Located amidst the serene, natural beauty of the region is the ancient Ettumanoor Temple’s Kottayam which is one of the most respected temples in the world.
Constructed around the 16 th century, the Ettumanoor Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the most important deities of Hinduism. The present temple with its Gopuram and the fortress around it was reconstructed in 1542.
Located at a distance of just around 12 kilometers north of Kottayam Town, the beautiful Ettumanoor Temple is easily accessible by a number of channels of transportation. These include:
- By Air:
Nearest Airport is Cochin, at a distance of 76 kms. The Thiruvananthapuam International Airport is 152 kms.
- By Rail:
Kottayam Railway Station located 2 kms away from the Central Bus Station and is connected to most of Kerala's major cities and tourist centers.
- By Road:
There are two bus stands, one run by state transport and the other private. The buses to major centers operate from the KSRTC bus station.
The Ferry Station is at a distance of 3 kms away from the railway station. Ferry services are available to Alleppey, Mannar, Chempakulam, Mankombu and Ambalapuzha.
onstructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the walls of the temple are adorned with images from the ancient Hindu scriptures such as the Ramayana, Bhagavad-Gita and Krishna Leela. The murals which adorn the walls of the temple are quite famous because of the images of Balagopalam and other Devas or Gods that are painted to resemble almost life-like forms. Inside the temple is a golden flag-staff that has an image of a bull surrounded by small bells and banyan leaves carved out of metal. The temple roof comprises of 14 ornamental tops covered with copper sheets. Bhagavati, Sastha, Ganapathy and Yakshi are installed here as subordinate deities.
The main festival called the Arattu Festival of this temple is celebrated on a grand scale on the Thiruvathira day in Kumbham (February-March) every year. The 8 th and the 10 th day of the festival is special when large numbers of people travel to the temple to catch a glimpse of seven and a half elephants made of gold (nearly 13 Kgs) are brought out for public viewing.
Thulabharam is perhaps the most important ritual of the temple in which devotees make offerings to the deity in return for favors prayed for. In a balance, the child or man for whom offerings were promised to God is weighed against offerings ranging from gold to fruits. One of the richest temples in the world, the Ettumanoor Temple Kottayam is a very important pilgrimage center for Hindus.