God's Own Country. Kerala is the land of SreeSankaracharya, the great Advaitha philosopher and SreeNarayana Guru who enunciated the famous dictum 'One caste, one religion, one god for man'. Ancient Kerala followed the Dravidian way of life and religious practices, which were free from cast barriers. But gradually religious from North India such as Jainism, Buddhism and Brahmanism and world religious like Christianity, Judaism and Islam seeped into Kerala.
This temple, a sprawling complex with a magnificent seven storied tower houses the idol of Lord Vishnu in the form of Ananthapadmanaoha (the Lord who upheld creation on a lotus which sprang forth from His navel). The 6 m image, partly covered with gold and embellished with precious stones is viewed in three sections through three doors.
This mosque is famous for the Chandanakkudam Festival which is said to be the death anniversary of BheemaBeevi, a devout pilgrim who came to Kerala from Mecca. Festivities include devotees going round the mosque carrying earthen pots (kudam) smeared with sandal wood paste. The Uroose festival here is also famous.
The Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala, 80 kms. from the Pathanamthitta district head quarters, is a National Pilgrim Centre. This famous shrine of Lord Ayyappa is surrounded by hazardous hills like Karimala and Neelimala. Devotees visit Sabarimala after undergoing 41 days of Â‘VrithaÂ’ i.e., self-imposed devotional penance.
Arthunkal St. Andrews Basilica is a famous pilgrimage center of St. Sebastian. Arthunkal is located at a distance of 22 Km from Alleppey and at a distance of around 8Km from Cherthala. It is a small sea side village. Arthunkal St. Andrews Church celebrates the feast of St. Sebastian in the month of January every year. The most important feast day is the 20th of January.
Guruvayoor is one of the most sacred and important pilgrim centres of Kerala. Its main attraction is the Sree Krishna temple. According to belief, the temple is the creation of Guru, the preceptor of the Gods , and Vayu, the God of winds.
Malayattoor Church, a Christian pilgrim centre situated 52 kms from Kochi beside the Periyar River at the top of a hill. The pilgrims can reach the place only by foot. This church which was established in AD 900 is believed to have been blessed by St.Thomas, one of the Apostles of Christ.
Attukal Bhagavathi Temple
Known as the Saoarimala of women, this temple is famous for AttukalPonkala, the annual festival that commences on Bharani day in Kumbhom (February - March). The highlight of the festival is the Ponkala which is an all woman affair.
This is the most significant site of snake worship in Kerala and houses 30.000 images of snake-gods. The shrine is under the patronage of a Namboodiri family whose oldest female member performs the role of the temple priestess. Legend has it that the first priestess of Mannarasala gave birth to a five-headed snake, which is believed to reside in the illam (ancestral house) to safeguard the family.
Chettikulangara Devi Temple
One of the renowned Devi temples in Kerala, this temple is famous for the Bharani festival. celebrated in February/ÂMarch. The highlights of this festival are Kuthiyottam and Kettukazhcha, Of these, the former is performed as an offering to the Goddess. The man who makes the offering teaches an adolescent boy religious rites for seven days from Sivarathri day (in February) to Bharalli asterism, during which period the boy observes fast.
Established in 1810, the church is dedicated to St. George. It is believed that prayers and offerings at this church help to heal all mental disorders and other ailments. During the eleven-day annual feast (27 April- 7 May) pilgrims from all parts of South India, irrespective of caste and creed, visit the church and seek the blessings of the saint.