The Ernakulam Shiva temple is located in the heart of Kochi city. This is one of the seven royal temples of Kochi Rulers. The main deity is called as Ernakulathappan (Lord of Ernakulam).

Legend– Once when Arjuna was performing penance to propitiate Shiva, he appeared before him disguising himself as a tribal hunter (Kirata). At this time Mookasura, a demon appeared as a wild boar and attacked Arjuna. On seeing this, both Siva and Arjuna simultaneously shot an arrow at Mookasura and killed him. As both Shiva and Arjuna claimed that they killed the wild boar, they started fighting with each other and finally in the battle Kirata won Arjuna. When Arjuna lost the battle, he was very upset and he made a Shiva linga out of mud and started performing a puja. To his surprise the flowers he offered on the Shiva linga was actually falling over the head of Kirata. Then he realized that the person standing in front of him was none other than Shiva. Shiva was pleased with Arjuna and appeared before him in his true form along with Parvati and gifted a divine arrow ‘Pasupathasthram’.

After sometime a boy named Devalan, a victim of a Sage’s curse and now a Nagarshi (boy with the body of snake) found the mud Shivalinga. He took with him the linga and started worshipping at holy temples. People called him Rishi Nagam (Sage with the body of serpent). At one such holy place, he placed the lingam on the ground and started praying. After completing the pooja, he found that he could not remove the lingam from the ground. Shiva appeared before him and saved him from the curse. At his request, Shiva appeared as swayambu (divinely derived) linga and this became the main deity. The mud linga is located on the northern side of the main deity. The main deity is facing western side. According to the legend, the present pooja karma at this temple was directed by Vilvamangalam swamiyar.  This place was also called Rishi Naga Kulam (The pond of Rishi Nagam)

The eastern side of the sanctum sanctorum is considered as the abode of Parvati and devotees worship at this spot.

The annual festival is celebrated every year during January – February.


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