Ettumanor is located 11 km to the south east of the town of Kottayyam. Ettumanor is also a railway station on the Ernakulam-Kottayam section of the southern railway. The temple is nearly 2 km from the station. The temple is four or five feet below the road level.
As one enters through west entrance of the temple, a visitor will spot the beautiful paintings on either side of the entrance. One is of Nataraja, the dancing Siva, who is trampling a demon under his foot and performing the dance of dissolution. The other is Vishnu lying on Anantha suyam, the thousand-headed serpent.
From there, one will come across the celebrated Valia Vilakku (big lamp) which has to be worshipped before taking darshan from the main deity. The lamp is said to have been installed in 1545 A.D. and its wicks have supposedly burning ever since. Many devotees come and bring oil as an offering. The lamp can hold nearly 3 liters of oil, but because of the many devotees, who come and make offerings, its overflow is collected and used for functions and festivals of the temple. The layers of soot, which have collected on the cover of the lamp, are applied to the eyes since it is believed to cure eye-diseases.
Here in Ettumanor, Siva is represented in his most fierce aspect, often known as Sarabha Moorti. Ettumanor, an incarnate of Siva, is Vakkidasula Vada- one who takes his dues with interest. He is very difficult to please and demands true devotion and severe penance from his devotees. Once pleased however, he is a bhakta dasa, and showers prosperity on his devotees for life and liberation thereafter. He has a benign counterpart nearby at a temple in Vaikom. The two represent Siva's contrasting moods, Vatsalya (love for dependents) and Rudra (fury). It is believed that the prathishta here is an Aghora (fierce) idol. Hence, he instills fear and discipline in his devotees. He expects them to be pure in mind, word, and deed and approach him with sincere devotion. There is no room here for hypocrisy or short cuts.