One of the popular pilgrim centres in India, every year, millions of pilgrims turn out at the hill shrine of Sabarimalai to seek the blessings of the presiding deity - Lord Ayyappa or Swami Ayyappan. Located in the Sabari hills, towards the east of Pathanamthitta District, the hills are part of the world famous Periyar Tiger Reserve.
SREE PADMANABHASWAMY TEMPLE, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
The history of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple dates back to 8th century. It is one of the 108 sacred Vishnu temples or Divya Desams in India. Divya Desams are the holiest abodes of the Lord Vishnu that are mentioned in the works of the Tamil Azhvars (saints). The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu, reclining on Anantha, the hooded Serpent.
The St. Sebastian's Church in Arthunkal is an important Christian pilgrim centre. Located in Alappuzha the church is noted for the ten-day annual festival, popularly known as Arthunkal Perunnal. Celebrated in January every year, devotees from different parts of the State swarm the church on the feast days.
The Chottanikkara (corruption of Jyotiannakkara) Temple is a famous temple of the Hindu mother goddess Bhagawati. The temple is located near Ernakulam in the southern Indian state of Kerala and is one of the most popular temples in the state and in terms of temple architecture, this temple stands out to be an ultimate testmonial for the ancient vishwakarma sthapathis (wooden sculpture) in sculpting this temple along with Sabarimalai.
CHAKKULATHUKAVU SREE BHAGAVATHY TEMPLE
Chakkulathukavu Sree Bhagavathy temple, dedicated to Mother Godess, is situated on the border of Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts at Neerettupuram. The temple, which has a history of over 3,000 years, is open to people of all faiths. The famous rivers Pamba and Manimala flow on either sides of the temple.
CHERAMAN JUMA MASJID, KODUNGALLOOR
Located 2 km from Kodungalloor town, this mosque resembles a Hindu temple in appearance. Built in AD 629, this is the first mosque in India and the second in the world where Juma prayers were started. Other places of interest nearby include Cheramanparambu, the ancient Thiruvanchikulam Temple, the Bhagavathi Temple and the Portuguese fort.
Guruvayoor is one of the most sacred and important pilgrim centres of Kerala. Its main attraction is the Sree Krishna Temple, considered the Dwaraka of the South. There is also a 7 metre high Deepasthambam.
KALADI IN ERNAKULAM
The birthplace of Adi Sankaracharya, the great Advaita philosopher of the 8th century, Kaladi is 19 km from Aluva. A place called Crocodile Ghat is where Sri Sankara took his vows of renunciation. According to legends, a crocodile caught hold of him and refused to release him until Sankara's mother Aryamba permitted him to accept Sanyas (renunciation).
Situated about 47 km from Kochi, Malayattoor is famous for the Catholic Church, located on top of the Malayattoor hill, at a height of 609 m. Dedicated to St. Thomas the apostle of Jesus Christ, thousands of pilgrims gather here for the annual festival of 'Malayatoor Perunnal', held during the months of March /April.
MATHA AMRITANANDAMAYI ASHRAM AT VALLIKAVU
Matha Amritanandamayi Ashram at Vallikunnu, also known as Amritapuri is the residence and headquarters of Matha Amritanandamayi is situated near Vallikavu, where she was born. Called Amma by devotees all over the world, she is recognised as an extraordinary spiritual leader by the United Nations and was honoured with the Gandhi-King Award for non-violence in 2002.
MORTAL REMAINS OF SAINT ALPHONSA, BHARANANGANAM
The mortal remains of the St. Alphonsa are entombed at this church which is now a famous pilgrim centre. Thousands gather at this holy shrine during the annual festival: Feast of the St. Alphonsa (July).