|Valiyasala Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. www.keralawindow.net|
Valiyasala Mahadeva temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, once known as Kanthalloor Mahadeva temple, is situated about one km from Thiruvananthapuram railway station, Kerala State. The temple was once a famous supporting center of knowledge and wisdom, roughly on par with ancient centers of learning such as Takshasila and Nalanda. The quality of the center was such that, it attracted the scholars from other parts of India. Large halls made of stone slabs and stone pillars were used once as class rooms for students.
The legend has it that the Chera, Chola and Pandya Kings of southern parts of India, in ancient times, engaged in fierce battles in this area over their supremacy and lost their lives. Their Queens, after their death, performed 'Sati' at their funeral pyres. Upon their sites were built temples for Brahma and Sri Venkita Perumal (Vishnu). Mahadeva rose at the sites of the pyres.
Regarding age of this temple, the general consensus has been that it was built in the 7th century AD. Dating back to the 7th century AD, as revealed by the records at the famous Padmanabhaswamy temple, this temple is quite popular. An inscription of Rajendra Chola of Chola dynasty of Tamil region points out that the temple came into existence before 1045 AD. Chola inscriptions of 985 A.D. also refer to Kanthalloor. The antiquity of this temple is discussed in Anathapuri varnanam of 7th century and there is a reference regarding the temple and Kanthalloor Sala. The earliest record being the Parthivapuram Pattayam (a historical record) of 866 A.D.
During his rule, the ruler Sri Anizhom Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the crown prince, faced certain internal revolt purportedly caused by Ettuveettil Pillamar, a group of nobles from eight Nair Houses in erstwhile Venad, Kerala, who supported Sri Padmanabhan Thampi and Raman Thampi. And unfortunately, the temple became a center of conspiracy against the ruler Marthandan. A member of Pillamar, through Tantric puja, put a spell on the ruler for his death. Raja Marthanden, somehow, managed to renovate the temple in 1749 A.D. Ever since this controversy over this temple, the descendants of Anizhom Thirunal Marthanda Varma have never visited Valiyasala Temple for centuries.
There are other shrines as well such as Lord Rudra Siva or Brahma Siva and Lord Maha Vishnu, besides Lord Ganapathy, Lord Sastha, Lord Subramanya, Lord Sri Krishna and Goddess Durga.
As far as this temple is concerned, the month of Kumbha - February-March is the festival period that lasts for 10 days. As it was a custom in ancient days, women devotees, even today, are not allowed to enter the temple for unknown reasons. Perhaps, the presence of Shastha shrine -Lord Ayyappan may be a factor. This famous temple is being managed by the Travancore Devaswom Board.