Uyyavandha Perumal Temple at Thirumittacode is one of the oldest temples in Kerala. It is about 4 kilometers from Pattambi, a small town in the Palakkad district of Kerala.
The temple situated on the banks of River Nila (aka Bharatapuzha) is famous for its brilliant mural paintings that adorn the walls of its sanctum. The murals depict scenes from the epics. Sadly, many of these paintings are now in a state of ruin. The colors have faded and the drawings have become unclear. Still, they don’t fail to captivate the attention of devotees.
Thirumittakode temple is only about 2 kilometers from Nhangattiri Bhagavathy Temple. There is a short cut along the river to reach Thirumittakode Temple from Nhangattiri Bhagavathy Temple.
Architecture and Temple layout
The inner sanctum houses two shrines. The first shrine that one sees after entering the sanctum is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Behind this shrine is another shrine dedicated to Uyyavandha Perumal (The lord who gives salvation – Vishnu). The Vishnu shrine stands on an elevated platform and devotees have to climb the steps behind the Shiva Shrine to reach the Vishnu shrine. Both shrines have walls adorned with beautiful mural paintings and carvings.
Outside the Sanctum there are shrines dedicated to Lord Ganapathy (Ganesh), Dakshinamurthy (The Lord of the South) and Goddess Durga. These small shrines are what you see when you enter the temple premises. It is believed that the five idols of this temple were installed by the 5 Pandavas. According to another popular legend, it was here that Lord Vishnu gave his darshan to his ardent devotee King Ambarisha.
Popular legends associated with this temple are related to Pandavas of the epic Mahabharatha. They are said to have visited this place during their life in exile and found the area quite beautiful and secluded. So, they decided to stay here and perform penance. Each one of them installed five idols of Vishnu. The idol seen inside the sanctum is believed to have been installed by Arjuna. The other four installations are outside the sanctum.
The Thirumittakode Temple is also blessed with the presence of Lord Shiva. According to a popular legend, a sage who lived here had gone to Kashi (Banaras) to offer prayers to Lord Shiva or Kashi Viswanathan. Shiva was pleased with his ardent devotion and followed the sage hiding in his umbrella on his return journey from Kashi. When he reached Thirumittakode, the sage decided to take a bath in the Bharatapuzha. He left the umbrella on the river banks and took a dip in the river. When he returned to the place where he had put the umbrella, he found a Shiva Lingam instead. Thereafter a shrine was constructed here in honor of Lord Shiva.
The Uyyavandha Perumal Temple is also known as Anju Moorthy (five idols) temple.
Since Kashi Viswanatha is also present here with Lord Vishnu, this temple is a sacred place to perform the rites of one’s ancestors. Actually a large number of devotees flock to this temple on Karkidaka Vavu Bali to offer rites to their departed dear ones. The Nava Mukunda Temple at Thirunavaya is another temple in Malabar famous for this ritual. The Anju Moorthy Temple at Thirumittakode attracts devotees from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as well.
Vaikunda Ekadashi is the most important day. The temple is open from 5 to 10.15 am and then from 5 to 7.15 pm on all days.
The Shiva idol faces east. The main deity Lord Vishnu is worshipped here as Uyyavanda Perumal (The lord who gives salvation). He is also known as Abhaya pradhan (one who gives refuge). Kulasegara Azhvar who was a Chera king and an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva has sung about this temple in his poems.
Popular legends surrounding the temple
According to popular legends, this temple was originally built by King Ambarisha, a devotee of Lord Vishnu. He used to observe Ekadashi (fasting) religiously. The next morning (Dwadashi) the King would feed a Brahmin and then break his fast by taking food. Once sage Durvasa visited him on Ekadashi. The king requested the sage to be his guest so that he can feed him the next day (Dwadashi) before breaking his fast. Durvasa was a short tempered rishi. He decided to play a trick on Ambarisha. The next morning, he went to bathe in the river and did not return until Dwadasi thithi was over. The King had to break his fast and before that he had to feed Dursava. He waited for a long time but when the sage did not turn up, the King broke his fast by taking food. Durvasa returned shortly afterwards. When he realized that the king had taken food, he became angry and sent an ogre to kill him. Ambarisha prayed to Lord Vishnu for help. Angered by the plight of his devotee, Vishnu sent his Sudarshan Chakra (celestial wheel) to kill the ogre. After killing the ogre, the Chakra turned towards Durvasa. Sensing that his life was in danger, Durvasa fell at the feet of Vishnu and sought pardon. Vishnu, however, asked him to apologize to Ambarisha. The lord then asked his devotee if he had any wishes. To this, Ambarisha replied that the Lord should appear before him from all directions. According to another legend, King Ambarisha attained salvation here.
How to reach
Thirumittakode is only about 4 kilometers from Pattambi. The nearest railway station is the Pattambi railway station. From there you can hire an autorikshaw and reach the temple easily. Pattambi is a major junction on the Guruvayoor – Palakkad Highway.
Other temples in the vicinity
The Sri Krishna Temple at Pattambi – It is just 2 minutes’ walk from the Pattambi railway station and bus stand.
Nhanghattiri Bhagavathy Temple – This temple is about 2 kilometers from Pattambi. Plan a trip to all three temples.