Must Visit – Top 10 Kerala Temples

Kerala is known as ‘God’s Own Country’ for its picturesque scenery and unique setting of lush green wildlife, exotic flora and fauna, canals of backwaters cruised by houseboats and the white sand beaches that kiss the emerald blue water of the Arabian sea, making it look no less than a paradise. However, not many are aware of the fact that the title is also attributed to the state because of the famous legend that says Parashurama, an incarnation of Vishnu lifted all the land he conquered from Kshatriya kings, as per instruction of Lord Rama. When he found that he did not have any place to live, he came to a place called Gokarna near the Western Ghats mountains and threw his marble axe into the sea. The land reclaimed by him from the sea is the present day Kerala. Most localities are religious and temples can be found all over the State, some even dating back to centuries. Here is a list of some of the best temples in Kerala that are a must visit when on a tour of the exotic state:

1. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple:

One of the most famous temples in Kerala, Sree Padmanbhaswamy Temple is situated in Thiruvananthapuram. Constructed in a Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu and dates back to 8th century. The gold plated idol of the deity, Lord Vishnu can be seen reclining on Anantha, the serpent. The idol can be viewed part by part from three windows. The temple is said to be very old, with its name being mentioned in holy Hindu scriptures like Skanda Purana and Padma Purana. The temple is so significant, both historically and culturally, that the city of Thiruvananthapuram has derived its name of the serpent deity Anantha, that resides in the temple.

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

2. Sabarimala Sastha Temple:

One one of the most popular temples in Kerala, Sabarimala Sastha Temple is situated near Periyar Tiger Reserve. The temple is dedicated to Sastha, who was born as the result of the merging of the power of Shiva and Vishnu. Legend says that the temple is where the young prince meditated after killing the demoness Mahishi and never returned to his palace. The temple sees one of the largest annual pilgrimages of nearly 50 million devotees which is distinct from other sacred journeys. The pilgrims to Sabarimala wear blue or black dresses, smear Chandan (sandal) on their forehead and remain unshaven until the journey comes to an end. Women between the age of 10 to 50 are not allowed to enter the premises.

Sabarimala Sastha Temple in Kerala

Sabarimala Sastha Temple

3. Attukal Bhagavathy Temple:

Located at a very short distance from the Sree Padmanbhaswamy Temple, the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is another famous place of worship in Kerala. The presiding deity of the shrine is Goddess Kannaki, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati who is considered the Supreme Mother, the creator of all living beings. The temple holds a Guinness Book of World Record for having a single largest gathering of women for religious activities where they cook Pongala on makeshift fires in the premises to please Devi. Thousands of pilgrims participate in the event.

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Kerala

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

4. Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple:

As the name suggests, the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The temple was built in the 17th century and Krishna is worshipped as Unni Krishna”, his form as a child. The temple is known the fact that the deity from Guruvayoor was brought here for safe keeping when Tipu Sultan’s raid was expected.

5. Chottanikkara Temple:

The Chottanikkara Temple is one of the most renowned temples in Kerala when it comes to the architecture of the Hindu shrine. Bhagwati or Chottanikkara Devi is the presiding deity of the temple and is worshipped three times a day in three of her different incarnations: as Saraswati in the morning, draped in white; as Lakshmi at noon, draped in crimson; and as Durga in the evening, decked in blue. Lord Shiva is also worshipped at the temple. The temple has a legend that says Bhagwati Devi cures her devotees of illnesses and hence people suffering from mental illnesses commonly visit the temple, brought here in numbers. Most of them surprisingly get cured.

6. Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple:

The Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple is one of the most famous temples in Kerala. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, the central deity is a four-armed standing Krishna carrying the conch Panchajanya, the discus Sudarshana Chakra, the mace Kaumodaki and a lotus with a Holy basil garland. In the premises of the temple is a tank/ pond, h is considered to be very sacred by the devotees. Legend that for thousands of years, Lord Shiva and his family worshipped Lord Vishnu on the southern bank of this pond. The names of some great singers of south Indian music and Sanskrit and Malayalam poets are associated with the temple.

Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple in Karala

Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple

7. Ettumanoor-Vaikom-Kaduthuruthy Temple:

The Ettumanoor-Vaikom-Kaduthuruthy Temple, Ettumanoor Mahadev Temple or simply the Vaikom Mahadev Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in Kottayam. The temple is one of the few temples in India that are known for its rich Dravidian architecture. The temple was believed to be abandoned for some time through the course of the history and was later restored around the 16th century. The temple has been alive and thriving since then, decorated with carvings and murals both inside and outside of the temple.

Ettumanoor Vaikom Kaduthuruthy

Ettumanoor-Vaikom-Kaduthuruthy Temple

8. Tali Temple:

Dating back to 14th century, Tali Temple in Kozhikode is known for its exclusive architecture. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple was established by the Zamorins and is considered to be amongst the two Brahmanical royal temples. This temple has a perfect blend of architecture in laterite and wood. The wooden roof of this temple has intricate brass carvings and the beautiful brass work on the walls keep the visitors mesmerised.

Tali temple in kerala

Tali Temple

9. Thirunelli Temple:

Thirunelli Temple is an ancient Vishnu Temple also known as Maha Vishnu Temple is a popular tourist spot in South India. Many a time, this shrine is reckoned as the Kashi of South. This temple has a rich historical background as it has mentioned in the Puranas. Legend says that the temple was built and the idol was installed by Lord Brahma himself. The temple is located near a mountain stream Papanasini. It is said that a dip in the water washes away all the sins and pilgrims immerse themselves in these waters to cleanse themselves and start afresh.

Thirunelli temple in kerala

Thirunelli Temple

10. Vadakkunathan Temple:

Located in Thrissur which is recognised as a temple town, the Vadakkunathan Temple stands tall surrounded by a fortified wall with towered entrances on four sides. There are 3 shrines in the temple, one dedicated to Rama, one dedicated to Shiva and the other dedicated to Shankaranarayana. The temple is recognised as the National Monument by India and is known for its monumental towers, exclusive architecture and its rich history that attracts thousands of devotees as well as tourists to this place.

Vadakkunathan Temple in Kerala

Vadakkunathan Temple

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