Kerala has a number of pilgrimage centres of importance to Hindus, Muslims, Jains and Christians alike.
Kerala has a number of pilgrimage places and famous pilgrim centres consisting of ancient temples and shrines,remote places of worship in villages and on hillocks as well as popular and crowded pilgrim centres spread across the length and breadth of Kerala.The sacred temples of Kerala that lie in different parts of this picturesque coconut country are popular among devotees.Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala,
is known as the city of temples. There are hundreds of sacred temples in Thiruvananthapuram alone.
Kerala has a number of pilgrimage centres of importance to Hindus, Muslims, Jains and Christians alike. Some of the popular destinations comprising temples, churches and mosques are Guruvayoor, Sabarimala, Chottanikkara, Attukal, Bharananganam, Malayattoor, Maramon, Parappanangadi etc where thousands throng to worship their deities and pay obeissance.
Kerala also houses some ancient Jewish synagogues in the island town of Fort Kochi.
Guruvayur, the abode of Lord Sree Guruvayurappan, is located 29 kms north west to the cultural capital of Gods own country, Kerala. This narrow coastline strip of land on the south western edge of Indian subcontinent is believed to be one of the 10 pilgrimage paradises in the world. The geographical and bio diversity of Kerala with the coastline beaches and stretches of backwaters lined with the swaying coconut palms on one side and evergreen forests of the western ghats with very rich wildlife on the
other side makes this pilgrim destination a real paradise to the alien traveler.
Situated about 47 km from Kochi, the pilgrimage destination of Malayattoor is famous for the Catholic Church, located on top of the Malayattoor hill, at a height of 609 mts. Dedicated to St. Thomas the apostle of Jesus Christ, thousands of pilgrims gather at the pilgrimage place for the annual
festival of Malayatoor Perunnal,held during the months of March /April.
Sailing in an Arab merchant vessel, St. Thomas is believed to have landed at Kodungalloor port in Kerala, in AD 52 and that he took the initiative of establishing a Christian community at Malayattoor. In his journey through the length and breadth of the land, he is said to have founded the churches in Kodungalloor,
Quilon, Niranam, Nilakkal, Kokkamangalam, Kottakavu and Paalayoor.
Blessed by natural bounties Malayattoor, as a place of pilgrimage, offers ideal environs for those seeking spiritual happiness. Nowadays, the hill shrine at Malayattoor has emerged as the largest pilgrim centre in the name of St. Thomas in India. Here, the big and auspicious occasion is the feast of St. Thomas, which is observed on the first
Sunday after Easter, when thousands throng the shrine for his blessings.
Sabarimala,in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala, as a place of pilgrimage, is a nation-wide acclaimed destination.Sri Dharmasastha Temple is the most famous among all the Sastha Temples of India. It is believed that Sage Parasurama who uplifted Kerala from the sea by throwing his axe, installed the idol of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala for worship The pilgrimage begins in the month of November and ends in January. The temple attracts pilgrims not only from the
southern states of India, but also from other parts of the country and abroad.
Chakkulathkavu Devi Temple
The temple that stands between the Pamba river and the Manimala river is open to people of all religions. This shrine is particularly popular among women devotees. The Naree (women) Pooja conducted here is famous. Selected women of all classes are honoured by cleaning their feet and pooja.The Ponkaala here attracts thousands of devotees. The presiding deity of the temple, located on the border
of Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts, is goddess Vanadurga.
Once a fishing village of no significance in the Kingdom of Kochi in the pre-colonial Kerala, the territory that would be later known as Fort Kochi was granted to the Portuguese in 1503 by the Rajah of Kochi, who also gave them permission to build a fort near the waterfront to protect their commercial interests. The first part of the name Fort Kochi comes from this fort, Fort Emmanuel, which was later destroyed by the Dutch. Behind the fort, the Portuguese built their settlement and a wooden church, which was rebuilt in 1516 as a permanent structure and which today is known as the St Francis Church.