Abodes of Ganesha
Abodes of Shakti
Abodes of Shiva
Abodes of Skanda Abodes of Surya
Abodes of Vishnu
Templenet Archives

Templenet Encyclopedia
Travel and Tourism
Festivals and Fairs
Beliefs and Legends
Glossary of Terms
About Templenet

tn.jpg (19837 bytes)
The Ultimate Source of Information on Indian Temples

Temples of Tamilnadu
Temples of Kerala
Temples of Karnataka
Temples of Andhra

Temples of Orissa
Temples of Central India
Temples of Maharashtra
Temples of Western India
Temples of the Himalayas
Temples of the Gangetic Plains
Temples of North Eastern India
Temples of Bengal

Feedback & Information:

K. Kannikeswaran
All Rights Reserved
No part of this website may be reproduced or used in any form without permission.
Tradition Meets

tn.jpg (19837 bytes)

Temples of Kerala

Tiruvilvamala, located north of Thrissur in Kerala houses the twin temple complex atop the Vilvadri hill, dedicated to Rama and Lakshmana. As in the case of Triprayar, Moozhikkalam, Irinjalakuda and Payyamel, the images held in reverence here are those of Maha Vishnu, worshipped as Rama and Lakshmana respectively.

The name Vilvamala or Vilvadri arises from the belief that there is a subterranean chamber beneath the temple housing a golden vilva tree.

The Bharatapuzha river: About half a mile north of Tiruvilvamala is the Bharatapuzha river, considered to be the Ganges of Kerala. Tiruvilvamala, Tirunaavai, Tiruvituvakkode, Tirthala and Tiruchikuzhi are five of the shrines along the course of the river. It is believed that Tiruvilvamala is to the Bharatapuzha river what the Manikarnika ghat in Benares is to the Ganges.

To the east of the Tiruvilvamala temple is a cave, known as the Punarjanani. It is believed that trekking through this cave would end one's cycle of births and deaths. It is only on the Ekadasi day in the month of Scorpio that this pilgrimage is undertaken.

Architecture: The temple complex consists of two sancta with pyramidal two tiered copper plated roofs with gables. There is no flagstaff here as in Triprayar. The entire temple complex has ornamental gopuradwaras or entry tower - bases, without the towers.

It is believed that the towers that existed here used to be lit at night and that the lighted towers used to be visible from as far away as Tirunaavai, and that the towers were struck down by lightning.

The two shrines house images of Mahavishnu. The west facing sanctum houses  a five feet tall gold plated image of chaturbhuja Vishnu. The gold kavacam covers what is believed to be a svayamvyakta (self created) image. The gold covering is never removed. 

The east facing shrine houses a three feet tall stone image of Mahavishnu and is decorated with fine jewelry and garlands.

While the west facing image is worshipped as Rama, the east facing image which is believed to be older is worshipped as Lakshmana.

Also in this temple are shrines to Ganapati and Saasta.

The current structure is largely a result of renovations carried out by the rulers of Cochin in late 19th century after a devastating fire destroyed much of the temple. Prior to it it had been renovated in mid ninteenth century, and prior to it it had been attacked by the armies of Tippu Sultan in the 18th century.

Legends: The east facing image (Lakshmana) is believed to be an image of Vishnu held in worship by Shiva. It is said to have been granted to Parasurama (yet another incarnation of Vishnu) who is said to have established the image here and initiated a worship protocol.

The west facing image is said to have been installed by a sage by name Aamalaka who with intense fervor prayed to Vishnu and requested that he take up abode on the Vilvadri hill.

Festivals: The annual festival here falls on the Ekadasi day in the month of Pisces (February - March).