Monday, June 17, 2013

Temples of Kerala: Shree Vaidyanatha Temple, Kannur

After around a 20 minute drive further from Shree Krishna Trichambaram temple, we arrive at the next temple in our temple trail of Kannur in Kerala: The Vaidyanatha temple.

Located at Kanhirangad, 6 kms from Taliparamba and revered as one amongst the 108 ancient Shiva temples of Kerala, stepping in the temple is like stepping back in time.

A flight of stony stairs running through an unkempt plantation, the simply structured temple looking from over from the top and absence of any sign of human life – when you witness scenes like these, it becomes that much more easier to believe what the legends say...

Way to the Vaidyanatha Temple, Kanhirangad - Kannur, Kerala
Way to the Shree Vaidyanatha Temple

This place once served as the hiding abode of Karaskarasura, the demon child of Bhasmasura. One day when sage Parsuram was passing by the forest, he came across the demon and both had an encounter. In the skirmish, Karaskarasura got killed and the sage found a shivlingam in a fountain of the courtyard. On inquiring more about the beautiful looking shivlingam from the sage Narada, He came to know of its powerful healing abilities and how its worship had once cured the leprosy struck Aditya (Sun God) relieving Him of his illness. This prompted him to install that lingam for the betterment of the whole of mankind, in the same place that we call the Vaidyanatha temple today – the temple with magical healing powers.

A series of steps take you to the main temple resting gently on a hilltop. Passing through the structure of the main gate gives a feeling of having entered the doors of any simple house and that is where, I believe, this temple’s prime beauty lies - in its sheer simplicity and minimalist appeal. The gates open in a spacious compound where a large deepam (lamp) burns bright to the left.

Deepam inside the Vaidyanatha Temple, Kanhirangad - Kannur, Kerala
A deepam burns bright inside the temple

I see pilgrims hurry to make their way to the sanctum as it’s time for the evening arti (prayer). We follow suit and soon, the main temple hall is filled with rhythmic sounds of temple bells, chants and hymns. What I can’t get my eyes off from though, are the lights in the sanctum... emanating from the multitude of deepams thereby arresting the dark of the sanctum in its brilliant dazzle and revealing the deity in all its radiance. The temple is small in size but the Lord is clearly visible, devotees are less in number hence the noise is at a minimum: all these elements together constitute for a beautiful experience, one that permeates the chambers of the heart once we close our eyes in prayer and bow our head in reverence. The bliss of warmth and prayers ends with a few Tulsi leaves and some ash which is distributed as prasadam.

The Vaidyanatha Temple, Kanhirangad - Kannur, Kerala
The inside of the Vaidyanatha Temple, Kanhirangad - Kannur, Kerala
The Vaidyanatha Temple compound

The circumambulation path reveals more - murals and paintings dating back decades and centuries. The antiquity is appealing and the craftsmanship interesting yet what brings people to this temple is their immense faith in the temple’s mystical remedial abilities. Be it the Ksheeradhara (pouring of milk on the lingam), the Jaladhara (pouring of water on the lingam), the temple well or the Shivlingam itself, the temple is believed to be abundant in features that have magical healing powers. That is also how the temple deity comes to be revered as the Vaidyanatha, the Master of medicines and healing. 

As I make my way down the very steps that had taken me up, I cannot help but think of the place as a modern (and effective?) therapeutic center for all those who believe... One where strong faith and resolute endurance is all that is asked for in the name of a fee and the ones who are willing to pay it...

... are the ones who return blessed.


Traveler tips and other information:

Bhagawathy, Ayyappan and Ganapathy are the other deities in the temple.

Festivals: Shivratri is the main festival which is in the month of Kumbam (February/March). Another auspicious occasion is the Aaru Nhayar (Sunday that falls on the 6th day of any Malayalam month). Besides this, prayers offered on any Sunday in general are also considered to be auspicious in nature as the deity was consecrated on a Sunday.

Dress code: Mundu is the dress code to be followed by Men.

Remember to: Plan your visit such that you include the Taliparamba Sree Raja Rajeswara Shiva temple (next temple post) and the Trichambaram Sri Krishna Temple along with the Vaidyanatha Temple in your temple trail – all the three constitute the local holy trinity of temples held in high regard and are administered by a single cohesive authority, Thaliparambu-Trichambaram-Kanhirangad Devasom.

Photography: Is prohibited inside the main temple.

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31 comments:

  1. The first time that I can remember coming across Karaskarasura, I'm intrigued to read more.

    As always as interesting as it is informative, I know I have said it before but I wish history lessons and RE (Religious Education) had been like this at school.

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  2. It is nice to see a temple for a change that is more simple and not so elaborately decorated. So it is a temple and burial place both...are there regular services or prayer times?

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    1. It is only a temple, Ginny not a burial place.. The prayers are held inside the temple in reverence to the deity and they are held at regular times in the day.

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  3. Temples in kerala (small or famous)...its extremely a pleasant experience...we can feel the silence and warmth when we are inside

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  4. Hi Arti,

    Always lovely to read you blog and see the photos of the wonderful temples. Also to learn more about your customs. Thanks for sharing and wishing you a great week
    Carolyn

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  5. Interesting place. havent been to Kannur. The only place I have been to in Kerala was Wayanad. Kerala is beautiful.. must visit again.

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  6. Thank you for sharing this Arti. So many things I would never see otherwise.

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  7. I don't know how you managed these photos with few people, Arti. It looks like a temple in tune with the natural world.

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  8. i love temples in kerala, they are open, calm & peaceful...honestly, they are Godly compared to other temples across the country save some states.

    I am inspired by your post to share my favorite temple - Thrikakkara temple, you been there? Its very significant to kerala's history (mythological)

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    1. I agree with that deej - "Godly compared to many others... ".

      Thank you for sharing your favorite temple.. not heard about it. Where exactly is it? Have you blogged about it, do share the link as well if you have. Would love to read your experience.

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  9. nice info with beautiful photos...

    thanks

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  10. Lovely post Arti on yet another place which I am yet to see:)Very nice description with mythological story!

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  11. Nice read.... Kerala is full of beautiful places....

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  12. I am not much of a temple person..but this looks interesting..intriguing as u rightly said!!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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  13. Kerala temples are so different from other temples in India. Even this Vaidyanatha temple has its own unique personality in its simplicity and healing powers.

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  14. Nice one Arti and I love visiting temples...the ones like you described, not the overly crowded ones! I should visit this one for sure as my bro is in Kannur and that makes it possible for me to go there sometime in the near future I believe. I read your Krishna temple post as well. So beautiful!
    Kerala has some fab ones!
    In case you are visiting Palakkad, pls do let me know...would LOVE to meet you :)

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    1. Thank you, Deepa for your kind comment and invitation, but unfortunately I am already back from Kannur. I wish I knew you were there, would have so LOVED to meet you as well :)

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  15. wonderful temple exhibiting the true charm of Kerala .

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  16. This looks like a beautiful and interesting temple to explore. I've seen many of them while being in China, but I can't get enough of them. Beautiful photos!

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  17. Peaceful and divine. I guess photography is prohibited in most of the temples in Kerala.

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  18. Looks so serene and tranquil. Hope you had a peaceful darshan:)

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  19. The temple looks very neat and clean.. Nice post.

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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  20. Inside area of temple is sheer beautiful and peaceful.

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  21. Beautiful temple , Nice write up and Photos.
    Thanks for sharing :)

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  22. Many temples don't allow photography. Good you got to take shots here.

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  23. You get to go to these awesome historical places, lucky you :D

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  24. The temple resembles houses in village! Lovely and peaceful environment.

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  25. Hi,Arti
    You are traveling in very peaceful and calm places.
    Enjoy your day!
    Tomoko

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  26. A temple with magical healing powers sounds great - it gives hope to many people! A lovely post Arti, hope you have a delightful day!

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  27. Oh, I have been to this temple, Arti. The pics are beautiful.Everything looks so serene, peaceful and filled with blessings. Great blog, as always.

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