Vaikom Mahadeva temple
The Vaikom Mahadeva temple is positioned in Vaikom, Kottayam district in the state of Kerala, India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Shiva Linga here is believed to be from the ‘Treta yuga’ and considered as one of the oldest temples in Kerala where pooja has not been broken since inception.
Being one of the most notable and bigger temples in Kerala, this Mahadeva temple extends its courtyard, covering about 8 acres of the surrounding land. The temple premises stands elegant, protected by four towers. The entrance hall is built with single piece woods, giving it a glorious look. The sanctum, being the second chamber, is built completely using stone, including the aquare shaped roof. In order to get the divine darshan of Lord Shiva, one must cross the six steps, also compared to be the six major emotions namely Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Madha and Mathsarya.
As per the popular legend associated with the establishment of Vaikom Temple, Kharasura offers prayers to Lord Shiva at Chidambaram. Impressed by his devotion, Lord Shiva presents three holy Shiva Lingams to Kharasura. Assuring him to be present in these Lingams, Shiva suggests Kharasur to worship them to get Moksha (salvation). He moves towards south from Himalayas holding two of the Lingams in each hand and the third one in mouth. He feels tired and stops at Vaikom. Keeping the Shiva lingam on the ground, he rests for a while. After resting, he realizes that it has been affixed at that place. Therefore, he installs the other two Lingams too, one each at Ettumanoor and Kaduthuruthy.
Vaikom Ashtami is the most important festival celebrated in this temple. Also called as Vaikathashtami, the festival is celebrated on the auspicious day of Krishna Ashtami. There is a history behind the festival, stating that the Sage Vyaghrapada revered Lord Shiva highly, with sincere devotion, as a result of which Lord Shiva appeared in front of him on this particular day. As a rememberance of this incident, Vaikathashtami is celebrated. As the festival extends for almost 12 days, the final day is known as Vaikathashtami.