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Top 8 Temples in Kerala - Sacred Places of Pilgrimage

Temples in India symbolize places where devotees come together to pay their respects to the divine deities. These temples are mostly symmetry-driven structures, depicting geometric shapes like squares and circles. Some important features of Indian Hindu temples include Garbh Griha, mandapa, shikhara, etc. These temples are built as per underlying principles and beliefs of everything is one and is connected. Temples in Kerala are also constructed as per these beliefs. These are spectacular structures that command respect and devotion from the worshippers.

Kerala is referred to as the Land of Gods. It is an apt name given to the state with its architecturally renowned structures, especially temples unique in different aspects. Kerala is the southernmost state of India and is known for its rich culture, traditions, and legends. The temples in Kerala are evidence of the rich culture of this place. Some of the temples situated here date back to 2000 years. Mostly, these temples are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, and Lord Ayappa, making it a perfect place to visit for religious and spiritual reasons. When planning a visit to this lovely land of Gods and Goddesses and soak in spiritualism, check out the top 10 temples in Kerala that must be a part of your bucket list.

1. Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram

Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram

This temple is a true example of magnificence. Located in Thiruvananthapuram, it is dedicated to Lord Padmanabhaswamy, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple was built in the 8th Century in typical Dravidian architectural style. It is among the 108 Divya Desam or Vishnu Temples. The presiding deity Padmanabhaswamy can be seen reclining on a hooded serpent or Anantha. According to historians, this temple is ancient that it finds mention in old scriptures like Padma Purana and Skanda Purana. The city derived its name from Anantha. Every year, the temple witnesses thousands of devotees who come here to seek blessings from the Lord.

Location: West Nada, East Fort, Pazhavangadi

Best time to Visit: Panguni Festival in March-April and Alpashi Festival in October-November

Nearest Airport: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport

Nearest Railway Station: Thiruvananthapuram Railway Station

2. Attukal Bhagwathy Temple, Thiruvanthapuram

Temples in Kerala - Attukal Bhagwathy Temple

This temple is located very close to Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. This temple is dedicated to the Goddess Kannaki, who is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. The presiding deity is considered as the Creator of all things, the Supreme Power. The temple shot to popularity when it registered its name in the Guinness Book of World Records for collecting the largest gathering of women worshippers.

Location: Chiramukku Road, C Block, Attukal

Best time to Visit: February or March for Attukal Pongal

Nearest Airport: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport

Nearest Railway Station: Trivandrum Central

3. Sabrimala Sastha Temple, Pathanamthitta

Sabrimala Sastha Temple, Pathanamthitta

Located close to the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Sabrimala Sastha Temple is one of the most renowned temples in Kerala. This temple witnesses large-scale pilgrimage by ardent devotees. Statistics reveal almost fifty million pilgrims visiting the temple every year. This temple is dedicated to Lord Ayappan, who is believed to have meditated and destroyed Mahishi, the demoness. People take a sacred journey to the temple to seek blessings from the Lord. Devotees wear Chandan smeared on their foreheads, wear blue or black dresses, and avoid shaving until the pilgrimage is completed. The striking feature of this temple is that only men and women who have not yet started menstruated or have gone through menopause are allowed inside the temple.

Location: The temple is 72 km away from Pathanamthitta.

Best time to Visit: Mandalapooja during November-December, Makar Sakranti in January, and Maha Thirumal Sakranti in April.

Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport

Nearest Railway Station: Kottayam, Chinganur, and Thiruvalla Railway Stations

Suggested Read: Top 10 Fairs & Festivals Of Kerala

4. Ambalapuzha Shree Krishna Temple, Ambalapuzha

Ambalapuzha Shree Krishna Temple, Ambalapuzha

Dedicated to Lord Krishna, this magnificent temple was built in the 17th Century. Here, the child form of Lord Krishna or the Unni Krishna is worshipped. Devotees visit this temple from far and wide areas to seek blessings from the Lord Almighty. Since Lord is celebrated in the child form, pal payasam is also served as an offering. It is a very delectable Prasada. As the legend goes, the deity came to Ambalapuzha during the reign of Tipu Sultan from Guruvayoor. It was done to keep the deity safe and protected from the raids taking place.

Location: Ambalapuzha, Kerala

Best time to Visit: Arattu Festival in March and April, and Ambalapuzha Temple Festival in July.

Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport

Nearest Railway Station: Alleppey Railway Station

5. Guruvayoor Shrikrishna Temple, Guruvayoor

Guruvayoor Shrikrishna Temple, Guruvayoor

Guruvayoor Temple in Guruvayoor is dedicated to Lord Shri Krishna. It is one of the most Kerala famous temples. The statue of Lord Krishna is four-armed, standing tall, with a discus Sudarshana Chakra in one hand, conch Panchajanya in another, a lotus with a holy basil garland, and the mace Kaumodaki in other hands. The magnificence of this temple made Guruvayoor renowned as the "Dwarka of the South." There is a tank on temple premises, and as the legend goes, this is where Lord Shiv worshiped Lord Vishnu. Devotees love visiting this sacred pond and worship Guruvayoor Srikrishna Temple.

Location: Guruvayoor, Kerala

Best time to Visit: Kuchela's Day in December-January, The Malayali New Year in Mid April, and Ulsavam in February-March

Nearest Airport: Kochi International Airport

Nearest Railway Station: Guruvayur Railway Station

6. Chottanikkara Temple, Chottanikkara

Chottanikkara Temple, Chottanikkara

Another popular temple in Kerala that attracts many devotees every year to pay respects to the divine deity, Chottanikkara Temple, is dedicated to Chottanikkara Devi. This temple is an amazing specimen of excellent architectural style. The deity is worshiped in three distinctive forms- Durga in the evening, Laxmi in the noon, and Saraswati in the morning. This temple also revers Lord Shiva. There is Keezhkkaavu temple on the east side of the main temple where every evening, priests perform the Guruthi Pooja to invoke the Goddess.

Location: Chottanikkara, Kochi, Kerala

Best time to Visit: The Vrishchicka Mandala Mahotsava and Navrathri Aghosham in October.

Nearest Airport: Kochi International Airport

Nearest Railway Station: Chottinikkara Road Railway Station

Suggested Read: 8 Best Tourist Places In Kerala That Are Travellers Delight

7. Ettumanoor Mahadev Temple, Kottayam

Ettumanoor Mahadev Temple, Kottayam

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Ettumanoor Mahadev Temple is an ancient temple. Kerala has limited Shiva temples, and this temple is one of them. The temple is also known for its intricate Dravidian architecture. The temple walls are decorated with incredible mural paintings, making this temple one of Kerala's finest temples. Adi Shankaracharya, the famous philosopher, penned Soundarya Lahari while residing in this temple.

Location: Ettumanoor Temple Road, Ettumanoor, Kerala

Best time to Visit: During Arattu Festival in February and March

Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport

Nearest Railway Station: Ettumanoor Railway Station

8. Thirunelli Temple, Wayanad Valley