Vaikom is situated on the western side of Kottayam district. It shares its border with Vembanattu Kayal (lake). It is the oldest township in Kottayam district and amongst the oldest in Kerala. Its importance in Indian history is due to the 'Vaikom Satyagraham' against untouchability, in which Mahatma Gandhi and Periyar Ramasami participated. It is easily accessible from Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Kottayam. Mahadeva temple, also known as Thekkan Kashi (Southern Varanasi), is situated here and is famous for Ashtami (vaikattashtami). Vaikom has lots of backwaters and greenery and has a high potential for tourism. The people living here comprise a mixture of Hindus, Christians and Muslims.
Long long ago this place was a thick forest inhabited by wild animals such as tigers, leopards and bears. The ancient Sanskrit books, Bhargava Purana & Sanalkumara Samhita mention this place as Vaiyaghra geham and Vaiyaghra puram. As per legends Vyaghrapada Maharshi got Siva darsana here, so it was fittingly called Vyaghrapada Puram. Later, when Tamil spread, the word Vaiyaghra got transformed as Vaikom.
Vaikom Mahadeva temple
The Vaikom Mahadeva temple is one of the most celebrated Shiva temples in South India. Vaikom is located at a distance of 33 km south of Ernakulam and 40 km north of Kottayam on the railroad between Ernakulam and Tiruvananthapuram.
Offering of prathal, or food is a form of worship here. In ancient times, feasts used to be cooked and offered to all devotees; Vaikom Mahadever is also referred to as Annadaana Prabhu.