Famous pilgrimage places in Kerala
Kerala is not just famous for its natural beauty; the land is also famous for its rich culture and heritage. The rich and diverse cultural heritage of Kerala has helped the native people with various religious beliefs to live in harmony and lead a peaceful life. There are many temples, churches, mosques and other centers belonging to many religious groups in Kerala. Kerala has many famous pilgrimage places for all religions, though you could find a religious place, be it a church, temple or mosque, at every nook and corner of the state. Some of the most famous pilgrimage places in Kerala are listed below.
Hindu pilgrimage places in Kerala
Unlike other parts of the country, the temples in Kerala follow strict rules and some even have strict dress codes. Photography and videography are not allowed, cleanliness is a must and some don't allow non-Hindus inside. So check with the local people or the temple authorities while you are on a pilgrimage to the temples of Kerala. Sabarimala (Pathanamthitta)The temple located in the Western Ghats mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta District witness one of the largest annual pilgrimages in the world. The temple dedicated to Lord open only during the days of Mandalapooja (from mid November to December), Makaravilakku (mid January) and during Vishu festival (mid April), and the first five days of each Malayalam month. An important point to note is that women between the age group of 12 to 50 are not allowed to Sabarimala.The devotees have to follow certain religious rules before visiting the hill shrine. They are supposed to take 41 days vratham (fasting, a strict vegetarian diet, celibacy, teetotalism etc...) prior to the pilgrimage. The devotees are also required to wear plain black/dark blue/saffron colour clothes and wear a chain made of Rudraksha or Tulsi beads around their neck as a symbol of renunciation of material life. The pilgrims also have to trek about 5 km through the forest to reach the temple. Air ports: Kochi airport (160 km), Thiruvananthapuram (170 km).Railway stations: Chengannur (82 km), Kottayam (120 km) and Kollam (129 km). Guruvayoor (Thrissur)The temple dedicated to Lord Krishna attracts thousands of devotees every day and is famous for its mural paintings. Non-Hindus are not allowed into the temple and like many other temples in Kerala, men are only allowed to wear mundu (dhothi) without the shirt inside the temple, young girls and women can wear salwar kameez, long skirts, saree or mundu-neriyathu.Tourists could also visit the nearby Punathur Kotta, owned by the temple, which cares for about 65 domesticated elephants. Airport: Kochi (75 km).Railway stations: Guruvayoor but only a limited number of trains run. Thrissur (29 km). Sree Padmanabha Temple (Trivandrum)The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The uniqueness of the temple is that here the idol of Lord Vishnu is in an eternal yogic sleep posture on the serpent Adisheshan. The temple is famous for its treasure making it the wealthiest institution and place of worship in the world. Visitors have to strictly follow the dress code at this temple. Only traditional wears such as mundu-neriyathu, saree or long skirts for women and young girls and mundu (dhothi) without shirt for men and boys are permitted. Mobiles, cameras, bags are not allowed inside the temple.Transportation will not be an issue as the temple is located in the centre of the city and the airport and railway station are just minutes away from the temple.Parassinikadavu Muttappan Temple (Kannur)This unique temple is situated at the banks of the Valapattanam River. Unlike other temples in Kerala the temple follow the non-Brahminical form of worship, it is done on a ritualistic art form called Muttappan theyam. Fish, meat and toddy are offered to Muthappan.Airport: Karipur International Airport, Kozhikode, (110 km).Railway station: Kannur (16 km).Vaikom Temple (Kottayam)This temple dedicated to Lord Shiva has an important place in the history of Kerala. The Vaikom Satyagraha (1924- 25) was the first agitation in Kerala against Hindu upper-caste supremacy and to secure the freedom of movement for all sections of society through the public roads leading to the temple. The Vaikom Temple is considered as one of the oldest and biggest temples in Kerala with a courtyard of about eight acres of.Airport: Kochi (58 km)Railway stations: Ernakulam (33 km), Kottayam (40 km).Vadakkumnathan Temple (Thrissur)The temple is famous all around the world for the annual Thrissur Pooram which attracts many tourists from in and outside the country. The temple is a classic example of Kerala architecture and has many mural paintings.Airport: Kochi (54 km)Thrissur railway station is only minutes away from the temple.
Christian pilgrimage places in Kerala
Kerala was one of the first places in India where Christianity was spread. St Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of the Christ, who visited Kerala in 52 AD, established the roots of Christianity in the state. Palayur (Thrissur)It is one of the seven churches built by the Apostle. There are about 14 idols in the church that portray the life and work of St Thomas. The Palayoor Mahatheerthadanam (pilgrimage) held during the Lenten season attracts thousands of people to the church who come to the church carrying a wooden cross. Airport: Kochi (80 km)Railway station: Thrissur (25 km) Malayattoor (Ernakulam)It is an important pilgrimage centre for the Christians. This hilltop church is also related to the legends of St Thomas. Thousands of devotees climb the rocky mountain (some barefoot) carrying crosses to recreate the last journey of Jesus Christ. Pilgrims also consider the water at the nearby well to possess divine power to heal ailments.Airport: Kochi (15 km)Railway station: Angamaly (17 km), Aluva (24 km)Vallarpadom Church (Ernakulam)The church– Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom – is situated on a picturesque island on the Vembanad Lake. The church was said to be built by the Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century. The annual festival of Vallarpadath Amma, that lasts a more than a week, is held every year on September 24.Airport: Kochi (33 km)Railway station: Ernakulam (5 km)St Mary's Cathedral-Manarcad (Kottayam)It is an ancient Syrian Orthodox Church famous for the feast of St Mary, which attracts thousands of pilgrims from different places. It also has the status of a Universal Marian Pilgrim Centre. Airport: Kochi (84 km)Railway station: Kottayam (9 km)St Alphonsa shrine church & Pilgrim centre (Kottayam)The pilgrim centre is dedicated to St Alphonsa who lived in Bharananganam and it houses her tomb. The death anniversary of the saint on 28 July is an important day for the thousands of devotees who visit the shrine to pray. The personal belongings of the Saint are displayed in a museum adjacent to the chapel.Airport: Kochi (78 km)Railway station: Kottayam (32 km)
Muslim pilgrimage places in Kerala
Cheraman Juma Masjid (Kodungallor in Thrissur)This mosque is believed to be the second in the world and first mosque in India where Juma prayers were started. It was built in 629 AD by Arab propagator of Islam Malik Deenar. Unlike other mosques in the country the architecture of Cheraman Juma Masjid is constructed in traditional Kerala. The present Arab style minarets were added in the later period.Airport: Kochi (30 Km)Rail: Thrissur (38 km), Ernakulam (36 km)Beemapally Mosque (Trivandrum)The mosque and the Beemapally Dargah Shareef are famous for its annual festival Urs - 'Chandanakudam'. The Dargah houses the tombs of Syedunnisa Beema Beevi, a Muslim woman with divine powers, and her son Syedushuhadamaheen Abubacker. The urs festival is observed in remembrance of Beema Beevi and her son. The place is situated near the shoreline and the nearby market is famous for many imported goods and unique food. How to reach: The place is not far away from Trivandrum airport and railway station Malik Deenar Mosque (Kasargod)The historical mosque in Thalanagara was built by Malik Deenar. The place is also famous for the annual Malik Deenar Uroos. The mosque unlike others is constructed in typical Kerala style architecture and also contains the grave of Malik Ibn Mohammed; one of the descendants of Malik Deenar. How to reach: It is very near to Kasaragod railway station. Nearest airport is Mangalore International Airport (64 km in Karnataka)
Other important pilgrimage places in Kerala
GurudwaraKerala's one and only Gurudwara is also situated in Perumanoor, near Thevara, Kochi. It was earlier situated much close to the locality of the Cochin Shipyard. When the land was acquired for Shipyard, it was shifted to Perumanoor.How to reach: The Kochi airport and railway stations are nearby.
Paravur synagogue Built in 1615 the synagogue is located in the former Jewish Street of the Paravur region near Kodungallur. The synagogue is a brilliant combination of Jewish traditions and Kerala architecture.How to reach: Nearest railway stations are Aluva, (17 km) and Ernakulam (27 km).Airport: Kochi (20 km). Paradesi Synagogue (Kochi)It was constructed in 1567 and it shares a common wall with the Mattancherry Palace temple next to it. It also houses the Scrolls of the Law. How to reach: The Kochi airport and railway stations are nearby.
Jain Derasar (Kozhikode)There are actually two temples in the complex which are said to be around thousands of years old. The temples have exquisitely painted interiors and elaborately carved porticos.Kozhikode railway station (3 km) Kochi airport (27 km)Puliyarmala Jain Temple (Wayanad)This 13th-century temple is dedicated to Ananthnath Swami, a Jain Tirthankara. It has been constructed in the traditional Dravidian style with ornate carvings and pillars. The temple is situated 6km from Kalpatta in Wayanad. There are a large number of Jain statues and sculptures and many relics there.It is two hour’s drive from Kozhikode airport.