|Thrikkakara Vamanamoorthy Kshethram|
|Deity||Vamana (Vishnu), Thrikkakarayappan, Perunchelvanayagi, Vathsalyavalli|
|Type||Dravidian architecture (Kerala style)|
Thrikkakara Vamanamoorthy Temple (also referred as Thirukatkarai Vamanamoorthy km north-east of the city center between Thrissur-Ernakulam highway (NH 47), Seaport-Airport Road, Cochin University of Science and Technology and Model Engineering College, it is a centre of celebrations and a place of origin for the popular Onam festival. The temple is around two millennia old and is also listed as one of the 108 Divya Desams (divine places).) is one of the few Hindu temples in India dedicated to Lord Vamana/Vishnu. It is situated in Thrikkakara, Kochi in the state of Kerala, India. Located around 10
The main temple festival is during the Onam season, which falls on the month of August or September and is the most important event of the religious calendar here. The Onasadya or the Onam feast is held in a grand manner in the temple with people of various religions participating in it. After East India Company and Marthandavarma illegally annexed the territory from Kingdom of Kochi, the Onam festival was jointly organized by the 61 Naduvazhis (local rulers) under the leadership of the Maharaja of Travancore, till India regained independence. Communal harmony continues to be the hallmark of the celebrations, with people belonging to different religions turning out in large numbers for the Sadya in keeping with the spirit of the festival.Apart from Onam, the temple also observes important festivals in the Hindu calendar such as Vishu, Makara Sankranti, Navarathri and Saraswati Puja.
The temple complex, which is enclosed in a large area with picturesque surroundings, holds the main sanctum dedicated to Lord Vamana. The sanctum sanctorum of the main shrine houses the idol of Vishnu. The idol is in the form of Lord Vamana preparing to place his foot on the Brahmin Asura King Mahabali.Lord Parashurama is said to have established the temple. The temple also houses records containing the earliest mention of the celebration of the Onam festival dating to 861 Common Era. The temple is under the administration of the Travancore Devaswom Board.
The sub-deities of Vamana temple are Bhagavati, Sasthavu, Gopalakrishna, Nāga, Brahmarakshasa and Yakshi. The Brahmarakshas shrine is located in the outer complex, along with a Banyan-tree god (ആൽദേവത) and the Sarpa Kavu. Surrounding the inner complex walls is a series of thousands of lamps called Chuttuvilakku which translates to 'surrounding lamps'. There are two ponds associated with the temple, one is the Kapilatheertham located closer to the temple on the Northern side of the sanctum sanctorum, and is accessible only to priests. The other pond is located on the Northern side outside the temple walls, and is used regularly during the Aaraattu ceremonial bath of the idol during Onam celebrations.
There is also a Shiva temple beside the main Vamanamoorthy temple, which was renovated in 2014.It houses idols of the deities Shiva, Ganesha, Karthikeya and Durga. Not much is known about the age and origin of the Shiva temple except that it underwent renovation around a hundred years ago.
Apart from the shrines and ponds, the temple complex houses three stages or halls for cultural performances called Naimishaaranyam, and a temple auditorium at the South-west corner. The auditorium is regularly used for weddings and meeting, and for conducting the Onam feast during the festival.
The Bhagavata Purana describes that Vishnu descended as the Vamana avataram to restore the authority of Indra over the heavens, as it had been taken by Bali, a benevolent Asura King. Bali was the grandson of Prahlada, the son of Virochana. King Bali was generous, and engaged in severe austerities and penance and won the praise of the world. With the praise from his courtiers and others, he regarded himself as the all powerful in the world.
Vamana, in the guise of a short Brahmin carrying a palm leaf umbrella, went to the king to request three paces of land. Bali consented, against the warning of his guru, Sukracharya. Vamanan then revealed his identity and enlarged to gigantic proportions to stride over the three worlds. He stepped from heaven to earth with the first step, from earth to the netherworld with the second. King Bali, unable to fulfill his promise, offered his head for the third.
Vamana then placed his foot and gave the king immortality for his humility. Upon worshiping Mahabali and his ancestor Prahláda, he conceded sovereignty of Rasatala. Some texts also report that Vamana did not step into the Rasatala, and instead gave its rule to Bali and granting him the boon to become the next Indra. In giant form, Vamana is known as Trivikrama. The legend is associated with the temple and also with Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Tirukoyilur and Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram.
As per another legend, a rich man who owned a plantain garden, did not get much yield from it. He donated a set of plantain to the temple, after which it started yielding as golden plantains. The groove came to be known as Nentiram Palam. The ruling king became suspicious of the change that it was his wealth in the garden and tortured a sage. The sage cursed the king. The king was afraid and in redemption, he consulted a group of sages. They suggested a thatch of bamboo and created a light with "Koraipul", a grass which helped him redeemed from the curse.
Thrikkakara temple is considered to be a centre of Onam celebrations, as Thrikkakara is considered to have been the abode of the King Mahabali.The celebration of the Onam festival is the main event in the temple. The festival is celebrated over a period of ten days in the Malayalam month of Chingam. The temple houses the main deity Lord Vamana. During the Onam celebration period, a pyramidal statue idolising Maveli and Vamanan is installed as a symbol of honour at all other sites of the celebration, and named Thrikkakara-appan. The temple is the site at which the king Mahabali is said to have been sent to the netherworld Patala by Vamana with his foot, hence marking the genesis of the Onam festival. The etymology of the name Thrikkakara ('Thiru-kaal-kara' meaning 'place of the holy foot') is also derived this way. Some features of the Onam festival at Thrikkakara are
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