Kottiyoor Mahadeva Temple in Kerala is one of the oldest temples of the state. This temple is also known as Vadakkeshwaram Temple. Locals also call it Ikkare Kottiyoor Temple as the temple is located on the western river bank of Bavali river that is close to the Kottiyoor village. Another Kottiyoor Temple is Akkare Kottiyoor Temple or Kizhakkeshwaram Temple that is on the eastern side of the river.
A pilgrimage trip to Kottiyoor Temple is considered auspicious by Keralites. Kottiyoor, famous for its two Shiva temples, is also known as 'Varanasi of the South', a title shared by several other temples in the Southern part of India.
Ikkare Kottiyoor Temple
Photo Courtesy: Satheesan.vn
The temple consists of a shiva linga that is believed to be swayambhu. In other terms, it was not manmade. This linga is worshipped here and is placed on a heap that is called 'Manithara'. Abhishekams are done for the shiva linga with milk, ghee and tender coconut water. Not too far from here, there is another heap that is known as the 'amarakkallu' which is where Goddess Parvati is worshipped. This is one of the few temples in India where Lord Shiva and Parvati are worshipped together.
Mythology has it that the place where 'amarakkallu' is placed is where Sati Devi (an incarnation of Goddess Parvati) committed suicide after being humiliated by her father's acts of insulting her husband, Lord Shiva. Hence, this is also the place that is the origin of Shakti Peethas.
Photo Courtesy: Sivavkm
Kottiyoor Vysakha Mahotsavam is the prime festival that is celebrated in the temple. Devotees flock in to be a part of the celebrations. Like other yearly pilgrimages like Sabarimala and Kumbh Mela, the Kottiyoor Vysakha Mahotsavam is also known as Kottiyoor Utsavam and a popular one.
During this 27-days long festival, the Ikkare Kottiyoor Temple is closed, and the poojas and other offerings are done at Akkare Kottiyoor Temple, which is closed for the other eleven months of the year.
Odappu, a flower peculiar to the temple
Photo Courtesy: Vinayaraj
Devotees take a dip in Bavali river before their visit, and Odappu, a flower made of bamboo pieces is bought by the devotees from here, which is taken back home as a sign of having visited the temple.
How to Reach Kottiyoor Temple
Located in Kannur district, Kottiyoor Temple can be reached by bus from Thalassery, Mananthavady and Kannur. During the festival season, special buses are also available to the temple. The closest railway station to Kottiyoor is at Thalassery which is 60km away.