|Vaikom Shiva Temple.vaikomtemple.org/|
|Vaikum Shiva temple, Flag staff.vaikomtemple.org|
|Vaikom Shiva Temple of Kerala.vaikomtemple.org|
|Vaikom Shiva Temple, Kerala.www.indianetzone.com|
Legend has it according to The Vyaghrapuri Mahatmya of the Bhargava Purana about the history and divinity of the deity of Vaikom. Demon Khara (asura), of the Ramayana, attained special Yogic powers through years of severe penance(tapasya). On the advice of `Malyavan` the preceptor of the asuras, he propitiated Nataraja at Chidambaram for attainment of Moksha(heavenly abode). Lord Shiva was pleased by his devotion and happily granted him several boons and also three Shiva-Lingas.
Demon Khara by keeping the Lingas, one in each hand and the third in his mouth, journeyed through the sky southward. Midway, because of fatigue, he descended on the earth for brief rest. He set the Linga in his right hand at a sacred spot, knee-deep in water. After rest, before resuming his onward journey he tried to remove the Linga but he could not move it. Again he tried hard and it was of no avail. In the mean time saint Vyaghrapada went by that route and Kara requested him to take care of the Linga and proceeded to Ettumanur, 25 km away, where he installed the linga kept in his left hand. The one in the mouth was placed at Kaduthuruthy, midway between the two places. So, in the process, the three lingas given by Lord Nataraja (Shiva) to demon Kara were in the three different places namely Vaikom, Kaduthuruthy and Ettumanur. Hence they became sanctified simultaneously. The belief has been that if you visit and pray to all three lingas at the three different places on the same day it is good for the welfare of the family.
Another legend has it that Parasurama, an incarnation of Vishnu who, it is strongly believed, had consecrated several temples sacred to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu for the spiritual well-being of the people of Kerala. Prasurama is said to have consecrated the linga in knee-deep water. at Vaikom as per Sankarshana rites.The five feet tall Linga is installed on 2 foot platform. According to legend after installation, Parasurama brought Brahmins to carry on the temple puja rituals as per various rites to enhance and preserve the sanctity and divinity of the idol. Devotees, who offer Belva leaves or place a coin on the idol, will be free from the rigors of yet another cycle of birth and death - perpetual salvation.
In the sanctum the linga image is decorated with flowers, including rare jewels and Trinetras or Siva`s three eyes and crescents.
Unlike many Shiva temples, the unique feature of Vaikom Shiva temple is the Lord brings out three of his aspects during the day: 1. First in the morning till panthirati pooja he is Dakshinamoorti. He imparts divine wisdom to all sages and saints. He is the embodiment of ultimate knowledge in human form jnana swaroopa. One obtains wisdom and intellect in the morning worship. 2. In the noon till ucchikala (noon) pooja, he is in the form of Kirata hunter fighting with his greatest warrior devotee Arjuna to test him if he deserves the weapon-the Pasupata astram. This is propitious for bathing the deity and those who want success in anything obtain it by worshiping him now. 3. In the evening the Lord is Satchidananda - the ultimate goal of every devotee - renunciation, be he an ascetic or a family man. The Lord is blissful, in ecstasy,- ananda, in the embrace of his consort Parvati. He is freely approachable for his divine blessings.
Vaikkath Asthami is the main known festival at this temple. Other temple festivals are also observed with devotion and dedication.