(Last Updated on : 27-05-2013)
, God's Own Country, receives pilgrims throughout the year. The histories of most of these temples are stepped in legends and tales from Puranas. While some are associated with miracles, others represent the architectural grandeur of the land.
One of the most well known temples in Kerala is the 'Dakshina Mookambika' Saraswati Temple, Panachikadu. It is located 10 km away from Kottayam
. This shrine, dedicated to the Goddess of Learning, is situated in an ancient Lord Vishnu
temple. The Devi is worshipped under a rare creeper known as 'Saraswati
Lata' in a rectangular area constantly under water. The holy feet of the Devi are always under water. Pujas are performed for an image of Saraswati, installed opposite to this spot. Ghee is offered as prasadam. Navaratri
is the most important festival here.
Koodal Manickam Bharata Temple is a rare temple dedicated to Sri Bharata. It is situated at Manavalassery, about 10 km from Irinjalakkuda station. The image, it is said, is one of the four found on the seashore by Vakkey Kaimal, a local chieftain and devotee. All the images are similar in size where the gods are seen holding Shanku, Chakra, rosary and mace in the hands. The four images were of Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrugna. Kaimal installed the image of Rama at Triprayar, Lakshmana at Muzhikulam, Bharata near Irinjalakkuda and Shatrugna at Payammel.
Bharata is also known as Koodal Manickam. Once when his forehead emitted a strange light, his devotees were surprised. They brought a stone (Manickam) to the temple. When it was brought near the idol, it merged with the light on his forehead.
Sri Villvadrinatha Temple at Palakkad and Sri Viswanathaswamy temple at Kalpathy are also important pilgrim centers. The 3 day car festival at Kalpathy in November attracts multitudes of devotees. Veda Parayan is conducted in surrounding villages during this period.
At Tirunelly there is a Vishnu temple on the banks of Papanasini River. It is revered as the Kasi of South. The image of Vishnu was installed by Brahma himself.
The temple at Tiruvangad is dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. According to legends two hunters, Sweta and Neela, were cursed by sage Agastya for their atrocities in the forests. They did penance and were blessed by Lord Shiva
. At Tiruvangad, Sweta installed deities of Shiva and Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is worshipped as Rama here. The shrine is considered as one of the three popular Rama temples in Kerala
, the other two being at Triprayar and Tiruvilvamala. There are sub shrines for Hanuman, Subramanya and Ganapathi.
The Tali temple, Kozhikode, dedicated to Shiva is very ancient. There is also a Krishna temple close to this shrine. The Tali temple is known for exquisite wood and stone carvings.
Trichambaram Krishna Temple is situated 2 km from Taliparamba. Sage Parasurama is believed to have had darshan of Lord Krishna
here as a jubilant boy after His victory over Kansa. A unique tradition here is to offer Neivedya to the Lord as soon as the sanctum opens in the morning. It is believed to commemorate an incident when a hungry Krishna approached His mother Devaki for food after killing Kansa. Another peculiar feature is that elephants are not allowed near the temple nor do they participate in temple processions. This follows an incident in which a royal elephant charged at Krishna and Balarama when they entered Kansa's palace. Hence Krishna developed an aversion for elephants.
During the festival in March, the idol of Balarama is brought from Dharmakulankara, 6 km away.
Tirunavai Navamukunda Temple, 8 km from Tirur, houses a Shiva temple. It is situated on the banks of Bharatapuzha River. It was founded by nine great sages or 'rishis.'
Other than these the temples in Idukki district comprise of Sri Krishna temple at Peermedu, 42 km from Kumili; Sastha temple at Vazhathoppu; Subramanya temple
at Munnar; Ayyappa temple at Anachal; Santhigiri Lord Shiva
temple, Adimali; Parthasarathy temple, Mundakkayam and Krishna temple, Thodupuzha.