Important Temples, Churches and Mosques to visit in Kerala
Kerala is one such state in South India where the religious rituals and traditions are upheld even while the people move forward towards modernization and higher education. This is one such place where the temples follow the same old traditions alongside the renovations and conveniences provided for better experience to the devotees. Kerala is also probably the first place in India where Christianity and Islam were established. You can find some of the oldest churches and mosques still in use here. Many old temples including some Jain temples were destroyed during by the Muslim rulers and the British but the state has always welcomed all religions warmly. Kerala tour packages from Ahmedabad is an amazing opportunity to visit some of these temples, churches and mosques during your holidays.
One of the oldest temples to visit in Kerala is the Sree Padmanabha Temple at Trivandrum. The temple shot to fame recently because of the mysteries involved in the treasure chest and some controversies related to the same. The temple is situated at heart of the city Thiruvananthapuram. The name of the city is because of the temple. It is one of the famous 108 Lord Vishnu temples in India. The posture of the deity itself makes it different from other temples. Lord Vishnu is in sleeping position on the 5-headed serpent king Anantha. The temple has a very important part in Kerala history. Sree Padmanabha was made the emperor of the Travancore in the 17th century and thereafter who ever ruled Travancore was known as the Padmanabhadasa which meant the servant of lord Padmanabha. The temple soon became famous all over Kerala. This was under Travancore Royal family. But now it is under the government. The Royal crown is also kept in the Temple. It was recently found the temple is having lots of gold reserves and it is being taken over by the government. It is famous for 108 carved sculptured pillars, each of it in a totally different design. It is amazing to see such large stones carved in patterns that are never repeated and set up strong during a time when there was no technology, engineering or science. Its mural and stone works are so beautiful and fantabulous. Strict traditions and rituals are followed in the temple. Non – Hindus are not allowed inside. Even now, every day when the royal family members visit the temple, others are not allowed inside.
As for the Christians, the Kadamattom Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church which is 35km from Ernakulam will be an amazing visit. This was built in the 6th century AD. The church has an excellent combination of Asian and Persian architecture which connects Kerala Hindu style decors and Mandapams. The church has its origin from Hindu because it was Hindu Brahmins who got converted to Christianity. So they maintained the Hindu and Christian rituals and practices in Church. This Church is famous because of the priest Kadamattathu Kathanar who lived in 10th century and practiced the Hindu tantric rituals for curing illnesses, quell ghosts and spirits. Even today, people from all religion come to the shrine to take blessing from Kathanar. The Holy Cross of St. Thomas is there in the church which he got from Assyrian King before coming to Kerala and this was brought by first immigrants of Syria after the fall of Babylon.
Though the first mosque in India was built in Kodungalloor in the 1st century AD, the Pazhayangadi Mosque is one of the few mosques which were built in typical Islamic style. The earlier mosques were built by the local masons and carpenters who had hardly been outside their village. Cheraman Masjid is first mosque established in India. But it was also built by the local masons who had no clue about the Islamic way of worship. So they built the mosques just the way they built their own sanctums till then. Pazhayangadi Mosque, also known as Kondotty Mosque, was built in mid of 18th century when the British had their own architects and the Mughal architecture was already quite well-spread in the North India. This mosque was dedicated to Mohammad Shah who was famously known as Kondotty Thangal. It was constructed in the Mughal Style. The white dome makes it different from other mosques which were built till then. Kondotty Nercha or Valia Nercha is a popular festival which is held during Feb – Mar months and it is a week-long celebration for the locals. Many devotees come on Kerala tour packages from Hyderabad and other cities to take part in this festival. This is most celebrated pilgrimage in Kerala for Muslims.
The most astonishing part of all these festivities is the fact that people of all religions take part in all the festivals. In fact, the locals make it a point to cooperate competing with each other in complete religious harmony to make all these festivities a gala celebration. Kerala is one of those rare regions where you will find junctions with churches, temples and mosques facing each other. Probably the high level of education and the friendly nature of the people have attributed to this cultural and religious harmony prevailing in the state. It definitely brings in a large crowd of people belonging to all religions to this God’s Own Country on pilgrimage tours too. If you explore further, there are Jain temples, Gurudwaras and Jewish synagogues in Kerala. In fact, Kerala is one of those rare places in India where you still find Jewish people settled down for generations. Then of course, you can always explore the beaches, hill stations, waterfalls and backwaters during your pilgrimage too. Ayurveda is another interesting factor that appeals particularly to the spiritually evolved people. Kerala is the right place for Ayurvedic treatments for lifestyle diseases. You can also learn and practice Yoga while you are in Kerala. Many ashrams connected to the temples teach Yoga and also offer free or subsidized food for the devotees. Food is offered in churches and mosques too and the devotees consider this as the Prasad or blessing from the God.