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Vaikom

Vaikom is situated in the North-West of Kottayam district in Kerala, India. Its western border is the Lake Vembanad, and is crossed by various estuaries of the River Muvattupuzha. Vaikom is the oldest township in Kottayam district, and among the oldest in South India.

The Vaikom Shiva Temple, known as Thekkan Kashi [Southern Kashi], is the heart of the town, and is remarkable for the Vaikom Ashtami celebrations during November.The Vaikom Mahadeva temple is one of the few temples which is held in reverence by both Shaivaites and the Vaishnavaites. Vaikom’s Shiva is fondly called Vaikkathappan. The Shiva Linga here is believed to be from the ‘Treta yuga’ and considered as one of the oldest temples in Kerala where pooja has not been broken since inception.

The Vaikom temple is famous for the Vaikom Ashtami, one of its main festivals, which is held in November–December. The exact date of the festival is determined by the Malayalam calendar.Vaikathashtami is celebrated on the day of Krishna Ashtami. The legend behind this festival is that years ago a saint man named Vyaghrapada prayed to God siva for years after many years God siva and his wife Parvathy Devi appeared in front of him. It is believed that god Siva appeared in front of him in the day of Krishna Ashtami. So as a memory of this Vaikathashtami is celebrated. It is the festival extending for 12 days. 12th day is Vaikathashtami.

It is notable as the venue of the Vaikom Agitation for achieving for the lower castes the right to walk on the roads surrounding the temple.