Thrissur which is the cultural capital of Kerala is also famous for the many temples and pilgrim centers here. Thrissur is world famous for the Thrissur Pooram conducted here. One of the important temples in Thrissur is the Guruvayoor Sree Krishna temple which is popularly called as the ‘Dwaraka of the South’. Some other main temples include Kodungalloor Bhagavathi temple, Koodalmanikyam Temple, Vadakkumnatha Temple etc. The tallest church in Asia named Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours is in this district. Some of the other churches here are St. Thomas Cathedral, Holy Cross Shrine, Marth Mariam Big Church etc. The famous mosque in Thrissur is Cheraman Juma Masjid.Some of the main pilgrim centers in Thrissur district are given below
Temples in Thrissur
Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple
Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple is located in Guruvayur and is dedicated to Lord Krishna and the Lord here is lovingly called as Guruvayoorappan. It is so popular that people from all parts of India visit this temple. This temple is popularly called as the ‘Dwaraka of the South’. The main entrance of this temple is called as the Bhooloka Vaikunta Nada. There is a gold plated flag post and a Deepa Stambha for lighting the lamps. This lamp post has 13 receptacles and is lit daily. The Srikovil is the place where the idol of Krishna is placed. This idol is made of a stone called as ‘Pathalanjanam’.
Kodungalloor Bhagavathi Temple
Kodungalloor Bhagavathi temple is located in Kodungalloor and was constructed during the rule of the Chera. The deity here is Kannagi and it was built by the Chera ruler Cheran Senguttuvan. This temple is managed by the Raja of Kodungalloor and is at present under the administration of the Cochin Devaswom Board. Kannagi is an incarnation of goddess Kali or Durga. The idol which is about 6 feet tall is made of jackfruit tree. It wears a crown and the face is covered with a mask. This idol has 8 hands which hold various weapons. The idol is fully covered with gold ornaments. There is also an idol of Lord Shiva and it is a practice to worship Shiva first and then to worship the goddess.
Koodalmanikyam temple is a very beautiful temple built in the 9th century and has a magnificent architecture. It is located in Irinjalakuda in Thrissur district. The carvings that are done in stone and wood are very attractive. There are murals on the walls. The deity here is Bharata which is the only such temple in India that is dedicated to Bharata. There is a story related with the name Koodalmanikyam. One of the special Nivedyam in this temple is the Brinjal Nivedyam. Another important offering that is made in this temple is the ‘Thaamaramala’.
Vadakkumnatha temple is located in Thrissur district. The deity here is Lord Shiva and is one of the oldest temples in Kerala. This temple is believed to be around 2000 years old. The total area on which the temple is located is around 9 acres. The temple structure has 4 gopurams each facing the 4 directions- north, east, west and south. These gopurams are beautifully carved in stone and wood. The walls of the temple are decorated with mural paintings that have themes from Mahabharata. This temple is very famous as the famous festival Thrissur Pooram is conducted from here.
Sri Rama Temple at Thriprayar is a magnificent temple which is dedicated to Lord Rama. The idol of Rama has 4 arms and this deity is believed to have some aspects of Lord Siva also. There is also a shrine of Ayyappa here. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple is very beautiful and scenes from Ramayana are represented on it. The shrine in this temple is related to Lakshmana Perumaal temple, Payammel 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’.
Payammel Sree Shathrughna Swami Temple
This temple is located in Payammel and is dedicated to Shathrughna. Shathrughna Devan is believed to be the incarnation of the Sudarshana Chakra of Lord Vishnu. The idol in this temple is 4 feet tall and the sub deities include Ganapathy and Hanuman. The main offering in this temple is the Sudarshana Pushpanjali. The annual festival in this temple is held in the Malayalam month Kumbham. The shrine in this temple is related to Lakshmana Perumaal temple, Sri Rama Temple at Thriprayar 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’.
Thiruvilwamala Vilwadrinatha temple is located in Talappilly in Thrissur. The temple has a rich heritage and the place is also famous for its picturesque beauty. The main deities of this temple are Lord Ramabhadraswamy and Lakshmana Swamy. The idol of Lord Rama is believed to be the one worshipped by Lord Siva. The sub deities include Ganapathy, Hanuman, Ayyappa, Siva and Parvathy. The main festivals of this temple are Ekadashi and Niramala.
An important cave near this temple is called as Punarjani which is believed to have been built by Viswakarma. The cave is around 150 meters long and people believe that one who crawls through the tunnel from one end to the other is free from all sins and attains rebirth. This ritual is called as ‘Punarjani Noozhal’. Only men are allowed to do this ritual while women can just visit the cave site.
Thiruvanikavu Bhagavathy Temple is located in Mullurkara which is dedicated to Goddess Thiruvanikkavilamma. The main features of this temple include beautiful temple walls inscribed with carvings, two huge trees at the entrance and a small pond. The sub deities include Vazhali Bhagavathy, Ayyappa, Sarpas etc. The major festivals of this temple are Pooram, Navarathri, Laksharchana and Prathishta Dinam.
Mammiyoor Mahadeva temple is a Siva temple and is located at a distance of 1 kms from Guruvayoor temple. There is also an idol of Lord Vishnu in a sanctum sanctorum next to Lord Siva. Here both the Gods are worshipped with equal importance and is the only such temple. The sub deities include Parvathy, Ganesha, Muruga, Ayyappa and Nagaraja also in this temple. People who go to Guruvayoor temple do not miss to visit this temple according to the rituals. This temple is one of the 108 Famous Siva temples of Kerala. The main festivals celebrated here are Sivarathri and Thiruvathira.
Thanikkudam Bhagavathi Temple
This temple is located in Thanikkudam village and is dedicated to Goddess Durga known here as Nana Durga or Thanikkudathamma. A unique feature in this temple is that the Arattu festival which is the holy dipping of the idol, takes place naturally once in a year when the Thanikkudam river overflows during rainy season. During monsoon, the river overflows and the water reaches the sanctum sanctorum submerging the idol. That day is considered as the Arattu and therefore Arattu is not performed during the annual temple festival. The devotees come here during this time by swimming to take part in the Arattu.
Kuttumuck Siva Temple
This temple is dedicated to Lord Kuttumuck Sree Mahadevan. The idol is worshipped as Kirathamoorthi and is said to be around 300 years old. The sub deities include Ganapathy, Ayyappa and Mahavishnu. The annual festival conducted here is the Utsavam Pallivetta and lasts for 10 days.
Arattupuzha Sree Shastha Temple
Sree Shastha temple at Arattupuzha is around 3000 years old. It is from this temple that the ritual ‘Devamela’ is held which is the festival when all the Gods and Goddesses assemble. A rare feature of this temple is that there are not any sub deities here. The main festival of this temple is the Arattupuzha Pooram which is 7 days long festival. During this festival 61 caparisoned elephants gather at the temple and the Panchavadyam is played. It is indeed a visual treat to the devotees. Some of the other festivals celebrated here are Puthari Nivedyam, Navarathri, Desavilakku, Illam Nira etc.
Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple
This is one of the largest Bhagavathy temples in Kerala. This is an ancient temple and is around 1000 years old. This temple participates in the Thrissur Pooram and some of the caparisoned elephants for the procession are arranged by this temple. A rivalry temple that participates in the Thrissur Pooram is the Thiruvambady Sree Krishna Temple.
Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple
This temple is dedicated to Lord Sree Krishna and Goddess Bhagavathy is also worshipped with equal importance. The sub deities include Ganapathy, Sastha, Bhairava, Raktheshwari etc. There are several festivals celebrated here which includes Sree Krishna Jayanthi, Navarathri, Kalampattu, Vaikunda Ekadasi, Thiru Utsava, Sahasrakalasham and several other festivals. Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple is an active participant in the Thrissur Pooram and is a rival to the Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple.
Thiruvullakkavu Sree Dharma Sastha Temple
This ancient temple is located in Irinjalakuda and is dedicated to Lord Dharma Sastha. The deity here is in the standing posture holding an arch and bow. This temple is considered as an Abode of Wisdom and so one of the main rituals performed here is the ‘Vidyarambha’ held during Vijayadashami. Even though Vijayadashami is not of much importance in Dharma Sastha temples, at Thiruvallikkavu it is the most auspicious day. The main festival conducted here is during Navarathri.
Trikkur Mahadeva Temple
This is an ancient Siva temple and is a cave temple. It is located on a hill top in Trikkur village. This temple is believed to be constructed in the 7th or 8th century. There is a huge Sivalinga at the end of the cave and there is also a sculpture of Ganesha also. At the top of the rock is a pond which never gets dried up. The annual festival conducted here is in the Malayalam month of Makaram.
Annamanada Mahadeva Temple
This temple is located in Annamanada and is dedicated to Lord Siva. It is an ancient temple and is around 3000 years old. The idol here is in the form of Kirathamoorthy and the Shivalinga is 4 feet tall. The sub deities include Ganapathy, Parvathy, Sastha, Durga, Nagaraja, Narasimha etc. The annual festival is conducted in the Malayalam month Kumbham and lasts for 10 days. This temple is one of the 32 Grama Kshetras of Kerala coast.
This temple is located near Thrissur town and is an ancient temple. This temple is around 1000 years old and is considered as one of the 108 Durga temples in Kerala. The temple architecture is very beautiful and consists of two Gopurams, compound walls, feeding hall, Nalambalam and a Sanctum Sanctorum which is 2 storied. One of the main festivals of this temple is the Makeeram Porapadu. This marks the beginning of the journey of Ammathiruvadi for the Arattupuzha Pooram and returns only after the completion of the Pooram.
Thayamkulangara Sree Subrahmanya Swami Temple
This Subrahmanya temple which is popularly called as the Kerala Pazhani is located at Cherpu. It is an old temple and there is also an idol of Ganapathy. This temple is owned by the Chittoor Mana. The main festival in this temple is Thaipooyam held in the Malayalam month Makaram, as part of rituals processions and Kavadiyattam is done. The offerings made to the Lord include Kalabhabhishekam, Shadabhishekam, Udayastamana Pooja etc.
Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple
This temple which is dedicated to Lord Siva is worshipped as Uma Maheshwara and is located in Kodungallur. This temple is one of the 4 Tali temples of Kodungallur. It is an ancient temple and has been renovated long back. There are 2 shrines of the Shaivite saints and is the only Siva temple in Kerala that has the idols of Shaivite Nayanmars. The main offerings of this temple are Dampathi pooja and Pallikuruppu. The annual festival of this temple is held in the Malayalam month Kumbham that lasts for 8 days and another main festival is Sivarathri. As part of the annual festival, Anayottam is also conducted.
Vazhapully Sree Rajarajeswari Temple
This temple is located in Edamuttam and is an ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Rajarajeshwari. This temple is the first family temple in Kerala and is believed to be around 500 years old. The sub deities include Ganapathy, Nagaraja, Raktheswari etc. The main festivals conducted here include Makarappathu Maholsavam, Pongala festival, Sarpa Bali, Navarathri pooja etc.
Some other main temples in Thrissur are
Kadavallur Sreerama Temple, Thottipal Bhagavati Temple, Thaikkattussery Bhagavathy Temple, Nettissery Sastha Temple, Chiravarampathu Kavu Bhagavathy Temple, Vailikulangara Bhagavathi Temple, Vishwanathapuram Subramunya Temple, Kanadi Sree Vishnumaya (Chathan) Temple, Ayyappankavu Temple, Narasimhamoorthy Ambalam, Nattika Sree Hanuman Swami Temple, Sri Dhanwanthiri Temple, Sri Kurumba Bhagavati Temple etc.
Churches in Thrissur
Holy Cross Shrine
Holy Cross Shrine is located in Thrissur district and was constructed in the year 928. This church was finally renovated in the year 1989. This is one of the oldest church in India and one of the few churches in Asia that has obtained the relics that are related with the death of Jesus Christ. It includes the Holy Cross, part of blood of Jesus and a piece of towel that was used by veronica to wipe Jesus’s face. It was donated to the church by the Pope of Vatican. This church is part of the Irinjalakuda diocese and attracts huge devotees.
St. Thomas Cathedral
This Cathedral is located in Irinjalakuda and was formed by uniting two independent parishes namely St.George’s Forane church and St.Mary’s church in this locality. This Cathedral is dedicated to St. Thomas the Apostle in 1978. It was St. George’s Forane Church that was changed to St. Thomas Cathedral while St. Mary’s Church was temporarily used as Bishop’s Chapel. This Cathedral has at present 2921 families and there are many religious and educational institutions also.
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 is the Catholic Syrian Church at Palayur known as Palayur church near Chavakkad and is the first church founded by him. It is a unique church as this is the only church that still stands in the same place where it was established first. It is given the status of the First Arch Diocesan pilgrim center. There is the relic of St. Thomas in the main altar of the church. The feast of this church is held on July 15 annually.
Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours
Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours which is popularly called as New Church or Puthanpalli is the biggest and the tallest church in Asia. The 2 front towers of the church have a height of 146 feet while the central tower has a height of 260 feet which makes it the tallest church in Asia. This church is built in the Gothic style of architecture. The church is 2 storied and has 11 altars. The interior of this church is beautifully decorated with murals, images and sculptures. Thousands of pilgrims visit this church annually as this church is also a major tourist attraction.
To take the panoramic view of Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours, follow the link:-http://p4panorama.com/panos/doloursbasilica/index.html
This church is located in Pavaratty and is the largest Christian pilgrim centre of this district. It is around 125 years old. The annual feast of this church is conducted on the 3rd Sunday after Easter and is an important church festival of Kerala. During festival, the display of fireworks is very famous and thousands of devotees gather here to view them. In memory of the last day of St. Joseph a feast is held on March 19th.
Our Lady of Lourdes Metropolitan Cathedral
This church is one of the largest churches of Kerala and is dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. The interior of this church is very beautifully decorated and one of the main attractions here is the underground shrine. This is a masterpiece work and the exterior of this church is in Indo European façade having pink spires. There is an 80 m tall Bell Tower and the visitors are allowed to the top of the tower. Art works that depict the life of Jesus are exhibited here.
Marth Mariam Big Church
This is oldest church in Thrissur city which was built in the year 1814. The original name of this church is Vyakula Mathavin Palli. This church was built for the Christian families settled there.
St. Anthony’s Forane Church
This church is located in Ollur and is of the Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Thrissur. Around 4000 families belong to this church and it is constructed on a hill top. Ollur is popularly called as Chinna Roma due to the large number of Christian settlements in this area together with several religious institutions. The wall surrounding the church is very huge and is called as Aana mathil. A unique feature of this church is the numerous angel images in the church which accounts to around 5000 in number. This church has 18 churches under its jurisdiction. The most important festival celebrated here is the Feast of Saint Raphael which is held on 23 and 24 October. Another festival held is the Feast of St. Sebastian held in January.
Some other main churches in Thrissur are
St. Joseph Church at Kuriachira, Little Flower Church at Poomala, St.Mathew Church at Palakkal, St. Francis Xavier Church at Wadakkancherry, St.Joseph Church at Vaniampara, St. Francis Xavier Church at Vadanappilly, St. Antony Church at Thrikkur, St. Anne Church at Trichur, Roman Catholic Church at Tholur, St. Joseph Church at Thonoorkara, St. Peter Church at Thriprayar, Sacred Heart Church at Thoyakkavu etc.
Mosques in Thrissur
Cheraman Juma Masjid
Cheraman Juma Masjid which is India’s first Masjid was constructed in the year 628. Renovations have been made to the mosque several times with the last one in 1974. It is located in Kodungallur in Thrissur district. It is also the second oldest Juma Masjid in the world where the Friday prayers are conducted for the past 1375 years. There is an old lamp in this mosque which burns at all the time. The devotees can offer oil to light the lamp. The architecture of this mosque is in the traditional Hindu style.
Some other mosques in Thrissur are
Chettuva Juma Masjid, Manathala Juma Masjid, Azhikkode Puthanpally Juma Masjid and Alappanagad Juma Masjid
Thrissur which is Kerala’s cultural capital is very famous for the temples and the main attractions include the fairs and festivals of the temples. The cultural centre of Thrissur which is Kerala Kalamandalam is a place you can visit. There are many archaeological buildings and monuments here which are must visit. The monuments including forts, palaces, museums etc are Cranganore fort, Shakthan Thampuran palace, Archaeological museum etc. The natural attractions in Thrissur are waterfalls and wildlife reserve areas. It includes Athirapally and Vazhachal waterfalls, Chimmini wildlife, Peechi Vazhani etc. There are 2 water theme parks in Thrissur namely Dream World and Silver Storm water theme parks. Tourists come here in large numbers to the theme parks. One out of the 2 Zoos of Kerala are in Thrissur. Another attraction here is the largest elephant park called the Punnathur kotta Elephant Sanctuary. The main places of interest in Thrissur district are given below
Cranganore Fort which is also known by the name Kodungallur Fort is in Thrissur district. Another name for this fort is Kottappuram fort. The word meaning of ‘Kottappuram’ is ‘the place around a fort’. It was constructed in the year 1523 by the Portuguese.
Shaktan Thampuran Palace
Shakthan Thampuran Palace is located in Thrissur district. This palace is now preserved by the Archaeological department. At present it is a museum. The building is two storied and is in the Nalukettu form. The roof is very high and has thick walls. The flooring is done using Italian marbles. The interiors of the palace are constructed in such a way that it provides comfort irrespective of the weather condition.
The Archaeological Museum which is situated in Thrissur is famous for its huge and rare collection of artifacts. The Archaeological museum was established by the Government of Cochin in the year 1938 as Sree Mulam Chithrasala which is a picture gallery. The exhibits at that time were the crafts work of copies of murals in Mattancherry palace and some other temples.
Athirapally waterfalls are located in the Sholayar range and are a part of the Chalakudi River. It is the largest waterfall in Kerala. This waterfall is at a height of 80 feet and lies in the forest area. The water cascades from this height and joins with the Chalakudi River.
Chimmini wildlife sanctuary is located near the Nelliampathy in Thrissur district. It was established in the year 1984 and part of this lies near to the Peechi-Vazhani wildlife sanctuary and the next part lies near the Parambikulam sanctuary. Chimmini is at a height of about 40 m to 1,116 m above sea level. The highest point here is the Punda Peak.
Peechi-Vazhani Sanctuary is located in Thrissur district. It lies in the basin of Peechi – Vazhani dam. The total area of this sanctuary is 125 sq kms and is a portion of the Nelliyampathy forest. It is the second oldest sanctuary in Kerala and was established in the year 1958. The highest peak of this area is Ponmudi peak.
Dream World Park
Dream World Park is a water theme park in Thrissur district. It is located at a distance of 24 kms from the famous Athirapalli waterfalls. On the entrance of the park huge dragons are built that attracts every one. Thousands of tourists visit this park and a unique feature of this park is that the rides are designed in a manner that tourists of all age can enter those without any difficulty.
Silver Storm water theme park is located in Vettilapara in Thrissur district. The rides here are a combination of natural wonder and manmade marvels. This park was established with the financial aid of Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (KSIDC). This park was launched in 5 phases, first being in 2000 and the final phase in 2005.
Thrissur zoo was established in the year 1885 in Chembukavu in Thrissur district. It covers a total area of 13 acres of land. There are a wide variety of animals, reptiles, birds etc. Within the zoo premises lies the Zoological garden, botanical garden, art museum and a natural history museum.
Kerala Kalamandalam is located in Cheruthuruthy which is home to the Kathakali dance form. This institution was established in the year 1930 by the famous Malayalam poet Vallathol Narayana Menon. Students get trained in Kathakali from this Kalamandalam and many best Kathakali performers have studied here. Besides Kathakali, music, drama and various other dance forms are trained from here.
Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary
Punnathur Kotta is the largest elephant park in the world and there are around 60 elephants here. All the elephants found here are donated to Lord Guruvayoorappan by his devotees. Some of the main attractions here are the elephant race and the feast for the elephants. The elephants of all age group are found here and they live here in a natural habitat. The elephants are also trained to participate in the Guruvayoor temple festivals. People can go near the elephants and take a look at them.