Vaikom Sree Mahadeva Temple


A day in this Holy Temple of Vaikkathappan starts at Saraswathi yama by awakening the greatest Lord and opening the Holy door of Sreekovil. As soon as the door is opened we get Nirmalya Darsana. Afterwards there is Abhisheka or Holy Bath. Then there are three poojas in the morning namely Usha Pooja, Ethirthu Pooja or reception pooja and Panthiradi Pooja. There is Ucha Pooja that is noon pooja and in the night Athazha Pooja or the Pooja of supper is performed daily. There are also three Sribeli viz Ethirthu Sribeli, Ucha Sribeli and Athazha Sribeli. The Abhishekas named Panchagavyam, Navakam and any special Abhishekas that is Holy Baths are ordinarily performed during the Ucha Pooja. After noon Sribeli the Temple is closed till 5 pm. But special Abhishekas and Poojas are performed on certain days like Monday, Thiruvathira, Pradosha, Krishna Paksha Ashtami and Pournami even in the evening. On such special Pooja days and days of Sankarama* the Lord Vaikkathappan is carried in Rushabha Vahana for Athazha Sribeli in the night. Then the Temple remains closed till next day 4 am.

The Recital of Ghattium

It is a special ritual performed only in this Holy Temple of Vaikkathappan. It does not exist in any Temple in Kerala or anywhere else. The recital of ghattium is ordinarily done during Deeparadhana and third round of Athazha Sribeli Procession (The Sribeli ordinarily is called ‘Siveli’ by local people). A rod of about five feet, covered in pure silver and fixed with a Rushabha on the top is carried by an old Brahmin who facing the Lord recites the slokas of the Lord holding the rod and closing his eyes with much respect and devotion. It is the essence of the recital of ghattium. It was started by Ayilyam thirunal Maharaja of Travancore on 27th Thulam of 1030 of the Malayalam era. It is a noble example of the benevolence and kindness of Vaikkathappan to his Devotee.

There was an old Brahmin who was devoted to Siva but poor with no one to look after him. One day while he was sitting for Prathal, a certain Brahmin came to him asking some place to sit for Prathal. The old Brahmin at once offered a seat for Him and exchanged pleasantries. He told his grievances to the newcomer. The new Brahmin told him that he knew the Maharaja well and asked him to go to Trivandrum and he promised to do the rest. No one saw him afterwards. The old Brahmin went to Trivandrum without any hope. The Ayilyam thirunal Maharaja was surprised to receive the old Brahmin from Vaikom and explained him about his dream the day before. In that dream Vaikkathappan told the Maharaja, “There is no recital of Ghattium in my Temple. You must receive the respected old Brahmin who comes from Vaikom tomorrow and grant him a silver rod fixed with Rushabha Vahana and send him back to my Temple entrusting him to do the recital of ghattium”. On the same day the Maharaja got a rod as asked by Vaikkathappan the Lord and brought it to the Temple himself. The Maharaja himself gave the Silver rod to the above Brahmin in the presence of Vaikkathappan and entrusted him to recite the ghattium every day. The Maharaja also fixed a monthly stipend for the old Brahmin from the Devaswom and returned. This recital is in force even today.