is one of the five ancient shrines in the Chengannur area of Kerala, connected with the
Mahabharatam. (Chengannur - Yuddhishtra, Tiruppuliyur - Bheema, Aranmula
- Arjuna, Tiruvamundur - Nakula and Tirukkadittaanam - Sahadeva). It is located
near the town of Changanacheri near Kottayam. This ancient temple has been glorified by
the tamil hymns (Tiruvaimozhi) of Nammalwar.
Legend has it that
this temple was built by Sahadavan of the Pandavas. It is also believed that this village
was ruled by Rukmangatan, a king of the Solar race.
The Temple: This temple has a vritta (circular) vimanam. Several
murals (possibly from the 17th century) adorn the walls of the sanctum, portraying images
of Shiva Tandavam, Karatarjuniyam, Vinayaka, Sasta, Yoganarasimha, Rama Pattabhishekam,
Mahisasuramardhini, Mohini, Venugopala, Anantasayanam etc. The temple structure dates back
to the 11th century. There are subshrines to Narasimha and Dakshinamurthy here. The
Narasimha image is said to date back to the Vijayanagara period. The wood carvings and
murals date back to the 16th through 18th centuries. Inscriptions from the period of
Bhaskara Ravivarman (10th century) are seen in this temple.
High walls surround it and give it the grandeur of a fort. Stones are so carefully
chiseled and joined that it is impossible to distinguish joints. There is a large 2-3 acre
tank outside the temple. On the bank of the tank, near the temple gate, there is a big
pillar on top of which is kept hanging a human figure in granite stone, with a crown,
sacred thread and a conch. This image is related to a historic story of petty feudal
warfare. Stone inscriptions found here are of significance .
Festivals: A unique custom of sprinkling rose water along the
circumambulatory path is seen in this temple. Deepa Mahotsavam is celebrated in the
month of Vrischikam (Nov 15 - Dec 15). This festival is said to commemorate the self
immolation of Madri the mother of Sahadevan. In this unique festival, plantain leaves are
arranged in the form of a pyre, and torches are inserted and lighted to the accompaniment
of unique percussion instruments.