“The Devaswom officials are around only to count and collect cash in the hundi” – Another Tale of Temple Neglect

published on October 28, 2008

Iranikulam Thekkedathu temple, a symbol of neglect


Sudha Nambudiri | ENS


KOCHI: It has one of the tallest ‘vatta sreekovil’ (round sanctum sanctorum) and is among the oldest temples in the state.

Yet at a time when most temples are growing by the day, Thekkedathu temple at Iranikulam, Mala, in Thrissur district is a sad story of neglect.

Lord Siva is the presiding deity at Thekkedathu temple which has the biggest double-storeyed sanctum sanctorum also believed to have been consecrated by Parasurama himself.

In the four-acre complex, there is another temple called Vadakkedathu temple which has Siva, Parvathy and Balasubramanian in panchaloha on a single pedestal unlike that is normally seen in the temples here.

But the condition of the temple is pathetic.

Devotees lament that most of the rituals were not being performed. Even the Cochin Devaswom Board which manages the place has no time to check the sanctity of the rituals. The temple is believed to be the ‘moolasthanam’ of Goddess Parvathy of Thiruvairanikulam temple in Ernakulam district and the priests who moved out of this small village took the deity and set up the temple at their new place of settlement following the ravages during the Tipu Sulthan’s invasion.

“The Devaswom is only interested in those temples that are prosperous. But when the local temple committee offered to take care of the rituals, they were not getting adequate support from the temple staff where most of them are on daily wages,” says Rajesh, a local resident.

If one stands at the ‘moolasthanam’ which overlooks the whole temple premises, the place looks beautiful surrounded by neighbouring greenery and a quietude that is so rare in a place of worship these days.

There are several other deities around the main sanctum sanctoram of Vadakkedathu temple – Parvathy in a ‘yakshi’ form, a single stone Nandikeswaran, Ganapathy, Nagarajas and the guardian goddess. The history says that once it was the most prosperous of the temples when infighting among the priestly families as well as the invasion at Kodungaloor took its toll of the temples.

Many families moved away with different antiques and the temple became a symbol of neglect.

“The Devaswom officials visit to count and collect cash in the hundi and that is the only time they are around,” said an irate native, who refused to give his name.

“But if any official threatens any staff, they just walk off, since it is a temporary duty and they will find work,” says another.

“What we want is that the temple rituals be streamlined and looked into by the Devaswom officials and we are ready to do anything for it,” say the locals. For they believe, the Lord will bless them if the rituals are done as per custom.

“People who are looking forward to getting married and to have children can offer prayers here. This is the reason why Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathy have been residing together,” says 70-year-old Amminiamma.  

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