The idol of Maha Vishnu is the main idol of Thrikodithanam Temple. It faces the east side and is seen in a standing posture. The image has four arms holding the Shanku (conch-shell), Chakra (discus), Gada (mace) and Padma (lotus bloom). It is sculpted out of an unusual black stone called Aanjana kallu. The idol is placed in such a manner that a devotee entering the Naalambalam can catch a glimpse only if he bows down.
There are separate idols that are present for Seiveli (processions) and for Archana (floral worship). The idol of Laxmi Narayana or Bhama Narayana enjoys the status of the main idol. However, unlike the main idol, it is not fixed to a spot and journeys forth on specific days of the festival. These are associated with a legend. As per a legend the Pandavas of Mahabharata once, during their wanderings found a separate idol of Lord Vishnu except Sahadeva. After much effort, when he could still not find a suitable idol for himself, Sahadeva, in despair, decided to immolate himself. When he was about to leap into a huge flaming pyre, an idol of Vishnu appeared miraculously. This idol was called Adbhuta Narayanan.
The Pandava princes later consecrated their idols at various places before they renounced the world and set off on their last journey. The consecration rites at Thrikodithanam were performed by Agni i.e. God of Fire. Hence the god of fire is honoured here during every festival season.
Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha
The images of Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha in the temple are in a seated position and face the southern direction. Both these deities can be viewed and worshipped only through a hole on a mock door. The presence of Shiva in a sanctum of Vishnu, in a temple of acknowledged vintage, is rare.
According to a legend on the auspicious Karthika day in the month of Vrishchigom which is during November and December, Lord Shiva manifested himself at the north eastern side of the temple grounds. He was glowing with great intensity like a mighty fire. Seeing this Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma appealed to Shiva and in response to their request Shiva contained the fire of brilliance within himself. The Deepa festival that is celebrated here commemorates this event.
The idol of Narasimha faces the west direction. The idol was consecrated almost 300 years ago to ward off negative effects from powerful quarters. Every day the deity is offered sweet Naivedya made of milk, rice, sugar, as well as jaggery called sharkara-paal-paayasam. On the granite floor in front are four carved swastika designs in one square. Sri Narasimha moorthy holds such importance at Thrikodithanam that he has his own festival alongside that of Maha Vishnu.
The space adjoining the Sreekovil is called the Anthar mandala. Protective gods, known as Beli kall have been represented in small sacrificial platforms. They have been installed in each of the following directions:
In the East Direction - Lord Agni, Lord Indra, Lord Brahma, Lord Isaana
In the South Direction - Saptha Mathrkkal (seven spirits), Lord Yama and Sastha
In the West Direction - Nrithi, Varuna, Vaayu
In the North Direction - Goddess Durga, Subramanya, Lord Kuber and Lord Soma
The Nirmalya Moorthy is located outside the sanctum in the northern direction. It has been made of granite. This represents Visvakasenan, the guardian deity for Lord Vishnu. Normally this deity is represented only as a Beli stone.
Shasta, Ayyappa, Paazhayil Ashaan
A simple shrine to Shasta can be seen towards the south western side in the compound, outside the Pradikshina Patham i.e. ceremonial pathway. This temple was installed at the beginning of the Malayalam Era in 825 AD.
Apart from Shasta, the idol at this little shrine also represents Manikantan (another name of Ayyappa) and Paazhayil Ashaan, a victorious army commander. Every festival season, a special percussion session called Panacchikaletta is held to welcome and escort this hero to witness the Deepa ceremony. It is believed that like many other temples of Kerala this site holds the remains of a Buddhist shrine that occupied the main temple area, before the revival of Vaishnavite Hinduism in 800 AD.
The Nagadevas or the snake gods are located under a Banyan tree near the Shasta shrine. It is represented by rough hewn granite stones.
Towards the left of the Shasta shrine is Kshetrapalan that are represented by a rough Beli stone Another Beli stone is also there for him on the north eastern side of the temple.
Two powerful Rakshas are housed behind the Sastha shrine. According to a legend the Rakshassu represent the spirits of two persons, a young boy and his maternal uncle. Long time ago, both were seriously engrossed in a board game inside the Koothambalam that is located above the gateway. At the end the uncle suddenly discovered that he had been beaten by his nephew. In a fit of rage he is said to have killed the boy and then later, in abject remorse, committed suicide himself. The shrines were built to pacify their troubled souls.
Goddess of Thirumanthakaavu
The sub shrine was built for the Goddess of Thirumanthakaavu in deference to astrological directives. According to ancient tradition 10 Namboodiri families who managed this Maha Vishnu temple came from Thirumanthakaavu.
Sri Subramanya Temple
This temple is located outside the temple walls towards the south eastern side. Folklore has it that this is the oldest place of worship in the area. Perhaps this shrine is also the reason why the main temple was built nearby.