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Top temples to visit in Kerala
Top Temples in kerala – Since time immemorial, Kerala has been known as “God’s Own Country” and with its numerous religious places and ancient temples it beckons tourists and pilgrims alike. Various shrines present in the region can leave the visitors fascinated with its uniqueness in structure, tradition, festivals, rituals, offerings and customs. A large number of temples are even connected with great epics like Mahabharatha and Ramayana. For an average Hindu keralite, the day starts by offering prayers in one of these magnificently constructed temples. So take a look at some of the most famous temples of the region which are listed below.
Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is situated in Thiruvananthaapuram and has Lord Vishnu as the presiding deity. This temple has gained worldwide recognition because of its architectural excellence. The maharajas of Travancore used to offer prayers in this magnificently carved temple. The Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is a famous Hindu temple which is believed to be one of the 108 holiest abodes of the deity.
King Marthanda Varma did the last major renovation. He dedicated his life as well as his kingdom to the deity and took a pledge that his descendants would serve as Padmanabha Dasa. Two annual festivals are held with huge grandeur and people in large number witness the procession. To enter this temple devotees have to follow strict rules and only people belonging to Hindu religion are allowed to enter the premises of the temple.
Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple
A Hindu temple, Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple is located in the Alapuzha district of Kerala and is one of the most famous temples of the region. It is believed that this temple was constructed by Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran, the local ruler during the time period that lies between 15th AD to 17th AD.
Dedicated to lord Ambalapuzha, the idol of the lord holds whip in his right hand while the left hand is occupied by a Shankhu. This temple also houses an idol of lord Krishna which was brought to the temple to keep it safe. After offering the prayers, devotees are given payasam which is a sweet pudding made of milk and sugar. It is also believed by the local residents that Guru Vayoorappan reaches the temple at the time of offerings to have payasam.
Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple
An ancient temple, Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple is situated in the Western Ghats lying in the Pathnamthitta district. It is one of the most prominent Sastha temples which are present in the country. It is besieged with dense forest and mountains and it is believed to be the place where Ayappan had meditated. Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple is one of the best places for pilgrims visiting Kerala. The pilgrimage for this beautifully architecture temple starts from November and ends in the month of January.
Two of the most important events of the pilgrim season are Makaravilakku and Mandala pooja. Devotees who wish to become a part of the Mandala Pooja have to observe strictness regarding intake of vegetarian food only and also have to avoid carnal pleasures. The pilgrims are also required to carry clothes along with traditional offerings. The temple authorities do not make a difference in the pilgrims depending upon their caste or creed.
Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple
Guruvayoor, a popular Hindu pilgrim center houses a number of temples however the most famous of them all is the Sree Krishna Temple. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, this temple rests on the devotee’s faith who believes that Lord fulfils all their wishes and desires. The Krishna’s idol is carved out of Patalanjana stone which is also believed to have some medicinal values.
The idol which is installed in the temple is believed to be one of the oldest which was worshipped by Brahma at Dwaraka. According to the legends, after the city of Dwaraka submerged in the sea, Lord Krishna gave the idol to his disciple, Uddhava to keep it at a safe location. After a long quest, he approached Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati and with their blessings, the Krishna’s idol was duly installed at the spot where the famous temple now stands tall.
Chottanikara Devi Temple
A famous Hindu pilgrim destination, Chottanikara Devi Temple is dedicated to mother Goddess Bhagawati. Located 17 kms from Ernahulam, this celebrated shrine lies in Chottanikkara town. The goddess is said to have healing powers and can treat the devotees suffering from mental disorders or illnesses. Situated on a hill top, the natural beauty of the surroundings can mesmerized the pilgrims.
At the main temple, devotees can come across golden hued idol of goddess Bhagawati which is about 4 to 5 ft high. The temple is decked up with garlands, flowers, jewels and myriad of lights. The idol of the deity has four arms. While the upper right hand holds disc, lower right arm is held in a boon conferring position. The upper left arm holds conch and the lower arm indicates fearlessness position. The spiritual ambiance of the temple offers harmony and mental piece to the devotees.
The well known Vaikom Mahadev Temple is a Hindu shrine which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This shrine along with Kaduthuruthy Thaliyil Mahadeva Temple and Ettumanoor Siva Temple is regarded as a powerful trisome. According to a belief, it is believed that if a person worships in all the three temples with clear conscience, all his wishes would be fulfilled. The fine architecture and the intricate murals attract tourists toward the shrine.
Thiruvanchikulam Shiva Temple
Thiruvanchikulam Shiva Temple or Mahadeva Temple as it is alternatively called is located in Kodungallur lying in the Thissur district of Kerala. Out of the 274 Shaivite Thiruppathies in India, it is the only shrine present in Kerala. This temple has been named as a heritage building and is under the surveillance of Archaeological Survey of India.
The walls of the temple are decorated by mural paintings and it also houses oldest Tamil literature. It is a common belief amongst the local residents that Lord Shiva used to live at this place with his family. This temple has been attacked many times in the history but it still stands tall telling the tales of its glory.
Mannarasala – Nagaraja Temple
An ancient centre of pilgrimage, Mannarasala – Nagaraja Temple is a must visit place for the devotees of Nagaraja or serpent god. This internationally known centre is nestled in the lush green forest like other snake temples. This temple houses over 30,000 images of snakes among the trees. Women hold thanksgiving ceremonies after the birth of their child and often bring snake images as offerings.
Of all the places which are present in the country for serpent worship, there can be no place or shrine more benevolent, legendary and owe-inspiring than Mannarasala. This place has been envisaged and blessed by Lord Parasurama who was the creator of Kerala.
1500 years old shrine, Lokanarkavu Temple is situated 4 km from Vatakara. It is the family temple of about 500 Aryan Nagariks and their successors who shifted to Kerala. During the month of Meenam and Vrischikam, two festivals are celebrated in the region, which are known as Mandala Utsavam or Mandalavilakku festival.
The 30 days Mandala Utsavam in the month of Vrischikam according to the Malayalam calander and pooram in the month of Meenam attract the attention of a large number of visitors. This is the only temple in the region where a strange folk dance known as Poorakkali is presented during the celebrations. This dance form has a striking similarity with Kalarippayattu, the martial art. Till date, Kalaripayattu artists visit Lokanarkavu Temple to seek blessing from the deity before their performance.
Sree Parassinikadu Muttappan Temple
Sree Parassinikadu Muttappan Temple is a sacred pilgrim centre located in the North Kerala. This beautifully architecture temple lies on the banks of river Valapattanam and the history of the temple dates back to 450 years. The premises of the temple offer spiritual comfort to the devotees. People belonging to different caste and religion visit this shrine all around the year. You can see Muslims, Hindus, Christians and even international travelers visiting the temple. The shrine also provides free accommodation and meals to every visitor who comes to visit the temple.
There are various stories regarding the origin of this temple. This shrine has played a major role in the development of the area. Great surprises can be enjoyed by the visitors who planned to mark a visit to the soil of Muthappan temple. The uniqueness of this temple is that people offer alcohol and liquor bottles as offerings to Lord Muthappan. The premise is also open to dogs who roam freely inside the temple. The entrance of the temple is adorned by two statues of dogs on both the sides.
Kerala is full of a large number of worshiping places. It is believed that if a person prays with devotion, then he is blessed. Therefore while on a trip to Kerala do not forget to visit these top temples in order to seek lord’s blessings. Plan your itinerary in such a manner that it includes all the famous temples.