Kerala is known to be amongst the rare places where all major religions have coexisted peacefully for centuries. Each have left their own mark on the culture of the state. You can witness the same by visiting the various religious institutions spread across the state. From Hindu temples, churches and mosques to Jain temples, synagogues and Buddhist monasteries, there are various centers of pilgrimage for our visitors. Do try adding them to your itinerary because they are amongst the most spiritually calming places in the world.
Chottanikara Bhagawathy Temple is only 3 Kms away from Thiruvankulam junction. It is a very famous temple and people all over the country visit here. It is a sure stop place for many Sabarimala pilgrims. 'Makam Tozhal' at this temple is very famous.
Guruvayoor is one of the most sacred and important pilgrim centres of Kerala. Its main attraction is the Sree Krishna Temple. This historic temple is shrouded in mystery. According to belief, the temple is the creation of Guru, the preceptor of the Gods, and Vayu, the God of winds. The eastern nada is the the main entrance to the shrine. In thechuttambalam(outer enclosure)is the tall 33.5m high gold p;ated Dwajasthambam(flagPost). There is also a 7m high Dipastambham(pillar of lamps), whose thirteen circular recepatacles rovide a truly gorgeous spectacle when it. The square Sreekovil is the sacred sanctum sanctorum of the temple, housing the main diety. Within the temple there are also the images of Ganapathy , Lord Ayappa and Edathedattu Kavil Bhagavathy. Only hindus are allowed inside the temple.
Kodungalloor is situated 35 kilometres south of Thrissur. It was known by the Greek as the Muziris and is a place immersed in rich history. Kodungalloor is surrounded by backwaters and the sea is also famous as Cranganore and has an illustrious past, to tell. It is said to be the place where St. Thomas first preached Christianity in India.
This mosque in Kodungalloor resembles a Hindu temple in appearance. It was earlier made of wood. Built in 629 A.D., this is the first mosque in India where Juma prayers were started. Recent changes have been made and it now has concrete minarets. The interiors remain wooden though with a Kerala oil lamp right in the centre. This lamp is of great significance to people of all religions. Some of them bring oil for the lamp on the auspicious occasion of major family events.
The Bhagawati temple at Kodungallur is of great renown throughout the state of Kerala. The Bharani festival at the Kodungallur Bhagawati temple is one of the grandest in Kerala. It is a month of festivities from the Bharani asterism in the month of Aquarius to 7 days after the Bharani asterism in the month of Pisces. During this occasion, one can also witness the largest congregation of oracles, not seen anywhere in Kerala.
The Bharani festival also witnesses the offering of worship to the deity in the innermost sanctum by those belonging to castes other than the priestly class. One day before the final Bharani, the Chandanapodi Chartal or the smearing of the image with sandal paste is carried out.
Christs apostle St Thomas is believed to have landed in Kodungalloor (formerly called Muziris) in 52 AD. The St.Thomas Church established by him houses ancient relics.
St. Thomas is portrayed in the gospels as a courageous and challenging personality. He had preached the gospel from Ethiopia to China. Many a church in West Asia considers him as the father of its faith. At Kodungalloor, he established the first Christian church in India and is the architect behind other Churches in Kerala: Kodungallur, Kottakkavu, Palayur, Kollam, Kokkamangalam, Niranam and Nilackal.
Saint Gregorios of Parumala is popularly known as Parumala Thirumeni'. Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of the Malankara Orthodox Church who passed away on November 2nd 1902 became the first declared saint from Malankara (Kerala, India) naturally to be called, 'Parumala Thirumeni'. He shines in the cloud of witnesses as a bright luminary giving rays of hope to millions in their suffering and struggles. The Ormaperunnal of Mar Gregrious Metropolitan, the declared saint of Malankara Orthodox Church, is celebrated on the !st and 2nd of November every year.
Sabarimala is situated 72 km from Pathanamthitta town, 191 km from Thiruvananthapuram and 210 km from Kochi Sabarimala is one of the most famous pilgrim centres in India. It is situated on the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats at an altitude of 914m above sea level and is accessible only by foot from Pamba (4 km). The temple is dedicated to Sree Ayyappa.
Pilgrim season: November to mid January.
Mandalapooja and Makaravilakku are the two main events of the pilgrim season. The temple stays closed during the rest of the year except for the first five days of every Malayalam month and during Vishu (April).