Architecture of Vadakkumnathan Shiva Temple

Vadakkumnathan Shiva Temple in Thrissur, a classic example of the Kerala style of architecture, is surrounded by an enormous stone wall enclosing an area of about 9 acres. There are four gopurams inside this fortification, each facing north, south, east and west directions. There is a multi-shrine complex called as Nalambalam or Chuttamabalam in the centre, with three main shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva as Vadakkunnathan, Shankaranarayana or Hari-Hara (a combined form of Shiva and Vishu) and Lord Rama.

On the northern side of Vadakkunnathan Temple is a circular structure with the deity facing west. The idol of Goddess Parvati faces east and is behind Lord Shiva in the same shrine. The shrine of Lord Rama is a two-storey rectangular structure, facing west and is located in the south. The circular and double-storey shrine, which is dedicated to Sankaranarayana, faces west and it lies between these two srikovils. In front of all the three central shrines are the mukhamandapams. The outer walls of the shrines have beautiful mural paintings. Scenes from the Mahabharata epic and the Tandava poses of Shiva, depicted in typical Kathakali style, are worth seeing.

Koothambalam - Theater Hall

To the left of the entrance is the theatre hall called “Koothambalam”. This unique and beautiful structure has well-designed sloping roof of copper plates. This Koothambalam is a tall and spacious structure which contains fine vignettes of wood carving and interesting bracket figures. The 41 day special program of "Koothu" (mythological story telling) and "Koodiyattom" (ancient form of dramatic dance) are staged here annually.