The name "God's Own Country" is synonymous with Kerala. Since the state is home to several historic and beautiful temples that are still run in the traditional style, with a focus on ancient rites and ceremonies, this quality is also fitting for the state. These temples are a must-visit for every tourist in Kerala.
Kerala is a tourist's delight owing to its many stunning lakes and rivers, expansive hills, picturesque places, and verdant foliage dotted with coconut palms. That's why they name it "God's Own Country". Since the state is home to several historic and beautiful temples that are still run in the traditional style, with a focus on ancient rites and ceremonies, this quality is also fitting for the state. These temples are a must-visit for every tourist in Kerala. Despite the hundreds of temples in Kerala, we've narrowed it down to the 10 most popular ones. Take a look.
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Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
The beauty and craftsmanship of this edifice are unparalleled. Lord Padmanabhaswamy is an avatar of Vishnu, and this temple in Thiruvananthapuram is his home. An 8th-century temple constructed in the traditional Dravidian style. It is considered to be one of the 108 Divya Desam, or Vishnu Temples. Padmanabhaswamy, the presiding god, is shown lounging on a hooded snake, called Anantha.
When people think about Kerala, the hilltop Sabarimala temple in the middle of a forest is often the first thing that comes to mind. Situated in the Ghats in the Pathanamthitta district, the Sabarimala temple is a popular pilgrimage destination and is dedicated to the god Ayyappan, the offspring of Lord Shiva and mother Mohini, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. The temple is only accessible by foot and only male worshipers are permitted inside. However, girls under 10 and women over 50 are welcome.
The Guruvayoor temple at Guruvayoor, Kerala, is widely considered to be one of the most significant Hindu pilgrimage sites in all of India. Lakhs of people attend every day because it is devoted to the Hindu god Krishna. Temple festivals and April's Vishu New Year celebration saw a rise in attendance. The temple is at its most magnificent in the middle of April, at the beginning of March, and at the end of the year in the beginning of January, when visitors from all over the world come to pay their respects.
Attukal Bhagwathy Temple
It's convenient to visit both Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple and this one, which are both near by. The avatar of Parvati worshiped here—the Goddess Kannaki—has her own temple. The god at the center of worship is revered as the one and only source of origin and authority. The temple became internationally renowned when it entered the Guinness Book as the site of the greatest congregation of female worshipers.
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Ambalapuzha Shree Krishna Temple
This beautiful temple, which was constructed in the 17th century, is devoted to Krishna. Unni Krishna, Lord Krishna in his youthful guise, is revered at this temple. Many pilgrims go great distances to worship here in the hopes of receiving divine favor. Lord's celebration in the shape of a kid prompts the serving of pal payasam. A delicious Prasada indeed. According to folklore, the god relocated to Ambalapuzha from Guruvayoor during the time of Tipu Sultan. Because the god needed to be shielded from the raids, this was done.
Mannarshala Nagaraja Temple
These serpent-deity temples are the only ones of their sort in all of India. Located in Harippad, Kerala, the temple encompasses vast acreage and has several holy grooves. To that end, the serpents' freedom of movement and existence inside the temple were primary design considerations. In and around the temple are at least 30,000 statues depicting various serpent Gods. Uruli Kamizhthal, often known as "putting a vessel," is a pooja performed by childless couples that has gained widespread notoriety in recent decades.
Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple
The temple in Kottayam is among the oldest in India. It is well-known for its devotion to Lord Shiva (also known as Mahadeva) and its distinctive Dravidian style of architecture. Ancient construction methods were used to erect the temple, and restoration work was carried out in the 1600s. The walls of the temple's interior and exterior are both covered with mural paintings. The ideal time to come is in February or March, when the temple celebrates its yearly festival, when visitors may participate in and see numerous fascinating and unusual rites.
Chottanikkara Devi is honored in the Chottanikkara Temple, another well-known shrine in Kerala. Stunning in its superior architectural design, this temple is really a marvel. Durga is the evening form, Laxmi is the midday form, and Saraswati is the morning form in which the goddess is adored. Lord Shiva is worshiped in an opposite orientation at this temple. The Guruthi Pooja is performed nightly at Keezhkkaavu temple, which is located to the east of the main temple.
The historic Maha Vishnu Temple, also known as Thirunelli Temple, is a place of worship for the Hindu god Vishnu. Many devout South Indian Hindus place a high value on this shrine. Kashi of the South is another name for this temple. It is mentioned in the ancient Puranas, or sacred texts. The Puranas say that Lord Brahma constructed this temple. It is significant not just because of its historical value, but also because of its position. It may be found in the picturesque valleys of northern Wayanad. People from all over come to this temple to pray and take in the beautiful surroundings.
Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple
The town of Ambalapuzha is home to the Srikrishna Temple, where devotees pay homage to Lord Krishna in the shape of a young child. The temple was probably constructed in the 17th century, and the prasadam, or offering, is well-known for its delicious combination of milk, sugar, and rice. The ideal time to visit the temple is during the yearly Ambalapuzha temple festival in July or the Aarattu Festival in March or April.
While it is possible to visit any of Kerala's temples at any time of year, it is especially rewarding to do so during one of the many annual festivals held in the state's temples. During these festivals, not only are the temples beautifully decorated, but visitors can also participate in centuries-old rituals. Many temples in Kerala have 'annadanam,' or 'gift of food,' and visitors may dine in the temple halls created for the purpose.
(Edited by : Jerome Anthony)
First Published: IST