An ancient Devasthanam located by the side of NH-47, approximately 25 kms south of Kochi city, is the sacred abode of Lord Sree Narasimhamoorthy and Lord Sree Mahasudarsanamoorthy. The entire temple complex can be seen from the road.
Two separate temples in close proximity - within the same compound - reflect the synthesis of a unique and mysterious divine power. The idol of Sree Narasimhamoorthy is said to have originated in the holy city of Kashi (Varanasi). Swami Padmapadar (8th century AD), the principal disciple of Adi Sankaracharya, had worshipped the very same idol at Kashi.
Distinctive in its architectural and artistic grandeur, Thuravoor Mahakshethram is one of the most venerated places of worship in Kerala. Twin-Sreekovils in a single Nalambalam, two gold-plated flagmasts that tower into the skies, a majestically tall Anapandhal (elephant rostrum - the largest in Kerala), a strict regimen of observances of vrathas for the priests, days after days of rituals and festivals, chanting of Vedic hymns and presentation of learned discourses on Puranas throughout the year ... all these attract streams of devotees to the temple from within and outside the State.
Great seers and saints such as Jagadguru Sankaracharya of Sringeri - Sree Bharathi Theertha Swamigal, Jagadguru Sankaracharya of Kanchi - Sree Jayendra Saraswathy, Sankaracharya of Puri - Sree Adhokshajananda Swamigal, Uduppi Pejavar Math head - Sree Visweswara Theertha Swamigal and the Jiyar of Ahobilamath - Sree Sadagopa Narayana Yatheendra Swamigal - have all visited and experienced the spiritual and devotional grandeur of this fabled Devasthanam.
Of the two temples here, it is believed that the one dedicated to Sudarsanamoorthy was the first to come into existence. Though there is no record of its origin, the temple is estimated to be over 1300 years old. There are scholars who hold that the circular-shaped Sreekovil belongs to the Thretha Yuga; according to others, its origin dates back to the Dwapara Yuga. Some palmleaf texts on the temple do exist; but nobody has yet been able to understand or decipher them.
As for the Narasimhamoorthy temple, records do show that it came into being sometime in the 7th century AD, during the reign of a Chera king named Keralendran. His guru was the great Muringottu Adigal, a well-known Tulu Brahmin priest and scholar.
Geographically, the temple site belongs to the former Cochin state. However, it subsequently came under the purview of Travancore for certain political reasons. But this transition was subject to an important proviso: If a Travancore king were ever to set foot on the Mahakshethra soil, the temple would be immediately restored to Cochin. Therefore, for a long time, no Travancore king visited the temple. In 1951, on the merger of Travancore and Cochin and coronation of Sree Chithirathirunal, the Maharaja visited the temple - the first time for a Travancore king to do so. He walked to the temple over a carpet to avoid stepping directly on the ground.
Sub-shrines: Within the Nalambalam, on the southern side of the inner courtyard is the shrine of Ganapathy. Outside the two Sreekovils - but within the same temple premises - are the idols of Sastha on the south, with the serpent gods just behind it; Bhagavathy on the west and Brahmarakshassu on the north - housed in separate, smaller sub-shrines.
Inviolable discipline and austerity: The roles of the Melsanthi (chief priest) and Keezhsanthi (assistant priest) at this temple are reversed every year. So long as the Melsanthi continues in his position, he has to maintain absolute celibacy; he must not leave the temple compound during his tenure, and has to follow an austere lifestyle and a observe a stringent daily regimen.