“Lord Dhanwandhari” is believed to be an incarnation of “Lord Vishnu”. He is regarded as God of medicine and the father of the Ayurvedic system of medicine. He organized and classified the Ayurveda and set the guidelines for the present day system.


Brief History.

The ‘Ashtamangalya Devaprasnam’ conducted at the temple premises a few years back revealed that the idol of Lord Dhanwandhari at Aanakkal temple was consecrated some 2125 years back. A saint while passing through the place had experienced the presence of a divine force in a pond near the present temple. The power of penance enabled him to recognize the divinity. He performed the rituals laid down in the Vedas for invocation and consecrated the idol of Lord Dhanwandhari. The same idol is still worshipped here.
Kaippully Mana, Kuzhikattu Mana and Velikkattukara Mana were the ‘Ooralans’ (landlords) of this temple. Around AD 1345, the shrine was renovated and a big temple complex was built by them. Scholars of Nagaramannu Mana who were the ‘Tantris’ of Koodalmanikyam Temple, were entrusted with the right to perform Tantrik poojas of this temple also. In AD 1725 second renovation was undertaken with a re-installation of the idol. During this period the temple had possessed more than 1000 acres of arable land and an abundance of wealth. The temple festivals were celebrated with pomp and gaiety. Most of the wealth and the land had been lost as the time passed by and the ‘gopuram’ and the outer wall also been destroyed. Remnants of the ruins are still there.  
Present Status.

Though most of the past glory and wealth has been destroyed, the temple has fairly large structure situated in a barren land of about 2-3 acres. The idol of the deity is in the original form of Lord Vishnu's incarnation of Lord Dhanwandhari, ie, 'Chathurbahu Swaroopam' carrying Shankha (conch), chakra (wheel), kalasam (a pot containing nectar) and jalookam (leech) in four hands; nectar and leech symbolizing the medicine and mode of treatment. This form of the diety is very rare. The double storeyed sanctum sanctorum is square shaped with a facade. A unique feature is the tall and wide verandah (around 3ft width) surrounding the shrine with beautiful wooden pillars.

‘Lord Ayyappa’ and ‘Lord Ganapathi’ are the two ‘Upadevathas’ of the temple.The temple is in a valley of two small hills covering the western and south-eastern sides. The temple pond is situated at the north-eastern side. The main entrance is on the western side. The road leading to the hill is covered by paddy fields on either side and the ambience is divinely gorgeous.

Other Details of Interest.

A story related to the festival of this temple is that once during an 'utsavam', an elephant ran amok and created panic among the devotees thronged there for the celebration. Panicstricken 'tantri', 'ooralans' and the devotees all prayed in unison to the Almighty. The Lord appeared before them in another form of Vishnu, namely "Narasimha Moorthy" along with Goddess "Lakshmi Devi" and the elephant was metamorphosed into a stone of the same size by their divine power. The stone is still lying there. Hence the name of the place "Aanakkal" originated. ('Aana' means elephant and 'kal' means stone) Since then the 'utsavam' has not been celebrated .The story has been very widely believed and elephants are not even brought to the vicinity of the temple till this date.

  It is also believed that this ‘Dhanwandhari Moorthy’ treated and cured the digestive disorder of “Lord Bharatha” of Koodalmanikyam , Irinjalakuda with an ayurvedic medicine. To commemorate this a libation called “Mukkudi” is oblated on the succeeding day of the feast called “Puthari” to Lord Koodalmanikyam even now. ‘Mukkudi’ is believed to have medicinal properties and it is good enough to cure any stomach ailment.Devotees gather in large numbers on this day even now to collect their share of medicine, which could protect their stomach from disorders for the next one year. For the same reason Lord
‘Aanakkal Dhanwandhari’ is considered as the physician of the 4 brothers; Lord Rama (Thriprayarappan), Lord Bharatha (Sri Koodalmanikya Swami), Lord Lakshmana (Moozhikulathappan) and Shathrughna Swami (Payammal Temple). If one draws a circle connecting all these four temples, Aanakkal Dhanwandhari temple will be the centre point.