Thiruvatta Mahadeva temple, Thiruvalla of Kerala - a serene place to seek peace of mind

 In the SW state of kerala there are countless Hindu temples dedicated to God Shiva and among them 108 Shiva temples are popular. In this state the   Swayambu form of God Shiva is rare and not that many  temple have self manifested form of Shiva  as in the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu.  The one  in the town of  Thiruvalla    is quite interesting and here God Shiva is in the  Swayambu form (self-manifested). 

Thiruvatta Mahadeva Temple, Thiruvalla,

Thiruvatta Mahadeva Temple, Thiruvalla,

Above image: Second shrine at an elevated place to avoid water-logging during heavy rains...........

Thiruvalla  town in  Pathanamthitta district,Kerala 

Thiruvalla   town is in  the Pathanamthitta district  and  in the Shiva temple here the deity facing East direction is   close to  the banks of  the Manimalayar river.  The  main deity being in  the very low level during the  SW monsoon season when  this part receives lots of rain the srikovil is flooded. 

The legend has it that this Shiva temple was installed in Treta yuga by none other than sage Parasurama near the Manimalayar. One among the108 Shiva temples,  from Vazhappally inscriptions in copper plate (oldest inscription in Kerala)   we understand that this temple existed  during the rule of Kodungallur Chera  king   Rama Rajasekhara (formerly Kulasekhara). The temple is said to have been  constructed  during the reign of the Second Chera dynasty by Kulasekhara Perumal who ruled over the city of Mahodayapuram. The Thiruvata Temple and the Vazhappally Maha Siva Temple have been  around since the  heyday of Chera Empire.

Naalambalam Thiruvatta Mahadeva Temple, Thiruvalla,

 In the state of Kerala, the term  Nalambalam  actually  refers to  four temples dedicated to Sri Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna of  the Ramayana.  Nalambalam in Kottayam District is  at Ramapuram.   Offering  prayers in the four temples before noon puja on a single day in the month of Karkidakom (which is also known as Ramayana Masam) is believed to be most auspicious among Hindus. Here at Mahadeva temple  the term   refers to different shines under one roof.

Srikovil/sanctum Thiruvatta Mahadeva Temple,Thiruvalla,

The Srikovil of this temple is square in plan   and the main deity   Swayambhu Shiva Lingam  is enshrined a little at lower level in the sanctum. Consequently as mentioned earlier in case of heavy rain and if the river is in spate, the sanctum may be partly water-logged. The main shrine in rectangular shape  has walls made of granite and the top is covered with copper plates for extra safety to protect the wooden frame work below.  The  idol of  Ganapati is  in the SE corner of the main shrine.

Nalambalam: of this temple has wide  quadrangle plan and the walls are made of stone-lime mortar.  Inside the Naalambalam there are  two shrines and the  main shrine has  Shiva linga in  swayambhoo form; the other one   has  a big Shiva linga installed separately.  During water-logging  the Arattu abhishekam  and puja rituals are  done to   Lord Shiva   in the shrine on the south side.  The nalambalam is close to balikkal mantapam and they are built with a blend of Kerala and Dravidian style of architecture.