There are many pilgrim centers in Kollam district. There are temples, ashrams, mosques and churches here. People belonging to different religion live here in communal harmony. The famous pilgrim centers of Kollam are Shasthamkotta Temple, Oachira Temple, Achankovil Temple, Martha Mariam Church, Kollam church etc. The Ashram of Mata Amrithanandamayi called Amrithapuri is also in Kollam and is visited by lakhs of devotees annually. Some of the main pilgrim centers of Kollam district are given here.
Temples in Kollam
Sree Dharma Sastha temple in Shasthamkotta is located in Kollam district. It lies on the bank of the Shasthamkotta Lake. The deity here is Lord Ayyappa. The temple is surrounded by forests and it is possible to find many monkeys in the temple premises. It is considered as sacred.
Oachira Parabrahma Temple is a very famous temple in Oachira in Kollam. There is no temple structure. It is located near Oachira town mosque and this is shows the communal harmony of this place. The Oachirakkali a ritual conducted here is very popular and is a special event of this temple held during the Oachira Vrishchikam festival.
Kottarakkara Sree Mahaganapathi Kshethram
Sree Mahaganapathy temple at Kottarakkara is a Ganesha temple and the main deity is Lord Shiva. Even though it is a Shiva temple, Lord Ganesha is given more importance. The Unniappam offered in this temple is very famous. People from all caste are allowed to enter in this temple.
Asramam Sreekrishna Swamy Temple
Sreekrishna Swamy Temple is located on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake. Lord Krishna as a boy with butter in both palms is the deity here. The main festival of this temple is Arattu mahotsavam which is known as Kollam pooram.
Matha Amrithanandamayi Ashram
Matha Amrithanandamayi Ashram is located in Vallikavu in Kollam district. It is popularly called as Matha Amrithanandamayi Matt and it is the residence of Matha Amrithanandamayi Devi who is a great guru and a spiritual Hindu leader. She is popularly called as ‘Amma’ and is famous for her humanitarian services. This Ashram is now well known as Amritapuri. There is a temple here and the deity in this temple is goddess Kaali.
Ammachiveedu temple is an ancient temple which is around 600 years old. It was founded by the Ammachiveedu family of Kollam. There is no main deity in this temple and this temple is dedicated to the Guru of Sharmashasta. There is a Sarpakavu near the temple. People from all religion and caste come to this temple to pray.
Thrikkadavoor Mahadeva Temple
Thrikkadavoor Mahadeva Temple is a Siva Temple situated on the banks of the Ashtamudi Lake. The annual festival conducted here is the Arattu festival during the Malayalam month Kumbham. The main attraction during this festive season is the eight artificial horses kept here that represent the eight areas around the temple.
Pulimukham Devi Temple
This temple is located in Thazhava in Kollam. The deity in this temple is Goddess Bhagavathy. Besides, there are many sub deities also which includes Yakshi, Ganesha, Nagaraja etc. On the temple premise lies a Kavu, trees like Karimbana and Ezhilam Pala which are also worshipped by the people. Some of the main festivals of this temple are Parayeduppu and Meena Bharani.
Kolloorvila Bharanikkavu Devi Temple
Kolloorvila Bharanikkavu Devi temple is located in Madannada. The annual festival conducted in Meenam lasts for 41 days.
Achankovil temple is situated on the banks of river Achankovil. It is one of the oldest temples in Kerala. The Shastha temple is located in the thick forest and the deity here is Lord Ayyappa. Mandala Pooja is the main festival here which is conducted during the month December to January. This Ayyappa temple is one among the 5 ancient Ayyappa temples.
Kulathupuzha Sastha temple is a famous temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. It is located near Thenmala on the banks of the River Kulathupuzha. The main deity here is in the form of Bala Sastha or Manikantan. The other deities include Sivalinga, Lord Vishnu and Ganapathy. The architecture of the temple is very attractive. The main festival conducted here is the Vishu Mahotsavam held in April. Thousands of devotees visit this temple during the Mandala season.
Vettikkavala Temple is an ancient temple. There is a Shiva temple and Vishnu temple called as Meloottu temple and Keezhoottu temple respectively.
Umayanalloor Sri Balasubramania Swamy Temple
This temple was believed to be built by the lady ruler of Venad dynasty named Umayammairani. This temple is around 500 years old. Thousands of people come to this temple to pray. A major festival in this temple is the ‘Aana Vaal Pidutham’ which is held during the Malayalam month Meenam. During this festival, the devotees run behind an elephant to catch its tail. This ritual symbolizes the pranks of the Lord Ganesha and Subrahmaniya.
Veerabhadra Swamy Temple
Veerabhadra Swamy Temple is the only temple in south India with Veerabhadra as the main deity.
To take the panoramic view of Malananda temple, follow the link:-http://p4panorama.com/panos/Malanada_Temple/index.html
Some of the other main temples in Kollam district are
Edavanadu Bhagavathi Temple, Anchal Agasthyakode Mahadeva Temple, Thalavoor Sri Durga Devi Temple, Peroor Karunalloor Bhagavathy Temple, Pattazhy Devi Temple, Kundara Ilampalloor Devi Temple, Paravur Puttingal Devi Temple, Sree Bhootha Natha Temple, Kulashekharanallor Srikrishnaswami and Devi temple, Kottamkulangara Temple, Chennamath Temple, Vilappuram Bhagavathy Temple, Vadayattukotta Sree Krishna Temple, Rameswarath Temple etc.
Churches in Kollam
Martha Mariam Church
Martha Mariam Orthodox Syrian Church of Thevalakara is located in Thevalakkara in Karunagapally. This church was believed to be built in 4th century. The festivals celebrated in this church are Mar Abo feast held on the 7th and 8th of February, the Feast of Saint Mary and the feast of Saint Gregorios. These are conducted annually.
Saint Thomas who was an apostle of Jesus Christ established seven and half churches in India and was called as Seven and Half Churches or Ezharappallikal. One of these churches was in Kollam. Port Kollam church which was built by St Thomas is believed to be around 1000 years old. It is one of the great Catholic centers in India.
Pullichira Church is a famous Marian pilgrim centre which is situated on the banks of Pullichira Lake. Initially the church was built in the year 1572 by the Portuguese. Later in 1974, a new church was built and the altar was preserved. It was considered as a Marian pilgrimage shrine in the year 2004. The festival celebrated here is the feast of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception church that lasts for 10 days. Some other feasts are St. Sebastian’s feast, Lourdes Matha feast, St. Joseph’s feast etc.
The other main Churches in Kollam are
St. Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Cathedral, St. Casmir`s church at Kadavur, Velankanni Matha Shrine at Tuyyam, St. Francis Church at Kallada, Amalotbhava Matha Church at Kottiyam, St. John Brotto Church at Sakthikulangara, St. Sebastian Church at Needakkara, St. Thomas C.S.I. Church at Pattathanam, St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral at Sastri Junction etc.
Mosques in Kollam
Valiyapalli at Janakappuram, Juma-Atrh-Palli at Kolluvila, Jumma-Ath-Masjid at Thattamala, Muslim Jumma-Ath-Palli at Karuva, Kalamala Palli, Muthirapparambu Palli, Siyavathummodu Palli at Kilikolloor etc are the most important mosques in Kollam district.