15 Pilgrim Centres in and around Vaikom

Vaikom is truly a land of fairs and festivals with long history and tradition behind them. These innumerable number of festivals stand out from the crowd because of their uniqueness and social importance. 

1) Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple (40k.m. from Vaikom) This is one of the famous Shiva Temples in Kerala, located in the heart of Kottayam town.

Thousands of devotees visit this shrine of Lord Shiva every year. Devotees flock to the temple in plenty especially during the grand annual festival of Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple that lasts for 10 days. Built in the 16th century, Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple has a unique architectural style. The Koothambalam in the temple premises is a wonderful example of traditional Kerala architecture. Kathakali performances are held regularly here. Folk arts like Mayilattom, Velakali are also held in Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple.

2) Mahadeva Temple at Ettumanoor (30k.m from Vaikom) is famous for attractive mural paintings, mainly the painting of Nataraja seen on the Gopuram or tower. Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is also famous for ‘Ezharaponnana’ (7, 1/2 elephants in gold). Ezharaponnana festival is held in February & lasts for 10 days.

3) Malliyoor Mahaganapathy Temple (20k.m from Vaikom): is located at Kaduthuruthy near Vaikom. Lord Ganesha or Vaishnava Ganapathy is the presiding deity of this temple. Here Lord Ganesha is seen with young Sree Krishna on his lap; a unique and highly divine combination of Vaishnava spirit & Ganesha idol.

4) Saint Alphonsa’s Tomb at Bharananganam (45k.m from Vaikom) Bharananganam, Lisieux of India, is the blessed with the presence of St. Mary’s Church, one of the famous pilgrim centres of Christians in Kerala. This church is also known as ‘Anakkallu Palli’ has the mortal remains of Saint Alphonsa, the second Indian to be canonized as a saint by Vatican. Devotees gather at Bharananganam throughout the year; particularly in the months of June & July as the death anniversary of Saint Alphonsa, falls on the 28th July.

5) Thazhathangady Juma Masjid (35k.m from Vaikom), Taj Juma Masjid situated at Thazhathangady is considered as one of the heritage zones in Kerala. This mosque, on the banks of the exciting Meenachil River, is more than 1000 years old and is noted for its wooden carvings and richness of traditional beauty.

Thazhathangadi Juma Masjid, Photo: Justkerala.in

6) St. Mary’s Church, Vechoor (12k.m from Vaikom), Estd. 1463 dedicated to Our Lady, popularly called ‘Vechoor Muthiamma’. It is a famous pilgrim centre. The feast falls on 8th September and thousands of pilgrims flock there from all parts of Kerala. A picture of our Lady, which is believed to be a replica of the one painted by St. Luke, is kept here.

7) Synod of Diamper or Udayamperoor or Sunnahados (20k.m from Vaikom), this diocesan council was held in the church of Diamper (Udayamperoor) from June 20 to 26, 1599. Latin usages started getting formally adopted & used by Christians in Kerala after Udayamperoor Sunnahados. Convened on June 20, 1599, this council was held under the divine guidance of Aleixo de Menezes, Arch-bishop of Goa to liberate the eastern Churches from the control of Pope. The ancient church of Diamper (Udayamperoor) thus holds a very important place in the history and hence thousands of tourists visit this shrine every year.

8) Infant Jesus Church, Vadayar (10k.m from Vaikom), the 1015-year-old church has a long history connected with Syrian Christians. Once the administrative headquarters of Syrian Christians was in Kodungalloor, despite King Tipu’s invasion, it was shifted to Vadayar. A small piece of wood from the remains of the holy cross in which Christ crucified was received from Pope Pius VI is placed on the altar of the Church.

9) St. Joseph’s Forane Church, Vaikom (6 k.m from Vaikom), this is one among the oldest Roman-Syrian Catholic Churches in Kerala & contains very ancient and rare architecture. This church is situated near the bank of Vembanad Lake.

10) Aditya Puram Temple (20 k.m from Vaikom), Adityapuram, a small village located about 2 Km from Muttachira is famous for the sun temple situated here. A large number of devotees flock to the temple every year, during Sundays of the zodiacs Scorpio (November-December) and Aries (April-May).

Aditya Puram Sun Temple

11) St. Mary’s Church, Pallippuram (3k.m from Vaikom), built in A.D. 52, is a famous pilgrim centre close by Vaikom.

12) Kanjiramattom Mosque: (18 km from Cochin), it is said that this mosque stands above the mortal remains of the famous Muslim saint, Sheikh Farid. This mosque has still retained its antique beauty. During the annual Chandanakudam Festival pilgrims vary pots covered with sandalwood paste in a procession to the mosque honoring Sheikh Fariduddin. Watching this procession is a wonderful experience.

13) Ameda temple: Consecrated by Parasurama, is gracefully located on the banks of Vembanad Lake. This ancient temple is about 20 Kms south of Ernakulam, dedicated to Sapthamathrukkal (Veerabhadran, Ganapathy, Brahmani, Maheshwari, Kowmari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani and Chamundi). Ameda temple also has shrines dedicated to Nagaraja, Nagayakshi and Lord Vishnu.

14) Chottanikkara temple (25 km from Vaikom), dedicated to Hindu goddess Bhagawati, this temple is located in Chottanikkara town, about 15 Km away from Ernakulam. The goddess in this temple is known for the healing powers, mainly related to mental illness. The temple is a top of a hilly area, surrounded by lush greenery on all the sides. Chottanikkara temple has a spiritual ambience all-around, and hence of peace and tranquility. The village of Chottanikkara located at the outskirts of Cochin.

15) Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple, Tripunithura: (22 km from Vaikom), Lord Vishnu as Santhana Gopala Moorthy showers blessings on everyone at Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple, about 10 Km southeast of Cochin. Santhana Gopala Moorthy which literally means “savior of infants” is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. ‘Vrishchikoltsawam’, the main festival of the temple, is conducted every year in the month of Vrishchikam (Nov-Dec). Other cultural festivals like Athachamayam also attracts a lot of tourists from far and wide.

 

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