Tali Temple in Kozhikode

Sri Tali temple or Calicut Tali Mahakshethram, as it is called, is in Kozhikode.  The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva, and is one of the most important Hindu Pilgrimage centres in the state.

According to the sthala purana, the Jyotirlingam in the sanctum here was installed by Parasurama at the end of the Dwapara Yuga, the third f the four great Hindu epochs.  Lord Shiva is worshipped as Uma Maheshwara here.  Though the temple existed from pre-historic times, it came into prominence about 1500 years back, when the Zamorins of Calicut patronized it and showered on it abundant wealth.

It is a grand temple complex, with running rows of lamps round the outer walls of the sanctum, as on most West Coast temples.  Ganapathi was two shrines inside the main temple,  one as Sri Tali Ganapati and the other as Sri Thevarathil Ganapathy.  The other sub shrines are devoted to Sri Bhagavathy, Sri Ayyappa and the Nagas.  Diagonally across the Shiva shrine, on the northeast, is a separate shine for Sri Krishna, with a dhwaja sthambam of its own.  Inside this Vishnu shrine is a sub-shrine for Sree Valayanad Bhagavathy.  Nearby, at the south-east centre is another Vishnu shine, dedicated to the Narasimha avatar, while at the extreme south-east is the Koothambala thara, the place for cultural performances.  The sanctum for Lord Maheswara is in the shape of a chariot, with murals on the inside walls depicting the Shiva purana. 

In days of yore, Sri Tali Mahakshethram was the site of a week-long annual debate among the different schools of Hinduism. Scholars from far and wide, it is said, would participate in these grand seminars, named Revathi Pattathanam.  The best among these participants was bestowed a title, during a ceremony called Pattathanam.  This scholastic union was supposed to be a symbol of the aristocracy surrendering to the divine, the reason why it was held in the Tali temple, not in the palace.  But that was a long time ago, when the shrine was patronized by the powerful Zamorins.  Today, with much of its wealth expropriated by the state, the ceremony is held just for a day, on Revathy nakshatra every year in the month of Thulam (October-November).  Special poojas are held at the Shiva and Krishna shrines, a chosen scholar is felicitated and there is a murajapa: recitation of three vedas.

How to get there

Kozhikode is on National Highway 17, and is easily accessible by buses from all over Kerala.  It is on the Shoranur Mangalore main line, and is an important stop for all express, mail and passenger trains, both from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It also boasts of an international airport.


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