There remains a myth still woven around the construction of Kaithali temple. The myth holds that Pattambi kaithali temple was built by globins or Bhooothathans.The sanctum sanctorium ( Sreekovil) of the temple is a monolithic structure.It’s really an unfinished construction. The legend runs like this.
Kattilmadam was the roof of kaithali temple at Pattambi. The globins built the structure at a distant place and were carrying the same to pattambi. When they reached Koottupatha they spotted the first rays of the hatching sun and they left the granite roof there by the roadside,as we know the suns rays can tame the spell of the globins!The rectangular base of Kattilmadam is significant in the sense that Kattilmadam was the first archeological artifact that revealed the influence of earliest Pallava and Pandya styles in temple construction but it clearly reveals the Jain influence.
Another legend in circulation about the temple and most of them revolve around the attendants of Lord Mahadeva. “
As per the most popular among them, the Bhoothaans ( attendants) wanted to construct an abode for their master. The bottom portion of that beautiful abode was carved out of a very big single stone, but the top was incomplete. As it was nearing dawn, the attendants had to withdraw to Mount Kailash and on their way back, they dropped the stone to the earth. It fell on the sacred soil of Nethirimangalam,” the legend goes like this.
Historians say the temple might have been built in the 8th century AD during the second Chera dynasty. Traces of Pallava style of architecture can be seen on the semi-finished sanctum sanctorum.
It was only a few years ago that the ASI took over the conservation of the temple.
Lord Narasimhamoorthy temple situated in the temple complex bears round in shaped sanctum sanctorium is an example for the usage of the architectural concepts of the Pallava period in a Kerala temple. The ‘Namaskara Mandapam’ in front of the Sanctum of Lord Mahadeva also reflects the Pallava style of Architecture. Appreciating the need to preserve this ancient unique temple complex, the Archaeological Survey of India took over this temple .
The deity depicting Lord Mahadeva immersed in deep meditation wearing the deer on the upper-left arm and the axe of stone on the upper-right arm while on his lower arms, the abhaya and varada mudras. The principal deity has five associated deities, of them the Sanctum Sanctorum for ‘The Narasimha Moorthy’ (Lord Vishnu in the form of half-Lion and Half-man)is a combination of Pallava and traditional Kerala temple architectures. Though smaller compared to Sanctum of Lord Mahadeva, this one is round in shape but was in dilapidated condition. The Archaeological Survey of India, after the takeover, renovated this temple.
To conclude besides Mahadeva, the temple has five associated deities — Narasimha moorthy, Lord Ganesha, Lord Sastha, Lord Subrahmanya, and Lord Anjaneya.
.Pallava architecture can be sub-divided into two phases – the rock cut phase and the structural phase. The rock cut phase lasted from the 610 to 668 AD and consisted of two groups of monuments eg – the cave temples at Mandagapattu, Pallavaram and Mamandur. (630 to 668 AD). During this period free-standing monolithic shrines called rathas were constructed alongside pillared halls. Some of the best examples of this style are the Pancha Rathas and Arjuna’s Penance at Mahabalipuram.this monolithic sreekovil construction is similar in both cases. Interestingly, the granite-rock temple stands in an area, which has no granite mines around.But further studies on the part of ASI can reveal the truth before the world.
According to the shape of the dome, of the high temple,the Dravida school of archetecture classified temples as Nagara,dravida,and Vesara.they suggest the shapes square,octogonal and round respectively.
The roof as a rule are covered with tiles. their construction and and form are proportionate only at the ground floor.The upper strata of the monolithic structure is plastered in cement and white washed and we feel something is amiss with the structure,,the sanctum is covered with sloped roofs.usually the a second storey of the sanctum sanctorum not only enhance the height of the temple but also provide further opportunity of embracing an even wide range of images or sculpures.But here we can see the plain plastered white washed upper story.
While the preservation of this ancient temple is in the hands of Archaeological Survey of India, the administration is under the governance of Malabar Devaswom Board. ‘Thiruvathira’and Maha Sivarathri are the important festivals celebrated in this temple. On the Maha Sivarathri day, the temple gets illuminated with the splendour of one hundred thousand earthen lamps.Its a marvellos sight.
Certain provisions in the Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendments and Validation) Act, 2010 (AASR Act, 2010), which prohibit any construction within the 100-metre radius of a protected monument, are likely to be exempted for the centuries-old Kaithali Mahadeva temple at Pattambi.