Kerala is known for its beautiful architecture, temples, beaches and historical monuments. And there is one place in Kerala where you can get all of it together. I am talking about the Azhimala Shiva Temple in Kerala. Furthermore the Azhimala Shiva Temple is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kerala as well as in Trivandrum. Mostly this temple is famous for the Lord Shiva sculpture here. Which is the tallest Shiva sculpture in Kerala and one of the tallest statues of Lord Shiva in India.
Furthermore the beautiful backdrop of the temple amidst sea beach and forests surrounding it, this temple also reflects the rich past of the region. It is one of the revered temples in Kerala that is visited by thousands of devotees. So if you are in Kerala you need to visit the Azhimala Shiva Temple Trivandrum. Keep on reading this article to get all the information about the Azhimala Shiva Temple Kerala and plan a trip there.
Azhimala Shiva Temple
Location: Mulloor PO, Poovar to Vizhinjam Road, Azhimala Temple Road, Kerala
Azhimala Shiva Temple timings:
The timings of Azhimala Shiva Temple are 5:30 am to 11 pm and 5 pm to 8 pm from Monday to Saturday. On Sunday the timings are 5 am to 8 pm.
Entry fee : No entry fee
How to reach Azhimala Shiva Temple
The Trivandrum Airport is the nearest airport which is only 21 km away from the Azhimala Shiva Temple. From there you can get taxis or you can even hire a car to reach the temple.
The Azhimala Shiva Temple is located between Trivandrum and Kovalam in Kerala. To reach the Azhimala Shiva Temple Trivandrum the nearest railway station is Trivandrum Central Railway Station. Which is around 20 km away. From there you can take an auto or a car to reach the temple in about 40 minutes.
Most of the buses going towards Thampnoor and Poovar stop at the Azhimala bus stand and from there the temple is only 100 meters away. The road to Azhimala Shiva Temple is well connected by roadways and you can even drive through or hire a cab to reach the temple.
Overview of Azhimala Shiva temple
Located on the Poovar Vizhinjam Road in Thiruvananthapuram the Azhimala Shiva Temple is one of the most popular sites of pilgrimage in Kerala. Furthermore this temple is also regarded as one of the most significant Shaivism centres. Which is a temple where Lord Shiva is the presiding deity.
The temple is believed to be built around 8th century AD. But what makes this temple more popular is the massive 52 feet statue of Lord Shiva in Gangadhareshwara form which is also known as Azhimala Shiva Statue. This breathtakingly beautiful Shiva Statue is made by P. S Devadathan who is a native of that area and is commissioned by the Pulinkudi Azhimala Shiva Temple Devaswom Trust. The construction of this statue started in the year 2014 and was completed and opened for visitors in 2020, 31st December.
Literally Azhi means Sea and Mala means Hill. The temple has been named Azhimala because it rests on the golden sea shore with the Arabian Sea in the backdrop on a slightly elevated platform.
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Also known as Aazhimala Mahadeva Temple and Azhimala Pulinkudi Sri Mahadeva Temple. The area of the temple was previously known as Pulinkudi during the ancient times due to the presence of tigers. The temple here is perched on top of a cliff surrounded by serene beach and waves of the Sea gushing against it. Furthermore the temple is built following the architectural style followed by most of the temples in Kerala. Outer walls and the Gopuram are beautified and decorated with various colourful sculptures of Hindu deities like Lord Hanuman, Lord Ganesha, Vishnu, Kartikeya, Ayyappan. Other than the main presiding deity the other deities also look vibrant.
However, other than the temple and the Shiva statue the Azhimala Shiva temple is also known for its gorgeous hilltop location surrounded by dense forest along with the Sea in the backdrop. You can enjoy an all encompassing view which is spectacular. There is one pond that surrounds the temple and it is known as Sivaganga that adds up to the charm of the location.
Azhimala Shiva Temple History
One of the most important temples in Kerala, it is believed that this temple has some mythological connections with Mahabharata. It is believed that when the Pandavas were in their exile period they spent some time over here. A popular legend says that once Draupadi the wife of the Pandavas was thirsty. But there was only salty water available. It was then that Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers, made a hollow on the rock with his elbow and immediately sweet water came gushing out from there and that quenched the thirst of Draupadi.
Best time to visit the Azhimala Shiva Temple
The winter months are by far the ideal times to visit this temple between the months of November to February. During this time the weather remains very pleasant and it would be comfortable for the visitors. If you are interested to visit here during festivals like Shivaratri or Naranga Vilakku you can enjoy a different and vibrant vibe of this temple. But also keep in mind that the temple will be crowded during these months. During summers the temperature soars high and gets a little uncomfortable. Also the monsoon months from June to September should be avoided for a visit to this temple due to heavy rainfall in this area.
Furthermore as per days are concerned, Tuesdays are regarded as the most auspicious days for visiting temples of Lord Shiva. And according to the time of the day the morning time is the ideal time to offer your puja as well as to explore the whole area. During this time the place remains less crowded as well as peaceful.
Special Pooja in Azhimala Shiva Temple
On a regular basis the Vivedam Abhishekham and Archanas are carried on here. Other than that there are 4 main Poojas
Pradosham Puja which is conducted to get rid of one’s sins which takes place twice a month
Udayasthama Pooja that is conducted between the sunrise and sunsets
Uma Maheshwari Puja which is conducted for the prosperity of a long and happy married life
Divasa Pooja that is conducted for purifying the souls
Other Poojas conducted here are Vahana Pooja, Thali Pooja, Shanghavishekh, Rudra Abhishek, Thulabharam, Paal Payasam, Mandala Chirappu Pooja, Thikala Homam, Maha Sudarshan Homam etc. The cost ranges from Rs. 5 to Rs. 5000 depending on the type of Pooja conducted.
Main attractions in the Azhimala Shiva Temple
Lord Shiva Sculpture
This statue of Lord Shiva has a spiritual feel to it. Here he is seen in a seated position with his hair flowing. One of his four hands is releasing Goddess Ganga from his Jata or deadlocks and the back left hand is holding the Trishool. The back right hand is holding a Damru while the front right hand is in a resting position on his thigh. He has a third eye on his forehead and that symbolizes his power to see the past, present and future. Furthermore the statue is seen wearing tiger skin, and has a crescent moon on top of his Jata that depicts his Chandrashekhara form. He is also seen wearing Rudraksha beads and has a serpent twisted around his neck.
This sculpture is mounted on a pedestal at a height of 20 feet. Furthermore the intricate detailing and the 3D structure of the sculpture make it even more alluring. It is one of the things that attract visitors to the Azhimala Shiva Temple.
Not only as a site of pilgrimage but the Azhimala Shiva Temple is also known for being a treasure trove of history and art. The temple has a grand chamber of sculptures that spreads across 3500 sq feet. This chamber is made in a cave-like structure and there are 27 steps that lead here. Furthermore the whole chamber is adorned with beautiful and intricately made colorful sculptures. These sculptures are a testament to the old architectural style and art forms which is indeed one of the major attractions here. Additionally there is one Dhyana Mandapa here which is a chamber for meditation. Visiting these chambers will transport the visitors to older times and also highlight the rich historical past of this temple in Kerala.
Naranga Vilakku festival in Azhimala Shiva Temple
This is one of the main festivals in the Azhimala Shiva Temple that is celebrated every year in between January and February. During this festival an oil lamp is lit on top of a lemon and thousands of devotees visit the temple during this festival. During the evening the place looks beautiful with thousands of lamps on the backdrop of the sea shore. It is indeed one of the most delightful experiences to enjoy here. If you are ever visiting the temple around this time, do not forget to attend the festival.
Mahashivratri in Azhimala Shiva Temple
Like any other temple of Lord Shiva the Mahashivaratri in the Azhimala Shiva Temple is celebrated with a lot of pomp and grandeur. This festival is usually celebrated between February and March annually and thousands of devotees visit the temple during this time to offer their prayer to Lord Shiva. Furthermore the whole temple premise is decorated beautifully with lights and flowers that look very vibrant and colourful.
If you are visiting the Azhimala Shiva Temple you just cannot miss out on this beautiful beach located next to the temple. The sandy sea shores are perfect to take a walk or to spend some time amidst tranquility. Furthermore one of the most serene experiences here can be witnessing the majestic sunrises and sunsets. If you are visiting here during that time then surely don’t miss out on these. Also you can enjoy the food available at various food stalls near the beach that serves both local as well as international cuisines.
Nearby places to visit
You can find many tourist spots nearby that you can visit from the Azhimala Shiva Temple Kerala. Some of them are
· Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
· Shangumugham Beach
· Sree Chitra Art Gallery
· Rock Cut Temple
· Vizhinjam Lighthouse
· Attukal Temple
· Vellayani Lake
· Poovar Island
· Aruvi Waterfall
The Azhimala Shiva temple photos cannot justify how elegant and breathtaking the Lord Shiva statue looks in reality. So if you are in Kerala or if you are visiting here you simply cannot miss out on visiting this beautiful temple. I am sure you will be delighted and your mind will be relaxed after visiting this serene spot. Do let me know if this article on the Azhimala Shiva Temple is helpful for you in planning a trip here.