Top 20 Pilgrimage Holiday Destinations in Kerala

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Popular Pilgrimage Holiday Destination in Kerala

People love to take pilgrimage tours in order to pay tribute to their favorite Gods or deities. Devoutness to Gods is an important and perennial part of people from across the world especially for Indians. There are many religious places in Southern India and most of them attract travelers with their eye catching architecture. Kerala is a good choice for travelers who plan a pilgrimage trip to South India. In fact, this state has a wealth of beautiful temples and holy places belonging to different religions. No doubt, travelers can choose Kerala as a gateway to the famous pilgrimage destinations in the southern part of India. See the list of the 20 Pilgrimage Holiday Destinations in Kerala:

Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple

Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple

Sabarimala Temple is an important pilgrimage center in Kerala dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. Located in the Pathanamthitta district in Kerala, this hill shrine is set at an altitude of 914 meters above sea level on the picturesque mountain ranges of Western Ghats. Pilgrims needs to do around 4 kilometers trekking from Pamba in order to reach this shrine. Even though people from all castes and creeds are allowed to enter the temple, the entry of women from the age group of 10 to 50 is restricted in this holy site. The temple opens only during Mandalakalam (November to Mid-January) and remains closed the rest of the year.

A lot of pilgrims from across the globe visit during this time in order to offer prayers to Lord Ayyappa and watch the Mandalapooja and Makaravilakku. Pilgrims can hire taxis from the airport or railway station to reach this temple. It is easy to find public transportation from the nearest railway stations at cheap rates to Pamba.

Nearest Airport:
Thiruvananthapuram Airport: 191 KM
Kochi International Airport: 210 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Kottayam, Thiruvalla & Chengannur: All of them are around 90 KM from Pamba.

Guruvayoor

Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple

Guruvayoor Sree Krishna temple, also known as “Bhuloka Vaikunta” is one of the five popular Krishna temples in the country. People love to visit this pristine destination in order to experience the holy bliss. Thousands of Hindu devotees travel to this temple every year to offer prayers to Lord Krishna. Whether you are in the state for some holidays or for a pilgrimage, this temple is a must-visit place in Kerala. Set in the middle of swaying coconut palms, one can see the panoramic natural beauty of the state by visiting this temple. Guruvayoor temple is considered as the Dwaraka of the South and among the most famous religious places in Kerala. This temple is well connected by road and rail with the other areas of the country. It is easy to find bus services from almost all towns in Kerala and the neighboring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The nearest Mammiyoor Temple is also worth visiting during your Guruvayoor trip. Punnathur Kotta Elephant sanctuary is also a nearby tourist attraction of Guruvayoor temple.

Nearest Airport:
Cochin International Airport: 80 KM
Calicut Airport: 100 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Guruvayoor & Kuttippuram

Nearest Major Railway Station:
Thrissur: 27 KM

Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple

If you want to see the exquisite Dravidian style of architecture, then plan a trip to the well known Sree PadmanabhaswamyTemple in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city. This richest temple in the country is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and believed to be built in the 8th century. Sree PadmanabhaswamyTemple is one of the 108 Vishnu temples. The 100-feet gopuram built in the typical Dravidian style is worth watching. The temple has three doors from where devotees can observe the gold plated idol. These three doors of the sanctum sanctorum are symbolizing three phases of times. The murals inside the temple are worth watching and it is truly a holy site to enjoy the marvelous Dravidian temple architecture.

People from different parts of the country visit this temple to offer prayers to Lord Vishnu. Strict dress code needs to be followed in order to enter this temple. Men need to wear the traditional dhoti without wearing any kind of shirts. Women need to wear sari, half-sari or skirt and blouse to enter the temple. Now the temple authorities allow entering the temple by wearing a dhoti over pants or churidar to avoid inconvenience for the visitors. If you do not have a dhoti, you can rent one at the temple entrance. The presence of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple and Attukal Bhagavathy temple make Thiruvananthapuram, a holy city.

Nearest Airport:
Thiruvananthapuram International Airport: 6 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Thiruvananthapuram: 1 KM

Thirunelli Temple

Thirunelli Temple

Located in Wayanad at an altitude of around 900 feet on the charming side of Brahmagiri, visiting the Thirunelli Maha Vishnu Temple can be a mesmerizing experience for each devotee. This ancient temple has been mentioned even in the Hindu Puranas. According to the Puranas, this temple is believed to be built by Brahma. Apart from the historical importance, this temple fascinates travelers with its unique location. The famous Papanasini, a cold mountain stream is very near to this temple. People from across the country visit this stream to take a dip in order to wash away all their sins. Besides, the water in it has medicinal powers and effective to heal different ailments. Hidden in rich wood and surrounded by mountains, Thirunelli temple offers refreshing vistas of nature. It is certainly one of the must-visit temples in Kerala.

Nearest Airport:
Kozhikode Airport: 150 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Thalasserry: 108 KM
Kozhikode: 130 KM

St.Mary’s Forane Church, Kuravilangad

St.Mary's Forane Church, Kuravilangad

Kerala is not only famous for its beautiful Hindu temples, but also for its sacred Christian tourist destinations. The state boasts several ancient churches worth visiting for people who plan some pilgrimage holidays in this South Indian state. St. Mary’s Forane Church at Kuravilangad is one such must-visit Christian pilgrim center located in the Kottayam district in Kerala. Built in 355 AD, an astonishing statue of Blessed Virgin Mary carved from granite enshrines the church. There is an old bell in it with unknown inscriptions. Worshippers offer coconut oil in the lamps set at the base of 48-feet granite single block cross in front of the church. A model of a ship is also an attraction of this holy place which is made from wood. Include the St. Mary’s Forane Church in your itinerary if you plan pilgrimage holidays in Kerala.

Nearest Airport:
Cochin International Airport: 48 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Kottayam: 18 KM

Mahadeva Temple, Ettumanoor

Mahadeva Temple, Ettumanoor

As a major Shiva temple in the state, Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is a must-visit pilgrimage spot in Kerala. Situated at a small town near Vaikom in the Kottayam district, this artistically constructed temple with a copper roof is believed to be built nearly 400 years ago. Visitors shall be fascinated with the beautiful wooden sculptures of the temple. There are statues of two bulls in the temple. Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple also has temple for Ganapathy, Sastha and Dakshinamurthy. The annual festival in this temple lasts for 10 days which is celebrated in the month of Kumbham (February-March). The Ezhara Ponnana (Seven and half golden elephants) procession on the eighth and tenth day of the festival is an eye catching spectacle. Devotees light lamps at the temple as a part of their worship. Include this temple to your itinerary as a must-see place during your pilgrimage trip to Kerala.

Nearest Airport:
Cochin International Airport: 48 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Ettumanoor: 2 KM

Nearest Major Railway Station:
Kottayam: 11 KM

Janardhana Swamy Temple, Varkala

Janardhana Swamy Temple, Varkala

Varkala, a popular beach destination in Kerala is also a famous pilgrimage holiday spot. People who visit this tourist destination do not leave without visiting the Janardhana Swamy Temple. This unique 2,000-year old Vaishnavite shrine is among the Popular Hindu Pilgrim Centers in Kerala. Each visitor shall admire the beautiful architecture of this temple. The Arattu festival is another attraction of Janardhanaswamy Temple which is celebrated in March-April and thousands of devotees attend the festival. The origin of this temple is mentioned even in Vedas. The proximity of the Papanasam Beach is truly a fascinating feature of this temple where many people come to do religious rites for their ancestors. A dip in the holy waters at this beach is considered effective to wash away your body impurities and all sins.

Temple Timings:
5.30 AM to 12 PM

Nearest Airport:
Trivandrum International Airport: 55 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Varkala: 3 KM

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram

Don’t forget to include the well known Attukal Bhagavathi Temple if you plan a pilgrimage tour in Kerala. Popularly known as the ‘Sabarimala of women’, this temple is dedicated to Goddess Kannaki. Attukal Pongala is a very famous festival of this temple which celebrated in the Malayalam month of Kumbham (Feb/March) on Karthika day. Millions of women devotees gather around this temple on this day to prepare Pongala (a sweet dish prepare by using rice, jaggery and coconut) to offer to the Goddess of the temple in order to seek her blessings. Attukal Bhagavathi Temple is only 2 kilometers away from the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. It is one of the must visit pilgrimage sites in Kerala.

Temple Timings:
4:30 AM to 12:30 PM
5:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Nearest Airport:
Trivandrum International Airport: 6 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Thiruvananthapuram Railway station: 3.5 KM

SreeVallabha Temple, Thiruvalla

SreeVallabha Temple, Tiruvalla

The Sreevallabha Temple is one of the biggest and oldest temples in Kerala. This 400-year old temple is located at Thiruvalla, a beautiful town in the Pathanamthitta District on the banks of River Manimala. This temple fascinates devotees and travelers with its architectural grandeur. The beautiful mural paintings and stone-wooden carvings of the temple are truly eye-catching. Garuda Purana and Matsya Purana even mention about this sacred temple in South Kerala. The temple is also famous for its unique customs. Sreevallabha Temple has its own protocol for worshipping the God. It is believed that Sage Durvasa and Saptarishi reach this temple for worshipping the Lord every midnight. Since Lord Sree Vallabha is very fond of Kathakali, this art form is performed as an offering in this temple daily. This temple is one of the must-visit temples in Kerala.

Temple Timings:
4.30 AM to 11.30 AM
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Nearest Airport:
Cochin International Airport: 117 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Thiruvalla: 3 KM

Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple

Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple

Visit the Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple and taste the delicious palpayasam, a sweet milk porridge made of rice, milk and sugar can be the dream of each and every Hindu devotee. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, this temple is located at Ambalappuzha in the Alappuzha district. It is nearly 14 kilometers away from Alappuzha. Lord Krishna enshrines in the temple as Parthasaradhy but popularly known as Unnikannan (the child form of Krishna). Carved out of black Granite stone, the idol of this Sree Krishna Temple holds a conch in the left hand and a whip in the right. The annual festival of this temple lasts for 10 days and it is celebrated in the Malayalam month of Meenam (March-April). Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple is one of the most gifted pilgrimage centers in Kerala and visit the temple to offer prayers to Unnikannan.

Nearest Airport:
Cochin International Airport: 64 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Alappuzha: 14 KM

St. Andrew’s Forane Church, Arthunkal

St. Andrew’s Forane Church, Arthunkal

Plan to visit the sacred Arthunkal St. Andrew’s Forane Church during your pilgrimage holidays in Kerala. Located at Arthunkal, a coastal town in the Cherthala Taluk of Alappuzha district, it is one of the popular churches in Kerala. A lot of devotees visit this holy place to offer prayers to St. Sebastian. It is believed that this saint has the powers to heal his devotees who suffer from different health problems. Many disabled people and devotees who escaped from accidents and recovered from serious health issues often visit this church to offer their gratitude to the saint. The statue of St. Sebastian was sculptured in Milan and brought and placed in this church. Arthunkal Church is nearly 21 kilometers away from Alappuzha Town. Arthunkal Pernnual, the annual feast is very popular which is in the month of January. Remember to visit this church in Kerala to offer prayers to St. Sebastian.

Nearest Airport:
Cochin International Airport: 85 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Cherthala: 8 KM
Alappuzha: 22 KM

Beemapalli Mosque, Thiruvananthapuram

Beemapalli in Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala is not only famous for beautiful temples and churches but also for elegant mosque. The Beemapally Mosque situated in the outskirts of Thiruvanathapuram is one of the well known muslim pilgrim centers in the state. Located nearly 12 kilometers away from the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram, this mosque is famous for its annual Urus. It is dedicated to a Muslim woman named Beema Umma, who had miraculous powers. It is believed that she had arrived from Mecca and was a member of the family of Prophet Mohammed. Devotees offer oil, silk and flowers in the mosque and also circulate among them. The 10-days celebration of the Chandanakudam Festival of the Beemapally Mosque is very colorful and people celebrate it with warmth and joy. Many devotees visit this holy site irrespective of religion, caste and creed to offer prayers to Beema Umma.

Nearest Airport:
Thiruvananthapuram International Airport: 2 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Thiruvananthapuram: 6.5 KM

Mahadeva Temple, Chengannur

Mahadeva Temple, Chengannur

Chengannur Mahadeva Temple is an oldest temple in the Alappuzha district dedicated to Lord Shiva. Although the temple is known as the Mahadeva temple, it has two main deities. The Goddess Parvati is also worshipped in this temple with equal importance. The temple was famous for its art and mural work but most of them have ruined after a major fire in the 18th century. Still the visitors of the temple get fascinated by the remaining art work of the temple. In fact, many people visit the religious tourism places in Kerala not only to offer prayers but also to enjoy their architectural marvels. It is interesting to watch the wooden carvings of the temple. The mukhamandapam and other mandapams of this Mahadeva temple have exquisite woodwork. This prominent Shiva temple is famous for its Thripoothu Arattu, a festival related with a menstruation ceremony. It is certainly a peculiarity that makes it distinct from other temples. During this festival, the images of Lord Shiva and Paravathi are taken to River Pamba on decorated elephants in a procession. The 28-days annual festival is celebrated during the months of December and January.

Nearest Airport:
Thiruvananthapuram International Airport: 119 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Chengannur: 0.5 KM

Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple, Mavelikara

Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple, Mavelikara

Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple is a very famous temple located at Mavelikkara in the Alappuzha district of Kerala. People who plan to visit the holy places of Kerala would consider this unique temple as the goddess in this sacred place is believed to have miraculous powers. A huge oil lamp made of granite is a major attraction of the temple which has the capacity to hold more than 1000 wicks. The annual festival of the temple is celebrated in the month of Kumbham (February-March) with pomp and joviality. A large number of devotees gather to celebrate the festival at this temple and owning to the large number of them, this festival has been known widely as the Kumbha Mela of South. The main highlights of this Bharani festival are Kuthiyottam and Kettukazhcha. Watching the annual festival of Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple can be a memorable experience.

Nearest Airport:
Cochin International Airport: 85 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Kayamkulam: 6 KM
Mavelikkara: 6 KM

Jama-at Mosque, Malappuram

Jama-at Mosque, Malappuram

If you are planning a religious travel in Kerala, then the 600-year old Jama-at Mosque is a must-visit pilgrimage destination for you. It is one of the most famous Muslim pilgrimage centers in the state located in Malappuram. Fondly known as the ‘Mecca of the East”, this mosque was designed by a Hindu carpenter. He died during the construction of this holy site and he was buried inside it with all due respects. Annual festival of the mosque is celebrated for 4 days in the month of April. Remember, women are not allowed to enter inside the mosque. The mausoleum near the mosque is also worth visiting which is dedicated to the martyrs of the Mappila Ballads.

Nearest Airport:
Kozhikode International Airport: 44 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Kuttippuram: 9 KM

Malanada Duryodhana Temple, Kollam

Malanada Duryodhana Temple, Kollam

Not many people know that Duryodhana is worshipped in some areas of India. Malanada Duryodhana Temple is one such unique temple dedicated to Duryodhana. It is located at Alumkadavu in the Kollam district, a small village known for houseboat making. As you know, Duryodhana was an anti-hero and infamous in the epic Mahabharata. It is believed that the Kuravas, a community in the state gave food and shelter to Duryodhana when he was in pursuit of the Pandavas. Only the people from the Kurava community can be a priest in this temple. Many people visit this temple from different parts of the state to enjoy its annual Kettukazhcha festival. Malanada Duryodhana Temple is one of the unique Hindu pilgrimage places in south India and would be included in your pilgrimage itinerary.

Nearest Airport:
Thiruvananthapuram International Airport: 91 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Karunagappally: 17 KM

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple

The Pilgrimage tourism in Kerala is very popular because of its numerous sacred temples and other holy sites. Most of the temples in the state are architectural splendors. Some temples, churches and mosques fascinate devotees and travelers with their unique concepts. Mannarasala Nagaraja temple is one such sacred spot with extra-ordinary concepts and rituals. This pilgrimage center is nestled in a forest area near Haripad in the Alappuzha district. It is probably the largest and most famous Serpent God temple in Kerala. Unlike other temples in the state, this serpent shrine is headed by a priestess. Many infertile women visit this temple to seek blessings of the Serpant Gods for babies. However, women who bore child with the blessings of these gods should come back to the temple to pay their gratitude. Since it is a temple for serpants, the Ayilyam day in the Malayalam months are celebrated with high significance especially for the Kanni, Thulam and Kumbham months. Visit this temple during your pilgrimage trip to Kerala and get the special turmeric paste from the shrine which has amazing healing powers and effective to cure even leprosy.

Nearest Airport:
Cochin International Airport: 115 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Kayamkulam: 20 KM

Parabrahma Temple, Oachira

Parabrahma Temple, Oachira

The Parabrahma Temple in Oachira, also known as the Dakshina Kashi is a must-visit temple in Kerala located in the Kollam district dedicated to Lord Parabrahma (Shiva). The unique feature of this temple is that it has no sanctorum to place the deity or idol and no covered structures. Oachira temple spreads in 32 acres and the deities or idols are placed under a large banyan tree. A lot of devotees visit the temple irrespective of religion, tradition, caste, creed or nationality in order to offer prayers to Lord Parabrahma and experience a divine bliss. This temple celebrates two major festivals, Panthrandu vilakku and Oachira kali with pomp and joy. Oachira kali is usually celebrated in the middle of June on the first two days of the Malayalam month Midhunam. It shall be interesting for the people to watch the mock fight, Oachira kali between groups of men on the battle field who dressed like warriors. The twelve lamp festival, Panthrandu vilakku is celebrated during November-December. The 28th day of Onam festival is also celebrated in Oachira temple with procession. As an open holy site, devotees can visit the temple during any time and can spend time there. Oachira Parabrahma temple is one of the most sacred Hindu temples in Kerala and people who plan a pilgrimage tour in this state would visit it.

Temple Timings:
4 AM to 8 AM
5 PM to 8.30 PM

Nearest Airport:
Thiruvananthapuram International Airport: 105 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Oachira: 1 KM

Sri Muthappan Temple, Parassinikadavu

Sri Muthappan Temple, Parassinikadavu

With unique rituals and practices, the Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple is an important pilgrimage center in Kerala. The lovely architecture of the temple is also worth watching. Located almost 20 kilometers away from Kannur, this temple is in northern Kerala on the beautiful banks of the River Valapatnam. Sri Muthappan (a form of Lord Shiva) is the main deity of this temple. People from all sectors of the society visit this temple irrespective of caste, creed and religion to offer prayers to Lord Muthappan. Since Theyyam, a traditional art form performed daily on this temple as ritual, pilgrims can enjoy the charm of it conveniently by visiting this sacred place. Men wear colorful consumes and adorning masks to perform this temple art and watching it can be a blissful experience. It is a must-visit temple in Kerala.

Nearest Airport:
Kozhikode International Airport: 136 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Kannur: 20 KM

Sivagiri Mutt, Varkala

Sivagiri Mutt, Varkala
Spending a few hours in the Sivagiri Mutt at Varkala can be an effective way to calm your mind. Located nearly 3 kilometers away from the Varkala town in the Kollam district, it is among the most popular religious tourism places in the state and a very sacred place. This ashram has been established by Sree Narayana Guru, a social reformer and saint in Kerala. Sivagiri Mutt is also his final resting place. It is also the headquarters of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Sangham (SNDP), an organization of the disciples and followers of this great social reformer. Spread over an area of 200 acres, visitors shall be fascinated by the unique and attractive white colored multi-tiered terraces of Sivagiri Mutt. The Samadhi (final resting place) of Sree Narayana Guru attracts a lot of pilgrims from different parts of the country. The Sharada temple is another attraction of Sivagiri Mutt and Goddess Saraswati is the main idol of this temple. The famous Janardhana Swamy temple is very near to Sivagiri Mutt.

Nearest Airport:
Thiruvananthapuram International Airport: 35 KM

Nearest Railway Station:
Varkala: 1 KM

Kerala, popularly known as the ‘God’s own country’ is a favorite destination for many honeymoon couples and holidaymakers because of its picturesque landscape and spectacular tourist attractions. Kerala also has several pilgrimage centers of Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Jains. Even though there are not many Sikh religious places in the state, you can find one at Kochi. Visit the Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha during your pilgrimage tour in Kerala. This southernmost Indian state is also proud to have Jewish Synagogue which is located at Fort Cochin. Kerala is a perfect place to plan a pilgrimage trip as the state has so many spiritual and religious places ideal for spiritual enlightenment.

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