Pilgrim Centres of Kottayam
The place can be accessed from Kottayam through Pampadi.Matrumala is a hill top that offers stunning views of the entire surroundings. The place got its name as it has a small temple on its top dedicated to Goddess.
Situated 60km South – East of Kottayam, it is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre and located on the bank of the Manimala River.Piligrims going to Sabarimala alight here to worship at the Sastha Temple and offer prayers at an ancient mosque. The mosque is dedicated to Vavar, a companion of the deity Sree Ayyappa.
The Thacharickal Bhagawati temple is the only place in Kottayam district where the folk art of Padayani is performed.Alapara is surrounded by lush forests and is located 45km from Kottayam, 5km from Manimala junction and 10km from Erumeli. Other attractions are Sankupathalam waterfalls, Oottupara view point, caves and muniyaras.
The Valiya Palli ( St.Mary’s Church)
The Valia Palli built in 1550 AD for the Knanaya Orthodox Syrians is situated in Thazhathangadi, 2km from the town centre. It is famous for its 8th century Persian Cross with the Pahlavi inscription on it.
The Cheria Palli (St.Mary’s Church):
Located near the Valia Palli, the smaller church of Cheria Palli built in 1579AD has some murals and paintings depicting Biblical and other themes.
Thazhathangadi – Juma Masjid:
The famous ancient mosque at Thazhathangadi and Thalikotta Palace are another attraction to devotees.
St.Mary’s Church, Manarcaud
Situated 9km from Kottayam town, it is one of the most important churches of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christians. The Ettunoyaambu (8days fasting) is the major annual event when thousands of devotees from various places participate in the prayers and rituals.
St.Mary’s Church, Kudamaloor
This church, 800yrs old, was built by Chempakasseri Maharajah. The ritual offering here is a traditional water bag and rope used to draw water from the well. The Kudamaloor Vasudevapuram Temple is equally famous.
St.Thomas Church, Cherpungal
Believed to have been established by the apostle St.Thomas, this church was relocated to the southern banks of the Meenachil River with the cooperation of poet Kunchan Nambiar and his family. In 1107, the Valiapalli was built on the orginal site. Oil poured into lamps and kept before the image of Infant Jesus is the votive offering here- a ritual similar to the devotional practices of Hindus.
It is an important Christian pilgrimage centre- the place where the mortal remains of Sister Alphonsa was interned in a chapel next to the St.Mary’s Church. This 1000year old church features an attractive Grotto of Virgin Mary.
An important Syrian Christian Centre, the town of Mannanam, 8km from Kottayam, sites the St.Joseph’s Monastery, associated with the name of Fr.Kuriakose Elias of Chavara, one of the Saintly figures of the Syrian Catholic Church of Kerala. Among renowned institutions here is the St.Joseph’s Press. Established in 1844, this is one of the oldest printing presses in Kerala.It printed the Nasrani Deepika, one of Kerala’s oldest newspapers.
Vaikom, 40km from Kottayam is famed for the Siva temple which according to legend was constructed by Parasurama, the mythological creator of Kerala.In contemporary history Vaikom’s prominence derives from the Sathyagraha of 1925, blessed by Mahatma Gandhi and aimed at throwing open the temple’s doors to Harijans.