Famous Hindu pilgrim places in Kerala


Kerala, lives up to its name of being "God's own country" as it is home to many famous temples and pilgrim centers which are of historic importance. A walk through a trail amidst wavering coconut palms and a boat ride in the tranquil backwaters is enough to evoke your spiritual side and a pilgrimage on this land only adds to enrich and rejuvenate your soul

The unique & sacred rituals practiced in these temples, festivals celebrated with great zest and the traditional architecture which adorns these holy abode of gods and goddesses has made them an integral part of Kerala's heritage and attracts pilgrims from around the world.

Five of the most visited pilgrim centers in Kerala are

  • Sabarimala

  • Guruvayoor

  • Sree Padmanabhaswami temple

  • Vadakumnatha temple

  • Attukal Bhagavathy temple


  • Sabarimala


    Sabarimala is a pilgrim centre situated on a hilltop in Western Ghat mountain ranges in Pathanamthitta district where god Aiyappan is worshipped. Around 45-50 million devotees visit every year making Sabarimala the world largest annual pilgrimage.
    The myth is that lord Aiyappan meditated here after killing the demoness Mahishi. The temple is unique in many respects such that it is open to all irrespective of caste, creed or religion though women in menstrual age group are not allowed inside, the deity being a celibate. East to Sannidhanam , a shrine dedicated to Aiyappa's Sufi friend is seen where muslim religious rituals are performed. Sabarimala opens only during Mandala pooja (November 15- December 26) ,Makara Sankranti (January 14) and first 6 days of every Malayalam month. Another popular event which is considered auspicious by millions here is the Makara Jyothi (celestial flame which appears above the hills) on the day of Makara Sankranti

    The devotees need to follow a Vratham for 41 days or atleast 2 weeks prior to the pilgrimage when he has to deprive himself of all materialistic pleasures and practices. It begins by wearing a Rudraksha mala(garland of Tulsi beads) and refraining from non vegetarian food, alcohol, sex, cutting and shaving hairs. They have to keep their mind and body clean and be dressed in black clothes. The offerings to the lord is taken in a bag made of black cloth with two compartments and hence the name Irumudi which is borne on the head

    Temple timings


    Opening and Closing Time

    16.08.2012 - 5.30 pm Nada Opening
    21.08.2012 - 10.00pm Nada Closing
    27.08.2012 - 5.30pm Nada Opening
    31.08.2012 - 10.00 pm Nada Closing
    16.09.2012 - 5.30 pm Nada Opening
    21.09.2012 - 10.00 pm Nada Closing
    16.10.2012 - 5.30 pm Nada Opening
    21.09.2012 - 10.00 pm Nada Closing
    15.11.2012 - 5.30 pm Nada Opening
    26.12.2012 - 10.00 pm Nada Closing


    For Makara Vilakku Festival

    26.12.2012 - 5.30 pm Nada Opening
    19.01.2013 - 10.00 pm Nada Closing
    20.01.2013 - 07.00 am Nada Closing

    How to reach Sabarimala?


  • Road: There are many devotees who still follow the laborious mountain journey to reach their destination. The vast majority take the vehicle route from Pathanamthitta upto the holy Pamba river and then trek their way up the Neelimala through the mountainous forest
    Kerala State Transport Corporation operates buses from Pathanamthitta, Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram


  • Railways: Chengannur is the nearest railway station from which there are bus services to Pamba and Pathanamthitta

  • Airways: Cochin International airport which is 160km away. Take a cab or bus from there


  • Accomodation


    Various guest houses and dormitories are available in Sannidhanam in Sabarimala at affordable rates. Other than that hotels are not found in this mountain ranges.

    Guruvayoor Shri Krishna Temple


    Guruvayoor temple which is around 1000 years old is situated in Guruvayoor city in Thrissur district. It is dedicated to god Vishnu and is considered to be the holy abode of Vishnu on earth. Guruvayoor temple is considered as one of the five famous Vishnu temples in India and also known as The Dwaraka of South India. The myth is that god Vishnu himself had asked his devotee Uddhava to bring his idol from Dwaraka after it would be swept over by sea and hand it over to Brihaspati, the guru of gods to install it in the ideal place. Brihaspati with the help of Vayu god installed the idol on the spot where presently the temple is situated. There is a special dress code for entering the temple that is men are to wear mundu without a shirt and women have to wear sari or long skirts and blouses. On the northern side of the temple, the temple tank is present as a reminiscent of the pond on the banks of which Shiva resided but was later shifted to Mammiyoor temple. The important festivals celebrated here are Janmastami, Ekadasi and Kumbham Utsavam

    Temple timings


    03.10-03.45 am Nirmalya Darsanam
    03.45-04.15 am Thailabhishekam, Vakacharthu, Sanghabhishekam
    04.15-04.30 am Malar & Nivedyam, Mughalangaram
    05.30-06.15 am Usha Nivedyam & Darsan
    06.15-07.15 am Ethruthu Pooja & Usha Pooja
    07.15-09.00 am Darsan & Seeveli
    09.00-11.30 am Palabhishekam, Navakabhishekam, Pantheeradi Nivediyam pooja
    11.30-12.30 pm Darsan : Nivedyam-Uchapooja and closing.
    04.30-06.15 pm Nada Thurakkal,Seeveli Darsan,Nivedyam.
    08.30-09.00 pm Athazha pooja
    09.00-09.15 pm Seeveli
    09.15 pm Thruppuka & Ola vayana (Pathukaran Varrier reading the accounts of the day in front of the Sanctum Sanctorum)

    On the day of Udayasthmana Pooja, time changes for other poojas.

    How to reach Guruvayoor?


  • Road: Private and government owned bus services are available to Guruvayoor


  • Railways: Chennai Egmore express train from Chennai via Thiruvananthapuram to Guruvayoor. Regular passenger train from Guruvayoor to Cochin via Thrissur. Railway stations at Guruvayoor and Thrissur are present


  • Airways: Cochin International Airport ,Nedumbassery is only 75km away. Take a cab or bus from there


  • Accomodation


    KTDC Tamarind Guruvayoor ,close to the temple and Punnathur kotta elephant camp or resorts like Guruvayoor Resort or Gokulam Resort where rooms are available at affordable rates

    Shri Padmanabhaswami temple


    Shri Padmanabhaswami temple is dedicated to lord Vishnu and is one of the sacred 108 Vishnu temples or Divya Desams. It is located in the capital city of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram. The legend is that Vishnu appeared before a sage in the form of a mischievous boy and merged into a Illupa tree on being chased. Thereafter the tree fell down and the figure of Vishnu reclining on Anantha was seen. The idol of Vishnu seen here is unique made of 12008 salagramams ,about 18ft long and reclining on the hooded serpent Anantha which is visible through three doors ie head and chest through first door, hands through second door and feet through third door. The shrine is run by a trust headed by Travancore Royal family. The temple is believed to be located at a place considered to be one among the seven Parasurama Kshetras and the temple has references in Puranas. Thiruvananthapuram derives its name from the presiding diety with its name literally meaning the land of Shri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy.The temple architecture is admirable with various stone works, paintings, and granite stone pillars. Navagraha Mandapa is yet another notable feauture.The secret chambers of this temple holds assets and valuables worth approximately 900 billion rupees making it the richest temple in this world. The ground floor housing the Natakasala is where Kathakali, kerala's classical art form is performed during Malyalam months of Meenam and Thulam. Only those who follow Hindu faith can enter the temple. The dress code is Dhoti for men without shirt and Sari or Mundu Neriyathu for women. A mundu worn over SThe biggest festival conducted in this temple is Lakshadweep (One lakh lamps) which occurs once in 6 years(Next to be in Jan 2014). Other main festivals are Alpasi celebrated in months of Thulam ,Painkuni in Meenam and Navaratri pooja.

    Temple timings


    03:30 a.m. to 04:45 a.m. (Nirmalya Darshanam)
    06:30 a.m. to 07:00 a.m.
    8.30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
    10:30 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.
    11:45 a.m. to 12:00 Noon
    05:00 p.m. to 06:15 p.m.
    06:45 p.m. to 07:20 p.m.

    Accomodation


    Hotel Highland Park in Thampanoor , near railway station and Hotel Pankaj are budget hotels situated in the city though you can always check into luxury hotels like Vivanta by Taj or The Residency Tower

    How to reach?


  • Road: Thampanoor Bus station is around 1km away from the temple. You can take an auto from there


  • Railway: Trivandrum Railway Station is only 1 km away from which you can take an auto


  • Airways: Trivandrum International Airport is 6km away from which you can take a cab


  • Vadakkunnathan Temple


    Vadakkunnathan temple which is situated in the heart of Thrissur city is dedicated to the Lord Shiva(Vadakkunnathan). This temple is also known as Tenkailasam and is world renown for its rare murals, paintings and architectural beauty making The Archaeological Survey Of India recommend it to be included in the list of UNESCO World heritage sites. It is believed that when Parasurama hurled his axe into the sea .the land of Kerala had emerged and he being a disciple of Shiva asked him to consecrate the land by taking his abode there. Shiva accompanied Parasurama and disappeared at the foot of a banyan tree where a Shiva linga was found. Later this Linga was shifted and the temple was built. Presently, the Shiva linga in the sanctum which is huge is covered over by ghee offered by devotees over the years but without any foul odour. The famous Thrissur Pooram is held in the ground adjoining the temple. The temple also houses a Koothambalam which used to stage an art form called Koothu and four Gopurams (gateways). Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple. The main festivals celebrated in the temple are Maha Shivaratri, Aanayoottu and Thrissur pooram which is very colorful

    Temple timings


    3.00 AM to 10.30 AM
    5.00 PM to 8.30 PM

    Accomodation


    KTDC Tamarind Thrissur is a good option considering its close proximity to the temple. Grand Park Regency Hotel and Niya Regency

    How to reach?


  • Road: Kerala State Transport Corporation operates buses between Thrissur and all cities of Kerala. Private bus services are available locally connecting Thrissur with other main cities of Kerala


  • Rail: Thrissur Railway Station is the nearest railway station (1km) and is located in the heart of the city


  • Air: The Cochin International Airport,Nedumbassery is the nearest airport (85km).Direct flights to various domestic and International Destinations are available


  • Attukal Bhagavathy Temple


    Attukal Bhagavathy temple is a small temple dedicated to Attukalamma who is considered the Supreme Mother of all living beings. The temple is also known as Sabarimala of the women as the majority of devotees are women. It is situated in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram just 2 km from the Shri Padmanabhaswamy temple. It is open through out the year. Devotees don't consider their pilgrimage to Padmanabhaswamy temple complete without worshipping Attukalamma. The myth is that Kinaki (the heroine of Chilapathikaram) the incarnation of Parvathy came to Kerala and on the way to Kodugallur halted in Attukal . The Pongala Mahotsavam is the most important festival conducted in February or March. It has entered the Guiness book of world records for the largest congregation of women. The entire area surrounding the temple including the roads ,house and office premises are all considered as a ground for the Pongala during the season. Only women take part in this and the Pongala which is the offering to Attukalamma is made and distributed among dear ones. Devotees from all over the country come to take part in this Pongala and it is said atleast once in a lifetime a woman should make this offering so that she can have her one wish granted by Attukalamma

    Temple timings


    Morning Darshan Timings

    4.30 AM - Palliyunarthu of Attukal Amma
    5.00 AM – Nirmalyadarsanam
    5.35 AM – Abhishekam
    5.45 AM – Ganapathy Homam
    6.00 AM - Deeparadhana
    6.30 AM - Usha Pooja
    6.40 AM – Deeparadhana
    6.50 AM – Usha Sreebali
    7.00 AM - Kalabhabhiskekam
    8.30 AM - Pantheeradi Pooja
    12.00 – Ucha Pooja (noon ritual)

    Noon Pooja Timings

    12.00 – Deeparadhana
    12.10 PM – Ucha Sreebali (Noon Sreebali)
    12.30 PM - Nata Adappu (Closure of Sreekovil)

    Evening Pooja Timings

    5.00 PM – Nata Thurappu (Opening of Sreekovil)
    6.45 PM – Deeparadhana
    7.30 PM – Athazha Pooja
    8.00 PM – Deeparadhana
    8.05 PM – Athazha Sreebali
    8.30 PM – Nata Atappu

    Pooja timings may be altered on special occasions

    Accomodation


    Hotel Highland Park and Hotel Pankaj are near to the temple and economical

    How to reach?


  • Road: Thampanoor Central Bus station is only 2kms away and East fort bus station is 1.5 km from the temple


  • Railways: Trivandrum Railway Station is only 2km away from which you can take an auto


  • Airways: Trivandrum International Airport located in Valiyathura is 7km away from the temple from which you can take a cab

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