture of Shivalinga is unique, sitting in lotus position (padmasana) embracing Goddess Parvati with his left hand.
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10. Here Parvathi is known  as Sree Moolarajeswari. Maharajah Sri Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma of Travancore in 1893 AD had the idol consecrated. 
11. This is a rare Shiva temple, perhaps in south India (may be in north India?) where there is a separate sanctum (Srikvoil) for Hanuman. Commonly at Vishnu temples you can see a shrine or sanctum dedicated to Sri Rama Bhakta Hanuman. The sanctum  was built by the Maharajah of Travancore  Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma in  AD 1934 and is outside the main sanctum in the NW corner of the inner courtyard  and his idol (facing East) is small.
Kaviyoor Mahadev temple. Hanuman idol YouTube
12. The Keezhthrikkovil Temple, dedicated to Mahavishnu is just close-by  beneath the main temple complex. Here the main idol is made of hard stone with Vishnu's attributes. 
13. The temple was administered by Ten Brahmin families known as Pathillathil potties in the past and the management  was taken over by the Travancore State Government (12th First class Major Temple) in the year 1899 along with 2500 Hindu temples.  Kaviyoor Temple's annual revenue was 9201 para paddy and 23,334.75 fanams(Madras fanam). 

14. Temple's wealth included vast land spread, covering tens of thousands of acres of fertile lands, revenue collection of tens of thousands of rupees and a huge collection of expensive treasures.

15. It is a wealthy temple with lots of treasures that include a huge collection of nicely made precious  ornaments. These include Swarna prabhamandalam, Golden Nettippattams and ezhunnallippu chatams, Golden pots, Golden Reliefs of Deities, Golden Umbrellas, Golden Chains and Several materials with precious gems.

16. The temple  has copper-covered roof over the sanctum, golden flag mast (Dwajasthanbham). In many temples it is made of either copper or brass. 

17. The Sanctum - Srikovil  is circular with a diameter of 46 feet. The basement is built during  different periods.  The roof  is copper covered with a gilded dome for extra protection of wooden frame inside.

18. The outer wall of the sanctum is adorned with wooden sculptural panels. There are fourteen panels on the outer of the Srikovil exhibiting fine wooden sculptures. These carvings depict  episodes from the Ramayana, Mahabharatha, Bhagavatham and Sivapuranam. Impressive features are Prodosha Thandava in the south and Trivikramamoorthy in the right. Yet another feature is the 44 wooden rafters, that support the roof  of the prakara, have brass shoes reliefs of gods.

19. The square shaped Namaskara mandapa, in front of the sanctum is beautiful. The inner roof has beautiful wooden carvings. Navagraha sculptures is in the centre  while  the story of ramayana, from Rama's birth to Hanuman's Lankadahana is arranged here in three layers. Here also the rafters have brass shoes but many are missing.  

20. Wooden sculptures adorn the  inner roof of Vathilmadam( Koothumaadam) and Balickalppura The latter include some poses from Kamasastra too. These sculptures date back to late sixteenth or early seventeenth century.

21. Outside the Nalambalam one can find the idols of serpent gods (Naga Raja & Naga yakshi). Lots of women, in particular, childless couples pray here to be blessed with a child.

22. It is of interest to know that the amazing and mind-boggling wood work of this temple was done by highly talented local sculptors, belonging to Thekkethil family. Highly skilled hereditary wood workers are common in Kerala and also in Tamil Nadu. 

23. This temple was once known to have celebrated 16 annual  festivals. Among the present annual festivals Panthrantukalabham for Hanuman in Chingam Kanni( July), Ayilyam (September) for Serpent gods, Thiruvuthsavam (Annual festival- December–January) for Shiva and Parvathi , Hanumath Jayanthy for lord Hanuman  (December–January), Uthrittathi Attathirunal (January) for the consort of Shiva attract lots devotees and they are held with religious fervor and intense bhakti.

24. The main offering to the presiding deity at Kaviyoor Mahadevar Temple is Aval Nadyam and Vada Mala in the case of Hanuman and the main offerings for Lord Shiva are Dhara, Payasam, Atimakitaththal and Thulabharam. Some offerings need prior request.