Thiruvanchikulam or Sri Vanchikulam Siva Temple is situated in Kodungallur in Thrissur district of Kerala.The temple is believed to have been built during the Chera period in the 8th century in the Kerala style of architecture. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Mahadeva with Parvathi as Umadevi.This is the only Thevaram Paadal Petra Shiva sthalam in Kerala glorified by Sundarar, a 7th century Tamil Saivite poet,in ten verses in the Devaram.
The Dutch and the Tipu Sultan of Mysore demolished the temple during their invasions. Later the temple was renovated in 1801 AD.
As per the legends it is believed that it is in this temple where Parasurama worshiped Shiva to forgive the sin of killing his mother Renuka. It is said that this is the place where Sundarar and king Cheraman spent their last days and went to Kailash in a white elephant.
The Temple : The temple is built in Kerala style of architecture with entrance towers in all four sides. The Dwajasthambam in front of the sanctum has images of Asthavidyesavara (eight aspects of Shiva). The moolavar (presiding deity) is a swayambu (self manifested) in the form of a half circle just about 4 inches above the ground level. The idols of Sundarar and Cheraman Peruman are at Bhagavathi temple and brought to the temple during Swathi festival during July - August. There are two temple tanks in the second praharam.
The Namaskara Mandapam with 16 pillars that are constructed in front of the sanctum is a main attraction. Inside the temple there are beautiful ancient murals and wood carvings and sculptures still maintained in good condition.
Festivals and rituals :The temple rituals are performed four times a day, Kalasanthi at 8:00 a.m., Uchikalam at 12:00 a.m. and Sayarakshai at 6:00 p.m. There are weekly rituals like somavaram (Monday) and sukravaram (Friday), fortnightly rituals like Pradosham, and monthly festivals like amavasai (new moon day), krithigai, pournami (full moon day) and Chathurthi. Ten days Brahmotsavam festival during the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May to June) is a very important festival of the temple where the festival starts by hoisting Thiruvanchikulam Shiva Temple flag atop the Dwajastambham about 70 feet high. Aanayottam (Elephant race) is held as a part of the festival.
Temple location The temple is 3 kms from Kodungallur and around 33 kms from Ernakulam.
Temple Timings The temple is open from 4:30 AM till 1:30 pm and from 5:00 pm till 8:30 pm,but the moolavar sannidhi is closed at 6:30 pm as the utsavars of Shiva and Parvathi are taken to Palliyarai , the ritual takes almost an hour.
Dress code Stringent dress code exists for entering the temple as in most of the Kerala temples. Men can only wear Veshti without shirts. Women can wear Saris, skirts & Salwar Kameez.
How to reach?
The nearest airport is Cochin and the rail head is Ernakulam.From Ernakulam/Cochin there are several bus services and cab services.