Kerala Pilgrim Centers

Kerala, the visitors' paradise, has soul-cleansing centres too. Pilgrim centres of all religions abound this tiny state. Thousands throng such centres with agitated minds and return cool, calm and collected. Hindus, Christians, Muslims and even microscopic minorities such as Jains have their own pilgrim centres where devotees genuflect to bare their mental trauma.

TEMPLES



Guruvayoor

Guruvayoor is one of the most sacred and important pilgrim centres of Kerala. Its main attraction is the Sree Krishna temple.

Sabarimala

One of the most famous pilgrim centres in India, Sabarimala is situated on the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats at an altitude of 914 m above sea level and is accessible only by foot from Pamba (4 km). The temple is dedicated to Sree Ayyappa.

Kaladi

Kaladi near to Angamali is pilgrim center on the banks of Periyar. It is also the birth place of the great Indian Philosopher Sri Adi Sankara Acharya.

Vadukunatha Temple

A prominent Siva Temple, this is one of Kerala's most ancient shrines which also houses a museum of ancient wall paintings, wood carvings and art pieces of immense historical value. The 'Pooram' festival, falling in April/may, attracts devotees and tourists from all over the world. It is a spectacular event, combining majestic elephant pageantry with the frenzied playing of drums and cymbals and rounded of with a fireworks extravaganza.

Koodalmanikyam Temple

The only temple in India dedicated to Bharata, who, according to mythology, was the brother of Lord Rama. This ancient temple with a unique deity hosts a colourful eleven-day annual festival with a display of twelve caparisoned elephants. Falling in April/May, this festival marks the end of Hindu festival season in Kerala.

Arattupuzha

The place owes its fame to yet another Pooram festival celebrated in April - May. The images of 41 deities from neighboring temples are brought with much pomp and gaiety to the village. This is amongst the most colorful festivals of Kerala where one gets the opportunity to see a parade of around 50 caparisoned elephants in full regalia.

Thrithala

On the banks of the Bharathappuzha. Of archaeological importance are the ruins of a large fort with a deep moat hewn from laterite and the Kattil Madam temple, a domed structure of granite slabs on the Pattambi-Guruvayur road. Built around the 9th and 10th century, the temple probably marks the transition from Chola to the Pandya style of architecture.

Kalpathy

On the banks of the Bharathappuzha. Of archaeological importance are the ruins of a large fort with a deep moat hewn from laterite and the Kattil Madam temple, a domed structure of granite slabs on the Pattambi-Guruvayur road. Built around the 9th and 10th century, the temple probably marks the transition from Chola to the Pandya style of architecture.

Thirunavaya

Situated on the banks of Bharathappuzha River, this was the venue of the 'Mamankam', a congregation of rulers of local provinces to choose an emperor. It was an event held once in every 12 Years. Now, a marital arts festival of 'Kalarippayattu' is conducted during summer on the sand banks of the Bharathappuzha.

Lokanarkavu

A temple frequently alluded to in the northern ballads or the 'Vadakkanpattu' of Kerala. The three rock art caves in the temple premises are artfully engraved with beautiful carvings and fascinating murals. The main deity is Goddess Durga, with two adjacent shrines dedicated to Vishnu and Siva. The main temple, according to legend, is more than 1500 years old. The annual festival called 'Pooram' is celebrated in March/April.

Thali Temple

An important temple of the erstwhile Zamorin Kingdom of Kozhikode. Famous for the 'Revathi Pattathanam', an annual competition of pedagogic skills. A square sanctorum with a 'Mukhamandapam', very high laterite walls and an expansive temple pond are some of the specialties of this Siva temple. The annual festival falls in April/May.

Thirunelli Temple

Legend has it that this temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu was built by Lord Brahma (The Creator). An architectural marvel with 30 granite pieces supporting the shrine and the floor paved with huge square granite blocks. Papanasini, the holy mountain spring believed to have divine cleansing powers to absolve the soul of all its sins, is situated nearby.

Parassinikkadavu

A scenic spot on the banks of the Valapattanam River. The Madappura Sree Muthappan temple here is an important Hindu shrine. This is the only temple in Kerala where 'Theyyam', a ritual dance form is performed every day. To catch a glimpse of Theyyam, it is best to visit the temple when the pooja is held between 5 and 8 a.m., or 6.30 and 8.30 p.m. Liberal customs allow non - Hindus too into the temple to watch the performance. The annual festival falls in December. The Kathakali club in the temple arranges Kathakali performance on request.

Ananthapura Temple

Renowned for the lake temple of Anantha Padmanabha or Lord Vishnu. The temple, constructed in the middle of a lake, is uniquely picturesque. The annual festival of the temple falls in March/April.

Ambalapuzha Sreekrishna Temple

Amabalappuzha Sreekrishna Temple on the Kollam-Alappuzha Highway is called the Dwaraka of the South. It is frequented by thousands of devotees especially during the annual festival which falls in April every year. 'Ambalappuzha palpayasam' the devotional delicacy of the temple, is renowned for its unique taste.Ambalappuzha is also famous for the traditional visual martial art of Kerala, Velakali.

Manarsala Sree Nagaraja Temple

Mannarassala near Harippad 32 Kms. south of Alappuzha is an important centre of pilgrimage in the district. The famous Mannarassala temple devoted to the serpent deity is a rare phenomenon of worship. The Ayilyam festival held in November every year is very famous.

Padmanabha Swamy Temple

The temple is located inside the East Fort. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, &a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture. It is known for its Mural Paintings and Stone Carvings. One among the 108 sacred Vishnu Temples in India, the presiding deity in here is Lord Vishnu reclining on anantha the serpent.

Rameshwara Temple

This temple which shows Pandyan influence in its design has inscriptions in Tamil, dating from the 12th to the 16th centuries. The Vyala monster sculptures in this temple give one the impression that the creatures are animate and actually climbing up the stairs with their outstretched paws.which is situated at kollam district.

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

Only women are allowed at Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Trivandrum during the pongala. Festival highlights include preparation of pongala by thousands of women devotees in the temple courtyard. The chief priest to the temple goes around carrying the sword of the Goddess, blesses the devotees, sprinkles holy water and flower petals on them, procession of the deity's idol, Thalapoli, Kuthiyottam, Caprisoned elephants, Chendamelam, Nadaswaram, Kumbhamkudam, Classical music recitals, Bharathanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathakali. Deity of the temple: Goddess Bahagavathy.

Thrichenganoor Mahadeva Temple

This Mahotsavam (grand festival) is at Thrichenganoor Mahadeva Temple, Chenganoor, 35 kilometers from Kottayam. This is the only temple in Kerala, which conducts a twenty eight-day annual festival. The last ten days are the most important.

Puliyarmala Jain Temple

A prominent Jain temple devoted to Ananthanatha Swami, one of the prominent Jain Saints.

CHURCHES



Malayattur

The famous Catholic Church of Malayattur is on a height of 609 meters and is dedicated to St. Thomas who had landed the Kerala coast in 52 AD. Thousands of devotees undertake a trip to the shrine to participate in the annual festival Malayattur Perunnal in March. St. Thomas is believed to have prayed at this shrine.

St Andrew's Forane Church Arthukal

Arthumkal Church is famous for the St. Sebastian's church which is situated south west of Cherthala town 22 Kms north of Alappuzha. The famous Arthumkal Perunal is held in January every year. Catholics from all parts of the state participate in the feast of St. Sebastian.

Bharananganam Church

Also known as Anakkallu Palli is an important pilgrim centre in Kottayam district.The mortal remains of blessed sister Alphonsa who died on 28th July 1948, is kept there. Thousands of devotees come here on 28th July every year to pray on her death anniversary. Bharanarganam is 5kms from Pala.

Edathua Church

Established in 1810, the church is dedicated to St. George.It is believed that prayers and offerings at this church help to heal all mental disorders and other ailments. During the annual feast (5th, 6th and 7th of May) pilgrims from all parts of South India, irrespective of caste and creed, visit the church and seek the blessings of the saint.

Manjanikara Church

Mar Ignatius Elias 111, the holy patriot of Anthiod while on a visit to India, died at this place in 1932. His mortal remains are preserved at this church. Later this place developed into a pilgrim centre. The annual festival (ormaperunnal) is held in February.

Parumala Church

The ormaperunnal (commemoration day) of Mar Gregorios Metropolitan, the declared saint of Malankara Orthodox Church, is celeberated on the first and second of November.

MOSQUES



The Jama-at Mosque,Malappuram

This is an important pilgrim centre of the Muslims of Kerala. The four day annual festival at the mosque (nercha) is celebrated in April. Adjoining the mosque is the mausoleum of the Malappuram Shaheeds (martyrs) whose brave exploits have been immortalised in the Mappila ballads.

Madayi Mosque

Malik Ibn Dinar, a Muslim preacher, originally built this beautiful ancient mosque in 1124 AD. A block of white marble in the mosque is believed to have been brought from Mecca by its founder, who came to India to spread the word of the Prophet. Nearby is a dilapidated fort believed to have been built by Tippu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore.

Kondotty Mosque

Situated at Kondotty on the Malappuram - Kozhikode route, this mosque is believed to date back to the 18th Century. It is commonly known as Pazhayangadi and is associated with the Muslim Saint Mohammed Shah, popularly referred to as 'Kondotty Thangal'. 'Kondotty Nercha', the main festival, falls in March.

Malik Dinar Mosque

A Muslim pilgrim center. Believed to be one of the ten earliest mosques built in India, subsequent to the advent of Islam in the country. Built by a Muslim preacher Malik Mohammed Dinar, whose tomb lies adjacent to the mosque.

SYNAGOGUE



Jewish Synagogue

Built in 1568 AD, the Synagogue still has the sacred scrolls of the Old Testament and the copper plates, which recorded the grants of privilege bequeathed by the Kochi rulers. The exquisite hand painted blue Chinese tiles are another interesting sight. Not one of the nearly two hundred year old tiles resembles another. There are also several finely wrought gold and silver criwns gifted to the Synagogue by various patrons.