GR Travels

Vaikom Temple

Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is one of the most admired Shiva temples in South India. Located at Vaikom Taluk in Kottayam district of Kerala, the Shiva Lingam installed in this temple is supposed to be dating back to Treta Yuga. Earlier known as Vyaghrapadapuram, the name of place has been converted into Vaikom. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva. The temple makes an influential trio with Ettumanoor Siva Temple, Kaduthuruthy Thaliyil Mahadeva Temple. It is said that visiting all the three temples in a day makes the wishes come true. The priests at the temple come from Kadathanadu in Vadakara Taluk of Kozhikode District and other works are done by Moosad of the East and West families. At the south side of the temple yard, the idol of Panachikkal Bhagavathi is kept to worship. The Sarppa Sanidhya, the God of Snakes, is also worshipped within the temple. Travancore Devaswom Board takes care of the appointments of rest of the employees of Vaikom Sree Mahadeva Temple. As per the popular legend associated with the establishment of Vaikom Temple, Kharasura offers prayers to Lord Shiva at Chidambaram. Impressed by his devotion, Lord Shiva presents three holy Shiva Lingams to Kharasura. Assuring him to be present in these Lingams, Shiva suggests Kharasur to worship them to get Moksha (salvation). He moves towards south from Himalayas holding two of the Lingams in each hand and the third one in mouth. He feels tired and stops at Vaikom. Keeping the Shiva lingam on the ground, he rests for a while. After resting, he realizes that it has been affixed at that place. Therefore, he installs the other two Lingams too, one each at Ettumanoor and Kaduthuruthy. A heavenly voice says I should remain here to offer Moksha to devotees, who require it. He understands that it is Shivas Maya. After getting Moksha, he hands over the supervision of holy Lingams to Maharshi Vyaghrapada and tells him to protect and worship them.      Book Now



Pathiramanal

Pathiramanal, a small island on the backwaters of Alappuzha, is a haven for hundreds of rare birds migrating from different parts of the world. You can reach there after 1 & half hours drive by motor boat or 30 minutes by speed boat from Alappuzha in south Kerala. Surrounded by the Vembanad Lake, stretching from Alappuzha to Kochi and the Kayamkulam lake, Pathiramanal is accessible only by boat. The green island thus forms an ideal place for a break in the journey while on a backwater cruise. The mainland Alappuzha has a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers criss crossing it and is a district of immense natural beauty. Besides 91species of local avian inhabitants, different kinds of migratory birds from around the globe make here a second home, all throughout the year. Whisper of waves and pamper of gentle breeze calms senses, while getting lost in the world of birds. They are usually seen restful among dense bushes or flying around scattered palms and trees. Herons, Cormorants, Darters, Gulls, Egrets and Kingfishers are just a few of the inhabitants. Great scenic beauty, wide water front, waving coconut palms, floating weeds and hyacinths, tiny birds building nests on weeds and so on will keep you in a happy mood.      Book Now



Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Kumarakom bird sanctuary, spread across 14 acres, has an interesting variety of birdlife. If you are a bird enthusiast, visit the sanctuary between June and August, the breeding season of resident wetland birds such as Indian Darter, Little cormorant, different species of egrets and herons, white ibis, several species of kingfishers, etc. Between the months of November and May, the bushes and woods of the sanctuary play host to some rare migratory birds. The Vembanad lake body attracts waterfowl like pin tailed duck, garganey teal, spot billed duck, birds of prey like osprey, marsh harrier, steppe eagle, etc Bird lovers can also take a boat trip to the nearby Kaipuzha Muttu, Pathiramanal, Narakathara, Thollayiram Kayal and Poothapandi Kayal to watch local birdlife and migrants which could easily be more than a hundred species. Waterscapes, the backwater resort of Kerala Tourism Development Corporation KTDC situated near the sanctuary, has independent cottages built on stilts Pathiramanal (sands of midnight), an enchanting island on the lake, can be accessed by boat from here. This 10 acre island on the backwaters is home to many rare varieties of migratory birds from different parts of the world. According to mythology a young Brahmin dived into the Vembanad Lake to perform his evening ablutions and the water madeway for the land to rise from below.      Book Now



Ettumanoor Mahadeva

The major worship in this temple is lighting of lamps. An ever glowing, very big lamp can be seen as soon as you enter the temple. The devotees pour oil on to this lamp. Lately, since the oil is being received more than needed for the lamp, a vessel has been kept near by where if the lamp is full, devotees can pour the oil they have brought into it. There is apparently, a story behind this. It appears a brass metal worker once made a huge bronze lamp, brought it to this temple and pleaded with its management to buy it from him. They simply laughed at him and informed him that the temple had no necessity to buy a lamp since they already had sufficient lamps. Crest fallen, the metal worker pleaded with the Lord consecrated there and suddenly a big storm started around the temple. The temple management realized that God was angry at their behaviour and bought the lamp and installed it there. From that time the lamp has been constantly burning in front of the deity. One of the elegant sights associated with the temple festivals of Kerala is the Ezhara Ponnana procession held during the annual festival at Ettumanoor Sree Mahadeva Temple in Kottayam. Ezhara means seven and half and Ponnana means golden elephant. Each of the seven elephants is two feet high and the eighth one is of one foot only. Hence they are together called seven and half elephants.      Book Now


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