Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is located 12 km north of Kottayam
, at Ettumanoor
. It is an ancient Shiva
temple, which was built in the 16th century. The shrine is constructed in typical Kerala style of architecture, inlaid with beautiful carvings of scenes from the Ramayana
and Krishna Leela. The mural paintings and sculptures constitute the chief attraction of the temple. There are shrines devoted to Shasta
in the temple.
One of the legends associated with the temple is that Khara, a demon, worshipped Shiva at Chidambaram and obtained from him three shivlings. He journeyed, holding one shivling in each hand, and one in his mouth. At Vaikom, he set one shivling on the ground when he halted there, and to his dismay realized that it had got rooted to the ground. Khara therefore installed the other two shivlings at Ettumanoor and Kaduthuruthy. The spots at which the three shivlings were installed developed into famous temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that visiting this triad of temples in a single day is very auspicious.
Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple has a ten-day annual festival which falls in February / March and concludes on the day of Thiruvathira. On the eighth day of the festival, there is a processional image of the deity called 'Ezharaponnaana Ezhunallathu', in which a unique treasure of the temple - the seven and a half golden elephants (ezhara ponnaana) representing the eight dik paalakas or the guardians of the cardinal directions are displayed.