Adithyapuram ''Surya'' Temple - only place in Kerala dedicated to Surya Dev (Sun God)

Adithyapuram Surya temple, Kerala.

Surya, a Sun God in Hinduism,  is an important planetary god, according to Indian Astrologers. The worship of Surya is  popular in many Indian states notably Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.  In the latter Surya temple at Khajuraho (11th century CE  is a famous one.  The Chitragupta Temple is the only one in the whole of Khajuraho  complex dedicated to the Sun God (Surya).  In this heritage temple the  tall statue of Surya is seen  riding a chariot of seven horses. He is shown standing, dressed in an  armored coat and boots, and holding lotus flowers.   Surya is one among the major five deities in Hinduism,  meditating on him is also an aspect of  realizing Brahman in accordance with the Smarta Tradition.

Adythyapuram Surya temple, Kerala.

 God  Surya goes by other names such as Aditya,  Bhanu, Savitr,  Ravi, Martanda, Mitra, Bhaskaraand  Prabhakara, etc. This deity also found in the arts and literature of Buddhism and Jain is  depicted with a Chakra, also interpreted as Sun Temple.  Suntemple, Modhera, Gujarat (11th century CE), Deo Surya Mandir, Odisha  Konark Sun Temple, Odhisa  (13th century CE  are some examples across India. 

Map of Kottayam District, Kerala

In the state of Kerala there is a popular Surya temple at  Iravimangalam near Kaduthuruthy in Kottayam district.  It is called  Adithyapuram Surya Temple and is just  17 km from Ettumanoor and 16 km from Vaikom.   It  is the only temple in Kerala dedicated to Aditya. 

Surya Deva Idol, Adithyapuram, Kerala.

Here,  the Surya Deva is believed to have been  consecrated during the Treta Yuga but there are no factual evidences to back it up. As to the legend, it is said once upon a time a  Nambudiri Brahmin of the 'Kapikkadu Marangattu Mana'  meditated deeply on the Sun God 'Adithya'.   Pleased with his steadfast devotion and spiritual fervor,  Sun God  Adithya appeared before him and  and asked him to build  a temple and consecrate the idol in the sanctum. Since the installation of the idol of Surya in this place on God's instruction, rituals and  pujas have been  regularly going on here. Presently, it is mentioned, descendants of the old  Nambudiri family are taking care of the temple rituals, etc.   Besides Surya Deva and  Devi there are Sastha and Yakshi deities. 

The idol of Surya in a meditative posture  faces west in the sanctum (Garbagriha / Srikovil)  which is circular shaped.  Circular shaped Srikovils are common in many Kerala temples, but elsewhere  the sanctum is invariably square-shaped.   

The main deity  made of a special kind of rock  has the capability to absorb oil applied on it as part of ritual of  'Abhishekam' (anointing) or the holy bathing of idol.This normally regular in all Shiva temple, whereas in Vishnu temples it is rarely done. Applying oil or herbal oil on the idol of Vishnu is called Thailakappu in Tamil.  This is followed by  the abhishekam of water. Once the  ritual is over, the idol becomes bone dry upon which decoration with flowers, etc is done by the priest.  The idol's  upper right hand  carries the 'Chakra' ( disk) and the upper left hand holds has  Sangu  (conch) and the lower right and left hands show  a 'tapo mudra' posture. Though it is a temple dedicated to Surya, there  is no 9 nine navgraha shrine here. Nor are there small shrines or stone idols of other planetary gods such as Budtha, Shani, Chandra Ragu, Kettu, etc. 

The popular pujas   are conducted here for various treatments of health problems. For example  Adithyapooja  is held  for curing eye and skin related problems;  Udayasthamana pooja, Enna (oil) Abhishekam, Bhagavathi pooja  (for the goddess) and Navagraha  pooja are   being conducted for the welfare and prosperity of the family, society, etc.  The auspicious  days are last Sundays of Malayalam months 'Vrishchikam' (October and November) and 'Medam' (May and June). This is the right time to propitiate the Surya  god.  

On the festive days  special rituals such as 'Abhishekam' and 'Rakthachandana Kaavadi' are held and the tradition has been that a member of the Nambudiri family must take part in the Kavadi attam. 

'The special offering to god are Ada Nivedyam' and 'Raktha Chandana samarppanam' and they are  done to cure various ailments. It is a Prathana sthalam  where you can make make wishes and if your wishes are answered, then you can make the offering to the deity as an expression of your gratitude.


The following are the famous Surya temples across  India

01. Konarak Sun temple, Odisha.

02. Sun Temple, Gaya. 

03. Modhera Sun Temple, Gujarat

04. Surya Pahar Temple, Assam.

05. Suryanar Temple, Kumbakonam. Tamil Nadu

06. Surya Narayana Temple, Arasavalli. ...

07. The Bhramanya Dev Temple at Unao in Madhya Pradesh. ...

08. Martand Sun temple, Jammu.