Kerala is not just famous for its scenic beauty, it is also known as the land with a rich culture and heritage. Besides the exotic locales, there are a large number of religious places in Kerala which are visited throughout the year. Discovering or locating a temple, church, or mosque is an easy when it comes to Kerala. Famous temples in Kerala are well known and popular and are present in every nook and corner. The majority of the religious sites are firmly embedded with strong myths, untold mythological tales of more than 1000 years.
Some of the most Famous Temples in Kerala are dedicated to Lord Shiva or Incarnations of Lord Vishnu like Guruvayur Temple, Sabarimala Sri Ayyappa Temple and Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
What to wear inside famous temples in Kerala?
In all the famous temples in Kerala, entry is always restricted only to those people who practice the Hindu religion and entering the temple wearing chequered clothes, shirts, banyan, pyjama, lungi and footwear is not permitted.
You should enter the kerala temples with an absolute sense of devotion after bathing and wearing clean clothes.
There is an approved list of dresses to enter kerala temples for both men and women and Modern dresses are not allowed. Men should wear Kerala traditional Mundu (Dhoti) with or without a white piece of cloth known as Angavasthra over shoulders. Women can wear Sarees, Salvars Leggings, Dhoties or Pavadas with blouse or other coverings as appropriate to their age. Young girls below 12 years may wear gowns.
1. Guruvayur Temple
Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple is a pilgrimage town situated in Thrissur, the southwest Indian state of Kerala. It is a renowned Hindu temple devoted to the Hindu deity Lord Krishna known as Lord Guruvayurappan. This temple town of Guruvayur is a popular destination for worshippers in Kerala and all over India. The temple follows a series of customs and tradition that captivates lakhs of pilgrims every month. The Father or Lord of Guruvayur is portrayed and represented as a four-armed God showing his supreme powers and immense strength to carry out countless acts at a single time. The central icon represents the lord Vishnu carrying the conch Panchajanya, the discus Sudarshana Chakra, the mace Kaumodaki and a lotus with a Holy basil garland. Being one of the most important and sacred pilgrim centers of Kerala, it is known as the Dwarka of South India.
One can pay a visit to the temple at any time of the year. The best time to visit Guruvayur is during the annual Guruvayur festival which typically falls in February – March.
How to Reach Guruvayur Temple
By Air: Cochin International Airport is the nearest Airport which is 80km from Guruvayur and 100km away from Calicut Airport.
By Rail: Guruvayur is the nearest railway station, located towards the east of the temple, linked to the Madras-Mangalore mainline in Thrissur. Bus and cab services are available from the station.
By Road: Private and public transportation can be accessed to reach the pilgrimage town.
2. Sabarimala Sri Ayyappa Temple
Sabarimala Sri Ayyappa Temple is the most well known and prominent one among all the Sastha temples in Kerala. Deity Ayyappa is believed to be the son of Shiva and Mohini (the feminine incarnation of Vishnu). This shrine is situated on a hilltop surrounded by mountains and dense forests. It is approximately 4000 feet above the sea level in Pathanamthitta district, Kerala. Sabarimala supports the values of equality, fraternity, and also permanence to human life. It has commonly been assumed that the Prince of Pandalam dynasty, an epitome of Ayappan, meditated at Sabarimala temple. The Pathinettu thripadikal or the 18 sacred steps is the primary stairway to the temple. The joy of pain and happiness (Swamiye Saranam Ayyapa) gathers uniqueness in the voice of all worshippers, thereby signifying all men are equal before Lord Ayyappan regardless of class, creed, or race. Above 30 million devotees pay a visit to Sabarimala annually making it the largest pilgrim destination in India. The shrine is open on the first 5 days of each Malayalam month.
November to February and April to September is preferably the best time to visit the temple.
How to Reach Sabarimala Sri Ayyappa Temple
By Air: There are no direct Flights to Sabarimala. However, Cochin is the nearest airport at 104km away.
By Rail: Chengannur is the closest railway station, which is positioned at a distance of about 90km from Pamba.
By Road: Pilgrims arrive at Sabarimala by taking a KSRTC bus and making the rest of their journey in barefoot.
3. Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple
Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple is one of the ancient and important Kerala temples located on the banks of the river Manimala. The main deity is Lord Shiva (also known as Thrikkaviyoorappan). It has got a unique architecture with its copper-covered roof, golden flag masts, and the wide steps at the eastern entrance. The outer wall of the holy place is bedecked with wooden sculpture panels. The Idols of Ganapathy, Maharshi, and Dwarapalakas are also worshipped within the temple premises. Restrictions are placed on a non-Hindu from making an entry to the temple. Strict dress code is followed and photography is completely prohibited.
- A yearly festival takes place during December/January and is known as Thiruvutsavam. This festival continues for 10 days following a unique ritual.
- Shivaratri falls during February or March. This can also be regarded as the best time to visit.
How to reach Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple
By Air: The nearest airport is Trivandrum International Airport
By Rail: The Thriuvalla Railway station is just 5km away from Kaviyoor and is considered as the nearest accessible point.
By Road: There are direct buses available from Kozhencherry, Kottangal, Pathanamthitta, Ranni, and Thottabhagom.
4. Mammiyoor Temple
Mammiyoor Mahadeva Kshetram, representing the deity Shiva is known for its astonishing paintings on the walls and the magnificent sculptures. Immediately after visiting the Guruvayur Temple, the devotees pay a visit to the Mammiyoor Temple too. The Mammiyyoor temple also has sanctums of Lord Ganapathi, Mahavishnu, Darma Sastha, Muruga, Bhagavati, and Brahmmarakshas. The Idol of Bhagavathi depicting Parvathy has been erected behind the idol of Lord Shiva.
Devotees can pay a visit during the special days like Ekadasi, Shivaratri, and other auspicious festivals.
How to reach Mammiyoor Temple
By Air: Cochin International airport is the nearest airport.
By Rail: Visitors can get connected with the Chennai-Mangaluru line at Thrissur Railway station.
By Road: A private bus stand is positioned to the east of the temple. Traveling by car is also a convenient mode of transportation.
5. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple Trivandrum
The Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the most respected abodes of Hindu Deity MahaVishnu situated in Trivandrum, capital of Kerala and is considered as the richest temple in the world . The architecture of the temple exhibits a mix of Keralan and Dravidian styles. The shrine has the idol of Lord Mahavishnu which is 18-feet high and is an awe-inspiring view for the devotees who visit the temple. The deity Padmanabhaswamy (Vishnu) is positioned in the “Anantha Shayana posture on the serpent Adi Shesha. The temple is considered to be strict in its rituals and pilgrims. Visitors are expected to enter the premises of the temple barefoot. Electronic gadgets and capturing of pictures are strictly prohibited within the premises of the temple.
Padmanabha Swamy Temple can be visited at any time during the year.
How to reach Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
By air: the nearest airport is Trivandrum International Airport (a distance of 3kms away)
By rail: Regular trains to Thiruvananthapuram and other major cities are available. Kazhakuttam, Veli are the nearest stations
By Road: All public and private transportation are accessible from the major cities.
6. Attukal Bhagavathy Temple
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is a religious shrine at Attukal, in Kerala. The main deity worshipped here is Goddess Bhadrakali. Bhadrakali is regarded as the goddess of prosperity and protecting her devotees from any harm. The temple is quite famous for the annual Attukal Pongala Festival. Millions of women participate during this Attukal Pongala, and this festival has entered into the Guinness book of world records. Attukal Devi is frequently worshipped in 3 forms such as Maha Saraswati( Goddess of knowledge), Maha Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) and Mahakali/Durga/Parvathy (goddess of power).
The best time to visit the shrine is during the Attukal Pongala Festival.
How to reach Attukal Bhagavathy Temple
By air: The nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport about 7km away from the shrine.
By rail: Thampanoor station which is 2km from the shrine is the closest railway station.
By Road: Both public and private transportation can be easily accessed. The main bus terminal is situated in Thampanoor, about 2km from the shrine.
7. Vadakkunnathan Temple Thrissur
Vadakkunnathan temple is one amongst the ancient Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The shrine is situated in the city of Thrissur, a state in Kerala. The mural paintings and the architectural style of this temple depicts the mythological tales from Mahabharata. This is regarded as the first temple built by Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Shiva is the deity present in the Vadakkunnathan Temple. During Shivarathri the temple is lit up with lakhs of lamps.
One must pay a visit to Vadakkunnathan Temple during April and May when Thrissur Pooram is conducted.
How to reach Vadakkunnathan Temple Thrissur
By air: the Cochin airport is the nearest airport to reach the pilgrim spot which is 53km away.
By Rail: Thrissur railway station is the closest railway station.
By Road: Thrissur is connected to all parts of Kerala. Hence accessing public and private transport can take you to the destination.
8. Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple
Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple, located at Ambalapuzha in Kerala is one of the renowned Kerala temples. This shrine is dedicated to Lord Krishna. An embodiment of Krishna as a child resides in the temple. The deity of this shrine has been brought from Guruvayoor during the time of Tipu Sultans conquest. Payasam, a sweet pudding prepared with rice and milk is served in the temple. It is also reckoned that Lord Guruvayoorappan pays a visit to the temple daily to accept the offering.
The best time to visit the temple is during the evening at the time of aarti. The entire shrine will be lit with tiny lamps, making the temple look all the more beautiful.
How to reach Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple
By air: Cochin international airport is the nearest airport to reach the shrine
By rail: There are regular trains available from the major cities and Alappuzha railway station is the closest one
By Road: Alappuzha is closely linked to other major cities through regular buses.
9. Chottanikara Devi temple
Chottanikara Devi temple is a well-known and popular temple worshiping the Goddess Bhagawati. The temple is known for its curing powers. It is believed that the Deity Bhagawati removes all mental illnesses and disorders, thereby resulting in peace and harmony in the life of her devotees. A golden idol of the Goddess resides in the temple.
During Makom Thozhal, a festival celebrated during the month of Kumbham is the best time to visit the temple.
How to reach Chottanikara Devi temple
By air: Cochin international airport is the closest one, about 22km away from the Ernakulam.
By rail: The immediate station is at Ernakulam about 17km away from Chottanikkara
By road: KSRTC bus station is near the Ernakulam railway station.
10. Vaikom Mahadeva Temple
Ettumanoor- Vaikom-Kaduthuruthy Temple which is dedicated to the Deity Shiva is also popularly known as Vaikom Mahadeva Temple. It is strongly believed that those who visit the temple get their desires fulfilled and their inner soul becomes pristine and pure. Its beautiful architecture and the meticulously designed murals also play a major role in capturing the attention of a large number of visitors.
During the Vaikathashtami festival and Arattu festival, one needs to pay a visit to the temple.
How to Reach Vaikom Mahadeva Temple
By air: Cochin International Airport is just 63 km away
By Rail: Kottayam Railway station -25km away
By Road: Buses are available from Kottayam Bus stand.
11. Mannarasala – Nagaraja Temple
Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is one of the ancient and world famous temples in kerala. The shrine is dedicated to the serpent god. It is situated in the middle of the lush green forest just like any other snake temple. The temple has got more than 30000 images of snakes on the trees which draws the attention of the visitors from all over the world. The beliefs and rituals performed in the Mannarasala Temple are quite different from the other famous temples in kerala.
Aayilyam is the predominant festival celebrated at Mannarasala Temple. During the festival the idols of serpents are taken on a procession and a paste containing rice, milk and red turmeric, lime is offered.
How to reach Mannarasala – Nagaraja Temple
By air: Cochin international airport – 90km
By road: Public transport is available at the Haripad station
12. Thiruvanchikulam Shiva Temple
Thiruvanchikulam Shiva Temple which is located at Kodungallur, a place in the Thrissur district of Kerala, is also popularly known as Mahadeva Temple. This temple has got exquisite mural paintings on its walls that present the ancient principles and idol. The temple is open from 4 am to 12 noon and 4 pm to 8:30 pm on all days.
Thiruvanchikulam Shiva Temple is visited by millions of devotees throughout the year.
How to reach Thiruvanchikulam Shiva Temple
By Air: Cochin International Airport – 27 km
By rail: Chalakudy Railway station is the nearest station to the shrine
By road: All modes of transport can be easily accessed to reach the pilgrim spot
13. Lokanarkavu Temple
Lokanarkavu temple is situated at Memunda which is about 4km from Vatakara, Kozhikode district, in Kerala. The temple is regarded as the official family temple of 500 Aryan Nagariks who migrated to Kerala. Visitors get an opportunity to watch the unique folk dance known as Poorakkali, similar to the martial art form called Kalaripayattu.
How to reach Lokanarkavu Temple
By air: Calicut International Airport is the nearest airport
By Rail: Closest station is Vatakara which is 5km from the temple
By Road: Private and public transports are easily available to reach the pilgrim spot.
14. Sree Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple
Sree Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple is a beautiful temple with attractive architecture and is located on the banks of the river Valapattanam. The temple is dedicated to Lord Muthappan. Visitors offer alcohol and liquor bottles to the deity Muthappan. People from all caste and religion can enter the temple. Dogs are one of the common animals seen in the Sree Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple.
Devotees are allowed to enter the temple from 5 am to 8 am and from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
How to reach Sree Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple
By air: Kannur international airport is the closest airport
By Rail: Kannapuram railway station -13km
By road: Buses are easily available to reach the temple
15. Thirunelli Temple
Thirunelli Temple is an ancient Vishnu temple. It is well known and famous amongst the Hindu devotees all over South India. The temple is believed as the Kashi of the South. This temple has also been mentioned in the Puranas and is built by Brahma himself. The shrine is considered as a must place to visit.
How to reach Thirunelli Temple
By rail: The nearest station is Kozhikode railway station
By road: The nearest public transport station is at Wayanad
16. Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple
Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple is one of the important Kerala temples. Lord Krishna is the deity residing at this temple who is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The sacred jewels called Thiruvabharanam of Ayyapan are taken into procession from Pandalam. Aranmula is well known for the snake boat race, which is held every year during the Onam.
How to Reach Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple
By Road: Aranmula is 10km away from Chengannur.
By Rail: Chengannur Railway station is the nearest station
By Air: Trivandrum International airport is the closest airport.
17. Sivagiri Temple
Sivagiri Temple is a sacred pilgrimage center and is one of the important temples situated in Kerala. The pilgrims dressed in yellow attire pay a visit to the temple during the pilgrimage days and is believed to be a worship place for millions of devotees.
During Gurudeva Jayanthi and Samadhi Day, Sivagiri Temple is considered as the best time to visit.
How to reach Sivagiri Temple
By rail: Nearest Railway station is Varkala station
By Air: Trivandrum International Airport is the nearest airport
Famous Temples in Kerala
Do’s & Donts
- Smoking and Spitting inside the Temple is not allowed.
- Usage of pan masala and and other additives are not permitted inside the Temple.
- The offerings of the temple( prasadam and theertham ) should be handled with respect
- Entry to Temple premises after the consumption of liquor and non-vegetarian food is not allowed.