Thrikkakara is a grand Divya dEsam where the Lord is said to have incarnated as vAmanA to save the Asura king mAbali from his own arrogance. Hence it is also the epicentre of the Onam festival, which is an important celebration in kEraLA and is linked to the legend of mAbali and vAmanA.
Location and Access:
Thrikkakara is located 10 km North-East of the city of Ernakulam in central kEraLA. It would be convenient for visitors to stay at Ernakulam as there are no lodging facilities near the temple. The temple is located at a distance of 15 km from angamAli railway station. It is also about the same distance from the IrinjAlakkudA railway station, which is on the Alwaye-Trichur train route. This temple is also at a distance of 6 km from the train station of Idappalli.
The Thrikkakara temple is built in the typical kEraLA divya dEsam style, with a conical roof over the main sanctum and open corridors with plenty of space. The thAyAr here is Sri perunchelva nAyaki (also known as vAtsalya vaLLi) and the Lord here is known as Thrikkakarayappan (also known as vAmanamUrthy) who is in a standing posture facing south. The temple is also locally known as the Thrikkakara vAmanamUrthy kshetram. The main religious event at this temple is the Onam festival which occurs in August-September. The theertham here is known as Kapila theertham.
Legends and History:
The temple is said to be the exact site where vAmanA sent mAbali to the nether-world with His Divine Foot. This has given rise to the etymology of the name Thrikkakara (place of the Holy Foot). Many people think wrongly that the purpose of the vAmanA incarnation was to kill or humiliate mAbali. mAbali was actually a benevolent king and was the grandson of Sri PrahalAdA, who was one of the foremost devotees of Sri perumAL. Unfortunately, mAbali began to develop arrogance as a result of his victory over the dEvAs. In order to save mAbali from error and extinction, Sri perumAL incarnated as vAmanA. By showing mAbali a glimpse of His Infinite form as Thrivikrama, the Lord made mAbali aware of his own insignificance and restored him back to his humble, good-natured self. In the process Sri perumAL also granted mAbali suzerainty over the nether-world.
mAbali sought a boon from Sri perumAL that he be allowed to visit his subjects once a year. It is believed that mAbali rises each year from the nether-world on the anniversary of the vAmanA incarnation (which falls on the day of the ThiruvONam star in the month of AvaNi). This is the day of the Onam festival each year.
Another legend has it that a farmer had a banana plantation that never yielded him any produce. The farmer prayed to Sri perumAL at this temple. With the Grace of Sri perumAL, the banana farm started yielding a rich produce of large-sized bananas, which are now known as the “nEndiram vAzhai” (a special type of banana endemic to the region).
[Note: The numbering convention for the pAsurams seems to differ in various Divya Prabandham books. In some Divya Prabandham books, the same pAsurams by srI nammAzhwAr are listed as verse numbers 3019-29.]
A sample pAsuram:
அறிகிலேன் தன்னுள் அனைத்தும் உலகும் நிற்க
நெறிமையால் தானும் அவற்றுள் நிற்கும் பிரான்
வெறி கமழ் சோலைத் தென் காட்கரை என் அப்பன்
சிறிய என் ஆர் உயிர் உண்ட திரு அருளே
In this pAsuram, Sri nammAzhwAr says that the Lord Sri perumAL who contains the entire Universe is also contained in everything. Out of extreme humility, Sri AzhwAr says that the Grace of Sri perumAL is unfathomable for a lowly person like him.
Sri vAtsalya vaLLi thAyAr samEtha Sri Thrikkakarayappan thiruvadigaLE saraNam.