A temple dedicated to the arts

Source: http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/oct232005/sundayherald1057520051021.asp

Trisshur Pooram festival attracts lakhs of people to Trisshur every
year. Harish Halemane visits the temple which is famous among not only
pilgrims, but also theatre-lovers.

Kerala is now better known as ‘God’s own country’. It has a rich
cultural background. Some art forms like Kathakkali, Koodiyattam,
Thiruvadirakkali, Krishnanattam etc. are performed in the theatres of
Kerala till now. Trisshur Pooram is the biggest temple festival of
Kerala. It is held in the month of April or May every year.

Come, let’s see the temple where the famous Pooram is held and discover the peculiarities of this temple.

Shri Vadakkunathan Temple is the temple where Trisshur Pooram is
held every year. It is situated on a small hillock in the middle of
Trisshur city. It is the main landmark of Trisshur city. It has four
gopurams facing to the four directions. You can enter the temple
through the western gopuram where a big deepastambham can be seen.

The
temple compound is spread about 10 acres. There is a saying that
Parashurama, a saint and incarnation of Lord Vishnu, built this temple.
Also, Adi Shankaracharya lived his last days here.

Entering the temple compound, you can see a number of trees that
are used in Ayurvedic medicine around the main temple premises. Ashoka,
ashwattha, peepul, amla, neem, mango, parijatha, to name a few. Like
other temples in Kerala, entry is prohibited to non-Hindus here as
well. Men have to be dressed in vellamundu or white dhoti with a shawl
to cover their upper body to enter the temple. Ladies have to wear
saris.

The temple compound has a kootthambalam where some art forms
mentioned above are performed frequently. This kootthambalam has unique
Vaasthu style with copper plates on the roof. Chakyarkootthu and
Krishnanattam are famous and vanishing theatre arts and are played here
in the kootthambalam every week. Usually, these theatre forms are
performed at night. Photography of such plays is prohibited.

The inner compound of the temple has five temples for Shiva,
Parvathi, Ganapathi, Shri Rama, and Shankaranarayana. Here, Lord Shiva
is worshiped as Vadakkunathan. Pure ghee and Kadali bananas are offered
as naivedyam. Ghee is poured over the shivalinga for abhishekam every
day. The ghee poured becomes solid and remains there for about a year.
Amazingly, the ghee mound does not melt over the year. It is only taken
out once a year to distribute as prasadam.

This ghee prasadam is believed to cure many diseases. There is a wooden idol of Parvathi facing east.

The Goddess is believed to give blessings to couples before their
marriage. Saris and other ornaments are kept before Goddess Parvathi
for her blessings. All deities inside the compound except Goddess
Parvathi face west. The design of the inner compound of the temple is
called nalambalam. In this nalambalam, we can see through a small
triangular hole into the temple. By peeping through this aperture, we
can see the taligakkudam or kalashams of the temple. It is believed
that seeing through this hole gives punyam equivalent to visit Kashi
and Rameshwaram.

There is a stone piece called Vyasashila under an ashwattha tree to
the north-east of the temple. It is believed that writing Hari Shri
Ganapathaye Namah on this stone piece brings good fortune.

The main attraction of Trisshur temple is the Trisshur Pooram held
every year in April. This famous festival attracts lakhs of people to
Trisshur. Actually, Pooram is not directly associated with the deities
of this temple. During the eight days of this festival, any special
poojas are not offered to the deities. This festival is connected with
two temples of Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu near Trisshur. About 100
elephants decorated with golden masks march through the Thekkinkadu
ground around Vadakkunathan temple.

The procession of decorated elephants and rhythmic beats of chenda
and taalam along with the shankham mesmerise visitors. People from many
foreign countries come to see this grand festival of Kerala.

At the end of the festival, fireworks start and continue for about five hours.