One of the 108 famous Shiva temples of the world, Kandiyoor Mahadeva Temple, popularly known as DAKHINA KASHI, is unique in archeological features and is one of the biggest and ancient temples in Kerala.
Mrigandu Muni (Saint Kousikan), the father and guru of famous Markandeyan, got a beautiful idol of Kiratha Moorthy, while taking bath in the holy river Ganga. He heard a divine voice that the idol must be laid in a very holy and suitable place.). His long search for a most suitable place ended at this place - Kandathil nall uru (Most beautiful place ever seen) – Kanda-uru become Kandiyoor. Thus the temple was established.Another story about the temple says that the temple is located at the site where Shiva cut off Brahma's head. Sri Kandiyoor derives its name from this story, which gave Shiva the name, Sri Kantan.Centuries later Parasurama , the avatar of Vishnu, renovated the temple. He gave the tanthrik right to the family of Tharananallur. As per Ilamkulam Kunjan Pillai, the second king of Kulasekhara kingdom, Rajasekhara Varma, re-constructed Kandiyoor temple.Situated in the banks of Achankovil river, Kandiyoor Mahadevar Temple is one km west of Mavelikara town, north side of state highway SH-6, in Alappuzha District. It spreads around 7.5 acres consists of around 12 sub shrines (Upadevalayas) which is unusual even for any major Kerala temple.
The temple contains the sub-shrines considered to have been made especially sacred by the presence of all Gods of Hindu Pantheon. There are ancient inscriptions of archaeological importance and it is noted for stone sculptures.It is believed that 108 deities of hindu mythology are present in this temple. Siva is worshiped here as Dekhinamurthy in the morning, Uma-maheswara at the noon and as Kirathamoorthy in the evening. One is blessed with knowledge if he worships at Kandiyoor in the morning, at noon with post-martial bliss and with removal of obstacles in the evening. Sree Sankaran will bless you with knowlwdge, Sree Kanda will destroy all your sins, Mrithyungaya will vanquish death, Vishwanarha gives you peace and Parvatheesha gives a joyful life with your partner. One can worship Siva in Panchmukha form by worshiping from the South-West corner of Pradakshina Vazhy by viewing five Thazikakudams of Shiva temples. This is considered to be equel to the Kailasa Visit. People who cannot go to Vaikam can pray at Kandiyoor on the Ashtamay, both are equel.
Minor dities are Vishnu, Parvatheesan, Nagaraja, Nagayakhi and other Nagas, Sasthav, Gosala Krishnan, Sankaran, Sreekandan, Vadakkumnathan, Ganapathy, Mrithyungayan, Subramanyan, Moola Ganapathy, Annapoorneswary, Brahma Rakshas, all have its own separate temple buildings.