There are a number of churches located in Kottayam District. The churches are the major pilgrimage centres for the Christians. In Kottayam, he churches are constructed keeping in mind the tradition and the history of India. Some of the churches are traced by the regular visitors and the tourists from all corners of India and abroad as well.
Vimalagiri or Ankathattu Palli is the cathedral of the district of Vijayapuram. In 1956 the foundation stone of the church was laid and the construction was completed in 1964. This cathedral flaunts the architectural excellence of the era when it was constructed as it was fabricated in the Gothic style. The main tower has a height of 172 ft. that is considered as the highest church tower in the State. The name of the main deity is Vimalambika and this is worshipped by all with reverence. The main celebration is in December. As Kottayam
railway station is located near to this church so that the communication is easy from here.
Another most important church of Kottayam is Valiyapally located at Palai which is about 30 Km away from Kottayam town. It is commonly thought that this church was built in 1002. This church is named after St. Thomas. It was destroyed by the Muslim invaders in 17th century A.D. and was again reconstructed in the next century. `Rakkuhthirunal` is the important festival of Valiyapally church and this festival is celebrated during the month of January every year.
Bharananganam Church, also known as `Anakkallu Palli`, is an important pilgrim center in Bharananganam Church Kottayam district. This place is also known for preserving the mortal remains of Sister Alphonsa. This church is also known internationally now. She died on 28th July 1946. Thousands of devotees reach here on that day every year to observe her death anniversary at this date. Bharananganam is situated at 5 km away from Palai.
In addition to these churches, a church at Mannanam is located in Kottayam. This church is known by the name of St. Joseph and is reckoned as one of the major pilgrim centres of Kottayam. This church is the restorer of the mortal remains of Fr. Chavara Kuriakose Elias. A flock of travelers visit to pay their gratitude and prayers to the tomb. This is regarded as sacred place for the Christian. Cheriya Pally is St. Mary`s Church and is considered as one of the very few earlier churches that are still in existence in Kottayam.
Cheriya Pally literally means small church. But as a matter of fact it is much bigger than Valiya Pally or big church, which is located nearby. Moreover, Good Shepard Church is said to be the first church of Diocese of Vijayapuram. This is located at the back of the civil station at Kottayam. Constructed in 1882 and then restituted in 1964, the church is made of Italian style. The local Rajah built this church in 1579. It is interesting to see the Christian and the Hindu synthesis in the design of this church. The front wall of the church seems to be influenced by the Portuguese with galleries, pillars, pediments and cornices.
Being the oldest churches in Kerala
, St. George`s Church located at Aruvithura was built by St. Thomas and was reconstructed in the 16th century A.D. Celebration of the feast of Aruvithura Church was arranged in April every year. Manarcad Church is another important pilgrimage centre of Kottayam. This church is known for the Ettu Noympu feast that is celebrated for eight days. During this time, a huge mass of pilgrims come to celebrate the festival here.
The St. George`s Orthodox Church, Puthupally is said to be the construction of the Kings of Thekkumkur during their ruling tenure in Vennimala. This church is situated at the centre of the temples of Kadamuri, Iravinelloor, Vennimala and Vazhakkulam. Ahuge mass of people and pilgrims come to enjoy the feast during the month of May. Another ancient church of Kottayam is Athirampuzha dedicated to St. Mary. This church was constructed in 1080 A.D. The statue of Sebastian is established here in the church and it is the five day feast of Sebastian for which a huge mass gather here. The festival is celebrated with great merriment with the lightning of fireworks.
Valiya Palli church, located at Palai was built in 1002. During the Muslim invasions in 17th century, the church was destroyed and renovation was made in the later century. The festive season in this church is celebrated during January every year.
Churches of Kottayam district are the pilgrimage centres for the people of India and abroad as well. Moreover, the festivals celebrated every year attract a flock of people to these churches.