Thiruvanvandoor Mahavishnu Temple, Kerala built by one of the Pandava brothers!!

Thiruvanvandoor TempleAtma Nirvana
Paambanaiyappa Perumal Temple; Temple Advisor
The Thiruvanvandoor Mahavishnu Temple in the small town of  Thiruvanvandoor (near Thiruvalla), Alappuzha District, Kerala is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Constructed in the Kerala style of architecture, the nearest railway station to the temple is  Chengannur.

It is one of the 108 Divyadesam shrines of  God Vishnu  and is glorified  in the Divya Prabandham, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD.  Here. the temple is dedicated  to Sri Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, who is worshiped as Paambanaiappan. Consecrated by the sage Bhrigu,  the temple on the banks of the Pampa river,  is one among the five ancient shrines in the Chengannur area of Kerala, having close links with the legend of Mahabharata. 

The five Pandava brothers  are believed to have built one temple each; Thrichittatt Maha Vishnu Temple by Yudhishthira, Puliyur Mahavishnu Temple by Bheema, Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple by Arjuna, Thiruvanvandoor Mahavishnu Temple by Nakula and Thrikodithanam Mahavishnu Temple by Sahadeva.

Great  Azhvar Tamil saints - Nammalvar, in circa 800 AD made references to this temple in his devotional hymns.  Inside the temples there are stone inscriptions that  date back to the Second Chera Empire (800 - 1102 AD).

The two-story Gopuram / tower forms the main gateway with the  upper story having wooden trails covering the Kottupura. This part was meant for beating drums during festival time and the sound could be heard in the adjacent areas informing the people of the on-going festival at the temple. The entire  shrine is within a rectangular  boundary wall  around the temple, called Kshetra-Madilluka pierced by the gateways. A common feature in the Hindu temple is the Flag-post called Dwajasthambam. It is normally made of metal copper or brass rarely in gold axially placed to the temple tower leading to the central sanctum. Before the beginning of major festivals, temple flag is hoisted with proper puja and chanting of specified mantra by the priests  and there is a Deepastamba, which is the light post.  Chuttuambalam  forms the  the outer pavilion within the temple walls. The central shrine and the associated hall is located in a rectangular structure called Nallambalam, a pillared halls with  corridors.   The Namaskara Mandapa with a pyramidal roof is a raised platform between the entrance of Nallambalam to the sanctum. Here, devotees prostrate before the deity, signifying total surrender to Him. Of particular importance is the temple kitchen called  Thevrapura (also called Madapalli in Tamil), where offering - naivedhyam  to the deity is cooked. There is no temple without Balithara  which is an altar  used for making ritualistic offering to demi-gods and the festive deities. 

The most important part of the temple is the main shrine called Garbagraha / Srikovil (Sanctum). It houses the presiding deity.  It is an elevated part with a single door and sentinel guards -  Dwarapalakas on either side of the entrance.  Tradition has it in Kerala  only the main priest called Thantri and the second priest called Melshanthi alone can enter the Sree Kovil.  Here, the Srikovil has a circular shape with a granite base and superstructure made  of laterite. Conical roof is made of terracotta tiles supported from inside by a wooden structure. The lower half of Sree Kovil consists of the basement, the pillar or the wall,  the upper half is divided into the neck called griva, the roof tower called Shikhara and the conical kalasam (made of copper).  The roof projections in two levels  are meant to protect the inner structure, particularly the walls  from heavy rains during monsoon. 

In many temples the  roof and some of the pillars have fine  wood and stucco carvings, depicting episodes from epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. The outer walls around the sanctum are fixed with rows of wooden frames housing an array of lamps, which are lit on festival  days. Here, the temple has  paintings on its walls dating back to early 18 century.
The temple is open from 4 am to 11:00 am and 5 pm to 8 pm and is administered by Travancore Devaswom Board of the Government of Kerala.
Thiruvanvandoor Gajamela’
Above image: Gajamela’ held as part of the annual festival at Sree Gosalakrishna Temple at the Government High School grounds at Thiruvanvandoor near Thiruvalla . Photo: Leju Kamal...........

The commemoration of saint and poet Nammazhwar, the saint poet of 8th century is part of annual Thiruvaimozhi festival. Yet another great festival celebrated here is  commemoration of installation of the idol of Sri Krishna. This 51 long day festival has several great events and ends with Gajamela, characteristic of the parade of 21 caparisoned elephants. Float festival also attracts lots of people. During festival time, 
Gajamela at Thiruvanvandoor Temple | KeralaYouTube
performers play  Mayuranrithom, Krishnanattom, Karakom, Nadaswarom, Panchavadyam, and Pancharimelom and show their skill.  Pancharimelam performers  try to compete and exhibit their special skill during this festival time. offer rendition during the event.  Kathakali performers in the evening play great themes from the puranas and the attract large crowds. A Gajamela, caparisoned elephant parade is normally held at the Government High School grounds in Thiruvanvandoor marking the culmination of the 51-day annual festival, later, in the afternoon.
A traditional `Kudamaattom’ performance by the Paramekkavu team from Thrissur was a major attraction at the Gajamela.