Kottiyoor Temple

Kottiyoor Temple, a revered Hindu shrine, is situated in the serene hills of the Western Ghats in Kerala, India. Known for its divine ambiance and rich cultural heritage, the temple is a significant pilgrimage destination. The temple complex comprises two main shrines: Akkare Kottiyoor and Ikkare Kottiyoor, located on the opposite banks of the Bavali River. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is famous for its unique rituals and annual festival, attracting thousands of devotees from across the country.

The temple’s origins are rooted in ancient legends and mythology, making it a focal point for spiritual seekers and history enthusiasts alike. The tranquil surroundings, coupled with the sacred atmosphere, offer a perfect retreat for those looking to experience peace and divinity. Visitors to Kottiyoor Temple are often struck by the harmonious blend of natural beauty and spiritual significance, making it a must-visit destination in Kerala.

Kottiyoor Temple

Historical Significance

Kottiyoor Temple holds a significant place in Hindu mythology and history. According to legend, this is the site where Daksha, a revered sage, performed a grand yajna (sacrifice). However, he did not invite his daughter Sati and her husband, Lord Shiva, which led to a series of tragic events. Sati, unable to bear the insult to her husband, immolated herself in the sacrificial fire. Enraged by the loss, Lord Shiva unleashed his wrath, leading to the destruction of the yajna and the creation of the Kottiyoor Temple as a site of penance and worship.

The temple’s historical importance is also marked by its reference in ancient texts and scriptures. It has been a pilgrimage site for centuries, with devotees flocking to the temple during the annual Vaisakha Mahotsavam festival. This festival commemorates the events of the legend and is a time of intense spiritual activity and devotion. The rituals and traditions practiced here have been preserved over generations, maintaining the temple’s historical essence.

Architectural Marvel

Kottiyoor Temple is an architectural marvel, reflecting the traditional Kerala style of temple architecture. The main shrine, Akkare Kottiyoor, is nestled amidst dense forests and is accessible only during the festival season. This shrine is unique as it does not have a permanent structure; instead, a temporary thatched roof covers the sanctum during the festival period. This aspect adds to the temple’s mystique and aligns with the legend of its origin.

The Ikkare Kottiyoor temple, on the other hand, has a more conventional structure with intricate wood carvings and a copper-plated roof. The architecture of this shrine is a testament to the skilled craftsmanship of the artisans of yore. The temple complex is adorned with traditional lamps, wooden pillars, and murals that depict various mythological stories. The serene river flowing between the two shrines adds to the aesthetic and spiritual charm of the temple.

Spiritual Significance

The spiritual significance of Kottiyoor Temple is immense. It is believed that worshipping at this temple can absolve devotees of their sins and bring them closer to divine consciousness. The temple’s rituals are deeply rooted in ancient Vedic traditions, and the sanctity of the site is maintained through strict adherence to these practices. The priests, who belong to a specific lineage, perform the rituals with great devotion and precision, ensuring the continuity of the temple’s spiritual legacy.

The annual Vaisakha Mahotsavam is the highlight of the temple’s spiritual calendar. This 27-day festival attracts devotees from all over the world who come to participate in the various rituals and ceremonies. The festival includes elaborate processions, offerings, and prayers, creating an atmosphere of heightened spirituality and devotion. The confluence of devotees, the chanting of hymns, and the serene environment make Kottiyoor Temple a spiritual haven.

Festivals and Celebrations

Kottiyoor Temple is renowned for its grand festivals and celebrations, the most prominent being the Vaisakha Mahotsavam. This festival, which lasts for 27 days, commemorates the legendary events associated with the temple’s origin. The festival begins with the Neyyattam ceremony, where ghee is poured over the idol as an offering. This is followed by various rituals, including the Elaneerattam (tender coconut water offering) and the Roopakkalam (drawing of the divine form).

The festival reaches its climax with the Ilaneerattam, where thousands of devotees gather to offer tender coconut water to the deity. The entire temple complex comes alive with the sound of traditional musical instruments, chants, and the vibrant energy of the devotees. Other significant festivals celebrated here include Maha Shivaratri and Thiruvathira, which are marked by special poojas and rituals.

Visitor Information

For those planning to visit Kottiyoor Temple, it is essential to be aware of the visitor guidelines and facilities available. The temple is open to devotees throughout the year, but the best time to visit is during the Vaisakha Mahotsavam, usually held in May and June. During this period, special arrangements are made for the influx of devotees, including temporary shelters, medical facilities, and food stalls.

It is advisable to dress modestly and follow the temple’s code of conduct. Photography is generally restricted within the temple premises, and visitors are expected to maintain the sanctity of the site. There are several local eateries and shops around the temple complex where visitors can enjoy traditional Kerala cuisine and purchase souvenirs.


Kottiyoor Temple follows specific timings for daily rituals and poojas. The temple opens early in the morning, around 5:00 AM, with the first pooja (Abhishekam) performed shortly after. The temple remains open until noon, after which it closes for a few hours. In the evening, the temple reopens at around 5:00 PM and remains open until 8:00 PM. These timings may vary during festivals and special occasions, so it is advisable to check in advance.

Location and Accessibility

Kottiyoor Temple is located in the Kannur district of Kerala, nestled amidst the lush greenery of the Western Ghats. The temple can be accessed via road from nearby towns and cities. The nearest major town is Thalassery, which is about 60 kilometers away. Visitors can take buses or hire taxis to reach the temple. The nearest railway station is at Kannur, approximately 70 kilometers from the temple. The nearest airport is Calicut International Airport, located around 120 kilometers away.

The temple’s remote location adds to its charm, offering a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The journey to Kottiyoor Temple is an experience in itself, with scenic landscapes and picturesque views along the way.


Accommodation options near Kottiyoor Temple range from budget guesthouses to more comfortable lodges. During the festival season, temporary accommodations are also set up by the temple authorities to cater to the influx of devotees. For those looking for a more comfortable stay, there are several hotels and resorts in Thalassery and Kannur, offering a range of amenities.

It is advisable to book accommodation in advance, especially during the festival period, to ensure a hassle-free visit. Many accommodations also offer package deals that include transportation to and from the temple, making it convenient for visitors. The temple authorities and local tourism office can provide additional information and assistance for those planning their stay.

By providing a detailed and engaging overview of Kottiyoor Temple, its historical and spiritual significance, architectural marvels, and practical information for visitors, this content aims to offer a comprehensive guide to one of Kerala’s most revered pilgrimage sites.