UNESCO has awarded the Asia Pacific Heritage Award for Vadakkunnathan temple in Kerala. The top prize of 2015 the 'Award of Excellence' has been conferred to the preservation of this heritage site in Kerala.
Photo Courtesy: Rameshng
UNESCO has observed the conservation techniques used in maintainig the ancient architecture of the temple. Vadakkunnathan temple is a Shiva temple in Thrissur, it's famous for the classic architectural style of Kerala.
The Koothambalam (temple theatre) and the shrine is the premises for the famous Thrissur Pooram festival. However, there won't be any special pooja in the temple during Thrissur Pooram. In Koothambalam, the famous Chendavadyam (with five instruments) performance is held.
The main deity, Shiva linga, is covered by a mound of ghee formed due to daily abhishekam (ablution) for years. Now, a 16 ft high mound of ghee with gold and three serpent hoods on top can only be seen here.
Photo Courtesy: Aruna
Interior view of the temple
A traditional belief is that this Shiva linga represents the snow-clad Mount Kailash. There are also many legends and stories associated with Vadakkunnathan temple. One of which is the story of Parashurama being the founder of this temple in Thrissur.
It is also believed that, this is the first place where Lord Shiva manifested his presence in the form of linga. Hence, it is called the Sri Mula Sthana.
Vadakkunnathan temple is also popular for the temple murals ( paintings on the wall). The paintings of Vasukishayana and Nrithanatha are the prominent ones and are worshipped daily. It also has a museum which exhibits ancient wall paintings, artefacts and wood carvings.
This 1,300 years old temple of Kerala is influenced by Vaishnavism, Jainism and Buddhism. The temple was built during the time of Perumthachan, who lived in 7th Century.
Photo Courtesy: Adarsh Padmanabhan
Vadakkunnathan temple during Shivaratri
Maha Shivaratri, Aanayoottu, Thrissur Pooram are the famous events which take place in Vadakkunnathan temple.
The temple was declared as a National Monument under the AMASR act. In 2012, ASI recommended Vadakkunnathan Temple to include in UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Today, this ancient temple with all its grandeur remains a popular temple in Kerala.