When it comes to temples, probably Kerala’s temples are not that well known as other South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. But they are still every bit worth a visit and carry their own way of expressing the depth of religious faith.
Dedicated to various Gods and Goddesses from the Hindu mythology, the temples of Kerala are architectural delights. Built in the traditional architectural style the significant temples in Kerala include the Guruvayoor Temple, Kalpathy Temple, Sabrimala Temple, and Thriprayar Temple. Some huge and richly decorated while other small with simple decor, all speak volumes about the highly religious temperament of the people.
Traditional Hindu temples in Kerala are simple structures made of wood, brick and laterite stone. Often, from afar, the only sign that marks the presence of old temples is a tall, ceremonial flag-mast. The main sanctum hosting the deities – “Sreekovil” – is invariably a single storied building of a circular or square plan.
Inside the temples, use of oil lamps in contrast to electrical lights lends an air of serenity and mysticism. Walls of the Sreekovil are rarely left bare and are instead, covered with intricate, beautiful mural paintings or wood carvings. The sloping roof buildings are able to cope very well with the almost year-round torrential rains that are a hallmark of Kerala’s climate.
Major Temples Of Kerala
§ Guruvayoor Temple : Guruvayoor, where the famous Sree Krishna Temple is situated, is one of the most sacred and important pilgrim centres of Kerala. In Kerala, this is probably the only temple that hosts the maximum number of marriages and rice feeding ceremonies.
Guruvayoor, where the famous Sri Krishna Temple is situated, is one of the most sacred and important pilgrim centres of Kerala. The walls of the sanctum sanctorum are inlaid with exquisite mural paintings and carvings.
§ Kalpathy Temple : The Vishwanatha Swamy shrine, the oldest Shiva temple is situated 3-kms from Palakkad. The annual chariot temple is a gala event that is celebrated at this temple site. The annual ‘Ratholsavam’ or Chariot Festival at Sree Viswanantha Swamy temple lasts for seven days.
§ Sabrimala Temple : Sabarimala is a renowned pilgrim centre atop the rugged hills of the Western Ghats. This holy shrine is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. The sanctum sanctoram nestles 914m, amidst the virgin forest wilderness of the Western Ghats.
The main pilgrimage is undertaken between November and January. Regardless of caste, creed, colour, they wear black Dhotis and carry on their heads, bundles containing traditional offerings like coconut filled with ghee, camphor and rice.
§ Thriprayar Temple : Thriprayar Temple, located south of Thrissur is one of the important temples dedicated to Lord Rama. The exquisite wood carvings, sculptures and Mural Paintings are an interesting sight.