Ettumanoor Temple, popularly known as Ettumaanur Mahadevar Temple, is among the most visited temples of Kerala. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva. It is said that Pandava and Sage Vyasa have also worshipped in this temple. Located at Ettumanoor in Kottayam district of Kerala, the name of the place has originated from the word ‘Manoor’, which means ‘Home of Deer’. Apart from Shiva, devotees also worship Goddess Bhagavati, Lord Sastha, Lord Ganapathy and Yakshi in this temple. The Mukhamandapam opposite the temple has two images of Nandi, in which one is bounded by tiny bells and metal leaves of the banyan tree and another one is made of stone. The back of the sanctum is regarded as Parvati's shrine although there is no idol of her.
There are various myths related to the establishment of Ettumaanur Mahadevar Temple. As per a popular legend, Khara of Ramayana receives three Shivalingam at Chidambaram from Siva after worshiping him. He moves from there holding two of the Shivalingams in each hand and the third one in his mouth. He stops at Vaikom, and puts the Shivalingam on the ground and realizes that it has been deep-rooted at that place. Therefore, he installs the others also, one each at Ettumanoor and Kaduthuruthy. Visiting all the three temples in a day has great significance. According another legend, Shiva creates a deer and allows it playing in an island. The isle of the deer has now become an important part of Kerala and known as ‘Ettumanoor’.
The contemporary building of Ettumanoor Temple features a Gopuram and the fortress around it. The inside and outside walls of the main entrance are adorned with Dravidian Mural Paintings. In the temple, there is also a golden flag staff and its roofs are covered with copper sheets with 14 ornamental tops. There is large metal lamp kept at the entrance of the temple. People believe that burning of the lamp has medicinal value and is good for eyes. Apart from regular rituals, the temple hosts a grand festival knows as ‘Arattu’, on a large scale.
Arattu is a hugely organized temple festival on the day of Thiruvathira in February - March. It follows a 10-day celebration that attracts a number of devotees especially on the eighth and the tenth day. On the eighth day, the idol of the deity is taken into a procession to a beautifully adorned site of the temple and an amazing treasure of the temple ‘the seven and a half elephants’ made of gold representing as eight Dik Paalakas are exhibited in front of thousands of followers.
How to Reach Ettumanoor Temple
Ettumanoor Temple is located at Ettumanoor, which is 73 km away from Cochin International Airport.
Ettumanoor Railway Station connects the temple with the network of Indian railways. This is a halt for some express trains of the region.
Ettumanoor is located 11 km north-east of Kottayam district and 65 km away from Cochin. Main Central (MC) Road of the state connects the town from various towns of the region.