Sree Agnibhairav NagaYakshi Devasthanam, Ettumanoor
The Agnibhairav Nagayakshi temple is the family temple of the Madathil Parambu family who settled in Etttumanoor in the early 18th century. The pratishta is Agnibhairav and Nagayakshmi installed side by side (Nagayakshi on the left side of Bhairav), in the same Srikovil. The idols are in granite. Bhairav and Nagayakshi are believed to be installed here in husband and wife concept. This temple is referred by the local family members as Devlikede.
Ettumanoor is a major junction, 12 km north of kottayam towards Vaikom along the MC Road. It is a gateway to the major centeres like Palai and Idukki. The temple is located near the junction about 150 meters off the main road. The approach from the main road is a narrow lane just about 1 meter wide.
Around 1745 A.D, three brothers from Purakkad migrated to Ettumanoor. They settled down in three houses (Vadakke Veddu, Naduvil Veedu and Thekke Veedu - The North, Central and Southern houses). The Agnibhairav-Nagayakhi idols were established in the Naduvil Veedu and worshipped. Now there are about 40 gsb families in Ettumanoor.
The temple remained as a family devasthanam till recently. Since the upkeep and maintenance of the devasthanam was poor, an assosication was formed in 1992 AD (Ettumanoor GSB Agnibhairav Nagayakshi Devasthanam Association) who is now looking after affairs of the Devasthanam. The shrine was reconstructed and punaprathista done on 19-5-1996. The Devasthanam was also opened up for worship to other families of GSB community in Ettumanoor.
Ettumanoor Siva temple
Ettumanoor is most known for its famous Siva temple called Ettumanoorappan, one of the Siva temple triad Vaikom, Kaduthuruthy and Ettumanoor. It is believed to be auspicious to visit these three temples on the same day. The prathista is a two-foot high Siva linga.
The Siva temple here in the present form built
in 1545 AD. is a good specimen of indigenous Kerala style temple architecture. Once a
Pandya King was possessed by an evil spirit. When all treatments and mantras failed, he
prayed to Ettumanurappan and recovered from his afflication miraculously. It is said that
it was he who constructed the Ettumanur temple in the present form. In 1754 A.D. the
administration of the temple was taken over by the then Travancore ruler. Later on, it was
transferred to the Travancore Devaswom Board.
Given below is the story behind the origin of the place Ettumanoor and the Ettumanoor temple.
Once Lord Siva quarreled with other Gods. He created a deer and took all the powers away from the gods and gave to the deer. The gods who lost their powers meditated and prayed to Lord Siva, who appeared before them and agreed to give back their powers. Lord Brahma appeared there with the deer. Lord Siva accepted the deer from Brahma and gave back the powers to gods .The place where the deer was accepted came to be known as Ettumanoor. (In Malayalam Ettu means 'accept' man means 'deer' and ooru means 'place' thus the name Ettumanoor).
Legend say that Khara (an Asura) of Ramayana worshipped Siva at Chidambaram and obtained from him three Shivalingams and journeyed holding one shivalingam on each hand and one in his mouth. He sojourned at Vaikom (26 km from ettumanoor), and set the shivalingam on the ground and to his dismay realized that it got rooted to the ground. Kharan installed the other two shivalingams at Ettumanur and Kaduthuruthy (14 km from ettumanoor). The west facing temple here has a circular sanctum covered with a conical copper plated roof crowned with a kalsam. The mukhamandapam in front of the temple bears two images of Nandi, one of stone and another of metal. A rectangular circumambulatory passage surrounds the sanctum. The sanctum bears wood carvings of superior workmanship portraying legends from the Ramayana and the Bhagavata puranam. There are 20 attractive Gajamushties around Sreekovil In this the elephants are positioned raising trunk and front legs. Khara also installed an image of Krishna in the north western corner of this temple. Some people are of the opinion that Khara installed the Krishna temple in order to temper the fierceness of Siva of Ettumanur. According to the legend the flag-pole (Kodimaram) is constructed with the direction of Naranathu Bhrandan.
The walls of the sanctum in the Ettumanoor temple is painted with scenes from the epics along with an imaginative scene of a music concert by the gods, goddesses and celestials are depicted in this temple. The fresco paintings of Kerala are classified as Fresco-secco characterised by its lime medium and technique in which the prepared walls are painted only when it becomes completely dry. The walls of the sanctum is painted with scenes from the epics along with an imaginative scene of a music concert by the gods, goddesses and celestials are depicted in this temple.
There are also shrines to Sasta, Ganapati and Dakshinamurthy in the temple. At the entrance to the Nalambalam is a large metal lamp known as Valiavilakku. Visitors make offerings of oil and the soot that collects from the burning of the oil is believed to have medicinal value to cure eye diseases. Worshipping this holy lamp is believed to liberate people possessed by evil spirits. This lamp is said to have been installed in 1545 A.D. and burning ever since.
The speciality of the temple is the famous Ezharaponnana, seven and a half elephant statues made of gold. The full elephant statue is about 2 feet height. In addition to Ezharaponnana, temple also famous for its umbrella made of gold which is kept in a special room. On 7th day of the annual festival the umbrella is take out and carried on the live elephant procession instead of Muthukkuda.
Story of Ezharaponnana : When Marthandavarma, the king of Travancore, attacked the Vadakkancore kingdom, his army with elephants was based near the temple. The army action resulted in the destruction of the property of Ettumanoor temple. While packing off, it is said that the elephants refused to move. As repentance of the damages done, he offered this Ezharaponnana to the temple. The Ezharaponnana represents the Ashtadiggajam which are Airavatham, Pundareekam, Kanmudam, Anjana, Pushpadantham, Supradeekam, Sarvabhauman and Vamana (due to the shortness of Vamana one of the Ezharaponnanas also small in size). It is taken out on procession on the 8th day of the annual festival. (See picture below where the small elephant idol is carried on the head)