Ernakulam district of Kerela is often referred to as the commercial capital. At the same time the district and its adjacent lands are also dotted with places of pilgrimage as well.
The Shaivite shrine of Ernakulathappan is popular. The Lingam is said to have been worshipped by Arjuna. Ayyappankavu, Devi, Krishna and Subramanya shrines are other important temples around.
Aluva, formerly Alwaye is the place where Shivaratri is celebrated on the banks of river Periyar for the Lingam on the sand bed. It is located 21 kilometers away from this particular district.
Lord Krishna is seated on Adi Sesha in Sri Poornathrayeesa Temple, Tripunithura. It is said to have been installed by Arjuna. A strange feature is that the `panchaloha` idol does not appear to touch the
ground. Offering of gingelly oil to the lamp is considered important.
Chottanikkara Rajarajeshwari temple is located at a distance of 20 km from Ernakulam. Clothed in white the Goddess is worshipped as Saraswati in the morning; as Bhadrakali at noon with crimson red apparels and as Durga in the evening in bright blue `vastra.` The mother goddess is worshipped along with Lord Vishnu. Together they are known as Lakshminarayana. The constant chanting of `Amme Narayana`, `Devi Narayana` and `Lakshmi Narayana` rent the air around the shrine. The mentally ill and those possessed by evil spirits are brought here and they get cured. Noon prayers are very popular, particularly on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The place was originally a cowshed where the Devi appeared in the form of a cow to a tribal hunter. Later, the idols of Vishnu and Devi were discovered and consecrated in a temple. Kizhakavu is another shrine of Bhadrakali opposite to the main shrine. The possessed are brought here after some rituals and nails are driven into a jackfruit tree. Kuruthi, a lime and turmeric-mixed water, is offered to the deity to ward off evil spirits.
A 9 day festival during Feb-March is celebrated. Aaraattu ritual is conducted daily during the festival.
: Kadampuzha Parvati; Balussery Ettakkorumahan are the other shrines here.
Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple is dedicated to Devi Bhagavathy, whose image was installed by sage Parasurama. The goddess was the tutelary deity of many Chera kings. The life size image of the Goddess, holding weapons in Her eight hands and decorated with gold ornaments and flowers, is revered by devotees from all walks of life. The temple is at a distance of 32 km from Ernakulam.
The temple, situated amid coconut groves, offers a serene atmosphere. Its architecture is simple and old. The wooden ceilings have beautiful carvings.
The main ceremony here is the Bharani festival that takes place during March or April. It was started by Parasurama under the direction of Bhadrakali.
Kaladi, 45 km from Ernakulam, is situated on the banks of Periyar River. It is the birthplace of Adi Sankara, the greatest exponent of Advaita philosophy.
The Acharya established 4 mutts at the four corners of the country and gave a new life to Hinduism by establishing Shanmatha Sthapanam.
Sri Abhinava Vidya Theertha Narasimha Bharathi of Sringeri Mutt brought Kaladi back to its present glory. He built shrines for Devi Sharada, Adi Sankara and Dakshinamurthi and a Brindavanam over the samadhi of Aryamba, mother of Sankara. The shrine was consecrated in 1910 by Sri Narasimha Bharathi and renovated by successive swamijis.
The Vimanam of the Sharada temple is in Ashta Padma form representing eight petals of Hriday Kamala. The Sankara temple Vimanam is in the form of Shodasakona, representing the 16 kalas of Divinity. There is a Krishna temple installed by Sankara.
Adi Sankara Keerthi Mandapam is a 46-metre tall octagonal tower constructed in the honour of Sri Sankara by the Kanchi Mutt. It houses the Paduka Mandapam, Gita Upadesam Centre and other temple like structures. On the top floor there is an imposing image of Sri Sankara with his four disciples. The walls are painted with life and works of Adi Sankara.
Established in 1936 by Sri Agamananda, Sri Ramakrishna Advaita Ashram is modelled on the lines of Belur Math with a statue of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa.
Erumeli is situated 60 km away from Ernakulam. Pilgrims bound for Sabarimala offer worship at the Sastha shrine and an ancient mosque here. Hence Erumeli is thronged by both Hindus and Muslims.
Other religious places around this town comprise of Kottayam (85 km from Ernakulam); Thirunakkara Mahadeva temple (85 km from Ernakulam) and Kumaranallur Bhagavathy temple (6 km from Kottayam)