Ernakulam district has some of the famous pilgrim centers of Kerala which includes temples, churches and mosques. People from different parts of Kerala come to Ernakulam for visiting the pilgrimage. Some of the well known temples of Ernakulam district include Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple, Poornathrayeesa Temple, Ernakulam Siva temple, Thrikkakara Temple etc. Ernakulam is very famous for the Aluva Sivarathri festival held at Manappuram. The birth place of Sri Shankaracharya is in Kaladi and is an important pilgrim centre. The famous Christian pilgrimage here is the Malayattoor church. Some other churches of Ernakulam are St. George Church, St.Mary’s church at Vallarpadam, Pallipuram Church etc. An ancient mosque in Kerala, Kanjiramattam mosque is in Ernakulam and is famous for the Chandanakudam festival. Some of the main pilgrim centers in Ernakulam are given below
Temples in Ernakulam
Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple
Bhagavathy temple at Chottanikkara is dedicated to Goddess Rajarajeshwari and is worshipped in three forms. Devi is worshipped as Saraswathi in the morning, Lakshmi at noon and Durga in the evening. An idol of Mahavishnu is also kept on the same pedestal and the sub deities are Ganapathy, Brahma, Subrahmanya, Siva and Shastha. The main festival conducted here is the ‘Chottanikkara Makam thozhal’ which is held in the Malayalam month Kumbham.
Anchumana Devi Temple
Anchumana Devi Temple is located at Anchumana in Edapally. The deities here are Sri Bhuvaneswary, Sri Annapoorneswary and Sri Badrakali. The sub deities of this temple are Ayyappa, Ganapathy, Subramanya, Hanuman etc. The important days in this temple are Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. In the month of Vrischikam goddess Sri Bhuvaneswary visits the nearby villages for 41 days. The last 5 days are celebrated as Thalappoli Mahotsavam and is attracted by a large number of people. One of the offering made here is the Pancha Dravya Abhisheka.
Palluruthy Sri Bhavaneeswara Mahakshetram
Sri Bhavaneeswara Mahakshetram is located in Palluruthy and the deity here is Lord Shiva. The sub deities include Ganapathy, Parvathy, Nagaraja, Yakshi, Durga etc. The consecration of Lord Siva in this temple was done by Sree Narayana Guru in the year 1904. The temple has a golden flagmast. The annual festival is conducted in the Malayalam month Kumbham and lasts for 10 days. Thousands of devotees attend this festival. Another ritual conducted here is the Gajapooja of 108 elephants which is also very famous.
Palluruthy Sree Dhanwanthari Temple
Sree Dhanwanthari Temple is located at Palluruthy and the deity here is Dhanwanthari who is Lord Vishnu’s incarnation and is considered as the physician of Gods. The idol which is built of Krishna Sila has 4 hands. The sanctum sanctorum is built in Nagara style architecture and is square shaped. An Arattu festival is conducted in the Malayalam month Medam and lasts for 3 days. Another main festival is the Dhanwanthari Jayanthi.
Paramara Bhagavathy Temple
Paramara Bhagavathy Temple which is located in Paramara is an ancient temple. It has Goddess Bhagavathy as the main deity. This temple is also called as Parambanar Kulangara Bhagawathy and Paramara Grandma. The sub deities here are Shiva, Ganapathy, Brahmarakshas, Nagayakshi and Alunkal Bhagawathy. The Goddess in this temple is believed to have several powers. The annual festival of this temple is conducted in the Malayalam month Kumbham and the art forms such as Vela, Padayani, Garudan Thookkam are performed during this festival.
Sree Cochin Swetambar Murtipujak Jain Temple
This is a Jain temple located in Gujarathy Road in Kochi and has Bhagawan Shri Dharmanath as the deity. There are several Jain communities in kerala that have migrated from Gujarat. At present there are more than 350 Jain families settled in Cochin. This Jain temple was built around 100 years ago by Smt Hirubai Jivaraj Dhanji in memory of her late husband Sri Jivaraj Dhanji. The association of the Jains in Kochi is called as Jain Sangh and it is them who administer this Temple.
Sree Narayaneswaram Temple
This temple is situated in Poonurunni-Vyttila Road. The deity of this temple is Goshala Gopalakrishnan. The sub deities include Subramanian, Shiva, Ganapathy, Ayyappa, Parvathi etc. The idols are all made of Panchaloha. Gosala Gopalakrishnan, Shiva, Parvathi and Subramanian are placed in the same sanctum sanctorum each facing different directions. The main offering here is Palpayasam. There is an Altar for Sree Narayana Guru as this temple was raised by him. The main festival of this temple is held in the Malayalam month Kumbam and lasts for 7 days.
Vasudevapuram Sree Mahavishnu Temple
This temple is located in Aluva and the deity is Lord Vishnu. The presence of Goddess Mahalakshmi is also felt in this temple. It is an ancient temple and is believed that the consecration of the idol in this temple is done by Parasurama. One of the important rituals performed here is the ‘Thambula Samarpanam’. The main offerings made here are Rice Para for Vishnu and Turmeric Para for Mahalakshmi. The important days celebrated here include Ashtami Rohini and Akshaya Thritiya.
Veluthattu Vadakkan Chowva Bhagawathy Temple
Vadakkan Paravoor Veluthattu Vadakkan Chowva Bhagawathy Temple is located in Kedamangalam and the deity here is Goddess Bhagawathy. Goddess Bhagavathy is worshipped in different forms such as Saraswathy, Parvathi, Sree Durga, Sreelaxmi, Ashtaiswarya Dayini and Bhadrakali. The idol of Goddess is decorated with gold ornaments and garlands. Different types of Pushpanjali are the main offerings in this temple. Some of the other offerings include lighting Ghee lamp, breaking coconuts to remove any obstacles etc. The sub deities include Velluthat Amma, Vettekaran Swamy, Kolladikote Neeli Bhagawathy, Vellayam Bhagawathy, Dharmasastha and Navagrahas. The annual festival is conducted in the month of April and Ratholsavam is held during that time.
Kaladi is the birth place of Adi Shankara who was a philosopher saint. Kaladi is near to river Periyar. It is believed that many miraculous things have happened in the life of Adi Shankara. Some of the main places to visit in Kaladi include the Shankara temple, Ramakrishna Advaita Ashram, Sri Adi Sankara Keerthi Sthamba Mandapam etc. People irrespective of caste and religion can come to this pilgrim centre. The festivals conducted here include the Shankara Jayanthi which is a 5 days long celebration held in the month of April / May and the Navarathri celebrations.
Ernakulam Siva temple
Siva temple in Ernakulam is an ancient temple with Lord Siva as the main deity. Lord Siva in this temple is called as Ernakulathappan and the idol faces the sea. The main shrine is the Shiva Linga. The sub deities include Ganapathy, Parvathy and Nagaraja. This temple was constructed during the rule of the Maharajas and is built in the traditional Kerala style architecture. The annual festival of this temple lasts for 8 days.
Tirumala Devaswom Temple
This temple which is popularly called as TD temple is located in Punjabjapuram and was constructed in the year 1727. The deity in this temple is Lord Venkatachalapathy. The sub deities include Ganapathy, Mahalakshmi, Lord Hanuman etc. This temple is of the community Gowda Saraswatha Brahmins who have migrated to this place from Goa. The idol was originally bought from there and was their Kuladevatha.
This temple is located in Thripunithura and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the form of Santhana Gopala Murthy. The idol is in a sitting posture in which Lord Vishnu is seen seated under the shade of the 5 hooded Ananthan whose body is folded as a throne for the Lord. It is one of the greatest temples in our state. The temple was reconstructed in the year 1921 when it was destroyed in a fire. The temple is well known for its festivals and some of them conducted here are Moosari Utsavam held in August-September, Ombathanthi Utsavam held in Thulam month, Vrishchikotsavam etc. The main and annual festival is Vrishchikotsavam that lasts for 8 days.
This temple is located in Cherai and is maintained by the Vijnana Vardhini Sabha. The festival conducted here in the months January-February is one of the biggest festivals of Ernakulam. The procession of around 20 to 30 elephants is one of the main attractions of this festival.
Chittoor Sree Krishnaswamy Temple
The Sree Krishnaswamy temple dedicated to Lord Krishna is located in Chittoor. The idol of Sree Krishna is in standing posture having 4 arms and is called as Chittoorappan. The temple is constructed in the traditional Kerala style architecture. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple is square shaped and has a pyramidal shaped roof. There is a shrine of Lord Shiva and Ganapathy also located inside the sanctum while the shrines of Nagaraja and Bhagavathy are located outside the sanctum. The devotees consider this temple as the South Guruvayoor.
Eravikulangara Bhagavathy temple is dedicated to Lord Siva and Lord Ayyappa. This is an ancient temple believed to be around 1600 years old. It is situated in a village called Akaparambu and is very near to the Cochin International Airport. The annual festival of the temple is the Thalappoli that lasts for 3 days and is conducted in the Malayalam month Makaram. Some of the other main rituals performed here are Eravikulangara pongala, Mandala Pooja, Ganesholsavam etc.
Karppillikkavu Sree Mahadeva Temple
This temple is located in Manjapra and is dedicated to Lord Siva. Lord Siva is in the form of Kirathamoorthy which is Vettakkaran. This temple is considered to be one of the 108 important Siva temples in India. The main festival conducted in this temple is the Karppillikkavu Pooram that lasts for 8 days. It is held in the Malayalam month Makaram. An important offering to the Lord here is the Sreerudhram Dhara.
Kurumbakkavu Bhagavathy Temple
Kurumbakkavu Bhagavathy Temple is located in Edathala in Aluva. The deity here is Kurumbakkavilamma and in the temple complex lies a temple for Lord Sastha, peedam for Nagas etc. the important festival celebrated here is the Meena Bharani which is the birthday of Kurumbakkavilamma and is held in the Malayalam month Meenam.
Sree Venugopla Krishna Swami Dewastan
This temple is located in Chendamangalam and was set up in the year 1900. The deity here is Lord Venugopla Krishna Swami. The annual festival of this temple is held in the Malayalam month Vaishakh.
Thrikkakara Vamanamoorthy Temple which is located in Thrikkakara is dedicated to Lord Vamana and such temples are few in number. There is a Sivalinga also in this temple which is believed to be worshipped by the ruler Mahabali. Since the temple legend is connected with Lord Vamana and the ruler Mahabali, here the festival of Kerala, Onam is celebrated on a grand scale and the feast is also provided. The annual festival of this temple is held in the Malayalam month Chingam and lasts for 10 days.
Siva temple at Aluva
The Siva temple in Aluva is very famous for the Sivarathri festival. It is celebrated in the Malayalam month Kumbham and is held from the banks of River Periyar. This place is called as Aluva Manal Puram. The devotees perform the ritual ‘Bali’ the next day morning after the Sivarathri.
Lakshmana Perumaal Temple
Lakshmana Perumaal temple is located in Thirumoozhikkalam near Aluva. This temple is dedicated to Lakshmana and is an ancient temple. In this temple, the inscriptions from the 11th century can be seen. The annual festival of this temple is conducted in the Malayalam month Makaram and lasts for 10 days. The shrine in this temple is related to Triprayar Rama temple, Payyammel Sree Sathrughna Swami Temple and the Koodalmanikyam Bharata temple. It is believed that to worship all these four temples on the same day is considered as worthy. People visit all these temples during the Ramayana month and it is popularly called as ‘Nalambalam Thozhal’.
Some other main temples in Ernakulam are
Onakkoor Bhagawati Temple, Pandara Parambu Shiva Temple, Tirumaradi Durga Temple at Piravom, Trikariyur Shiva Temple at Eranallur, Azheekkal Sree Varaha Temple at Cherai, Azhakiyakavu Bhagavathy temple at Pallurthy, Ameda Temple at Puthiyakavu, Muthukulangara Santhana Gopala Sree Krishna Swami Temple at Eroor, Thamaramkulangara Sree Dharma Sastha Temple at Thripunithura etc.
Churches in Ernakulam
Malayattoor Church is located in a village called Malayattoor in Ernakulam district. The word Malayattoor has been derived from three Malayalam words namely ‘Mala’ means mountain, ‘Aaru’ means river and ‘Ooru’ meaning place. It means that Malayattoor is a meeting place of mountain, river and land. It is popularly called as Kurisumudi and lies at a height of 1269 feet above sea level.
St. Francis Church
St. Francis church is located in Kochi district. It was constructed in the year 1503 and is the oldest European church in India. Initially this church was in wooden structure. Later with the permission of Kochi Raja, the Portuguese reconstructed this church into a stone building. The roof of this church is covered with tiles on timber frames. The doors are semi circular. St. Francis church was initially called as Santo Antonio who was a saint in Portugal. Then it came to be called as St. Francis in the year 1663. The Dutch converted this Church into a Protestant church and in 1804, it became an Anglican Church.
St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral
Initially this Cathedral was established as a small church in the name of St. Mary and was built in the year 1926. St. Mary’s church was considered as the Mother church of all the Orthodox churches in Ernakulam and so this church was raised with the status of the Cathedral in the year 2001.
CSI Immanuel Church
This church is the oldest Anglican Church in Ernakulam and is said to be around 100 years old. It is under the North Kerala Diocese of the church of South India. At present there are more than 510 families in this church and this church is visited by thousands of devotees.
St. George’s Cathedral
St. George’s Cathedral at Karingachira is a famous church and synagogue in Kochi. It is the single royal church that was established in Kerala in the year 722. The interior as well as the exterior of the church is beautifully decorated. This church is well known for the Thamukku Nercha and is offered on 3rd December. It is one of the historic churches of Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church.
St. George Forane Church at Edapally
This is one of the oldest churches of Kerala built in the year 595 and is located in Ernakulam city. It is a Roman Catholic Church and is very famous for the feast conducted here in the months of April-May that lasts for 10 days. On May Day the statue of St. George is taken out for procession.
St. George Forane Church at Angamaly
The old St. George church was renovated and a church is newly built which it is the largest church in South India. The annual feast conducted here is the ‘Puthunjaayar Perunnal’ and is in the name of St. Geevarghese. The Sunday and Monday after Easter is celebrated as ‘Puthunjaayar thirunnal’ and attracts a huge crowd. The main offerings made in this church are models of snakes and eggs which are made of gold or silver etc.
Basilica of Our Lady of Vallarpadam or St Mary’s Church located in Vallarpadam is an important pilgrim center and is located in the middle of the island. It was constructed by the Portuguese in the year 1524. People believe that the first church at this place was destroyed due to floods and a new church was later built on the same location by the Portuguese in the year 1676. In 1888, Pope Leo XIII had declared this church as a special church. The church is now a Basilica and given this status in 2005. There is an image of Blessed Mary that was brought here by the Portuguese. The annual feast conducted here is called as Vallarpadam Perunnal that lasts for a week.
To take the panoramic view of Basilica of Our Lady of Vallarpadam, follow the link :- http://p4panorama.com/panos/vallarpadamchurch/index.html
St Dominic Church
This church is a heritage center and is located in Aluva. Annually 2 feasts are conducted in this church. During the festive season, the statue of the Saint is taken out for procession. The feasts are celebrated on the 3rd Saturday after Easter and another feast called the Feast of ‘Our Lady of the Holy Rosary’ that is held on 8th December. Thousands of people gather here during the festivals.
Santa Cruz Basilica
This is a Roman Catholic Church built by the Portuguese in Kochi. It is the Cathedral church of the Diocese of Cochin. This church is believed to be around 500 years old and the Gothic structure of the building is very attractive. The interiors of the church, stained glasses, life like Caryatids are all very beautiful. This church is also regarded as a heritage site in our state.
St. John Nepumsian Church
This church is located in Konthuruthy near Kochi. This church is the only pilgrim centre in Konthuruthy. The total number of families in this church is 600. This is the first and only church in Arch Diocese of Ernakulam Angamaly. The main feasts conducted here are the Feast of St. Sebastian, Feast of Patron of the Parish St. John Nepumsian and Feast of St. Joseph.
Manjumatha church in Pallipuram is dedicated to Our Lady and is one of the 3 pilgrim centers in South India that is dedicated to Our Lady. This church is also called as the ‘Church of Our Lady of Snow’. It is also one of the oldest churches of Diocese of Kottapuram. The annual feast of this church is held in July-August and lasts for a week. Thousands of devotees from all over South India visit this church.
Some of the other churches in Ernakulam are
Jacobite Syrian Church at North Parur, St. Antony’s church at Kannamaly, Mar Thoma Cheria Pally at Kothamangalam, Mulanthuruthy Mar Thoma Church, Kadamattom Church, Kottoor Church, St.George Jacobite Syrian Cathedral at Karingachira, Marth Mariam Church at Kandanad etc.
Mosques in Ernakulam
Sheikh Fariddudin mosque popularly called as the Kanjiramattom mosque is an ancient mosque and is an example of antique magnificence of mazhars and dargahs. This mosque is built as a memorial to Sheikh Fariddudin. The festival celebrated here called the Kanjiramattom Kodikuthu is an important festival of Kerala and is held in the month of January. The ritual called the Chandanakudam festival is very colorful and famous and thousands of devotees take part in this. One of the interesting parts of this festival is the elephants and percussion music which is usually seen in Hindu festivals.
Some other mosques include Angamaly Town Juma Masjid, Juma Masjid-Munambam, Chennamangalam mosque etc.