Kerala is a land of gods and temples. It is called God’s Own Country due to its natural beauty and vibrant culture. The temples in Kerala are deeply rooted in their centuries-old cultural roots. Even today, they perform traditional religious festivals. When the temples are illuminated and devotees dance to drum beats and sing devotional songs, it is a sight to watch. These temples are also places where you will hear mythological stories and local folklore about the gods and goddesses. The temple architecture is another impressive thing about these temples.
In this article, we will explore the top 10 must visit temples in Kerala and provide you with all the essential information to plan your visit.
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Here are famous top 10 temples in Kerala:
- Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
- Attukal Bhagwathy Temple
- Sabrimala Sastha Temple
- Ambalapuzha Shree Krishna Temple
- Guruvayoor Shrikrishna Temple
- Chottanikkara Temple
- Ettumanoor Mahadev Temple
- Thirunelli Temple
- Tali Temple
- Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple
1. Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram
Located in Thiruvananthapuram, Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is famous as one of the world’s richest temples. The main deity of this temple is Lord Padmanabhaswamy, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. His idol is in the Adi Shesha posture. This posture is also called the Ananta Shayana posture where he is sleeping on the serpent Sheshnag. Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple architecture is a Dravidian style architecture. The rituals and religious practices in this temple are very strict and the pujaris follow them very religiously. Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams or temples that are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. The temple was built in the 8th century, but it is so old that Skanda Purana and Padma Purana mention this temple.
- Festivals: Alpasi Festival, Painkuni Festival, Ram Navami
- Best time to visit: October to February
2. Attukal Bhagwathy Temple, Thiruvanthapuram
The religious shrine of Bhagwathy Temple is situated in Thiruvananthapuram. Goddess Kanaki is the main deity of this temple. She is a divine incarnation of Goddess Bhadrakali. The famous temple is built in traditional Kerala-style architecture. Attukal Pongala Festival is celebrated with tremendous religious fervor in this temple. The Pongal festival is a very famous festival in which thousands of women from all over Kerala participate. During this festival, streets are lit up and devotees perform many rituals for the goddess. The festival has become so famous due to the enormous number of women who participate here that it has entered into the Guinness Book of World Records.
- Festivals: Attukal Pongala
- Best time to visit: February to March
3. Sabrimala Sastha Temple, Pathanamthitta
Sabarimala Sastha Temple is also famous as Sabarimala Sri Ayyappa Temple of Sabarimala. The temple is so famous that millions of visitors visit this temple every year. The main deity of this temple of Lord Ayyappan, who is the son of Shiva and Mohini. He who meditated here and destroyed the demoness called Mahishi. The temple is situated on a hill and is surrounded by the forests of Periyar Tiger Reserve. Devotees have to go on a 4 km trek to reach this temple. One of the most interesting facts about this temple is that women between the ages of 10 to 50 are not allowed entry to this temple. The temple is famous for its very strict religious practices and elaborate rituals. To visit the temple, devotees have to fast for 41 days.
- Festivals: Mandalapooja, Makar Sankranti, Maha Thirumal Sakranti
- Best time to visit: November to January
4. Ambalapuzha Shree Krishna Temple, Ambalapuzha
One of the famous temples to visit in Kerala is the Ambalapuzha Shree Krishna Temple. Lord Krishna is the main deity of this temple. The child form of Krishna, called Unni Krishna is worshipped in this temple. This temple was built during the 17th century. Payasam is a prasad (offering) that is given to the devotees. It is said that during the rule of Tipu Sultan, the deity in this temple was brought from Guruvayur. It is also believed that Lord Guruvayoorappan himself visits this temple to accept the prasad.
- Festivals: Arattu Festival, Ambalapuzha Temple Festival
- Best time to visit: March to July
5. Guruvayoor Shrikrishna Temple, Guruvayoor
Thrissur has some famous temples in Kerala, famous among them is Guruvayoor Shrikrishna Temple. Guruvayoor is a town of pilgrimage where lakhs of devotees visit the temple to seek the blessings of Lord Krishna. He is the main deity of this temple and is worshipped in the form of Lord Guruvayurappan. The temple is famous all over India for its elaborate festive rituals and religious practices. The temple is so famous and so sacred that it is called the Dwarka of South India. The idol of Lord Krishna is portrayed with four arms. He holds a lotus and garland in one arm, a conch called Panchajanya in the second arm, a discus or Sudarshana Chakra in the third arm, and a mace called Koumodaki in the fourth arm. The sacred pond in front of the temple is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva worshipped Lord Vishnu.
- Festivals: Malayali New Year, Janmashtami, Utsavam, Aarattu, Chembai Sangeetholsavam
- Best time to visit: October to February
6. Chottanikkara Temple, Chottanikkara
Temples in Kerala are famous for their architecture, and one such temple is Chottanikkara Temple. Chottanikkara Devi is the chief deity in this temple. One very interesting thing about this goddess is that she is worshipped in three different forms in this temple. She is worshipped as Saraswati in the morning, Laxmi in the noon time, and Durga in the evening time. Lord Shiva is also worshipped in this temple. The temple has a typical wooden construction and has Kerala architecture. This temple is said to cure devotees of their physical and mental illnesses.
- Festivals: Vrishchicka Mandala Mahotsava, Navrathri Aghosham, Makam Thozhal
- Best time to visit: January up to March, and October till December
7. Ettumanoor Mahadev Temple, Kottayam
The Ettumanoor Mahadev Temple is a very old Shiva temple located in Kottayam, Kerala. Ancient beliefs and mythology state that the Pandavas and Ved Vyasa worshipped here in this temple. The temple is famous for its Dravidian architecture and mural paintings. The painted frescoes like Lord Shiva performing the Nataraja or the Cosmic Dance are very famous paintings in this temple. The temple towers or gopurams are very ornate in their carvings and architecture. The temple is also famous as Adi Shankaracharya and is said to have composed the Soundarya Lahari when he stayed in this temple. Arattu festival is celebrated with great festivities in this temple. This is a time when the idols of seven and a half elephants, which are made of 13 kg gold, are taken out in full public view.
- Festivals: Arattu
- Best time to visit: February to March
8. Thirunelli Temple, Wayanad Valley
One of the most famous temples in Kerala is the Thirunelli Temple in the valleys of Wayanad. Lord Vishnu is the main Hindu deity to which this temple is dedicated. The temple is a legendary temple and its mention is even found in the ancient Puranas of India. It is said that none other than Lord Brahma, who is the creator of this universe, built the temple. The temple has such great religious importance that it is called the Kashi of the South. The dense jungles of Wayanad surround the temple, making it a very picturesque temple.
- Festivals: Thirunelli Festival, Bali Karma
- Best time to visit: September to March
9. Tali Temple, Kozhikode
One of the oldest Shiva temples in Kerala is the Tali Temple in Kozhikode. The temple was built in the 14th century. The temple is famous for its wooden architecture, beautiful paintings, wall carvings, and intricately designed roof. The brass work on the walls of the temple and the carvings on the roof of the temple are particularly beautiful. The temple celebrates the annual festival called Revathi Pattathanam, where cultural and religious events are held over 7 days.
- Festivals: Revathi Pattathanam
- Best time to visit: October to November
10. Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple, Kaviyoor
In Kaviyoor you can visit yet another famous temple in Kerala. This temple is called Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple. The temple is very old and was built in the 10th century. According to mythological legends, Lord Rama built a Shiv linga at this place when he was returning to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. The temple has the typical Kerala architectural style of its construction. Along with Lord Shiva, Hanuman and Parvati are also worshipped in this temple.
- Festivals: Hanuman Jayanti, Thiru Utsavam, Panthrandu Kalabham, Uthrattathi Thirunal.
- Best time to visit: November to the middle of January