Temples in Kerala
Kerala has a fairly rich mythological heritage and there are temples of several gods and goddesses almost throughout the state. All these temples are not only significant from their religios importance but are also great architectural set ups. Some are huge and richly decorated while others are small with simple decor, but invarianbly all speak volumes about the highly religious temperament of the people.
Chottanikkara Temple :
Chottanikkara temple, located near Ernakulam enshrines Bhagawati - the mother Goddess, is one of the most popular deities in Kerala.
On way is the Poornatrayesa temple at Tripunittura. The goddess is worshipped along with Lord Vishnu.
People who have mental illness seek refuge in the divine mother, who graciously cures all her devotees. Goddess Rajarajeswari is the presiding deity.
This deity is worshipped in three different forms - as Saraswati in the morning - draped in white, as Bhadrakali at noon draped in crimson, and as Durga in the evening decked in blue.
The image in the shrine is not fixed to the ground and is mounted on loose sand. Water offered during ablution ceremonies percolates underground.
Guruvayoor Temple :
Guruvayoor, where the famous Sree Krishna Temple is situated, is one of the most sacred and important pilgrim centers of kerala. This is probably the only temple in the state that hosts the maximum number of marriages and rice feeding ceremonies (the ritual first meal for infants).
The historic temple is shrouded in mystery. According to local belief, the temple was created by 'Guru', the 'preceptor of the gods' and 'Vayu', the 'god of winds'.
In the 'Chuttambalam' (outer enclosure) is a 33.5-m tall gold-plated 'Dwajastambham' (flagpost). There is also a 7 m high 'Deepastambham' (pillar of lamps), whose thirteen circular receptacles provide a truly brillant spectacle, when lit.
The square 'Sreekovil' is the sacred sanctum sanctorum of the temple, housing the main deity. Within the temple, there are also the images of Ganapathy, Sree Ayyappa and Edathedathy Kavil Bhagavathy. Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple.
Sabarimala Temple :
This holy shrine, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa is a renowned pilgrim centre atop the rugged hills of the Western Ghats. The sanctum sanctorum nestles 914 m above sea level, amidst the virgin forest wilderness of the Western Ghats.
The main pilgrimage is undertaken between November and January. Regardless of caste, creed, colour, they wear black dhotis and carry on their heads, bundles containing traditional offerings like coconut filled with ghee, camphor and rice.
The Sabarimala Temple festival is celebrated in honour of Lord Ayyapan who is revered by all in India. There are two main pujas called the Mandal Puja and the Makara Sankranti Puja, which are celebrated from November to Middle of January in Kerala, during which time the devotees perform austerities and penance.
Vadakkumnathan Temple :
Vadukkumnnatha is a prominent Shiva temple, in downtown Thrissur, Kerala. This is one of Kerala's most ancient shrines, which also houses a museum of ancient wall paintings, wood carvings and art pieces of immense historical value.
The 'Pooram festival, falling in April/ May, attracts devotees and tourists from all over the world. It is a spectacular event, combining the majestic elephant pageantry with the frenzied playing of drums and cymbals and rounded off with a fireworks extravaganza.