The temple is one of the oldest and largest among the Kerala Temples. This is a classical example of Kerala style of architecture with beautiful murals delineating graphically, various episodes from the Mahabharata and wood carvings and art pieces of immense historical value.. This is one of Kerala’s most ancient shrines. It preserves and respects an amazing Mahalingam concealed under a huge mound of ghee. Pouring of ghee on the idol is the main ritualistic offering in the sanctum sanctorum. Miraculously the ghee never melts even though it gets heat from the atmosphere and the burning wicks. Parts of ghee mound are said to be over thousand year old.
No visitor to Trichur can miss the Vadakkunnathan temple, “one of the most unique, ancient and important” of the sacred shrines of Kerala. It stands on a beautiful hillock at the center of Trichur overlooking the town. The vast maidan around the temple is called Tekkinkadu or forest of teak woods and Trichur town literally revolves round the temple.
The massive stone wall enclosing an area of nearly 9 acres and forming a strong fortification and the fourlofty gopurams overtopping the central shrine and indicating the four directions-North, South, East and West -and above all the dozens of peepal trees scattered on the vast grounds of’ the temple gives Vadakkunnathan temple a unique and magnificent appearance.
In the center of this vast enclosure on a level ground is a multi-shrined complex having three principal shrines dedicated to Siva or Vadakkunnathan, Sankaranarayana and Rama
In the northern side, a circular structure, and the deity facing west. The figure of Siva-Parvati is facing east and just back to Siva, situated in the same shrine. At the southern and is located the two-storied shrine of Sri Rama also facing west. Between these two srikolis stands a third one, circular and double storied in shape, dedicated to Sankaranarayana and it also faces west. This shrine has beautiful murals of the seventeenth century delineating graphically the story of Mahabharata. There are mukhamandapams in front of all the three central shrines.
A striking feature of the temple is the Kuttambalam, which one sees on the left side as one enters the temple through the western gopuram. This is the theatre hall for staging kuttu, an ancient dramatic form of art famous in Kerala
The temple opens at three in the morning and closes about 10-30 after the morning rites. For the evening worship it opens at four and closes at 8.30 at night after ‘Trippuka’, the last rite for the day. It is a pleasing feature of the times and this temple especially that hundreds of men and women flock to the temple for darshan from the early hours of the morning after taking their bath at all seasons of the year.