Churches of Kottayam District
Churches of Kottayam district attract a lot of people from all corner of India.
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. There are a number of churches located in Kottayam District. The churches are the major pilgrimage centres for the Christians. In Kottayam, the 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. They are:
St. Mary’s Knanaya Church: St Mary's Knanaya Church also known as "Valiyapally Kottayam" is a part of the Knanaya diocese and the universal church. The church was built in 1550 by Knanaya Syrian Christians who immigrated from Kaduthuruthy, and is considered the first Christian church in Kottayam town. This church is famous for its two Persian crosses made of granite. There are rare antique carvings and mural paintings behind the main altar and on the ceiling of the church.
St. Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Church: This is another very important and famous Christian church in Kottayam. This church is located at Manarcadu, near Kottayam. The mortal remains of Saint Alphonsa; the first women saint from India is entombed at this church which is now a famous pilgrim centre Thousands gather at this holy shrine every year during the Feast of the St. Alphonsa in July.
St. Joseph’s Church: 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 travellers visit to pay their gratitude and prayers to the tomb. This is regarded as sacred place for the Christian.
Cheriya Pally: 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. The word "Cheriya Pally" literally means ‘small church’. But as a matter of fact it is much bigger than "Valliya Pally" or ‘big church’, which is located nearby. The Church belongs to the Malankara Orthodox Church which is a well-preserved church with wall murals dating back to ancient times.
Good Shepard Church: This 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 Raja built this church in 1579. It is interesting to see the Christian and the Hindu fusion 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.
St. George’s Church: 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.
Manarcad Church: Manarcad Church is another important pilgrimage centre of Kottayam. This church is known for the ‘Ettu Noympu’ feast that is celebrated for 8 days. During this time, a huge mass of pilgrims come to celebrate the festival here.
St. George’s Orthodox Church: The St. George's Orthodox Church, Puthupally is said to be the construction of the Kings of Thekkumkur during their ruling tenure in Vennimala. A huge mass of people and pilgrims come to enjoy the feast during the month of May.
Athirampuzha Church: 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 5 day feast of Sebastian for which a huge mass gather here. The festival is celebrated with great merriment with the lightning of fireworks.
Cherpunkal Church: Cherpunkal Church is a famous Church in the name of Infant Jesus and visited every First Friday.