CHAKYAR KOOTHU According to legend, Puru Maharshi did meditation on top of the hill, where the temple of Shiva now stands. It was a dense forest in those days; hence its name Puruvanam, which became peruvanam (dense forest). The rishi brought the image of Shiva, the Lingam, a half cylinder, to be installed on top of the hill. Afterwards, the upper half of the hill, leaving the small area where the Lingam was placed, was razed down to its present size, making a vast plane, with the central high ground standing tall (MADATHILAPPAN) which is protected by massive walls on all sides, with twin temples of Eratteppan and Madathilappan, the latter standing tall, with a number of granite steps leading to the sanctum, from where, you get a sky view of the surrounding landscape. I am never tired of watching it, from childhood days, as my mother's home was near the southern Gopuram (gate). There were several venerable, old trees in the compound, including peepal tree and one perillamaram (meaning- tree without name, as it was a stranger there), all looking very old and about to die. New trees have replaced some of them. The big koothampalam, where chakyar koothu was a regular ritual in those days, is rare in the other temples. The koothu is a sort of mono act and Ramayanam is the theme. The Chakyar (the actor) will make fun of any body among the audience, however high his status! Once, the chakyar came very near to the man, a VIP who had just entered the hall, stood there for a few seconds, and commented: a real monkey, only the tail is missing! One is supposed to suffer and grin, never retort. Every year, for one month or so, there is thevaruseva, when there will be feasting, both times in the day, only for Brahmins. The dining hall is very long, some four feet in height, cut into three segments to allow devotees to pass through. As children we had difficulty in jumping up on to the dining place. Throughout the year, there is simple food served to brahmins which we avoided as something below our status. Tamil Brahmins made use of this facility. My maternal grandfather's brother lived at the western gopuram, eating the free food. The circular sanctum of Eratteppan ( there is one big lingam and one small lingam by its side, hence this name) is very spacious, with a circular covered veranda, allowing the poojary to go from Shiva in the west to Parvathy in the back of the sanctum. In Keralam, Shiva is alone; in rare cases, where she is allowed inside, she is at the back of the temple. The eastern entrance, where the gopuram was destroyed by the soldiers of Tippu Sultan, leads to the broad sloping arena, where seven elephants can stand side by side, during pooram festival. Farther down, is the spacious temple pond. All the villagers take bath in this waterhole, with steps to climb down and a pucca shed on one side, where the poojary takes bath before entering the temple.The pond will not dry up even in summer, in rainy season it will be full. Mekavil Bhagavathy is near the western gopuram. Oorakath Ammathiruvady, Thiruvullakavu Sasthavu, and several other temples are in the vicinity. The location of the temple is twelve KM from Trichur, on the road to Triprayar temple of Lord Ram.