The southernmost state of Kerala is full of legends and tales and houses some of the oldest temples. Each of them has deep religious, cultural, and historical significance. Not just that, these temples are also excellent sources of traditional art and architecture. No wonder, people called Kerala – God’s Own Country. Moreover, you have a lot of places to visit in Kerala.
Beautiful Temples of Kerala:
1. Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Padmanabhaswamy temple is an excellent work of Dravidian architecture. The temple dates back to the 8th century. It houses a Lord Vishnu idol that reclines on Anantha, the eight hooded-serpent God which is a majestic sight. Tourists visit this temple to pay obeisance.
The idol contains 12,008 Salagramas (sacred pebbles) from River Gandaki in Nepal, and each Salagrama is believed to represent the lord, the sanctity and greatness of this deity. The temple also houses separate shrines for Lord Rama, Seetha and Lakshman, Lord Hanuman, Shri Yoga Narasimha, and Shri Dharma Sastha.
Best Time to Visit: During the Alpashi festival (which falls between October or November), during Panguni festival (March/April)
Visiting hours: 3:30 Am-4:45 Am; 6:30 Am- 7: Am; 8:30 Am- 10 Am; 10:30 Am – 11:10 Am; 11:45 Am- 12 noon; 5: Pm -6:15 Pm; 6:45 Pm- 7:20 Pm
Read also: Top 5 Beautiful Backwater Retreats in Kerala
2. Sabarimala Sastha Temple, Pathanamthitta
Located near Periyar Tiger Reserve, Sabrimala temple is one of the most popular temples in Kerala. It is dedicated to Lord Ayyappan, son of God Shiva and Mohini, and who is also believed to be one of the incarnations of God Vishnu.
Visitors need to trek uphill to reach the temple. They must dress in blue and black, put Chandan on their forehead, and follow certain personal disciplines like stay unshaved until ‘darshan’, and fast and abstain from other temptations before and during their journey to the pilgrim site.
To date, only men are allowed to enter the temple, and women of the ages under 10 and above 50 are allowed.
Visiting hours: 3AM- 1PM and 3PM- 11:40PM
3. Ettumanoor Mahadevar Temple, Kottayam
Known for splendid Dravidian architecture, murals, and paintings, this temple is the earliest temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Apart from the main shrine of Lord Shiva, there are also shrines of Lord Shashtha and Lord Ganesh. The commendable Mural paintings on the walls are a tourist attraction. The fresco of Dancing Shiva on the walls of the temple is one of the finest artworks in entire south India.
Visiting hours: 4AM- 12PM and 5PM- 8;30PM
4. Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur
Believed to be built by Parshuram (the sixth incarnation of god Vishnu) for Lord Shiva, Vadakkunnathan Temple under the AMASR Act is recognized as the national monument of India. Spread across an area of around 9 acres and enclosed within stoned premises, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Rama, and Vishnu, having shrine for each Lord.
The temple houses few of the rare 350 old murals that depict scenes from the Mahabharata along with a museum of wall paintings and vintage artifacts. Its unique architecture and rich history attract many tourists.
Visiting hours: 3AM- 10:30PM and 4PM- 8:30PM
5. Vaikom Mahadeva Temple, Kottayam
Vaikom Mahadev temple is one of three famous Shiva temples (one in Ettumanoor, this one in Vaikom and another in Kaduthuruthy) of Kerala. Worshipping the lord at all three temples on the same day, before the mid-day pooja, is believed to fulfill wishes.
As a result of God’s wrath on a chieftain for being disturbed during the pooja, the western gate of the temple remains closed. What makes this temple a major attraction among tourists is the interesting mix of beliefs, myths, legends, architecture and history.
Visiting hours: 4AM- 12PM and 5PM- 8PM
6. Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple, Guruvayur
The list of most beautiful temples in Kerala is incomplete without the Guruvayur temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu’s form of Krishna. The deity’s idol that is presided and worshipped here is of four-armed Lord Krishna holding the disc (Chakra), conch (Panchajanya), lotus and mace (gadha). Known for its medical and therapeutic values, the idol is carved out of Patel Anjana stone.
Guruvayus receives no less devotees than any other famous temple in Kerala but this one is more famous for conducting weddings and rice feeding ceremonies.
Visiting hours: 3AM- 1:30PM and 4:30PM- 9:30PM
Read also: 10 Best Places to visit in India
7. Chottanikkara Temple, Ernakulam
Famous for its 4-5ft. tall golden idol, Chottanikkara temple is located on a hilltop and is dedicated to Goddess Bhagwati. The golden idol is believed to have ailing powers for any kind of ailment. The most interesting thing about this temple and the housed idol is that the same idol is worshipped in three forms – as Saraswathy in the mornings, Lakshmi at noon, and Durga in the evenings.
On the east side of Chottanikkara is the ‘Keezhkkaavu’ temple, where a special puja is performed to invoke Goddess Bhadrakali, especially on Fridays. The puja is believed to cure women of any mental abnormalities permanently.
Visiting hours: 4 AM to 12PM and 4PM to 8:45PM. On Fridays and Mandalam occasions, the temple opens at 3:30 AM.
8. Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram
Dedicated to goddess Kannaki (an incarnation of Goddess Parvathi) is another popular temple in Kerala. The goddess is seen as the supreme mother and creator of all living beings on earth. Attukal Bhagavathy temple witnesses the largest number of women devotees during the Attukal Pongala Festival (an all-women festival), held every year in February or March.
The festival has also been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest gathering of women in a place for a single religious event. One shouldn’t miss out on Attukal Bhagavathy on their tour to the temples in Kerala.
Visiting hours: 4:30AM- 8:30PM, Nirmalya Darshanam starts from 5AM. Usha Puja at 6:30AM, Ucha Puja at 12PM and Athazha pooja at 7:30PM
9. Ananthapura Lake Temple, Ananthapura
Located in the southmost corner of the state, it is the only temple on a lake. Ananthapura lake temple is located amid a lake which is made up of fresh spring water and is guarded by a vegetarian crocodile named Babia. The temple is dedicated to Lord Ananthapadmanabha and is believed to be the moolasthanam- original abode of the Lord.
Visiting hours: 5:30AM- 12:30PM and 5:30PM- 7:30PM
10. Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple, Ambalapuzha
Dedicated to ‘Uni Krishna’- Lord Krishna’s child form, Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna temple is another popular temple of Kerala. Famous for the Ambalapuzha Temple Festival in July and the Aaraattu festival in March and April, this temple was built in the 17th century.
Palpayasam, that is the main prasadam here is a delicious sweet dish made of milk, sugar, and rice.
Visiting hours: 4AM- 12:30PM and 5PM- 8PM
Visiting these temples proves to be an enjoyable experience, especially with time at hand to worship the deities and take a leisurely stroll through the beautiful premises.
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