Thiruvanchikulam Shiva temple is one of the 275 Shiva temples that are categorized as the “ Paadal Petra Sthalam”. This is the one and only Paadal Petra Sthalam in the Malai Naadu Zone. This temple was built during the Chera period in the 8th Century by the Chera King Cheraman Perumal (one of the Nayanmar) and is believed to be 2000 years old. Lord Shiva of this temple is worshipped as Mahadeva and his consort Goddess Parvati is known by the name Umadevi.
According to the Sthala Purana, it is believed that the famous Shaiva Saint, Sundara Murthy Nayanar began his journey towards Kailash (Lord Shiva’s abode) from this temple. It was here in this temple that the saint mounted a 1000-tusked white elephant which was sent by Lord Shiva to reach Kailash. Sundara Murthy Nayanar was followed by Cheraman Perumal Nayanar and He reached Kailash by riding on a blue horse. The idols of both these two Nayanmars are there in the Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple. Since this event took place on Swati Nakshathira day in the month of Aadi (July/August), special Poojas will be performed to these shrines on this day.
Thiruvanchikulam Temple is built in the Kerala style of temple architecture. The shrine also has beautiful paintings depicting the various incidents of Hindu mythology. Thiruvanchikulam Temple is one of the oldest temples in Kerala and is situated in a place called Kodungallur of Thrissur District. The Shiva Lingam of this temple is a Suyambu Lingam and it is 4-inch in length and 12 –inch diameter.
Another significance of this place is that this temple is closely related to Chidambaram temple of in Tamilnadu. This is one of the oldest temples where Lord Shiva is said to have been living along with His whole family. Also, this temple is said to have the largest number of Upadevathas in Kerala. Some of the Upadevathas worshipped in this temple are Lord Ganapathy, Cheraman Perumal, Sundaramoorthy Nayanar, Palliyara Sivan, Nadakkal Sivan, Sakthi Panchakshari, Bhagavathy, Goddess Parvathy, Lord Parameshwara, Prodhosha Nrithya, Sapthamathrukkal/Sapthakannigas, Rishabham, Nandikeshan, Unni Thevar, Lord Ayyappan, Lord Hanuman, Nagaraja, Lord Pashupathi, Lord Subramanya, Goddess Durga Bhagavathy, Goddess Ganga, Konnakkal Siva, Kottarathil Thevar, Nagayakshi, Dakshinamoorthy etc.
The main offering in this temple is ‘Shankabhishekam’. During this pooja, ‘Shanku’ flowers will be dropped/poured on the idol of Lord Shiva. Also, another main event in the Thiruvanchikulam Shiva Temple is ‘Dhambathi Pooja’ (couple offering). During this, special pooja will be performed to Lord Shiva and the Goddess Parvathy together. Later, they both would be led to the ‘Palliyarai’ (their personal bedroom). It is believed that the ‘Palliyara Darshanam’ of the Divine Couple, gives them the bliss for overcoming all the hurdles in the marriage and gives child fertility.