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The Vadakkunnathan Temple, a majestic monument standing tall in the heart of Thrissur, Kerala, is a captivating blend of rich history, spiritual significance, and architectural brilliance. Planning your next visit to the Vadakkunnathan Temple requires you to have a preconceived knowledge about the temple’s history, places to visit and the activities you can indulge in while in the temple. Do not limit yourself to seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva and Parvathy, but go on a little expedition of this temple. Get a closer look at the varying aspects of the Vadakkunnathan Temple and why you need to plan a visit to the temple.

History And Mythology Of The Vadakkunnathan Temple

Night view of the Vadakkunnathan Temple

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The origins of Vadakkunnathan Temple are shrouded in the mists of time. Legends attribute its creation to Lord Parasurama, an avatar of Vishnu, suggesting its existence could date back over 4,000 years. Historical records offer a more concrete timeframe, placing its construction around the 9th-10th centuries CE. Besides the details about the Vadakkunnathan temple history, there are also legends associated with the temple. One that deserves to be discussed is the confrontation between Lord Shiva and the demon Daruka.

After vanquishing Daruka, Shiva is said to have enshrined himself at the temple’s present location. Another legend credits the temple’s establishment to Sage Vadakkumnatha, lending its present name. In short, multiple varying factors define the significance of the temple. Every aspect is fascinating to unfold, from the spiritual aspect to the mythological and historical aspect.

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Essential Information For Your Visit

Whenever it comes to visiting a new temple, being aware of the basic information comes in handy. With how popular and crowded the Vadakkunnathan Temple Thrissur is, you need to be aware of the timings, entrance fee and dress code ahead of time so you don’t have to leave everything to the last minute.

1. Temple Timings

Vadakkunnathan Temple during the morning

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The Vadakkunnathan temple timings are from 04:00 AM. The Vadakkunnathan temple opening time is from 04:00 AM to 11:00 AM and then from 05:00 PM to 08:20 PM so the Vadakkunnathan temple closing time can be considered at 08:20 PM. If you want to offer your prayers and seek blessings from Lord Shiva inside the inner sanctum, you must respect the timings and reach on time.

2. Entry Fee

The exterior view of a mandir in India.

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Entry to the Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple Thrissur is 100% free. You don’t have any kind of special darshan for which you’d have to book tickets online, so that’s a positive too. However, this also means that you must visit the temple early in the morning to be able to get in line and secure your spot. The line moves quite quickly, so you wouldn’t have to be on your feet for prolonged periods, which is a bonus. However, get certain with the Vadakkunnathan temple opening and Vadakkunnathan temple closing times.

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3. Dress Code

The surreal view of a mandir in Thrissur.

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As a mark of respect, modest clothing covering knees and shoulders is recommended for both men and women. When visiting the Sree Vadakkunnathan temple, ensure you wear traditional attire covering your limbs, hands, shoulders, etc. Sarees and salwar kameez are ideal for women, and lungi or kurtas are ideal for men. You can also find a detailed guide about the dress code on the temple’s official website.

Etiquette And Additional Rules

The panoramic landscape of mandir in Kerala.

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Mobile phones are allowed inside the temple complex but photography is strictly prohibited. Maintain silence and exhibit reverence while navigating the temple grounds. The temple authorities are quite strict on the premises. Any kind of intolerance will be marked as a sign of disrespect, escorting you out of the temple. So, ensure that you follow the rules and regulations and maintain decorum.

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Things To Do In Vadakkunnathan Temple

Light arrangements at Vadakkunnathan temple

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A visit down to the temple not only unveils details about the Vadakkunnathan Temple’s history but also exposes you to the culture and traditions of the place. Following your entry into the temple, there happens to be much more to do besides offering your prayers and worshipping the deity inside the temple.

  • Immerse yourself in the traditional Keralan architectural style, with sloping roofs, intricate wood carvings, and towering gopurams (gateway towers).
  • One of the most unique traits of the Vadakkunnathan temple is its murals that adorn the temple walls. Some of these past masterpieces depict scenes from Hindu mythology and epics like the Mahabharata.
  • Besides the main shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple complex houses multiple shrines around the temple dedicated to Rama, Shankaranarayana (a combined form of Shiva and Vishnu), and Goddess Durga. Reach these additional shrines once you finish offering your prayers at the main sanctum.
  • Witness the grandeur of the Koothambalam, a traditional performance space where Kathakali, a classical dance form of Kerala, was once performed.

Each one of these experiences inside the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur is a must for you to explore.

Highlights Of Vadakkunnathan Temple

View of the Hindu temple in Kerala.

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As devotees visiting the temple for the first time, you might wonder, “What are the highlights that set apart the temple?” On your next visit, remember to pay attention to the temple’s highlights:

  • There is a Nataraja mural near the main entrance that depicts Lord Shiva as Nataraja, the cosmic dancer. Its vibrant colours and intricate details leave a lasting impression.
  • Despite its age, the temple complex is remarkably well-preserved. The vibrant colours of the architecture and murals stand as a testament to the dedication of generations who have maintained this sacred space.
  • The temple complex features a holy tank called the Rudra Theertham, where devotees can perform cleansings before entering the sanctum sanctorum.

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Places To Visit Around Vadakkunnathan Temple

As you finish your prayers and exploration of the temple, what next? Do you wrap up for the day and head over to the hotel? Technically, no.
There are quite a few amazing experiences that must be part of your itinerary, including:

1. Thrissur Zoo

Elk wild animal at Thrissur Zoo near Vadakkunnathan Temple

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Located around 2 km from the Vadakkunnathan Temple, visiting the local Thrissur Zoo is an absolute must. You are required to spend around 1-2 hours minimum at the zoo to witness the wide range of flora and fauna in the zoo. Some popular animals in the zoo include sloth bears, hippopotamus, tigers, deer, lions, etc.

2. Shakthan Thampuran Palace

Shakthan Thampuran Palace, the cultural capital of Kerala

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If you enjoy exploring historical and regal places, visit Shakthan Thampuran Palace. This two-storey building is historically significant, and its minimalist view is astounding. The palace also contains artefacts and historical exhibits worth exploring.

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3. Peechi Dam

A top view of Peechi Dam

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A 20 km drive away, Peechi Dam is another spot you must explore without fail. It is a picturesque reservoir surrounded by lush greenery, offering opportunities for boating and picnicking amidst nature’s splendour.

Best Time To Visit Vadakkunnathan Temple

Special decorations at Vadakkumnathan temple during Thrissur Poonam

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While Vadakkunnathan Temple welcomes devotees throughout the year, certain festivals and events enhance the place’s spiritual ambience and cultural vibrancy. Due to the significance and spiritual awakening surrounding the temple, it is often crowded with devotees around the year. However, during Thrissur Poonam in April/May, the temple’s grandeur increased multiplefold. You can witness a spectacular display of decorated elephants, rhythmic percussion, and vibrant cultural performances.

Besides that, if you have a specific weather preference, Kerala monsoon is the next best season to visit. The verdant surroundings of the temple come to life, offering a refreshing escape. However, be assured that the downpours might be prevalent, so plan accordingly. Also, the period from October to February boasts pleasant weather, which is considered ideal for sightseeing and being under the sun for prolonged hours.

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How To Reach Vadakkunnathan Temple?

The captivating vista of Thrissur Railway Station.

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Thrissur boasts excellent connectivity, making the Vadakkunnathan Temple easily accessible.

By Air
The closest airport is Cochin International Airport (COK), approximately 60 kilometres from Thrissur. Taxis, prepaid cabs, and ride-sharing services are readily available for onward travel.

By Train
Thrissur Railway Station is well-connected to major Indian cities. Taxi, autos, or local buses can take you to the temple from the station.

By Road
Thrissur lies on the National Highway NH-47, making it accessible from various parts of Kerala and South India. Public and private buses connect Thrissur to nearby towns and cities.

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The Vadakkunnathan Temple is more than just a place of worship; it’s a captivating tapestry woven with history, art, and devotion. A visit here promises a profound cultural and spiritual experience and a historical temple exploration. So, include this as part of your itinerary during your next trip to Kerala or Thrissur.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Vadakkunnathan Temple

What is the time of Vadakkunnathan Temple?

The Vadakkunnathan temple timings are from 04:00 AM. The Vadakkunnathan Temple closing time is at 08:20 PM.

Can I take photographs inside the temple?

No, photography is strictly prohibited within the temple complex. You might have to keep your belongings outside the temple in designated areas.

What are the timings for darshan (ritual viewing)?

The darshan starts at 04:00 AM and there are special timings for special rituals that are mentioned by the temple authorities.

Are there any facilities for devotees with disabilities?

Accessibility options within the temple complex might be limited. It's advisable to inquire beforehand if specific assistance is needed.

Which season is the best for Vadakkunnathan Temple?

The period from October to February is usually considered the “peak season” to visit the temple. The weather is pleasant during that period.

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