Get ready for a spiritual journey through Kerala!
Kerala has always been a tourism haven thanks to its mesmerising backwaters, wildlife sanctuaries, bewitching waterfalls, rice paddy fields, coconut groves, verdant green Tea plantations and figure licking cuisines! Apart from these features, Kerala is also home to some of the vibrant spiritual places of many religions. Considered as God’s own Country, Kerala has an impressive collection of historical and contemporary Churches, Temples, Mosques and Gurudwaras. Kerala is rich in holy places, traditions and rituals and offers the perfect ambience to explore and absorb knowledge behind each pilgrimage place to seek out your inner soul. In every way, Kerala has become known world over as a spiritual centre.
Pilgrimage tourism has picked up in Kerala and people from different parts of the world visit Kerala to seek solace in these places of worship. Kerala offers you plenty in terms of spiritual enlightenment; let’s check it out.
Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple
Invoke the blessings of Lord Krishna at Guruvayur, the third-largest temple of Lord Krishna! Considered as one of the most sacred religious places in Kerala, this ancient temple is the most visited temple of Lord Krishna devotees from all over the world. Punnathurkotta -the Guruvayur Devaswom elephant sanctuary is located 2 km from the Guruvayur temple.
Read more: Guruvayur Temple – Dwaraka of South India!
Offer prayers at Sabarimala, to get the blessings of Lord Ayappa! As more than 30 million pilgrims visit Sabarimala, it has become famous as India’s own Mecca. That makes it India’s most extensive and the second largest in the world next to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where the most significant number of pilgrims come to worship.
It is believed that Lord Parasurama placed the Ayyappa Idol at the top of the mountain. Before going to the Lord Ayyappa temple, devotees observe the 41 day’s Vratham.
Read more: Sabarimala Dharmasastha Temple
Visit the Malayattoor Church or St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, one of the oldest churches in India to go back in time! Situated atop the Kurisumudi hill, the church is recognised by the Vatican as one among the eight international shrines in the world. The Malayattoor church is a tourism hotspot in Kerala beckoning tourists and pilgrims to its fold.
The Greco-Roman style church has many ancient relics of historical importance which attracts people from all around the world. The paintings and carvings in the church walls, depict various important events in the life of Christ.
Seek the blessings of Anantha Padmanabha (Lord Vishnu) at the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Trivandrum. Also known as Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple, it is one of the sacred pilgrimage places of Kerala. Situated at the heart of the city, the temple stands out for its stunning mix of Keralan and Dravidian style architecture. The temple is adorned with the stupendous 18-feet high idol of Lord Vishnu. It is also the wealthiest temple in Kerala.
Jewish Synagogue, Kochi
Kochi boasts of the oldest Jewish Synagogue in the Commonwealth! Known as the Paradesi Synagogue, it is one of the most visited destinations in a pilgrimage tour of Kerala. Built-in 1568, the still-functioning Synagogue has a fabulous decor, and antiques like Belgian glass made chandeliers, carved teak ark, a clock tower & old copper plates.
People Also Viewed: Kochi – One day Sightseeing tour
Sikh Gurudwara Kochi
Kochi has the maximum number of Sikh population in Kerala and has a Gurdwara located in Peumannor 3 km away from the heart of Kochi City. A perfect blend of Hindu and Muslim style architecture can be seen at the Gurudwara which welcomes people of all religions. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy text of the Sikhs is installed on a platform and is worshipped here.
Bathery Jain Temple
Visit one of the holiest sites for Jainism across the country! The Bathery Jain Temple is said to be built in the 13th century. You can see remnants of the architectural style of the Vijayanagar Dynasty here. The temple has served as a shrine, an administrative hub and as an ammunition base for Tipu Sultan’s invading army.
Arthunkal Church, located in Alappuzha (Alleppey), is one of the oldest churches built in Kerala. As one of the famous pilgrim centres in South India the St. Andrew’s Church, Arthunkal is named after St. Andrew the Apostle. The name of the church is a bit confusing as it is St. Sebastian’s feast – the Arthunkal Perunnal which is celebrated with much flourish here as a ten-day annual festival. Celebrated in January every year, devotees from different parts of the state visit the church on the feast days in a passionate display of their faith and devotion.
Refresh & rejuvenate in the lap of nature at the Thirunelli Temple! Situated at an altitude of around 900 feet above sea level, the Thirunelli Maha Vishnu Temple is nestled in the Western Ghats amid the forest. Visiting the temple, which is believed to be built by Lord Brahma, is an unforgettable experience for each devotee. The temple has a cold mountain stream flowing nearby called Papanasini. Many devotees from across the nation visit this stream to take a dip to wash away all their sins. The water in the Papanasini is believed to have medicinal powers which are effective to heal different ailments. Thirunelli temple brings to you incredible views of the valleys nearby & is undoubtedly a temple not to be missed on a pilgrimage tour of Kerala.
A visit to the Madayi Mosque at Pazhayangadi in Kannur district, northern Kerala should be a part of your itinerary of pilgrimage tour of Kerala! The ancient Madayi mosque located about 25 km from Kannur, is one of the oldest mosques in Kerala believed to have been established by Malik Ibn Dinar. The mosque has Hindu inscriptions on its pillars and base walls. It also contains a block of white marble believed to have been brought from Mecca by Malik Ibn Dinar.
Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple
A must-visit destination for pilgrimage tourism in Kerala! The Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is a major Shiva temple in the state situated in a small town near Vaikom, Kottayam. The temple is believed to be built nearly 400 years ago. The magnificent wooden sculptures in the temple amaze you with their beauty. The annual festival of the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is celebrated for ten days in Feb/March. The procession on the eighth and tenth day of the festival called Ezhara Ponnana (Seven and a half golden elephants) is a beautiful experience for festival lovers!
St. Francis Church, Kochi
A golden opportunity to take a peek into the history of Christianity in Kerala! Built-in the 16th century, St. Francis Church is the oldest existing European church in India. The church contains the burial spot and tombstone of the legendary Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama. A war memorial was also built to commemorate soldiers who lost their lives during World War II. Indeed, one of the must-visit pilgrimage sites in Kerala!
People Also Viewed: Kochi – One day Sightseeing tour
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple
The Sabarimala for women – the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is a destination not to be missed in your pilgrimage tour of Kerala! The temple where Goddess Kannaki is enshrined is the place Attukal Pongala is celebrated on Karthika day of Feb/March with much pomp & splendour. Women devotees gather around this temple in millions on this day to prepare Pongala (a sweet dish made using rice, jaggery and coconut) to offer to the Goddess of the temple & seek her blessings.
Cheraman Juma Masjid
Get to see the oldest mosque in Kerala which resembles a Hindu temple in appearance! Built-in AD 629, it is the first mosque in India and the second in the world where Juma prayers were started. It has remained a source of intrigue as well as an active place of worship for well over a thousand years. The Masjid built during Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime and is amongst the most important historic, architecturally stunning mosques of India.
Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple
Offer prayers to the Unnikkannan at the Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple and taste the delicious Ambalappuzha Palpayasam! The temple is famous for the sweet milk porridge made of rice, milk and sugar that is the offering at the temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. Located nearly 14 kilometres away from Alappuzha, Lord Krishna is worshipped in the temple as Parthasarathy or Unnikkannan (the child form of Krishna). The annual festival of this temple is celebrated in March-April. A great destination of the pilgrimage tourism in Kerala.
Offer Namaz at the Beemapally Mosque in Thiruvananthapuram, one of the most acclaimed Muslim pilgrim centres in Kerala. The mosque is famous for its annual Urus dedicated to Beema Umma, a woman with miraculous powers. It is believed that she was a member of the family of Prophet Mohammed. The Chandanakudam Festival is a very colourful festival of the Beemapally Mosque by devotees who visit here irrespective of religion, caste and creed.
Mannarasala Nagaraja temple
Seek the blessings of Nagaraja, the Snake God! The Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple, Haripad, Alappuzha district is a highly sacred place for Pilgrimage tourism in Kerala. The temple is the largest and most famous Serpent God temple and is headed by a priestess. Many couples visit this temple to seek blessings of the Serpent Gods for getting children. As it is a temple for serpents, the Ayilyam day in the Malayalam months is considered significant. The select turmeric paste from the shrine is believed to have incredible healing powers and is an effective cure for many ailments even for Leprosy.
Kerala is a melting pot of different cultures and religions. Each pilgrimage spot in Kerala has a significance of its own. It is a fantastic experience to visit these places of worship right from unique temple complexes to Churches or Mosques. Here’s a perfect opportunity to experience the vibrant and thriving culture of Kerala. Book your pilgrimage tours with Blue Bird Travels and embark on a journey through the rich religious heritage and humanitarian culture of Kerala.