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The Famous Hindu Temples And Shrines Of Kerala

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By Author: Seenu Mathew
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The state of Kerala is fast becoming a popular destination of “spiritual tourism”. Besides its lush green natural beauty, the famous backwaters, Kerala is also a home to gothic churches, revered temples, famous mosques and Gurudwara. Kerala is rich with spiritualism, traditions and rituals. Pilgrimage Tour packages in Kerala offers plenty in terms of spiritual enlightenment. It is as if God is everywhere in Kerala.

Some important facts about ancient pilgrim centres of Kerala:

• St Francis church in Kochi is the oldest European Church in India and the body of Vasco Da Gama was buried here, before sending it to Portugal.
• The Janardhana Swami Temple in Varkala is more than 2000 years old.
• The Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvanthapuram is the richest temple in India, with treasures worth 20 billion dollars.

Kerala is blessed with Hindu temples and shrines dating back to several thousand years, mostly reflecting Dravidian history and architecture and also showcasing the opulent archaeology of the Chalukya, Cholas, Pandavas and other dynasties.

SREE PADMANABHASWAMY TEMPLE

This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The architecture of this temple is exquisitely Dravidian, ornamental and attractive. The idol of Lord Vishnu in this temple is in reclining position on Anantha, the large hooded serpent. The main idol is 18 feet long and devotees and sees it through three different doors. The architecture of the temple is embellished with bronze; the stone made architectures are also marvellous. The flag post is 80 feet high, covered with gold plated copper sheets. The two halls are adorned with fascinating sculptures. There is a strict dress code for temple visitors. Many devotees visit the temple every day, as it one of the 108 sacred Vishnu Temples in the country. The Murjapam (continuous chanting of prayers) festival, is held once every six years. It is must visit destination, and pride of religious tourism in India.

SABARIMALA SREE AYAPPA TEMPLE

This temple is situated high above the sea – level on the SabarI hills of the Western Ghats ranges. The pilgrims need to walk around 4 km, to reach the shrine and seek blessings of the boy God, Lord Agape. This temple is a great example of religious harmony and Vavar Thara epitomises it. The saying goes that Vavar is a Sufi Saint a friend of Lord Ayappa which explains the presence of the sub - deity, Vavar. Pilgrims of any religion can visit the temple and they address each other as Swami or Ayappa. Women between the age group of 10 – 50 years are not allowed in the temple. Devotees, who wish to visit the temple, need to go strict fasting for 41 days. Millions of devotees visit this temple every year during Mandalakam (November – January).

JANARDHANA SWAMY TEMPLE

It is one of the ancient temples in India, known for its grand architecture. Situated close to the sea overlooking Papanasam beach adds to its ambience. Right at the exterior front of the temple you will find painted idols of Hanuman, Lord Shiva and Garuda. The main shrine of the temple Lord Shiva has four arms, holding Shangu, Chakra, Gada and Kumbham. The mandapa of the temple is square in shape and the wooden ceiling has carvings of Navagraha. The circular sanctum is enclosed by a conical dome of copper sheets. Pilgrims here, also perform the final rites of the deceased.

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