Truly, well-referred as the ‘God’s own country’, Kerala is a stunning state located in the southern part of India. It is wedged between the Western Ghats on the East and the Arabian Sea on the West, and its capital is Thiruvananthapuram. With relishing and unique geographical features, it has successfully made it as one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Asia. The timeless beauty of the plenty beaches of the state, the grandeur of the vast spreads of Munnar and Vagamon Hills and the delicacies to munch on are something that you cannot afford to say no to. A pleasant climate, serene beaches, tranquil stretches of backwaters, lush green hill stations, and exotic wildlife are some of the attractions that are used to identify this land with. Coming season, plan a visit to Kerala and revel in the destination of a lifetime.
It is a land graced with legends and tales, which is visible in the many ancient temples that can be found in this state. Replete with a large number of temples that are as old as 2000 years and yet some newly added ones to the unending list, Kerala makes an incredible religious tourist destination in India. If you are looking for a trip to India that can greatly fill you with the feeling of divinity and spiritualism, then Kerala is the right destination to head to.
An eminent example of the Dravidian style of architecture, Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is an ancient Hindu temple in Kerala. It is located in Kottayam and is dedicated to Lord Shiva or Mahadeva. Throughout the premises, you get to see exquisite mural paintings both in the interiors as well as exteriors of the temple. The ‘Pradosha Nritham’, which translates to Lord Shiva’s dance is regarded as one of the prettiest in Southern India. This artwork of the temple has thronged many tourists since time immemorial. It is said that the temple was built way back in the 14-century, however, it was shattered into shambles after a century or two. It was then renovated completely at the end of the 16-century. According to legend, the celebrated philosopher, Adi Sankaracharya wrote ‘Soundarya Lahari’ while he was staying in the temple for a brief period of time.
Partake in the annual festival celebrated in this temple, called the Arattu Festival. It falls in the months of February and March and is deemed as the ideal time to pay a visit to the temple. Also, witness the many forms of traditional rituals that take place in the temple and is an incredible experience in itself.
Timings: 4:00 AM- 8:30 PM (The temple stays closed from 12:00 PM- 5:00 PM)
Are you looking for a destination where you can soak into holiness and spirituality? Read on to know how. Vadakkunthan Temple is an ancient Hindu temple situated in Thrissur. Being the cultural capital of the state, the city has a lot more to offer. From the monumental towers to the myriad historical places to the scenic beaches, it has it all.
Vadakkunthan Temple is recognized as the National Monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (AMASR Act). It is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Rama, and Lord Vishnu. The decorated pillars, details of the sculptures and the phenomenal murals boasts of magnificence. This temple was built by Sage Parasuram, the sixteenth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Witness the festive time of the much awaited ‘Thrissur Pooram’. It is a local festival celebrated with a lot of vibrancy and zeal amongst the crowd. Through the festival, you will see some ornate elephants decked up with garlands, colorful umbrellas, and chants of drum’s melody – making a mesmerizing sight to behold. It is these cheerful cries of hundreds of devotees that help transform this temple into a spiritual and divine setting. Maha Shivratri is also a good time to visit this temple. During this festival, throngs of pilgrims attend the special puja to seek the blessings of the deities.
Timings: 3:00 AM – 8:30 PM, 4:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Known to be a ‘one of a kind’ temple in the state, the Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is a famed Serpent God temple in Kerala. Nestled in a forest area, it is surrounded by sprawling groves that facilitate the breeding and movement of snakes. You will be wonderstruck to see more than 30,000 pictures of snake Gods. Devotees are given a chance to add to the gallery as well.
This temple is most popular for carrying out a special ritual called Uruli Kamizhthal. For all those couples who are childless, they come over to this temple and seek blessings for a child. Also, women who bear a child after performing oblation also revert to convey gratitude and thankfulness. It is believed that praying to the Serpent God for a child brings immediate results to the childless couples.
Do attend the annual temple festival called the Mannarshala Aayilam. Held in the months of October or November, it is witnessed by thousands of devotees with much revelry.
Timings: 5:00 AM – 12:00 PM, 5:00 PM -7:30 PM. (The puja time and morning darshan are extended up to 1:00 PM on Sundays.)
Next on the list is yet another religious site you would not want to miss. Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kannaki, an incarnation of Goddess Parvathi. She is considered a supreme mother, one who has created all the living entities on earth.
This temple is listed in the prestigious Guinness Book of World Records for holding the single largest gathering of women for religious activities. Hence, crediting it with brownie points, reaching the position of the top 10 temples in Kerala.
Millions of women from all around the country come to this temple to attend the special eve of Attukal Pongala Festival. It is celebrated every year in the months of either February or March and goes on for 10 days. Women cook Pongala, which is an authentic sweet dish made of rice, jaggery, and coconut and offer it to the Goddess. Within a short distance of 2 kilometres, visit Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple also. It is another sacred place of worship in the state. For history buffs and mythology lovers, this is your go-to.
Timings: 4:30 AM – 8:30 PM.
An excellent example of the Dravidian style of architecture, this temple dates back to the 8-century. Located in the Eastern Fort of Thiruvananthapuram, it is deemed as one of the 108 Vishnu temples or Divya Desam in Malayalam dialect. The foundation of this temple is so old that even it is mentioned in the holy Hindu sculptures of Skanda Purana and Padma Purana. In fact, the state capital Thiruvananthapuram gets its name from the presiding deity of this temple.
This temple has been dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is said that none of your wishes goes unfulfilled once sought to the Lord. The main highlights of the temple are the beautifully painted murals, 100-feet tall Gopuram, and stone carvings. Nonetheless, the maximum footfall is seen during Alpashy Festival in October and November and Panguni Festival in March and April. These months are deemed most ideal as they attract a massive amount of tourists from all around.
Timings: 3:30 AM – 4:45 AM, 6:30 AM – 7: AM; 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM; 10:30 AM – 11:10 AM; 11:45 AM – 12:00 PM; 5:00 PM – 6:15 PM; 6:45 PM – 7:20 PM
When it comes to temples in Kerala, you cannot miss out on this one! One of the most revered sacred places in the state is the Guruvayur Temple. It is reckoned as the Dwarka of the South mainly due to its popularity and fame. It was constructed to pay homage to Lord Krishna. The central idol of the deity shows a four-armed Lord Krishna carrying the conch Panchajanya in one, the discus Sudarshana Chakra in the other, the mace Kaumodaki, and a lotus with a Holy basil garland in the rest of his arms. The idol has been carved out of Patalanjana stone, which is best known for its medicinal and healing properties.
Inside the premises of the temple, you will see a large tank, which history claims was the place where Lord Shiva and his family worshipped Lord Vishnu. Thus, it is considered as a sacred tank and a must-visit for all the visitors who drop by here.
You can see the temple’s glory to the fullest whenever you come. However, Ulsavam in February and March, The Malayali New Year in Mid-April, and Kuchela’s Day in December and January are considered the most ideal time to visit this temple. Further, you get to witness special rice feeding ceremonies at times in the evening hours.
Timings: 3:00 AM- 9:30 PM (The temple remains closed for darshan between 1:30 PM- 4:30 PM)
Displaying a true picture of Kerala, Sabarimala Temple is a famous religious site in Kerala. Situated amidst the lush greenery of the Western Ghats, it is visited by thousands of visitors from all walks of life. One can see stretches of Periyar Tiger Reserve from here.
It is dedicated to Lord Ayyappan, the son of Lord Shiva and Mohini, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Until September 2018, only men were allowed to enter the premises, women who are between the menstruating age of 10-50 were not allowed into the temple. Only girls below the age of 10 and women aged beyond 50 were allowed inside. Now according to the new Supreme Court ruling, girls and women of all ages can enter the temple. Also, men are supposed to wear only blue or black dress, smear Chandan on their forehead and stay unshaven until their darshan is complete. These norms need to be followed strictly and should not be broken under any circumstances.
Timings: 3:00 AM- 11:40 PM.
… And the list goes on and on. The bounties and testimonies of Kerala add up in every form and manner. So now that you have a fair idea, why the wait? Plan right away. Let Kerala enchant you with all its holism and hospitality.
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