The city of Ernakulam is home to the Mahadeva - Shiva
temple, which celebrates its annual festival in the month of January. Located in its
vicinity are temples to Subramanya and Anjaneya.
A legend associated with this temple is believed to be
related to the name of the city itself.
Legend has it that a rishi by name
Devala killed a serpent by accident and was cursed by his guru. The curse turned his face
into the hood of a snake and he acquired the name Nagarishi. It was
ordained that a sustained period of Shiva worship would relieve him of the curse.
Nagarishi lived his life in prayer and had a vision in
which he was blessed with a Shivalingam - the same Shivalingam which was worshipped by
Arjuna in his quest for the Paasupat astram. (see legend
Nagarishi continued travelling throughout the land
with the Shivalingam and came to the site of this temple and realized that the Shivalingam
had gotten stuck to the ground and that it could not be removed.
He realized that his curse was about to be lifted and
he bathed in a nearby tank, shed his mortal coils and disappeared.
This tank was referred to as the Rishinaagakulam;
the name is said to have changed to Ernakulam gradually.