Stretching over 360 miles along the southernmost west coast of India, Kerala is home to some of the most famous temples in the world. With sculptures and murals, these architectural marvels continue to attract people from around the world, making Kerala, one of the tourist hotspots in India. Listed below are the 11 most visited & famous Hindu temples in Kerala.
1. Sree Padmanabha Kshetram, Thiruvananthapuram
Located in the state capital, Sree Padmanabha Kshetram is known for the idol of the deity which can only be viewed from three separate doors.
With the face on the South and feet on the North Padmanabha rests on Anantha, sculpted in stone and covered entirely with gold.
The temple is also known for its six secret vaults and hidden treasure. Among the six vaults, vault B is not yet opened.
2. Sabarimala Temple
Sabarimala is the most visited temple in Kerala. The people who come to pray here are expected to undergo 41 days of austerities.
All the followers of the deity come in black as they carry ‘irumudi’ up the mountain, where everyone is treated equally irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds. The climbing of eighteen steps that leads to Sanctum Santorum also known as ‘Pathinettampadi’ is a custom unique to Sabarimala.
An estimated 40 million people visited the Temple every year before the controversial issues due to the court order that allowed women to enter the temple and then followed by the pandemic.
3. Guruvayur Temple
Situated in the district of Thrissur, Guruvayur kshetra gets flooded by worshippers every Utsav season.
The main deity here is Shri Krishna, also called Guruvayurappan, one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu. Janmashtami and Guruvayur Ekadasi are some of the festivals celebrated here.
The temple gets so crowded that one has to register their name or stand in kilometres of the queue to even get a glance at the idol of the deity.
4. Mannarsala Temple
Mannarasala temple is located in the district of Alappuzha, near Haripad. There are many folk tales associated with this place.
The main deities here are Nagaraja, the king of the serpents and Nagayakshi, the serpent queen. Surrounded by sacred grooves known as ‘Sarpakavu’, the temple is also known for having the head priest as a lady, known as ‘Waliemma’.
The main festival here is known as Mannarasala Ayilyam held in the months of October-November.
5. Chottanikkara Temple
Located in the district of Ernakulam, the deity here is called Chottanikkara Bhagavathy.
The Goddess here is worshipped as Saraswati in the morning, Lakshmi in the noon and Durga in the evening. There are many stories of mentally challenged people getting cured due to Bhagavata’s blessing associated with the temple.
The annual festival here falls during the month of February-March. It starts on Rohini with flag hoisting and ends on uttapam after a period of nine days.
6. Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna
Even today Ambalappuzha Temple is associated with the Chundan board race, the reason being the belief that the idol of the deity was brought to the temple in these boats.
With Krishna as the main deity, the Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna is located 20kilometres south of Alleppey. Ambalappuzha is famous for its tasty Palpayasam. Once the idol of Krishna from Guruvayur was kept in the temple for safekeeping. There is a popular belief that during the ‘nivedyam’ time Krishna still goes to Ambalapuzha to have Payasam.
The main festival here is 10 days long and is called the ‘Arattu festival’. It is conducted during the month of March-April.
7. Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple
With the copper roof wooden sculptures, an aesthetically pleasing exterior Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is indeed a landmark for the District of Kottayam.
The Festival of “Ezharaponnana” celebrated during Kumbham in February March is very famous. During which, golden elephant statues are carried in procession. Seven of the statues are two-foot-long and the eighth one is only one foot. Hence the name.
The main idol here is Shiva. The temple also has the very rare Dakshinamurthy idol.
8. Attukal Bhagavathy Temple
The deity here is known as Attukal Devi. It is believed that Kannaki (the protagonist of the epic Chilappathikaram) after destroying Madurai travelled through Kanyakumari and stopped at Attukal during her journey to Kodungalloor.
The deity is believed to be the divinised form of Kannaki. The temple is famous for Pongal Mahotsav in which only women are allowed to take part.
It’s a ten-day-long festival conducted during February and March. On the ninth day, the Attukal Pongala Mahotsav takes place.
9. Sri Vadakkunnathan Temple
The temple is believed to be created by Lord Parashurama. The three shrines inside the temple are for Vadakkumnadha Rama and Shankaranarayana.
The temple has a Koothambalam and gopurams ( towers) on four sides. The eight acres enclosing the temple area is surrounded by giant walls. It is located in the district of Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala.
The date of construction of the temple is undetermined. Mahashivaratri is one of the main festivals associated with the temple. It is held in the month of February-March. Another famous festival is Thrissur Pooram where many deities from temples nearby gather at the Pooraparamb every year. This festival is celebrated around April.
10. Aluva Manappuram Mahadeva Temple
The Mahadeva Temple is situated near the Marthanda Varma bridge of Ernakulam district. It lies on the sandbank in between Mangalappuzha and Periyar river.
The Shivalinga that is worshipped here is not enclosed in Sreekovil.The Swayambhu Shivling rises out of the Periyar river.
Some believe that the temple was created by Parashurama, but other legends suggest that the creators of the temple were the Booth Ganas of Lord Shiva.
Shivaratri is the main festival here, devotees stay up all night in prayers during this festival.
11. Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple
The main deity here is Goddess Bhadrakali. Kodungallur Bhagavathi temple is known to be the abode of Kannaki, who is believed to be the reincarnation of Kali.
The five chakras installed in the temple by Adi Shankaracharya are well known for their powers. The temple is situated in the district of Thrissur.
The main festival is called the Bharani festival. It is celebrated between March and April.