Temples, Shrines And Spiritual Places Across Kerala
Kerala is famous for beautiful palm-lined beaches, scenic backwaters and lagoons, hill stations, emerald green valleys, tropical forests, waterfalls, exotic wildlife, ancient temples and monuments, and enchanting festivals. The state is noted for AYURVEDA, a traditional system of holistic healing using herbs and medicinal oils that serve to rejuvenate the body, and is home to a variety of herbs and spices. Thiruvananthapuram, also known as Trivandrum, is the capital and the largest city of the state of Kerala. The name Kerala is derived from the word ‘Kera’, which means ‘coconut tree’ in Malayalam, because of abundance of coconut trees in the state.
True to its famed tagline ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala mesmerizes her guests with unique cultural heritage, picturesque natural settings, warm hospitality and delectable cuisine. A deeper exploration reveals ancient temples, mystical shrines and sacred monasteries shrouded in fascinating legends, magnificent history, architectural splendor, artistic brilliance and spiritual harmony. So, here are some famous temples in Kerala that have captivated millions with its divine ambience.
The richest place of worship in the world and one among the most divine 108 Vishnu temples is the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Mandir in Thiruvananthapuram. Designed in the Dravidian architectural style, this 8th century temple is renowned for its captivating wall murals, stone sculptures and the idol of Lord Vishnu reclining on the serpent God Anantha.
Another temple that subtly blends architectural splendor with divinity is the Vadakkunathan Mandir in Thrissur. Believed to be built by Lord Parasuram, the temple features huge pillars with splendid sculptures and murals. A must-visit for Shaivites is the 14th century Ettumanoor Mahadeva Mandir in Kottayam, famous for its fresco of Shiva, it is considered to be one of the most magnificent ancient artwork in South India.
There is no dearth of fascinating legends and stories related to ancient temples across Kerala. According to legends, the Shiva linga worshipped in the 1000 year old Kaviyoor Mahadeva Mandir was instated by Lord Ram during his journey to Ayodhya after slaying the asura Ravana. Thirunelli Mandir in Wayanad is believed to be the creation of Lord Brahma. Known as Dwaraka of the South, the Guruvayoor Mandir is believed to be the creation of the divine architect ‘Lord Vishwakarma’.
To experience the holiness of the sacred feminine, seek the blessings of Goddess Parvathi at the Attukal Bhagavathy Mandir. Another ancient temple dedicated to the Goddesses is the 1300 year old Udiyanoor Devi Mandir in Thiruvananthapuram, the only north-facing temple in Kerala. An astonishing ritual at the Chottanikara Devi Temple in Ernakulam is worshipping the same deity as Saraswati in the morning, Lakshmi in the afternoon and Durga in the evening.
Searching for a truly unique spiritual experience? Do visit the Ananthapura Lake Mandir, guarded by a vegetarian crocodile. The Oachira temple in Kollam with no idol or sanctum sanctorum glows with the true spirit of universal consciousness. Located within 16 acres of forests, is the Mannarasala Mandir in Haripad. The temple is dedicated to the serpent God Nagaraja and considered as the most revered place for childless couples of all religions.
Experience the footprints of Jainism in the 500 year old Jain Mandir in Palakkad featuring ancient sculptures of Jain Yakshinis and Tirthankaras. Buddhist statues unearthed in different parts of Kerala indicate that Buddhism was deep rooted in ancient Kerala. Buddha idols now enshrined in Karumadi and Mavelikkara are estimated to be over 2000 years old. Sikhism too has left an imprint on Kerala with the Sri Guru Singh Sabha near Kochi that has been attracting people of all faiths since 1955.
A trip to Kerala offers the perfect pilgrimage of a lifetime, introducing you to ancient legends, stunning architecture, breathtaking views, diverse faiths and profound spiritualism.