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Padmanabhaswamy Temple Bheeemapalli Parabrahma Temple Sabarimala Temple Arthunkal Basalica Edathuva Church Siva Temple, Vaikom, Kottayam Blessed AIphonsa, Bharananganam St. Francis Church malayatoor church Chottanikkara Temple Guruvayoor Vadakkunathan Temple Cheraman Juma Masjid kalpathy temple Pazhayangadi Mosque, Kondotti Navamukundha Temple, Thirunavaya lokanarkavu temple Thirunelly Vishnu Temple Parassinikadavu Madappura Ananthapura Lake Temple
Kerala Pilgrims

KERALA PILGRIMS

Trivandrum


Padmanabhaswamy Temple

This temple of Lord Vishnu in the form of Ananthapadmanabha (the Lord who upheld creation on a lotus which sprang forth from His navel). The 6 m image, partly covered with gold and embellished with precious stones is viewed in three sections through three doors. Historical records show that in 1750, the Maharaja of Travancore on being victorious in a battle laid down his sword and, offered himself to this temple's deity. Since then, all his successors have ruled the land as Padmanabhadadasas (servants of Padmanabha). Arattu is an important festival here.

Bheemappalli (5 km Southwest of TVM)

This mosque is famous for the Chandanakkudam Festival which is said to be the death anniversary of Bheema Beevi, a devout pilgrim who came to Kerala from Mecca. Festivities include devotees going round the mosque carrying earthen pots (kudam) smeared with sandal wood paste. The Uroose festival here is also famous.

Christ the King Church, Vettukadu (14 km from TVM)

An important pilgrim centre, this church is famous for the annual festival in November. High Mass, Vespers, a two¬ hour long Holy Eucharistic procession and benediction are the highlights of the festival. Nativity feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary is also celebrated with religious spirit.

Attukal Bhagavathi Temple (2 km from TVM)

Known as the Sabarimala of women, this temple is famous for Attukal Ponkala, the annual festival that commences on Bharani day in Kumbhom (February - March). The highlight of the festival is the Ponkala which is an all woman affair. Ponkala is an offering made in Bhagavathy temples, prepared in the form of payasam (sweet porridge) with ingredients like rice, jaggery. Coconut kernel and plantain. Ponkala starts in the morning and ends with the melsanthi (chief priest) sprinkling holy water over the offerings.

Varkala(40 km from TVM)

Sivagiri Mutt in Varkala is the final resting- place of the great social reformer. Sree Narayana Guru. The Papanasham (redemption from sins) beach here is the place where Narada is believed to have thrown his valkalam. The 2000 year old Sree Janardhana Swamy temple here is famous for the Arattu, the annual festival celebrated in March-April.

Kollam

Parabrahma Temple, Ochira (54 km north of Kollam town)

This pilgrim centre owes allegiance to the Advaitha philosophy in Hinduism. The presiding deity here is the Parabrahma or 'absolute reality'. Being an abstract concept that cannot be symbolized in an iconographic manner, there is no temple structure here. The Ochirakali in the month of, June is famous.

Mata Amritanandamayi Mutt (52 km from Kollam)

This is the place where Mata Amritanandamayi or Amma was born. It is today the headquarters of her worldwide mission and the spiritual home of thousands of devotees.

Pathanamthitta

Ayyappa Temple, Sabarimala (72 km from Pathanamthitta town, 210 km from Kochi; 191 km from Thiruvananthapuram)

A well-known pilgrim centre in the rugged terrain of the Western Ghats, this temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. Sabarimala is surrounded by hazardous hills like Karimala and Neelimala. The devotees known as Ayyappas negotiate the hills to reach the shrine after undergoing 41 days of vrutham (self-imposed devotional penance). The pilgrimage season, viz.Mandala Pooja and, Makaravilakku comes between the latter half of November and the first half of January, every year. Ablution in River Pamba is considered as holy as a dip in the Ganga. The presence of Ayyappa's lieutenant Vavar makes this esteemed pilgrim centre a model of communal harmony and casteless ness. Vehicular traffic cannot go beyond Pamba and the last 5 km to the shrine can be reached only by trekking. Women aged between 12 and 50 are not allowed inside the shrine.

St. Mary's Church, Niranam (7 km from Thiruvalla)

This is one of the oldest churches in India, believed to have been established by St. Thomas during his missionary days in the State in AD 53. The Apostle of Jesus is believed to have erected a crucifix and built a church here. The main religious festival honoring Holy Mary is on August 15. The birthday of St. Mary is celebrated on 8th September. St. Thomas Day (July 3) is also celebrated with great zeal.

Alappuzha

Mannarasala Temple, Harippad (40 km South of Alappuzha)

This is the most significant site of snake worship in Kerala and houses 30.000 images of snake-gods. The shrine is under the patronage of a Namboodiri family whose oldest female member performs the role of the temple priestess. Legend has it that the first priestess of Mannarasala gave birth to a five-headed snake, which is believed to reside in the illam (ancestral house) to safeguard the family. On the day of Ayilliam asterism in the Malaya1.am months ofKanni and Thulam (September to November), all the serpent idols in the grove and the temple are taken in a procession to the illam where Nurum Palum (rice flour and milk) and Kuruthi (a red liquid made of turmeric and lime) offerings are made. At Mannarasala, barren women are believed to be blessed with children.

St. Sebastian's Church, Aruthunkal (22 km north of Alappuzha)

One of the most important pilgrim centers of the Christians in Kerala, this church was established by Portuguese half missionaries. The feast of St. Sebastian is held here every year during the second week of January. TheEttamperunal is celebrated on the 8th day after the main festival. A peculiar votive of the church is Urula nercha, an offering where devotees crawl on the ground from the church premise to the local beach.

Sree Krishna Temple, Ambalapuzha (14 km of Alappuzha)

In its architectural features, the Sree Krishna Temple conforms to the typical Kerala style. The temple is famous for Palpayasam milk porridge of exceptional sweetness offered to the deity. The deity here has been worshipped by great literary figures in Kerala's history like Melpatthur Narayana Bhattathirippad, Thunchath Ezhuthachan and Kalakath Kunchan Nambiar. It is also here that the Pallipana is performed by Velans (sorcerers) every twelve years.

St. George's Church, Edathua (24 km from Alappuzha on the Alappuzha-Thiruvalla road)

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 eleven-day annual feast (27 April- 7 May) pilgrims from all parts of South India, irrespective of caste and creed, visit the church and seek the blessings of the saint.

Kottayam

Cheriapally & Valiapally (2 km from Kottayam town)

The Valiapally (St. Mary's Church) of the Knanaya Orthodox Syrians built in 1550 AD is located at Thazhathangadi. The Persian Cross within the church has intricate inscriptions on it. Close to it is Cheriapally, built in 1579 AD. This church is famous for its mural paintings that depict biblical themes.

Shiva Temple, Vaikom(40 km from Kottayam town)

Believed to have been built by Parasurama, the legendary creator of Kerala, this temple is famous for the 12 day Ashtami festival in November - December.

Jama Masjid, Thazhathangadi (2 km from Kottayam town)

This ancient mosque on the banks of the Meenachil River is believed to be thousand years old.

Blessed AIphonsa, Bharananganam(20 km from Ettumanoor)

The church is one of the important pilgrim centers of the Christians in Kerala. The mortal remains of Sr. Alphonsa, who was pronounced as blessed, is kept in this church. The death anniversary of blessed Sr. Alphonsa that falls on the 20th of July is an important day.

Idukki

Mangala Devi Temple (15 km from Thekkady)

The ancient temple is hidden in the dense woods at the top of a peak 1337m above sea level. The temple is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture. Visitors are allowed here only on the Chithra Pournami festival day in April.

Eranakulam

St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi (12 km from Ernakulam)

This is the first European church in India, which later became the model for building churches elsewhere in the country. Vasco da Gama, who died in Kochi during his second visit to Kerala, was buried in the church in 1524. Later his mortal remains were taken back to his native land. Portugal.

St. George Church, Edappally(15 km from Ernakulam)

This is one of the major pilgrim centres in Kerala venerated by non-Christians as well. Every day devotees throng the church to genuflect before the statue of St. George to express their gratitude for favors received through the saint. The annual festival begins on the 23rd of April with solemn High Mass and Litany. On May Day, the statue of St. George is taken out of its podium and placed on a specially decked chariot for procession. The festival ends with the High Mass on 4'h May. .

Kaladi (55 km from Ernakulam)

The birthplace of Adi Sankaracharya, the great Advaita philosopher of the 8'h century. Kaladi houses temples dedicated to Sree Sankara, Sarada Devi, Sri Krishna and Sri Ramakrishna. On the banks of River Periyar in Kaladi is the sacred bathing ghat where Sankaracharya is said to have been caught by a crocodile and which according to legends refused to release him until Sankara's mother Aryamba permitted him to accept Sanyas" (renunciation).

Malayatoor (47 km from Ernakulam)

This place is famous for the Catholic Church on the 609m high Malayatoor hill (dedicated to St. Thomas). Thousands of devotees undertake the pilgrimage to the shrine to participate in the annual festival-Malayatoor PtrllIl1/al(March/April). St. Thomas is believed to have visited here.

Shiva Temple, Aluva(20 km from Ernakulam)

Situated on the banks of River Periyar, the Shivalinga of this temple rises out of the sandbanks of the river and is believed to have worshipped by Lord Rama. During the monsoon season the whole region gets flooded and the idol gets submerged in water. Worship is then done in a small shrine on the upper banks of the river. A dip in this river at the brahmamuhurtha (3 am) after observing the rituals of Shivarathri is considered very sacred.

Chottanikkara Temple (15 km from Ernakulam)

The Goddess is revered in three forms - as Saraswathi in the morning, as Bhagavathy at noon and Durga in the evening. During the annual festival in kumbham , devotees especially women seek blessings from the Goddess.

Thrissur

Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple (29 km west of Thrissur)

Guruvayoor, known as Kasi of the South is famous for the Sree Krishna temple which has Guruvayoorappan or the infant Krishna, as the deity. Legend has it that the temple is the creation of Guru, the preceptor of the Gods and Vayu,the God of winds. The most famous offering of the temple is Thulabharam, where a devotee presents to the deity his own body weight against products like bananas, rice etc. The Vishnu's idol here, made of rare stone is believed to possess healing qualities, especially for rheumatism. The 16th century poet Melppathur Narayana Bhattathiri, who suffered from rheumatic pain, is said to have sought relief from Guruvayoorappan, after which he composedNarayaneeyam, in praise of the Lord. Exquisite paintings around the Sreekovil depicting stories of the pranks of little Krishna stand testimony for the art of a period. The 111alldapam facing the Sreekovill is resplendent with beautiful carvings. Non Hindus are not allowed in Guruvayoor temple.

Vadakkunathan Temple(in the heart of the city)

This is a classic example of the Kerala's traditional architecture. Holy shrines of Paramashiva, Parvathy, Sankaranarayana, Ganapathy, Sree Rama and Sree Krishna are housed here. The central shrines and Koothambalam exhibit exquisite vignettes carved in wood. This temple is the site for the famous Thrissur Pooram. The main vazhipaad (offering) here is ghee.

Sree Rama Temple, Kadavallur(10 km from Kunnamkulam)

A unique feature of this temple is the annual twelve-day Anyonnam, a scholarly debate on Vedas . Vedic scholars from all over Kerala participate in this. Sree Rama is worshipped in three forms here- in the morning as in vanavaasa(exile in forest), at noon as in sethu bandhana [in a roudra(angry) mood] and at night as the king of Ayodhya.

Cheraman Juma Masjid, Kodungalloor(20 km from Irinjalakuda)

This is the first mosque in India. Legend says King Cheraman Peru mal of Kodungallor left for Mecca, embraced Islam, accepted the name Thajuddeen and married the sister of the then King of Jeddah. Before his death Thajuddeen handed over to the King of Jeddah several letters addressed to Kerala kings seeking their help to propagate Islam. The King came to Kerala and met the then King of Kodungalloor who helped the former convert Arathali temple into a Juma Masjid. This mosque was designed and constructed based on Hindu art and architecture. It was built in 629 AD and resembles a temple in appearance.

Potta Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor(35 km from Thrissur)

This centre is famous for live-in retreats and conventions, through which evangelists and preachers share and proclaim the 'word of God'.

Palakkad

Sree Parthasarathy Temple, Chembai (14 km from Palakkad)

The six- day annual festival here honoring Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar features Carnatic music concerts by veteran musicians.

Sree Viswanatha Temple, Kalpathy (3 km from Palakkad)

Built in 1425 on the lines of the temple at Benaras, this temple is famous for the Chariot festival held every November.

Juma Masjid (1 km from Palakkad)

Mortal remains of Uthman Auliya, a revered man in Muslim Communities are entombed here. Prayers are held in this mosque on Fridays. Annual festival is held in January February. During the festival a grand procession bringing ceremoniously various articles such as rice, coconut, etc to the mosque as offerings is held. A grand feast is held for the poor, the next day.

Malappuram

The Jama-at mosque (2 km from Malappuram)

This is an important pilgrim centre for the Muslims of Kerala. The annual Nercha festival of the mosque is celebrated for four days in April. Adjoining the mosque is a mausoleum of the Malappuram Shaheeds whose brave exploits have been immortalized in Mappilla Ballads.

Pazhayangadi Mosque, Kondotti (18 km east of Manjeri on the way to Kozhikode)

Kondotti is a prominent pilgrim centre for Muslims. The Valia Nercha festival at the 500- year old Pazhayangadi Mosque, celebrated for five days in February-March, draws a large number of devotees. While the focus of the Nercha here is the reverence shown to Shaykh Muhammad Shah, *e founder of the Kondotti Thangals, the ceremonial rituals are derived from the worship of folk deities of Kerala. During the special ceremony of the Kondotti cannon, the cannons that are kept in the Kondotti Police Station are taken out to a road near the mosque, charged with powder and ignited. These cannons are believed to have special sanctity and an important offering during the festival is oil for them. The oil that is left over after cleaning of these cannons is believed to have curative powers.

Kadaampuzha Bhagavathy temple, Tirur(3km north of Vettichira on the highway connecting Kozhikode and Thrissur)

Dedicated to Kiraatha Parvathi, this is one of the most sacred Shakthi centres in Kerala. The uniqueness of the temple here is the absence of idols. Pooja is performed at a hole (about 6 cm in diameter) in the earth where the Goddess is said to have disappeared after showing her presence to Adi Sankaracharya. Poomootal i.e. offering flowers of thecchi (Ixora indica) to the hole is the important vazhipaadu . Matturakkal is another vazhipaadu that involves breaking of coconuts, the purpose of which is to remove the obstacles faced in day-to-day life.

Navamukundha Temple, Thirunavaya(8km South of Tirur)

Thirunavaya, on the banks of the River Bharathapuzha, said to be the traditional headquarters of the mythical Brahmin hero, Parasurama, is a place of historical and religious significance. Thousands flock here on karkidaka vavu Day to perform the pithrukriya rites for the departed souls. The Navamukunda temple is said to be the sacred spot blessed with the presence of Saraswathi , Gayathri, Lakshmi, Parvathy, Shami, Ganga, and Yamuna.

Calicut

Lokanar Kavu (6 km east ofVadakara)

Dedicated to Bhadrakali, this temple finds mention in the Northern Ballads (Vadakkan Pattukal). Thacholi Othenan, the legendary hero of Kalaripayattu, Kerala's martial art form used to worship the deity here. The offering of Erattti¬payasam is said to please the Goddess here.

Mother of God Church (1/2 km from Kozhikode city)

Built in the Roman architectural style, this church dates back to 1513 AD and is only one of its kind in Kerala. It houses a portrait of St. Mary, believed to be 200 years old.

Wayanad

Thirunelly Vishnu Temple (32 km south – east of Mananthavady)

Tucked away in the Brahmagiri hills and encircled by the River Papanasini is Thirunelly temple. Several myths are woven around the temple. One of the mythical strands says the idol of Vishnu was installed by Brahma (creator) himself. The Papanasini River is believed to have the divine power to wipe away all the sins committed through generations. It is believed that the pithru-tharpana (oblations to manes) done here will also lead to the transformation of the spirits of the departed to salvation. The Koothambalam here is one of the best in the State and rare paintings adorn the temple walls.

Glass Temple of Kottamunda(20 km from Kalpettta)

Located on the slope of Vellarimala, this is dedicated to Parswanatha Swami, third Thirthankara of the Jain faith. The mirrors inside the temple walls reflect the image of the icons in the temple sanctum.

Kannur

Parassinikadavu Madapura Sree Muthapan Temple(16 km from Kannur town)

The significant feature of this temple is the daily performance of Theyyam, the ritualistic art form of Kerala. The presiding deity is Muthappan, a manifestation of Lord Shiva in the guise of a kiratha (hunter).

Madayi Mosque (28 km from Kannur)

This was built by Malik Ibn Dinar in the 12th century, with white marble brought from Arabia

Kasaragod

Malik Dinar Mosque, Thalankara (1 km from Kasaragod)

It is one of the first ten mosques to be built in India after the advent of Malik Mohammed Dinar who propagated Islam in India. His mortal remains are buried near this mosque. The annual festival of Uroose is popular.

Ananthapura Lake Temple (17 km from Kasaragod)

This is the only lake temple in Kerala. Situated in Kumbala, this is believed to be the original seat of Lord Ananthapadmanabha.