The Parthasarathi Temple (dedicated to Sree Krishna) on the banks of the holy river Pamba is a major pilgrim centre. The Aranmula boat race is held on Chathayam. The Vijnana Kalavedi at Aranmula imparts training in the traditional arts like Kathakali, classical dances, classical music, as well as Kalaripayattu. Foreign tourists stay here for long periods to get a first hand knowledge of the culture of Kerala. The Parthasarathi Temple here has fine murals from the 18th century
Malayattoor is a famous Catholic Church, dedicated to St. Thomas the apostle of Jesus Christ. It is located on top of the Malayattoor hill, at a height of 609 m. Thousands of pilgrims gather here for the annual festival of 'Malayatoor Perunnal', held during the months of March /April.Those interested in the architecture of the church would find it highly interesting. It has a combination of Greco-Roman architecture with the altar designed in traditional Greek style, and the front portion of the church following the traditional Roman Catholic Church architecture. Behind the central altar, one can find the carvings, designs and paintings, which include the five joyful mysteries of Jesus Christ. The church has separate facilities for confession and adoration. The ancient baptismal pond and the traditional pulpit are of historical relevance.
The Kaviyoor Trikkukkudi Cave Temple, also known as the Rock Cut Cave Temple at Kaviyoor, located on the banks of the river Manimala, is a place of historical importance and is preserved as a monument by the Archaeological Department. It bears close resemblance to the Pallava style of architecture and has prompted historians to date it to a period as early as the eighth century AD.The engravings here are among the earliest specimens of stone sculptures in Kerala. Enshrined in a square cave is the main deity of the shrine Lord Siva represented in the ' Sivalinga' which is about three feet high and carved out of rock. The shrine also has idols of Ganapathy, Maharshi and Dwarapalakas.
Niranam church is believed to be among one of the seven-and-a-half churches originally established by St. Thomas (52 AD) in Kerala. This church displays a marked influence of ancient temple architecture and is a renowned centre of worship for the Christian community. This is also the birth place of the poets and social reformers popularly known as the Karnassa Kavikal. The St. Thomas art gallery here has been built by an Ecumenical body known as Niranam Thomathu Kadavu Smaraka Trust.Niranam is also famous as the birthplace of a band of 14th century poets known as the Niranam Kavikal or Kannassa Panikkars. They were renowned for their many translations from Sanskrit to Malayalam, the most illustrious being 'Kannassaramayanam', a translation of the epic Ramayana.
As graced by the Bhagwan King Rajasekara completed building of the temple with eighteen steps to reach it. When the King was thinking how to put Dharmasastha's figure in the temple for darshan to devotees, he recalled the words of the Bhagwan, the River Pampa was a holy river as River Ganga, Sabarimala was a holy place as Kasi. Dharmasastha sent Parasuraman to Sabarimala who carved the figure of Lord Ayyappa and installed it on the day of Makarasankranthi, the day on which the Makara Jothi appears. Every year lakhs and lakhs of people throng to Sabarimala irrespective of caste or creed and adorn themselves with garlands and irumudis, chants slogans on Lord Ayyappa, bathe in holy river Pampa, climb up the eighteen steps and get the grace of Lord Ayyappa, the Dharmasastha.
Ochira Temple, situated on the way from Kollam to Alappuzha has a definitive structural layout and mode of worship The temple at Ochira does not have a proper structure or an idol for the visitors to worship. The whole concept of worship revolves around the Parabrahmam or the universal consciousness. This unique temple setting itself is a big attraction to hundreds of visitors coming to the temple everyday, irrespective religious faith. The temple is also known as Dakshina Kashi and a unique offering to the temple is in the form of bulls. Another interesting aspect in connection with the temple is the annual festival called Ochira Kali, where men; both young and old step into waterlogged paddy fields and indulge in mock fights, involving physical skills of the participants.
This centre of worship and faith has in store many unique practices and rituals, and the temple architecture itself stands testimony to this aspect. Located 20 km away from Kannur, a northern district of Kerala, the Parassinikadavu Muthappan (Siva) Temple on the banks of the Valapatnam River attracts people from all sections of the society; irrespective of religion, caste and promotes the essence of "Vasudaiva Kutumbakam - The whole world is one family". The temple is a popular destination for travellers and pilgrims to feel the charm of Theyyam, a ritual that is performed here on a daily basis. Men adorning masks and costumes with a riot of colours perform this temple art form and it represents conflict between good and evil, with good ultimately emerging victorious.
It is the most important Temple among the 393 shrines spread over 3 Districts of Kerala and coming under the administration of Cochin Devaswom Board. The Divine Mother known as Rajarajeswari (Adiparasakthi) is worshipped here in three forms Saraswathy in the morning, Lakshmi at noon and Durga in the evening. There is an Idol of Mahavishnu on the same pedestal and so the Deity is called Ammenarayana, Devinarayana, Lakshminarayana and Bhadrenarayana also. Along with Lakshmi & Narayana there are idols of Brahma, Siva, Ganapathi (Ganesh), Subramanya and Sastha on the same pedestal. Apart from the main deity, the temple complex consists of Kizhukkavu Bhagavathy temple, temples for Sastha, Siva, Ganapathi, Nagas and other Upa-Devas. The pleasant atmosphere in the temple give mental peace and harmony to devotees.
The Bhagawati temple at Kodungallur is of great renown throughout the state of Kerala. Kodungallur situated on the west coast, was once a great port of the Chera rulers of Tamilnadu, It was known by the Greek as as the musris. Tiruvanchikkulam, now a suburb of Kodungallur was a center of great historic significance during the chera period. Cheran Senguttuvan is said to have built the temple to Kannagi - a manifestation of Kaali or Kotravai or Durga, here (Silappadikaaram). It is believed to have been a Shiva temple originally, as worship is offered first to Shiva before being offered to Bhagawati, and there is a mandapam in front of the shiva shrine, and there is none infront of Bhagawatis. The image of Bhagawati is believed to have been carved out of a jack fruit three. The face of the image is covered with a mask, and the image is decorated with several pieces of jeweelry
Saint Gregorios of Parumala is popularly known as ‘Parumala Thirumeni’. Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of the Malankara Orthodox Church who passed away on November 2nd 1902, became the first declared saint from Malankara (Kerala, India) naturally to be called, ‘Parumala Thirumeni’. He shines in the cloud of witnesses as a bright luminary giving rays of hope to millions in their suffering and struggles. Mar Gregorios was born on 15th June 1848 (M.E. Mithunam 3, 1023) to Kochu Mathai and Mariam of Pallathetta family in the Chathuruthy house at Mulamthuruthy. He was called by the name ‘Kochaippora’ and was given the baptismal name ‘Geevarghese’. Kochaippora had two brothers and two sisters; Kurian, Eli, Mariam and Varkey. Kochaippora was the youngest and was therefore the most beloved to everyone. Unfortunately, his mother passed away when he was only two years old. His eldest sister Mariam became to him all that a mother was meant. Mariam was married at that time and had a child of Kochaippora’s age.
The Padmanabha Swamy Temple, which is built in traditional Kerala and Dravidian style, is situated near the fort. The architecture of this seven-storeyed temple tower itself is a sight to behold. The deity of the temple is Lord Padmanabha, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the preserver of life according to Hindu belief. Here, the 18 feet long deity is seen as lying on a serpent called Anantha. The Kings of Travancore ruled the land as the servants of Lord Padmanabha. Inside the temple, a mandapam (platform with pillars) carved out of a single piece of rock displays eye-catching sculptures.
This centuries old church at Fort Kochi was originally built completely of timber and later reconstructed in stone masonry. It was restored in 1779 by the Protestant Dutch, converted to an Anglican church by the British in 1795 and is at present governed by the Church of South India. Vasco Da Gama was buried here in 1524 before his remains were moved to Lisbon, Portugal. The tombstone still remains.
The cave temple at Ittiva at Chadayamangalam in Kollam district is virtually carved out from a gigantic piece of rock, lying in the middle of a paddy field. From a distance this architectural wonder gives the impression of a sleeping elephant. This rock cut temple represents the vibes of an ancient culture and also the traditional artistic excellence prevalent at that time. The temple, also known as Kottukal Kal Thrikovil Cave Temple, has two square rooms with the main deity of Lord Ganapathy in between. The other deities include Lord Siva in the form of Siva Lingam, Hanuman and Nandikeswara. A Mandapam (roof) in front of one of the rooms stands testimony to the skill of those who build this temple from a single piece of rock. The temple premise also has a well that never dries up.
Temples and palaces were the ancient galleries for mural paintings in Kerala. One such at Kannur district which has been attracting a large number of art lovers from all over the world is the Siva temple at Kannavam. Here there are nearly 150 mural paintings, on an area of 700 sq ft. in about 40 panels, drawn on the four walls of the sanctum sanctorum.
Ambalappuzha SreeKrishna Swami Temple is 15 km south of Alappuzha. This temple is famous all over India for the Palpayasam, the daily offering of deliciously sweet milk porridge. It is also in this temple that Pallipana is performed by Velans (sorcerers) once every twelve years. Paintings of the Dasavatharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) are on display on the inner walls of the Chuttambalam. Ottanthullal, a satiric art form originated by the poet Kunchan Nambiar, was first performed on the premises of this temple.
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