25 Most Famous Temples in Kerala

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Kerala, the southernmost state of India, is known for its scenic beauty, backwaters, and diverse cultural heritage. The land of gods and goddesses is also home to some of the most magnificent and revered temples in India. These temples are not only religious centers but also architectural marvels that reflect the rich history and cultural heritage of Kerala. In this article, we will take you on a spiritual journey through the 25 most famous temples in Kerala.

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Most Famous Temples in Kerala

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is an ancient temple located in the heart of Trivandrum city. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is one of the wealthiest temples in the world. The temple is known for its stunning architecture and rich history.

History and Significance

The temple has a rich history that dates back to the 8th century. The temple was built by the rulers of the Chera dynasty and was later renovated by the kings of Travancore. The temple is known for its association with the royal family of Travancore and is considered to be one of the most important temples in Kerala.

Architecture and Features

The temple architecture is a blend of Kerala and Dravidian styles. The main deity of the temple is Lord Vishnu, who is worshipped in the reclining position on the serpent Anantha. The temple is known for its stunning Gopuram, which is over 100 feet tall and has intricate carvings and sculptures.

Interesting Facts

  1. The temple is known for its vast wealth, which was discovered in 2011. The temple vaults are said to contain treasures worth billions of dollars.
  2. The temple is also known for its association with the royal family of Travancore. The king of Travancore used to be the custodian of the temple and was responsible for its upkeep.
  3. The temple is also famous for its annual festival, which is celebrated with great enthusiasm. The festival is known as Alpashy and is celebrated in the month of October or November.

Guruvayoor Sri Krishna Temple

Guruvayoor Sri Krishna Temple

Guruvayoor Sri Krishna Temple is one of the most famous temples in Kerala and is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The temple is located in the town of Guruvayoor and is known for its stunning architecture, rich history, and spiritual significance.

History and Significance

The temple has a history that dates back over 5000 years. It is believed that the temple was built by Lord Vishnu himself and was later renovated by various rulers of the region. The temple is known for its association with the famous saint, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is said to have visited the temple in the 16th century.

Architecture and Features

The temple’s architecture is a blend of Kerala and Dravidian styles. The main deity of the temple is Lord Krishna, who is worshipped in the form of a beautiful idol. The temple is known for its stunning inner sanctum, which is made of pure gold and is adorned with beautiful carvings and paintings.

Festivals and Rituals

The temple is famous for its various festivals and rituals. The most important festival of the temple is the annual Utsavam, which is celebrated for 10 days in the month of February or March. During this festival, the temple is adorned with beautiful decorations, and various cultural events are organized.

Other important festivals celebrated at the temple include Ashtami Rohini, Janmashtami, and Navaratri. The temple is also known for its various rituals, including the Nirmalya Darshan, which is held early in the morning when the idol is bathed and dressed.

Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple

Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple is one of the most popular temples in Kerala and is located in the Periyar Tiger Reserve. The temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa and is known for its rich history, architecture, and spiritual significance.

History and Significance

The temple has a history that dates back over 800 years and is believed to have been built by the Pandya king, Kulasekhara. The temple is known for its association with the famous saint, Manikandan, who is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Ayyappa.

Architecture and Features

The temple’s architecture is a blend of Kerala and Tamil Nadu styles. The main deity of the temple is Lord Ayyappa, who is worshipped in the form of a beautiful idol. The temple is known for its stunning 18 steps, which pilgrims climb as part of their spiritual journey.

Vadakkunnathan Temple

Vadakkunnathan Temple

Vadakkunnathan Temple is one of the oldest temples in Kerala and is located in the city of Thrissur. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is known for its stunning architecture, rich history, and spiritual significance.

History and Significance

The temple has a history that dates back over 1000 years and is believed to have been built by Parasurama, the legendary ruler of Kerala. The temple is known for its association with various saints and scholars, including Adi Shankaracharya.

Architecture and Features

The temple’s architecture is a blend of Kerala and Dravidian styles. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva, who is worshipped in the form of a beautiful idol. The temple is known for its stunning wooden roof, which is made of teakwood and is adorned with beautiful carvings.

Chottanikkara Devi

Temple History and Significance

Located in the town of Chottanikkara in Ernakulam district, the Chottanikkara Devi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhagawati, an incarnation of Goddess Shakti. The temple has a fascinating legend associated with it, according to which the Goddess appeared in a dream of a local Brahmin and directed him to install her idol in a nearby grove. The Brahmin did as instructed, and the temple was built around the idol over time.

Architecture and Features

The Chottanikkara Devi Temple is a unique blend of Keralite, Tamil and Dravidian architectural styles. The temple complex comprises of several smaller shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesh, and other deities. The main deity, Goddess Bhagawati, is depicted with eight arms, each holding a different weapon.

Darshan Timings and Dress Code

The temple is open to devotees from early morning to late evening. The morning puja starts at 4:00 AM and the evening puja is performed at 6:00 PM. The temple is closed during the afternoon hours from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Men are required to remove their shirts before entering the temple, and women are expected to wear traditional attire such as sarees or salwar kameez.

Navratri Festival

The Navratri festival is the most significant festival celebrated in the Chottanikkara Devi Temple. The festival is celebrated for nine days and attracts devotees from all over the country. The temple is beautifully decorated with lights and flowers during this time, and special pujas and rituals are performed in honor of the goddess.

Thirunelli Temple

History and Significance

Located in the Brahmagiri Hills of Wayanad district, Thirunelli Temple is one of the oldest and most sacred temples in Kerala. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is believed to have been built by Lord Brahma himself. The temple has a fascinating legend associated with it, according to which Lord Brahma performed a yajna at the site where the temple stands today.

Architecture and Features

The Thirunelli Temple is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture and features a beautiful courtyard surrounded by pillared halls. The temple has a square-shaped sanctum sanctorum where the main deity, Lord Vishnu, is enshrined. The temple also features a holy spring, Papanasini, where devotees take a dip to cleanse themselves of sins.

Rituals and Offerings

The Thirunelli Temple is famous for its rituals and offerings, which include the Sahasrakalasam, a ritual in which the main deity is bathed in 1008 pots of water. Other offerings include the Thulabharam, where devotees offer their weight in gold or other materials to the deity, and the Vedi Vazhipadu, where offerings are made to Lord Shiva.

These are just a few of the famous temples in Kerala that attract devotees from all over the world. Each temple has its own unique history, architecture, and significance, making them a must-visit for anyone interested in spirituality and culture.

Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple

History and Significance

Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple is one of the most revered and ancient temples in Kerala. It is believed that the temple was built during the 15th – 17th century AD. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, who is worshipped here in the form of Parthasarathy. The temple is also famous for its delicious prasadam, the Ambalapuzha Paal Payasam.

Architecture and Features

The temple is known for its beautiful traditional Kerala style architecture. The temple complex has a rectangular shape and the entrance is adorned with beautiful wood carvings. The sanctum sanctorum houses the idol of Lord Krishna holding a whip in his right hand and a conch in his left. The idol is made of a unique combination of lime, mortar, and herbal extracts, which makes it extremely light and porous.

Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple

History and Significance

Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in the town of Kodungallur in Thrissur district of Kerala. The temple is believed to have been built during the 8th century AD. The temple is known for its unique idol of Lord Shiva.

Architecture and Features

The temple is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture with a gopuram, a mandapa, and a sanctum sanctorum. The temple complex also houses a beautiful pond known as Sarpakkavu. The unique idol of Lord Shiva in the temple has four hands, which is a rare feature.

Unique Idol of Lord Shiva

The idol of Lord Shiva in Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple is unique because of its four hands. The idol is also known as Chathurbhujasiva, which means the four-armed Lord Shiva. It is believed that the idol was installed by Lord Parasurama, the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu. The four hands of the idol hold a trident, a damaru (a small drum), a snake, and a bowl of rice.

Thiruvalla Sree Vallabha Temple

Thiruvalla Sree Vallabha Temple

History and Significance

Thiruvalla Sree Vallabha Temple, located in Thiruvalla town in Pathanamthitta district, is one of the ancient and prominent temples in Kerala. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and the presiding deity is in the form of a swayambhu (self-manifested) idol. The temple has a rich history and is closely associated with the royal family of Travancore.

Architecture and Features

The temple complex is vast and includes several mandapams and shrines. The main sanctum sanctorum of the temple is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures, and the temple’s gopuram (entrance) is a sight to behold. The temple’s architecture is a unique blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles.

Famous Temple Festival – Aranmula Vallasadhya

The temple is famous for the Aranmula Vallasadhya, a grand feast held during the Onam festival. The feast is served on banana leaves, and it is believed that the deity himself partakes in the meal.

Mahadeva Temple, Kazhakootam

History and Significance

Mahadeva Temple is an ancient temple located in Kazhakootam, Thiruvananthapuram district. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and the presiding deity is in the form of a Shivling. The temple has a rich history and is closely associated with the famous Kerala Mathematician Sree Shakthi Thampuran.

Architecture and Features

The temple’s architecture is a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures, and the temple’s gopuram (entrance) is a sight to behold.

Sivagiri Mutt

History and Significance

Sivagiri Mutt is a famous pilgrimage centre located in Varkala, Kerala. It was established in 1904 by the famous social reformer and sage, Sree Narayana Guru. The Mutt is the final resting place of Sree Narayana Guru and is visited by thousands of devotees every year.

Architecture and Features

The Mutt has a beautiful architecture with several structures built in traditional Kerala style. The main attraction of the Mutt is the temple dedicated to Sree Narayana Guru, which has a simple yet elegant design. The Mutt also has a library and a museum that showcase the life and teachings of Sree Narayana Guru.

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple

History and Significance

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple is a unique temple located in Haripad, Kerala. It is dedicated to the serpent gods and is believed to be over 1000 years old. The temple is surrounded by a dense forest and has a serene and tranquil atmosphere.

Architecture and Features

The temple has a traditional Kerala style architecture with several beautiful structures built in wood and stone. The main deity of the temple is Nagaraja, the serpent god. The temple also has a sacred grove where hundreds of snake idols are worshipped.

Vaikom Mahadeva Temple

History and Significance

Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is one of the oldest and most famous temples in Kerala. It is located in Vaikom and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is believed to have been built in the 12th century and is famous for its historical and religious significance.

Architecture and Features

The temple has a traditional Kerala style architecture with several beautiful structures built in wood and stone. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva, who is worshipped in the form of a lingam. The temple also has several other shrines dedicated to different deities.

Koodalmanikyam Temple

Koodalmanikyam Temple

History and Significance

Koodalmanikyam Temple is a unique temple located in Irinjalakuda, Kerala. It is believed to be one of the oldest temples in Kerala and is dedicated to Lord Bharatha, the brother of Lord Rama. The temple is famous for its unique architecture and idols.

Architecture and Features

The temple has a unique architecture with several beautiful structures built in wood and stone. The main attraction of the temple is the idol of Lord Bharatha, which is unique in its design and features.

Sree Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple

History and Significance

The temple is located in Kannur district and is dedicated to Muthappan, a folk deity worshipped in North Malabar. The temple is considered a symbol of communal harmony, as people from all religions and castes visit it.

Architecture and Features

The temple has a unique architecture with a thatched roof and mud walls. The idol of Muthappan is made of wood and is in a standing posture. The temple also has a sacred grove where offerings are made to the deity.

Darshan Timings and Dress Code

The temple is open from morning till evening, and the dress code is traditional Kerala attire.

Ananthapura Lake Temple

History and Significance

The temple is located in Kasaragod district and is the only lake temple in Kerala. The temple is dedicated to Lord Anantha Padmanabha, a form of Lord Vishnu.

Architecture and Features

The temple has a unique architecture with a square-shaped sanctum sanctorum made of granite stones. The temple is surrounded by a lake, which is believed to be home to a crocodile that is considered a guardian of the temple.

Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple

History and Significance

The temple is located in Thiruvananthapuram and is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The temple is known for the idol of Lord Ganesha in a reclining posture.

Architecture and Features

The temple has a unique architecture with a spacious hall and a granite sanctum sanctorum. The idol of Lord Ganesha is made of a special kind of granite called “kadusharkara yogam.”

Thiruvanikavu Temple

History and Significance

The temple is located in Thrissur district and is dedicated to Goddess Durga. The temple is known for the idol of Goddess Durga in a rare form called “Sarvabhouma.”

Architecture and Features

The temple has a unique architecture with a spacious hall and a wooden sanctum sanctorum. The idol of Goddess Durga is made of wood and is in a standing posture.

Thiruvilwamala Temple

History and Significance

The temple is located in Thrissur district and is dedicated to Lord Ram. The temple is known for its beautiful architecture and serene atmosphere.

Architecture and Features

The temple has a unique architecture with a spacious hall and a granite sanctum sanctorum. The temple is surrounded by a beautiful garden and a pond.

Chakkulathukavu Temple

History and Significance

The temple is located in Alappuzha district and is dedicated to Goddess Durga. The temple is known for the idol of Goddess Durga in a standing posture.

Architecture and Features

The temple has a unique architecture with a spacious hall and a granite sanctum sanctorum. The temple is surrounded by a beautiful garden and a pond.

Vadakkumnathan Temple, Thrissur

History and Significance

Vadakkumnathan Temple is one of the oldest and largest temples in Kerala, located in the heart of Thrissur city. It is believed to have been built by Parasurama, the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu, and later renovated by various rulers. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Shaivites in South India.

Architecture and Features

The temple’s architecture is a fine example of traditional Kerala style with beautiful wood carvings and mural paintings on the walls. The temple complex is spread over 8 acres of land and includes several shrines dedicated to various deities. The main shrine of Lord Shiva is surrounded by a circular wall with a Gopuram at the entrance. The temple has a unique rectangular-shaped Koothambalam, where traditional dance and drama performances are held.

Darshan Timings

The temple is open from 4:00 AM to 10:30 PM. There are different darshan timings for each pooja performed throughout the day.

Sree Muthappan Temple

History and Significance

Sree Muthappan Temple is a famous temple located in Kannur district of Kerala, dedicated to the folk deity Muthappan. The temple is known for its unique ritualistic practices and is visited by people from all over the world. The temple is believed to be over 500 years old.

Architecture and Features

Temple is built in a rustic style and is surrounded by coconut groves and rice fields. The deity of Muthappan is represented by a wooden statue and is accompanied by a dog and a bird. The temple has a large pond in front of it, where devotees take a dip before entering the temple.

Sree Krishna Swamy Temple, Ambalapuzha

History and Significance

The temple is believed to have been built in the 8th century AD by the ruler of Ambalapuzha. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, who is worshipped here as Unnikrishnan. The temple is known for its association with the legendary king of Travancore, Marthanda Varma, who is said to have donated a large amount of land to the temple. The temple is also known for its famous offering, the Ambalapuzha Palpayasam, a sweet porridge made with rice, milk, and sugar.

Architecture and Features

The temple is built in the typical Kerala style of architecture with a gabled roof and wooden carvings. The sanctum sanctorum houses the idol of Lord Krishna in a standing posture, holding a flute in his hand. The temple also has a beautiful pond, which is said to be connected to the temple’s history.

Darshan Timings

The temple is open for darshan from 3:00 AM to 12:00 PM and from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

History and Significance

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is a Hindu temple located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Bhagavathy, who is considered as the supreme mother and creator of all living beings. The temple is known for its annual festival called the Attukal Pongala, which is the largest all-women religious gathering in the world. The festival is celebrated during the Malayalam month of Kumbham (February-March).

According to the legend, the temple was built by the King of Travancore, His Highness Sri Moolam Thirunal (1885-1924), who had a vision of the goddess while he was on a hunting expedition in the forest. The temple was later renovated by the Kings of Travancore in the 20th century.

Architecture and Features

The Attukal Bhagavathy Temple has a traditional Kerala-style architecture with a gabled roof and wooden carvings. The temple complex consists of several shrines dedicated to various deities. The main deity of the temple is Bhagavathy, who is depicted as a fierce form of the goddess Durga. The idol of the goddess is made of wood and is adorned with gold jewelry.

Pongala Festival

The Attukal Pongala festival is celebrated on the ninth day of the Malayalam month of Kumbham. It is a ten-day festival, and the main event is the offering of Pongala to the goddess Bhagavathy. Pongala is a sweet porridge made with rice, jaggery, coconut, and other ingredients, which is cooked in earthen pots on open fires. The Pongala offering is made by women devotees, who gather in large numbers around the temple premises and cook the Pongala in the early hours of the morning. The festival is known for its unique feature of being an all-women affair, and it holds the Guinness World Record for the largest annual gathering of women.

Ettumanoor Mahadeva

Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is an ancient Hindu temple located in Ettumanoor, Kottayam district of Kerala, India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the major Shiva temples in Kerala.

History and Significance

The history of Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple dates back to around 4000 years. It is believed that the Pandavas and Lord Krishna have worshipped at this temple. The temple was also renovated and rebuilt during the reign of various dynasties such as Chera, Chola, and Pandya. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva, worshipped as Lord Ettumanoorappan.

Architecture and Features

The temple has a beautiful and unique architecture with a gopuram (tower) at the entrance and a namaskara mandapam (prayer hall) inside. The namaskara mandapam is made of wood and has beautiful carvings and paintings depicting various scenes from Hindu mythology. The temple also has a sanctum sanctorum (garbhagriha) where the main deity Lord Ettumanoorappan is worshipped. The walls of the sanctum sanctorum are adorned with beautiful murals depicting various scenes from Hindu mythology.

Conclusion

Kerala is home to some of the most famous and revered temples in India. Each temple is unique in its architecture, history, and cultural significance. These temples not only serve as religious centers but also as cultural landmarks that showcase the rich heritage of Kerala. The 25 most famous temples in Kerala are a testament to the deep spiritual and cultural roots of the state. Visiting these temples is an enriching experience that offers a glimpse into the state’s history, culture, and spirituality. Whether you are a devotee seeking spiritual solace or a traveler seeking to explore the state’s cultural heritage, these temples are must-visit destinations that are sure to leave a lasting impression.

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