Kerala has a fairly rich mythological heritage and there are temples of several gods and goddesses almost throughout the state. All these temples are not only significant from their religios importance but are also great architectural set ups. Some are huge and richly decorated while others are small with simple decor, but invarianbly all speak volumes about the highly religious temperament of the people.
It is, 191 km from Thiruvananthapuram and 210 km from Kochi: One of the most famous pilgrim centres in India, Sabarimala is situated on the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats at an altitude of 914 m above sea level and is accessible only by foot from Pamba (4 km). The temple is dedicated to Sree Ayyappa. Pilgrim season: November to mid January. Mandala Pooja and Makaravilakku are the two main events of the pilgrim season. The temple stays closed during the rest of the year except for the first five days of every Malayalam month and during vishu (April). Nearest railway station: Thiruvalla (102 km) People of all castes and creeds are permitted into the temple. However, entry not allowed to women between 10 and 50 years of age.
Guruvayoor, where the famous Sree Krishna Temple is situated, is one of the most sacred and important pilgrim centres of kerala. The walls of the sanctum sanctorum are inlaid with exquisite mural paintings and carvings. In Kerala, this is probably the only temple that hosts the maximum number of marriages and rice feeding ceremonies (the ritual first meal for infants).
It was also the hub of the 'Guruvayoor Sathyagraha' , a historic movement demanding temple entry rights for the 'so called' lower castes. The historic temple is shrouded in mystery. According to local belief, the temple was created by 'Guru', the 'preceptor of the gods' and 'Vayu', the 'god of winds'. The eastern 'nada' is the main entrance to the shrine.
In the 'Chuttambalam' (outer enclosure) is a 33.5-m tall gold-plated 'Dwajastambham' (flagpost). There is also a 7m high 'Deepastambham' (pillar of lamps), whose thirteen circular receptacles provide a truly brillant spectacle, when lit. The square 'Sreekovil' is the sacred sanctum sanctorum of the temple, housing the main deity. Within the temple, there are also the images of Ganapathy, Sree Ayyappa and Edathedathy Kavil Bhagavathy.
The ancient Sree Krishna Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna is situated 8 miles south of Alappuzha. This temple is famous throughout Kerala for the milk porridge, 'Palpayasam' served here.
Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple is a famous Hindu temple of Lord Vishnu, located inside the Fort in city of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. The temple is one of the 108 divya desam, the holiest abodes of Lord Vishnu and the main deity, Padmanabhaswamy is a form of Vishnu in Anananthasayanam posture (in eternal sleep of yognidra). This is an ancient temple and the city of Thiruvananthapuram derives its name from the name of the presiding deity enshrined in the temple.
The temple has a seven-tier gopuram. The temple stands by the side of a tank, named Padma Theertham (meaning the lotus spring). The temple has a corridor with 365 and one-quarter sculptured granite-stone pillars with elaborate carvings. This corridor encompasses and leads one from the eastern side into the sanctum sanctorum. An eighty-foot flag-staff is erected in front of the main entry from the 'prakaram' (corridor). The ground floor under the gopuram (main entrance in the eastern side) is known as the 'Nataka Sala' where the famous temple art, Kathakali was staged in the night during the ten-day uthsavam (festival) conducted twice a year, during the Malayalam months of Meenam and Thulam.
Karimarathinkal Sree Bhadrakali Temple
Karimarathinkal Devi Temple, situated in a small peaceful village called Chingoli. about 7 km from Haripad, near the main entrance of NTPC, Choolatherivu.
Chottanikkara temple, located near Ernakulam enshrines Bhagawati - the mother Goddess, one of the most popular deities in Kerala. Enroute is the Poornatrayesa temple at Tripunittura. The Devi is worshipped along with Lord Vishnu. Together, they are known as Lakshminarayana. People who have mental illness seek refuge in the divine mother, who graciously cures all her devotees. Goddess Rajarajeswari is the presiding deity. This deity is worshipped in three different forms - as Saraswati in the morning - draped in white, as Bhadrakali at noon draped in crimson, and as Durga in the evening decked in blue.
Thali Temple, located downtown is an important temple of the erstwhile Zamorin Kingdom of Kozhikode.The temple is famous for the 'Revathi Pattathanam', an annual competition of pedagogic skills. A square sanctorum with a 'Mukhamandapam', very high laterite walls and an expansive temple pond are some of the specialities of this Siva temple.The annual festival falls in April/ May. The eight-day festival concludes with 'Arattu' or the holy bath ritual.
The Vishwanatha Swamy shrine, the oldest Shiva temple is situated 3 kms from Palakkad. The annual chariot temple is a gala event. The annual 'Ratholsavam' or Chariot Festival at Sree Viswanantha Swamy temple lasts for seven days. On the last three days, beautifully decorated temple chariots are ceremoniously drawn through the streets by thousands of devotees whose soul stirring chants rent the air. The festival is dominated by three magnificent chariots, bedecked with flowers and flags, each sanctified by the presence of the lord.
Oachira is unique place of worship with neither a structure to house an idol nor an idol around which temples are usually built. The presiding deity at this sanctum-sanctorum is the abstract principle of the 'Parabrahmam' or the 'Divine Omnipresence' or 'Universal Conciousness'. The main events at the temple, 'Oachirakkali' festival falls in mid-June, while the 'Panthranduvilakku' or the twelve-day festival of lights gets underway in November/ December.
Mangla Devi Temple
Mangala devi temple, the ancient temple is located 15 kms from Thekkady. It lies hidden in the dense woods at the top of a peak 1337 m above sea level. The temple is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture. Visitors are allowed here only on the Chithra Pournami festival day. The peak commands a panoramic view of the eastern slopes of the ghats and some hill villages of Tamil Nadu. Permission to visit the area can be obtained from the Wildlife Warden, Thekkady.
The Bhagawati temple at Kodungallur is of great renown throughout the state of Kerala. Kodungallur situated on the west coast, was once a great port of the Chera rulers of Tamilnadu, It was known by the Greek as as the musris. Tiruvanchikkulam, now a suburb of Kodungallur was a center of great historic significance during the chera period. Cheran Senguttuvan is said to have built the temple to Kannagi - a manifestation of Kaali or Kotravai or Durga, here (Silappadikaaram).
Kottarakkara Sree Mahaganapathi Temple
Kottarakkara Sree Mahaganapathy Kshethram is one of the old and famous pilgrim centre in South India. This Ganapati temple is located in Kottarakkara which is 25 km from Kollam. The deities of this temple are Parama Shiva,Parvati Devi, Sree Maha Ganapati, Sree Murukan, Sree Ayyappan, and Nagaraja. Even though main deity is Parama Shiva, main priority is given to Sree Maha Ganapati. The main offerings of the temple are Unni Appam and Pushpanjali.
Thiruvanaya Navamukunda Temple, near Ponnani in Malappuram district is situated on the banks of the river Bharathapuzha. Holding immense historical importance, this is the place where 'Mamangam', a grand assembly of the rulers of Kerala was held here once every 12 years, in olden times. This extravagant festival was held for the last time in 1755 AD. Today, Thirunavaya temple is also a famous pilgrim centre.
Thiruvalla Temple is one of the largest temples of Kerala and a fine specimen of its traditional style of temple architecture. The temple has many shrines though it is mainly dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The 50- feet high flag post is of granite. An idol of garuda, vehicle of Lord Vishnu, is fixed atop the flag post.A unique attraction of this temple is the Kathakali performance staged every evening, as ritual offering. It is believed that Vishnu, the principal deity, watches the performance from his abode.
Parasurama, the mythical founder of Kerala, is said to have built a temple here dedicated to Lord Shiva. The twelve-day festival of the temple falls in November -December, and is celebrated with classical dance and music performances. Also famous is the 'Kshetra Kalapeedhom', a school devoted to temple arts.
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