Ernakulam Shiva Temple
Durbar Hall road, Ernakulam ,Kochi – 682011
Ernakulam Shiva Temple, also known as Ernakulathappan Temple is one of the major temples of Kerala, located in heart of Ernakulam] the downtown area of the city of Kochi. The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is considered as the city temple, with the presiding deity as the protector of the city, as per local Hindu faiths and traditions. As per the common practice in Kerala, the deity is reverently called Ernakulathappan, which means Lord of Ernakulam. The temple is located within the Durbar Hall Ground. The temple history itself has deep association with history of the city and was one of the 7 royal temples of Kochi Maharajas. The temple is now under administration of Cochin Devasom Board. The temple in its current form was built under active patronage of Diwan Sri Edakkunni Sankara Warrier in year 1846 and raised it level of a Royal temple in the Kochi Kingdom. The temple is built on 1-acre (4,000 m2) land. The temple is one of the major Shiva temples in Kerala counted along with the Ettumanoor Mahadevar Temple, Kaduthruthy Mahadeva Temple, Vaikom Temple, Chengannur Mahadeva Temple and Vadakkunathan temple.
The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva in Gourisankara form, located in main sanctum sanctorum, facing west towards the Arabian sea. The Lingam in the main sanctum sanctorum is considered to be Swayambhoo (Divinely derived). On the northern side of the main sanctum sanctorum, one can see the small shrine of Kirthamoorthy where the original Lingam worshipped by Arjuna is still worshiped. On the southern side, a small shrine for Lord Ganesha is seen. There is a small area behind the main sanctum sanctorum, considered as abode of Goddess Parvati, hence the east gate is known as the Devi Gate. Outside the Inner temple circle, shrines for Lord Ayyappa and Nagaraja are worshiped.
The entire temple is located in 1.2-acre (4,900 m2) land.The temple is built in typical Kerala temple architecture. The Sanctum complex is circular with fine sculpted walls. The roof is covered with copper tiles. The temple has two gates, the western Gopuram is a two storied structure in typical Kerala architecture with gabled roofs and slanting windows. The eastern gopuram is recently renovated similar to the western side. The Devaswom office is located near the western Gopuram. Recently a new marriage hall and Oottupura (dining hall) is constructed at the northern side.
The Uthsavom (temple festival) of Shiva temple is one of the grandest festivals in the Kochi city, normally celebrated during December–January time. The festivities starts with Kodiyettam (hoisting of the temple flag ) on the first day evening. On the seventh day there is Pakalpooram, when the deity is being taken out in procession with caparisoned elephants with Panchavadyam and finally terminating at Durbar Hall Ground after the famous Pandimelam and colourful fire works. On the final day around evening, in a solemn ceremony the flag is lowered and the deity is then taken for the Arattu ( holy bath ) in the nearby temple tank. After that starts the famous Arattu procession with the accompaniment of Panchavadyam. The procession terminates at Durbar Hall Ground. The grand fireworks then bring the curtain down to this week long festival. During all these days Sheeveli is arranged inside the temple and the best available Chendamelam artists are arranged for this. Special poojas connected with the festival are conducted everyday by famous priests from Chennose and Puliyannur Mana. A variety of cultural programmes are also arranged during these days. Special emphasis is given to promote temple arts like Ottamthullal, Paatakam, Thayambaka, Kathakali, Classical dances, Classical music concerts, Bhajans etc. Annadanam is also arranged. Thousands of people throng the temple to witness these programmes. Watching the Pakalpooram and Arattu processions will be an unforgettable experience for anybody. The adjacent Durbar Hall ground becomes a beehive of activities during the Uthsavom.
The temple complex
Adjacent to the main Shiva Temple, two other temples are constructed in the temple grounds, which makes the Ernakulam Temple Complex. On the Northern side, a Murugan Kovil built in Tamil style can be seen. It was constructed by Tamil residents of Kochi during the administration of Diwan Venkataswamy who was a Tamil Brahmin. The Muruga Kovil is managed by Tamil Brahmin Association of Ernakulam and all rituals in this temple are in accordance to Tamil style. The presiding deity is Lord Muruga with his consorts Valli and Devanyani. There are two separate shrines for Navagrahas and Ganesha, apart from regular poojas for Vishnu, Dakshinamoorthy and Durga Devi.
On the eastern side, a Hanuman temple built in Kannadiga Udupi style can be seen. It was constructed by Diwan Venkat Rao in year 1850 as part for his dream to have a temple in traditional Udupi Madhwa Sampradaya style. This is one of the very few temples constructed in Madhwa Sampradaya without Krishna as main deity. The presiding deity is Lord Hanuman facing towards Shiva temple on eastern side. A small idol of Lord Rama also worshiped in main sanctum sanctorum. Apart from this, shrines for lord Nagaraja and Raghavendra Swami are also worshiped.
Apart from the temples, the famous Ernakulam Temple pond is located in eastern side, facing opposite to Murugan temple. There is also offices of Ernakulam Brahmin Association and its marriage hall apart from offices of Temple advisory committee.. A 200-year-old banyan tree can be seen near to Hanuman temple.
Source : wikipedia