4.2 / 5

Vadakkunnathan Temple
📍 Vadakkunnathan Shiva Temple, KeralaView map ›

🗓 Best Time To Visit:October to March

⏰ Open Hours:4:00 AM - 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM - 8:20 PM

📌 Things To Do:Explore the ancient temple, attend daily rituals, visit during Thrissur Pooram festival

💰 Budget:Free entry

👥 Traveller Types:Spiritual seekers, History enthusiasts, Culture explorers

🔍 Known For:Oldest Shiva temple in Kerala, mural paintings, Koothambalam stage for performing arts, UNESCO World Heritage Site

🚉 Distances:2 km from Thrissur Railway Station, 52 km from Cochin International Airport, 1 km from Thrissur Town

📚 History:The temple was built by the early rulers of the city, the Cochin royal family.

👀 Must-See:Mural paintings of Mahabharata, rare artifacts in temple museum

🎉 Special Events:Thrissur Pooram, the most colourful and spectacular temple festival in Kerala

⚠️ Tips:Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple, photography is not permitted

♿ Accessibility:The temple is not wheelchair friendly

🍽️ Nearby Eateries:Indian Coffee House, Pathans Residential Hotel

🏨 Nearby Stays:Joys Palace, Casino Hotel, Trichur Towers

🚖 Local Transportation:Auto-rickshaws, Taxis, City buses are easily available for local commute

Have questions about Vadakkunnathan Temple?Ask the Tripoto Community ›

Vadakkumnathan Temple: A Thousand-Year-Old Marvel of Kerala Architecture

Imagine stepping into a temple that has been standing for more than a millennium, witnessing the rise and fall of empires, cultures, and civilizations. A temple that was founded by a legendary hero who created a new land from the sea. A temple that is dedicated to the supreme lord of destruction and creation, who manifested himself in a radiant form at the base of a giant tree. A temple that is adorned with exquisite paintings that narrate the epic tales of gods and heroes. A temple that is the epicenter of one of the most spectacular festivals in the world, where elephants, drums, fireworks, and parasols create a visual and auditory feast.

Sounds too good to be true? Well, it’s not. It’s Vadakkunnathan Temple, one of the oldest and most revered temples in Kerala, India.

Vadakkunnathan Temple is located in the heart of Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is worshipped here in three different forms: as Vadakkunnathan (the lord of the north), as Shankaranarayana (the combined form of Shiva and Vishnu), and as Rama (an incarnation of Vishnu). The temple also houses shrines for Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesh, and Lord Ayyappa.

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History of The Temple

The temple is a classic example of the Kerala style of architecture, which is characterized by sloping roofs, wooden carvings, mural paintings, and granite pillars. The temple complex covers an area of nine acres and is surrounded by a massive stone wall with four ornate gateways called gopurams. The temple also boasts of a unique theatre hall called Koothambalam, where traditional art forms like Kathakali and Koodiyattam are performed. The temple is not only a place of worship but also a treasure trove of history, legend, art, and culture.

Architecture and Art of Vadakkumnathan Temple

Here are some of the fascinating aspects of Vadakkunnathan Temple that you should know before you visit:

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The temple was founded by Parashurama, the sixth avatar of Vishnu, who created Kerala by throwing his axe into the sea. He also brought Shiva and his family from Mount Kailash to bless the land. According to legend, Shiva and his family disappeared at the base of a huge banyan tree, where a radiant linga (symbol of Shiva) emerged. This linga is still worshipped at the Sri Moolasthanam, outside the west gopuram of the temple.

The temple is believed to be more than 1000 years old and has been renovated and expanded by various rulers over the centuries. The most notable among them were the kings of Cochin, who shifted the linga from the Sri Moolasthanam to the main shrine and built the four gopurams. The temple also witnessed the birth and death of Adi Shankaracharya, the great philosopher and reformer of Hinduism, who was born in Kalady near Thrissur and attained liberation at Vadakkunnathan Temple.

The temple is famous for its exquisite mural paintings that adorn the outer walls of the shrines. These paintings depict scenes from the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana, as well as stories of Shiva and his consort Parvati. The paintings are done in natural colors and reflect the Kerala style of mural art. The most striking among them is the one that shows Shiva’s cosmic dance or Tandava, which symbolizes creation, preservation, and destruction.

The temple is also renowned for its annual festival called Thrissur Pooram, which is celebrated in April or May. It is one of the most spectacular festivals in Kerala and attracts thousands of devotees and tourists every year. The festival involves a grand procession of 15 caparisoned elephants carrying idols of various deities from neighboring temples to Vadakkunnathan Temple. The procession is accompanied by drummers, musicians, dancers, and fireworks. The highlight of the festival is the display of colorful parasols or umbrellas by each elephant group, which creates a stunning visual effect.

The temple is not only a spiritual destination but also a gateway to explore other attractions in Thrissur. You can visit Guruvayur Temple, one of the most sacred temples for Lord Krishna devotees; Athirapally Waterfalls, one of the largest waterfalls in Kerala; Silent Valley National Park, one of the last remaining rainforests in India; State Museum, one of the oldest museums in Kerala; and many more.

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Darshan timings of Vadakkunnathan Temple:

The temple gates open at 4:00 AM in the morning and close at 8:20 PM in the evening.

The temple darshan timings are as follows:

Morning Hours: 4:00 AM to 10:00 AM

Evening Hours: 5:00 PM to 8:20 PM

The temple pooja timings are as follows:

Usha Pooja: 6:00 AM to 6:45 AM

Ucha Pooja: 9:00 AM to 9:45 AM

Athazha Pooja: 7:00 PM to 7:45 PM

The temple darshan and pooja timings might differ on festival days and special occasions.

Note: The temple does not allow children below one year of age inside the temple for darshan.

Dress Code:

The temple requires men to wear white pancha or dhoti and women to wear saree with blouse, punjabi dress with dupatta, chudidhar with dupatta, or half saree for darshan.

You may also like to read: Vadakumnathan Temple, Thrissur: A stillness within the chaos

Other attractions near Vadakkunnathan Temple:

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Our Lady of Dolours Basilica:

This is the tallest church in India and the third tallest in Asia. It has a tower called the Bible Tower that has many paintings and a Bible museum. It is located 0.57 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.

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Sakthan Thampuran Palace:

This is the home and resting place of Shakthan Thampuran, the king of Cochin dynasty who renovated and expanded Vadakkunnathan Temple. It is now a museum that showcases the history and culture of Thrissur. It is located 0.76 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.

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Thrissur Zoo & Museum:

This is one of the oldest zoos in the country that has a variety of animals, reptiles, and birds. It also has a natural history museum and an art museum that display the social and cultural heritage of Thrissur. It is located 1.11 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.

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Vilangan Hills:

This is a scenic hill that offers a panoramic view of Thrissur city and Thrissur Kole Wetlands. It is a popular picnic spot and has a children’s park, an amusement park, and a restaurant. It is located 6.21 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.

Punnathur Kotta:

This is a place where all the majestic elephants of Kerala state live. It is also known as Anakkotta or Elephant Fort. It has more than 50 elephants that are trained and groomed for temple festivals and rituals. It is located 22.49 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.

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Chavakkad Beach:

This is a beautiful beach in Thrissur that has a confluence of a river and the sea, known as Azhimukam in Malayalam. It is one of the cleanest beaches in Kerala and has golden sand, coconut groves, and fishing nets. It is located 23.24 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.

Kerala Kalamandalam:

This is a center for learning traditional art forms of Kerala, such as Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Koodiyattam, Thullal, etc. It was founded by Vallathol Narayana Menon, a poet and cultural leader. It offers courses, workshops, performances, and exhibitions of these art forms. It is located 24.61 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.

St. Thomas Shrine:

This is the first Christian church of India that was established by St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, in 52 AD. It is also the resting place for many saints and martyrs who spread Christianity in India. It has a museum, a library, and a relic chapel that display the history and relics of Christianity in India. It is located 31.97 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.

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Cheraman Juma Masjid Mosque:

This is the first mosque in India that was constructed in 629 AD by Malik Ibn Dinar, a companion of Prophet Muhammad, with the permission of Cheraman Perumal, the king of Kerala at that time. It is also one of the oldest mosques in the world that still offers prayers. It has a museum, a library, and an art gallery that showcase the Islamic heritage of Kerala. It is located 34.68 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.


This is a rural village that has a check dam, a hanging bridge, and a nice little park on the banks of Chalakudy River. It is a good place to relax and enjoy nature after visiting Athirappilly Waterfalls, which are 36.43 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.

Cherai Beach:

This is a 15 km stretch of beautiful beach that has paddy fields, backwaters, coconut groves, and Chinese fishing nets on its sides. It is one of the best beaches in Kerala for swimming, sunbathing, boating, fishing, and dolphin watching. It also has many resorts, restaurants, and shops for tourists’ convenience. It is located 42.77 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.

Charpa Waterfalls:

This is a waterfall on Chalakudy River that falls from a height of about 70 feet. It is one of the scenic waterfalls in Kerala that can be seen on the way to Athirappilly Waterfalls from Thrissur.

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Athirappilly Waterfalls:

This is one of the largest and most famous waterfalls in Kerala that falls from a height of about 80 feet. It is also known as the Niagara of India because of its width and volume. It is a popular tourist attraction and a shooting location for many movies. It is located 47.06 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.

Premium hotels and resorts where tourists can stay near Vadakkunnathan Temple:

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Joys Palace Hotel: This is a star-rated hotel that offers luxurious rooms, free Wi-Fi, free parking, an outdoor pool, a spa, a fitness center, and a restaurant. It is located 1.4 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.

Zip By Spree Hotels Mangala Towers: This is a 4-star hotel that offers spacious rooms, free Wi-Fi, free parking, and a restaurant. It is located 0.3 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.

Casino Hotels: This is a 4-star hotel that offers comfortable rooms, free Wi-Fi, free parking, a spa, and a restaurant. It is located 1.6 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.

Les 3 Elephants Cherai Beach: This is a boutique resort that offers cozy cottages, free Wi-Fi, free parking, an outdoor pool, and a restaurant. It is located 41.3 km from Vadakkunnathan Temple.

Vadakkunnathan Temple is a must-visit place for anyone who wants to experience the rich heritage and culture of Kerala. It is a place where you can feel the divine presence of Shiva and his blessings. It's where you can discover the wonders and charms of Thrissur and Kerala.

You may also like to read: Thrissur Pooram - Here's All We Need to Know About Kerala's Famous Temple Festival

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Vadakkunnathan Temple Reviews

When you all of a sudden become little devotional and spiritual, you decide to spend some quality time in temple on a sunday morning. This is what happened to me and i made two of my travel buddies to accompany me to the temple visit.. In typical indian context, 'They were the Bakhras'. 3.Vadakkunnathan Temple This temple is known for its colourful festival 'Thrissur Pooram' which is quite famous around the world. It's also one of the classic examples of Kerala architecture and you'll witness elegant mural paintings around the temple. The indian attire is strictly followed in the temple while dharshan. And the temple atmosphere makes your body and soul relaxed.
Intro : Blue Shirt Guy - Naren My best freind Left corner is Sunanda Our official/Un official Host Right Corner is Likitha the innocent ladiki 2nd from Right corner - Bindu Mounika.... That temple is just a beauty we had our time with the Almighty Shiva his son Vinayak and His Colleagues Since camera is not allowed inside we are not able to click photos but the temple is very peaceful postive vibes all the corners. If you ever plan for this temple make sure you visit night times They said night time will be delight to see entire Vadakunadan temple inLights
7. Thrissur Pooram Kerala's grandest temple festivals are its poorams, especially the world renowned Thrissur Pooram. Highlight: Nothing comes close to watching rows of 30 bejewelled elephants orGajrajasas they are called standing face to face, and the crowds go wild as the beats of theKeralanstylePanchavadyam(association of trumpets, drums, pipes, and cymbal) bring alive the colours of the traditional eye-popping umbrellas as the ceremony ofKudamattamis in full throttle. The festival’s much anticipatedElanjithara Melamis considered to be the world’s largest live musical orchestra of percussionists.
We landed in Thrissur and made our way towards the railway station for Freshening up after that we made our way towards the Famous Vadakunadan temple.This is our Batch.
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