Kerala is a land of secular coexistence and religious harmony. The Pilgrimage centres in Kerala reflects this. There are many pilgrimage centres in Kerala. Experience the divine feeling of cleansing your mind in these pilgrim centres and come back with a calm and composed mental state. This will give you a refreshing experience and helps to start your work with a new energy. The temples, mosques and churches in Kerala offers one with the holistic feeling. Feel the spirit of happiness, goodness, joy and mental peace during your visit to the pilgrimage centres in Kerala. Some of the pilgrim centres in Kerala are :
Hindu Pilgrim Centres
This temple located inside the East Fort in Thiruvananthapuram is one among the 108 Vishnu temples in India. The temple with a magnificent seventeen storied tower houses the idol of Lord Vishnu in the form of Ananthapadmanabha. The 6 meter long image of Vishnu reclining on Anantha the Serpent, partly covered with gold and embellished with precious stones is viewed in three sections through three doors. Only Hindus are allowed in this temple. Arattu is the important festival here.
This Sree Krishna temple is one of the most sacred pilgrim centres in Kerala. As per the belief, the temple is created by Guru, the preceptor of the Devas, and Vayu the Lord of Winds. The square Sreekovil is the sacred sanctum of the temple which houses the main deity. Guruvayoor temple has the images of Ganapathy, Sree Ayyappa and Veluthedathu Kavil Bhagavathy.
Vaikom temple, one of the oldest and most famous Siva temple in the world is located in the banks of Vembanad lake. During Sabarimala season pilgrims come down here and worship the Annadana Prabhu Lord Siva. Vaikom is situated 40 km from Kottayam. There are two Ashtami festivals conducted here annually .One in Kumbhom (Feb -Mar) and the other in Vrichikom (Nov-Dec) and the celebrations last for 12 days and ends with an arattu. Kshethrakalapeedam, a school teaching temple arts is attached to the temple.
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple
Attukal Bhagavathy temple known as the Sabarimala of women, is located in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala. Attukal Ponkala, the annual festival commences on Bharani day in Kumbhom (February - March) and continues for nine days. Ponkala is an offering usually made in Bhagavathi temples.
Sri Ayyappa Temple, Sabarimala
This well known pilgrim centre in western ghats has the holy shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. Sabarimala attracts crores of pilgrims from every part of the country every year. Sabarimala is surrounded by hazardous hills Karimala and Neelimala. This pilgrim centre is a model of communal harmony and secularism.
The devotees known as Ayyapas take a 41 days ‘Vrutham’. The pilgrimage season comes between the latter half of November and the former half of January every year.
Kodungallor Bhagavathi Temple
Kodungallor Bhagavathi temple is renowned for the Bharani festival in the temple. Bharani festival is one of the most grand festivals in Kerala during which the deity is offered in the innermost sanctum.
Some other important Hindu pilgrim centres include Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple, Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna temple, Chettikulangara Bhagavathi temple, Parasurama temple Thiruvallom, Sree Mahadeva temple, Janardhana Swamy temple, Sivagiri Mutt, Pamba, malandha Duryodhana temple, The cave temple Kollam, Achan Kovil temple Lord Ayyappa, Chakkulathukavu Bhagavathi Temple, Siva temple, Thalikkotta, Saraswathi temple Panachikkad, Surya temple Adithyapuram, Mannarkad Bhagavathi temple, Ambalakkadavu Bhagavathi temple, Sree Subramanya Swami temple Perunna, Aarattupuzha, Thirumandhamkunnu, Thirunnavaya, Vettaykkoru Makan temple, Alathiyur Hanuman temple, Peralassery Subramania temple, Payyannur Subramanya temple, Parassinikadavu Sree Muthappan temple, Lokanarkavu temple,Mannur temple, rajarajeswari temple, Varakkal Devi temple, Jain temple, Pisharikkave etc.
Muslim Pilgrim Centres
Cheraman Juma Masjid, Kodungallor
Cheraman Juma Masjid located hardly 20 km from Irinjalakuda railway station, Thrissur is the first mosque in India. This Mosque resembles a Hindu temple in appearance and was built in 629 A.D. There is an oil lamp at the centre of the Mosque which is of great significance to people of all religions.
Beemapalli Dargah Shareef is an important muslim pilgrim centre situated twelve kilometre from Thiruvananthapuram dedicated to Bee Umma, a pious Muslim woman with great spiritual powers. The ten day long Chandanakudam festival in Beemapalli is a colourful festival with lots of pilgrims visiting from different parts of the state.
The Jama - at Mosque, Malappuram
Jama - at Mosque is an important pilgrim centre of Muslims. The annual Nercha Festival conducted here in April for four days is an important event. Adjoining the mosque is the mausoleum of the Malappuram Shaheeds (martyrs) whose brave exploits have been immortalised in the Mappila ballads.
Pazhayangadi Mosque, Kondotti
Pazhayangadi Mosque is a prominent Muslim pilgrim centre situated in Kondotti eighteen km from Manjeri in Malappuram district. This mosque is five hundred years old. The Valiya Nercha festival celebrated for three days in February - March is the main attraction of pilgrims . Thousands of pilgrims came here for the Nercha.
Ottappalam Juma Masjid
Mortal remains of a revered man in Muslim community, Uthman Auliya is entombed in Ottappalam Juma Masjid. Annual festivals conducted here in January - February during which a grand procession bringing ceremoniously various articles such as rice, coconut, etc are celebrated in the mosque.
Some other Muslim pilgrim centres include Thangalppara, Mamburam, malik Deenar Mosque, Odathil Palli Thalasseri, Muchunthi Palli etc.
Christian Pilgrim Centres
Blessed Alphonsa Bharananganam
The church is one of the important christian pilgrim centre in Kerala.The mortal remains of blessed Sr. Alphonsa is kept in this church.
St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi
It is the first European church in India. The mortal remains of Vasco da Gama before taking to his native was kept here. This church is an important christian pilgrim centre.
St. George Church, Edappalli , Kochi
St. George Church, one of the major christian pilgrim centre in Kerala has a past from 593 A.D. Even non Christians came here for veneration. The festival begins on 23 April. On May Day, the St. George statue is taken out of its usual podium and pedestaled on specially decked chariot for procession which has all the features of a solemn catholic religious function.
St. Mary’s Orthodox Church Cheriyapalli
This famous Christian pilgrim centre is built by Thekkumkoor Maharaja in 1579. The church has a biblical and non biblical themes.
St.Mary’s Knanaya Church Valiyapalli
This famous Christian pilgrim centre belongs to Knanaya Orthodox Syrian community. Valliyapalli is famous for its Persian cross and Phalvi inscriptions.
St. Sebastians Church, Aruthungal
This famous Christian pilgrim centre is located at 22 km north of Alleppey. Portuguese missionaries established this church. The eleven day long St. Sebastian is celebrated here in the second week of January. On January 18, two days before the main festival, thousands of Sabarimala pilgrims, while returning home, bathe from the church tank and pay homage to St. Sebastian.
St. Mary’s Church Vallarpadam, Kochi
The church established in 1676 has a picture of blessed virgin Mary which was erected here by the Portuguese situated in Vallarpadam islet. This picture is believed to have miraculous powers. The feast here is held on 24 September. The week-long celebration is accompanied by a big fair.
St. Thomas Cathedral, Pala
This Christian pilgrim centre situated in Kottayam district is known for Rakkuli festival commemorating the Epiphany feast celebrated on 6 January. The festival symbolizes the Biblical account of the three Wise Men from East who left for Bethlehem to adore infant Jesus.
Manarcad Church, Kottayam
St. Mary's Church, one of the outstanding churches of the Syrian Jacobite Church of Kerala is famous for the eight day fast in honour of St. Mary starting on 1 September. Holy Mass is offered on the feast days.
St. Dominic Church, Aluva
The feast of St. Dominic's Church at Aluva falls on the third Sunday after the Easter. The statue of the saint is taken out in procession on the day.
Apart from these there are so many other Christian pilgrim centres in Kerala which attracts so many pilgrims every year. Some of them are Kurisumala, Parumala, Maramon, Manjanikara church, Edathua church, St. Joseph’s Cathedral Palayam, Champakulam Church, St. John’s Cathedral Thiruvalla, The CSI Cathedral Church, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church,St. Thomas Mount, St.Mary’s Church Kuravilangad, St. Mary’s Church Kudamaloor, Vimalgiri Church, Aruvithira Church, HoliCross Shrine Thrissur, Mother of God Church etc.