The Udyaneswar Temple, situated to the north east of the temple tank of Gosripuram Cochin Tirumala Devaswom temple is one of the few Siva temples of Gowda Saraswat brahmins of Kerala. The Sivalingam enshrined in this temple, it is believed, belonged to the ancient temple Trikanna Mathilakam, in Trichur District. The actual height of the lingam is 18 feet but only less than 5 feet is visible above the ground level.
Monday is considered the day for worship of Lord Shiva and hundreds of devotees mostly women visit this temple on Monday evenings.
Story of the temple
Mathilakam, a place situated about thirteen miles from Irinjalakuda in the Trichur district of Kerala, was the site of a famous Siva temple in ancient days, to which many other temples of Kerala such as Guruvayur and Koodalmanikyam temples are alleged to have been once subordinate.
The Siva Lingam of Mathilakam is said to have been installed by Parasurama for the benefit of 64 gramams of Namboodiri Brahmins. The boundary wall of the temple was said to have extended upto Teppakulam in the north and Naranjerikulam in the south, a distance of one and half miles.
The Perumals, the early rulers of Kerala, handed over the area to two Nair families, known as Tekkedeth and Vadakkedeth. The Nairs after assuming the full management of the Mathilakarn temple wanted to erect six more walls around the temple in order to permit people of different castes to occupy each enclosure. According to their plan the outer-most wall ought to run inside the Sanketam of the Naboodiries of Irinjalakuda gramam. They protested strongly to the Nairs against their decision of building the outermost wall within their area, but was ignored.
The Namboodiries were imprisoned. Others who sat in the trenches made for the erection of the wall were beaten up severely. An order was passed that the foundation be built over the bodies of those who refused to leave the trench. Finding no other way the Namboodiris decided perform a Homa and offered prayers to the gods for the destruction of their foes. Namboothiries from different parts of Kerala participated in the function. They undertook a fast for 41 days during which they subsisted on water and fruits alone. They cursed the Nairs and left the place. Their prayers had the desired effect. Over a trifle, the Nair Chieftains quarreled, and their dissensions, in course of time, led to the decline and fall of those two Nair families and of the famous Mathilakam temple. The temple was left deserted.
By the end of the 14th century Trikanna Mathilakam had come into the possession of the Zamorin,of Calicut. But in 1717 A. D. the Dutch got full sovereignty over Pappinivattom, where the temple of Mathilakam existed, from the Zamorin. The Dutch destroyed the temple and removed the Lingam along with other relics of the temple to Fort Cochin which was then their headquarters. They, used the Lingam of Siva as mooring on the sea shore of Fort Cochin for the lighters that carry cargo to ships.
The Dutch surrendered to the British at Cochin in the year 1795. The Gowda Saraswath Brahmins in Cochin bought the Siva Lingam from the British East India Company in whose possession it was then. The impossibility of building a big temple at Cochin for Siva like that of the former Mathilakam temple, led to the installation of the Sivalinga with a major portion of it deep in the earth (Bhugarbha) at the site north east of the Gosripuram temple pond where there was a garden. Hence, the name Udyaneswara (The God of the garden). The shrine was renovated in 1967 AD.
Unlike other Siva temples, where the Iingam is facing east Lord Udyaneswara is facing west as if looking at the Arabian Sea. There is a Mandapam in front of the temple and a Nandi (Bull) vehicle of siva which is made of Krishna Sila installed in the Mandapam. A unique feature of this temple is that on the 7th day of Mahotsava and Rathotsava Tirumala Devar of the Gosripuram temple is taken in grand procession to the Udyaneswara Temple, the assumption being that Lord Venkatesa goes to meet Lord Udyaneswara to invite him for Pallivetta or Hunting. This may also be considered a symbol of cordiality between Vaishnavites and Saivites.
Rudrabhishekam, Archana, Pushpanjali, Swayamvara pushpanjali and Chandana lepanams are the main offerings in vogue in this temple.
There is a belief that by performing Swayamvara pushpanjali, it will result in getting suitable husband for girls by the blessings of Siva when there is delay to get them married. The evening pooja on the 13th day of the bright and dark halves of every lunar calender month is very important in this temple. To appease Lord Siva JALADHARA a continuous flow of water through Darbha grass from a vessel is kept over the idol of Siva and is performed all the 24 hours of the day.
The temple is under the management of Cochin Thirumala Devaswom.