The Tirunakkara Mahadeva temple is
located in Kottayam on the Ernakulam Tiruvanandapuram railway line. South
of Kottayam is the Shivastalam Ettumaanur
and north of it is Vaikom.
Legend has it that a local ruler was
an ardent devotee of the Vadakunnatha temple at Thrissur
and that he would make frequent trips to Thrissur from Kottayam. Such trips became harder
as the king advanced in age.
During one of his trips, he had a dream in which Shiva
of the Vadakkunnathan temple told him that he would manifest himself in
the Tirunakkara hill in Kottayam.
True to the dream, a plough struck rock on the
Tirunakkara hill and blood started oozing out; further careful excavation yielded a buried
Shivalingam and a Nandi.
The theme of this legend is seen at several Shiva
temples all over the land, where the Shivalingam is regarded as a self-manifested one and
not one created with a chisel.
This temple celebrates its annual festival during the
first ten days of the malayala month of Meenam.