Vaikom Sree Mahadeva Temple

The legend of origin

Kharasura on receiving the Shaiva Vidya Upadesh from Malyavan went to Chidambaram, and did severe penance and Tapasya for the attainment of Moksha. Pleased with his penance Lord Siva granted all the boons he asked, and presented him with three great Siva Lingas drawn out of Him. Assuring that He will ever be present in them, Lord Siva disappeared, asking Khara to worship the Lingas to attain Moksha. When Khara was returning south from Himalayas with the three Lingas, one in his right hand, one in left hand and other by the neck, he felt tired and rested awhile. After rest when he tried to pick up the lingas, they wouldn’t budge. He realized that it was Shiva’s maya and when called unto, the heavens spoke thus, “I shall remain here giving Moksha to whom so ever * take refuge in Me”. Khara having attained Moksha entrusted the holy Lingas to the custody of Maharshi Vyaghrapada who had followed him invisibly and asked the sage to protect and worship them.

Belief is that the Siva Linga placed by Khara Asura by his right hand is being worshipped at Vaikom, the one in left hand at Ettumannoor and the one by neck at Kaduthuruthy even to this day.

The Linga carried by Khara with his neck is believed to be at Kadathuruthy and the one by his left hand is at Ettumanoor. The fact that the distance from Vaikom to Kadathuruthy and from there to Ettumanoor is more or less the same, gives credence to this legend. So the Darsana of all these three Lingas on a same day is considered as good as the Siva Darsana at Kailas – the Abode of the Lord.

On a *Vritchika - Krishna paksha – Ashtami dahy (According to Malayalam Era), the Lord of Lords and God of Gods - Siva the Paremeswara appeared to the Maharshi with his consort Parvati - the Jagat Janani. The Lord proclaimed, “This place shall be known as Vyaghrapadapurma”, and disappeared. The world famous Vaikkathashtami and all connected holy festivals are observed here even to this day on the same Vrichika – Krishna*- Ashtami.

Vyaghrapada Maharshi continued the Pooja in most esteem and devotion for some time and went on pilgrimage.Months and years passed. Sri Parasurama – the Chiramjeevi was going by the sky one day. Seeing good omens alighted here and saw a Holy Siva Linga emerged in water emitting heavenly rays. He could understand that it was the Siva Linga placed by Khara.
Sri Parasurama thought himself that, the holiest and noblest Siva Chaitanya could be a great refuge for the devoted who wish to attain Moksha. He consecrated the auspicious Linga here with His earnest Prayers and recitation of Siva Manthras.

The most benign Lord Siva at once appeared with his consort Parvati Devi before Parasurama. He was so pleased that the Linga was consecrated with the Manthras by Parasurama – the incarnation of Vishnu, his greatest devotee. The kind Lord Siva said to Parasurama, “From now onwards I shall stay here as Shaiva-Vaishnava Chaithanya granting all blisses and Moksha to all devotees”.

Full of joy and gratitude Parasurama performed Siva Linga pooja there for some days. Then he himself built a temple here and entrusted a noble Brahmin of Taruna village whom he taught Pooja Manthras. The Brahmin had learned all the 28 Sivagama and wore rudraksha and bhasma. Parasurama donated the whole temple with Linga to Brahmins and disappeared.It is the belief that the temple and all rites and customs are planned and fixed by Parasurama himself.

The three Bhavas or forms of Vyaghralayesha

It is believed that the ‘Vyaghralayesha’ Siva gives His Blessings to the Devotees in three Bhavas or forms in the morning, noon, and evening in this Holy Temple.

In the morning till Pantheeradi Pooja He assumes the form of Sri. Dhakshinamoorthy – the Guru of gurus venerated by all of the Gods, Maharshis, Asuras, Yakshas, Kinnaras, and all living creatures and all worlds. He grants wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

In the noon time upto the Madhyahna Pooja He assumes the Bhava of Kiratha Moorthi who gave Pashupathastra to His noblest devotee Arjuna. Then He grants success in all endeavours and removes all obstacles – ‘Sarvakarya Jayam’ and ‘Sarva Vighnopa Santhi’, to the Bhakthas.

In the evening Lord Siva or the Vaikkathappan assumes the Bhava of ‘Shakti Panchakshari’- the benign Lord of Kailas – Jagath Pitha with His consort Jagath Matha Parvathi, sons Ganapathi and Karthikeya all seated in a very happy and gracious mood. Then He grants even all worldy pleasures and all what devotees ask Him.

The above facts are not only the belief of the Devotees but also are testified by them. So let us approach the Lord of Lords with a pure and sincere heart.

The Bhasma or ashes of Vaikom

The most important prasada of VAIKKATHAPPAN is Bhasma –Vibhoothi or Ashes. It is taken from the fire place of the big Kitchen where Sri Vaikkathappan is believed to do work in the disguise of a Brahmin.

The legends proclaim this Bhasma as a holy remedy for fear, poison, wounds and even Hysteria. The belief of the miraculous power of the Bhasma is testified by the devotees in plenty. So we must keep and preserve this most precious gift of the kindest of Lords – VAIKKATHAPPAN.

Ganga Prapatha Theertha

Once when Parasurama came to worship Vyaghralayesha, he discovered that the people and animals were suffering for lack of water. He invoked the Lord and told the sorrows. Asked what boon he wanted, Parasurama asked “Kindly make and grant a Theertha for the devotees who come in Kaliyuga with a lot of sins, to drink, bathe and tharpan (a cleansing ceremony to wash off the sins and appease the Gods and ancestors)”. The belief is that the Theertha has the Ganges from Shiva’s matted hair and was blessed by Devas, Kinnaras and Gandharvas. This is the pond we see in the northern side of the temple compound. It is duly called ‘Ganga Prapatha Theertha’ or Valiyachira.

Sivananda Theertha

Once Maharshi Nidagha from Panchal desa came to Vyaghrapada Maharshi while he was meditating Lord Shiva. He begged the Maharshi to accept him as a disciple. Vyaghrapada Maharshi taught Nidagha Shaiva Manthra Vidya and Upasana Yoga and blessed him saying that all success and Mukti could be achieved by Siva Bhajan. Nidagha was doing Sivopasana with much devotion. On an Ashtami day Vyaghrapada Maharshi and Nidagha Maharshi were worshipping Sthambha Ganesh and Siva. Pleased with their devoted strotras the Lord of Kailas appeared in North-East corner and performed Anand Thandava. At that time from His matted hair a few drops of water fell down. Siva blessed and called it ‘Sivananda Theertha’ and disappeared. Vyaghrapada Maharshi and Nidagha Maharshi took water from that and sprinkled on their bodies and drank.

This Theertha in the North-eastern corner is now transformed to a well and its water is being used only for poojas in the temple.

Arathihara Theertha

Shankara and Mukunda, two learned young Brahmins from Kanya Kumari well versed in Shastras reached Vaikom on their way to Kashi. While enjoying the bhajan and meals of Vaikkathappan Mukunda left to Kashi without Shankara. The thought of being unable to take bath in Ganga and loneliness made Shankara very much heartbroken and soon he fell with severe fever. One day he was in deep sleep after a sincere prayer to Lord Siva – Vyaghralayesha. Then in a dream the Lord asked him to take bath in the eastern pond and assured the fulfillment of his desires. As per the Maheswara’s order, Shankara rose in early morning and took bath in the pond reciting Manthras. Shankara’s joy knew no bounds to note that he was really in the Ganga Theertha when he rose from the pond’s water.


He praised the Lord Siva even forgetting himself. At the same moment Vyaghrapada Maharshi arrived there and assured him that his friend will return after eighteen months and he may return with his friend to attain Siva Sayoojyam by adoring Stanumalaya, the Suchindra Nath. The same Theertha in the east is known as Aarthi Hara Theertha or Aarthi Vinasana Theertha. It is believed that your bath and Turpan* here is as good as what is done in the Holy Ganga.

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