THRISSUR: The work on setting up an open Shiva temple by consecrating 108 Shiva lingas at Thali village in Varavoor panchayat here will begin on Sivaratri day on Tuesday. The functionaries of Thali Sivalaya Heritage Protection Samiti said that the temple will be built in one-and-a-half acre of paddy field and trees will be planted in the area for creating a sacred groove (kavu) around it. The farmers in the locality have come forward to hand over their land to the temple. The temple, which is expected to come up in two years, will be open to the faithful cutting across religions.
There are several ancient Shiva lingas and their platforms (peedams) lying in dilapidated condition in the Thali region and the faithful had been campaigning for their takeover. “The number 108 indicates different bhavas and names of Shiva (Shiva ashtottara shatnamavali) and the belief is that these many Shiva lingas were instated during AD 900, during the rule of Chera kings who used to offer prayers at all these places in a day. The ‘vattezhuthu’ (writings etched on stones) from Nedubayoor temple, which is at present under the archaeological department, points to the fact that 108 Shiva lingas existed in the area and were destroyed during different invasions in history,” Vipin Koodiyedath, general convener of the Samiti, said. As it is impossible to set up temples in all the 108 places, the Samiti decided to set up an open temple in the paddy filed near Keezhthali Shiva Temple in the village by setting up a sacred groove in the paddy field where one of the Shiva lingams has been reinstated.