(Last Updated on : 10/08/2015)
Pilgrimage tourism in the Pathanamthitta district
is a rather enriching experience as the district abounds in places of religious worship and significance. There are a number of ancient temples
located here, and Pathanamthitta district is also known as the 'Headquarters of Pilgrimage Tourism' of the State. The district headquarters at Pathanamthitta town is noted for communal and cultural harmony. There are numerous churches
, temples and mosques
here which have been built in close proximity. The Chandanakudam festival at the mosque in the centre of the town is quite famous. The various places of pilgrimage tourism in the Pathanamthitta district are discussed below.
One of the most revered places of worship in Kerala
, and in fact almost all of India, is Sabarimala
. Situated 72 Kms away from Pathanamthitta town, Sabarimala is said to be the sacred abode of Lord Ayyappa. The holy shrine is located amidst dense forests, inhabited by various wildlife species, in the rugged terrains of the Western Ghats mountain range
. Millions of pilgrims from all over the country assemble here during the most arduous festivals called Vishu
Vilakku in April, Mandalapooja, in the months of Vrichikam Dhanu (November - December) and Makaravilakku
in mid January, coinciding with Sankramam. The traditional route to Sabarimala is from Erumeli. Other routes are from Vandiperiyar, Uppupara and Chalakkayam via Plappally. These routes are famous for their scenic splendour and mythological value.
Pandalam is the site where Sree Ayyappa, the presiding deity of Sabarimala had his human sojourn as the son of the Raja of Pandalam. In terms of importance as a holy town, Pandalam is perhaps second only to Sabarimala. The Valiyakoikal Temple near the palace on the banks of the Achankovil River
has been modelled on the Sabarimala shrine. Pilgrims usually stop here to worship before proceeding to Sabarimala. Three days prior to the Makaravilaku festival, the sacred ornaments of Sree Ayyappa are taken in a procession from Pandalam to Sabarimala.
The little temple town of Aranmula is also located in the Pathanamthitta district. It is surrounded by undulating green hillocks and girdled by the holy river Pampa
. The temple here is dedicated to Lord Krishna
. Aranmula is also famous for its metal mirrors made of bell metal which is known as 'Aranmula Kannadi'. This is a unique art which is not found anywhere else in the world. It is believed that a divine visitation inspired a window of this village
to discover a mysterious blend of bronze which could be waxed bright into crystal clear mirror.
This temple town is also famous for another event, the Aranmula Vallamkali
(Boat Race). It is held on the annual commemoration of the week long Onam
festival. The boats used for racing are known as snake boats. Each of the snake boats is thirty feet long containing four helmsman, hundred rowers and twenty five singers. The much-awaited event is held in the afternoon.
Kadamanitta Devi Temple
The Kadamanitta Devi Temple is famous for the ten day long Padayani dance
performances held in connection with the annual festival in April/May. The temple is situated about 8 kms away from Pathanamthitta town.
Kodumon Chilanthiyambalam Temple
of the Chilanthikinar (well) in the premises of the Kodumon Chilanthiyambalam temple located at Pathanamthitta district is believed to cure skin diseases. It is 15 km from pathanamthitta town. The Mahalakshmi of this temple is worshipped by all people irrespective of caste and creed. Kodumon is also the birth place of Sree Shakthi Bhadra, author of Ascharya Chudamani.
Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple
One of the oldest Mahadeva temples in India
is the Kaviyoor Mahadeva temple. It is said to have been built in the early years of the 10th century. References about the gifts that were offered here at the temple have been found in the Kaviyoor Shasanas of 950 A.D. However, the Darusilpas seen around the temple are said to belong to the 17th century.
Sree Vallabha Temple
The Sree Vallabha temple in Thiruvalla is perhaps the only one in Kerala where Kathakali
is performed as a ritual offering everyday.
Cherukolpuzha, on the banks of the river Pamba, is the site for the Ayiroor Cherukolpuzha, the annual religious convention of Hindus. The convention is held on February every year. This famous convention is attended by a large number of people and addressed by prominent religious scholars and cultural personalities.
Maramon, situated near Kozhencherry, is the venue of a mammoth annual religious convention of Christians from all over the world. It is attended by people from all communities
. The convention which is usually held in February is addressed by religious thinkers and Christian scholars from across the world.
Manjinikkara Church is the most holy place for the Christians. Mar Ignatius Elias III, the holy patriot of Anthiod while on a visit to India, died at this place in 1932. His mortal remains are preserved here at the Manjinikkara church. Later, this place developed into a pilgrim centre. The annual festival ormaperunnal is held in February.
Parumala, located 10 Km from Thiruvalla, is another holy site for the Christian Community. The Ormaperunnal (commemoration day) of Mar Gregorios Metropolitan, the declared saint of Malankara Orthodox Church, is celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of November. Thiruvalla is the headquarters of the Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church. Niranam is famous for housing the oldest Church in the South, in India as a matter of fact, believed to have been built by St. Thomas the apostle. The Church is believed to have been built in 52 AD.
These are the various places of pilgrimage tourism sites located in the Pathanamthitta district.