St Mary Church Cheriapally, Kottayam - Kerala
The temple built by Thekkumkar raja is a wonderful reflection of the traditional Keralese architecture. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple is believed to be around 500 years old. A glimpse of the temple from outside doesn't give even a slightest hint as to what lays inside. The highlight of the temple are the murals on the walls. Also, the sanctum sanctorum is ornated with scenes from the Hindu epics. The annual Phalguna Utsav attracts a large number of devotees to this temple every year in the month of March. Usually, the temple is open from 5 am to 12 pm and then later from 5 to 8 pm.
Quiet close to the temple is the St Mary's Knanaya Church, also known as the Valiapally, or the big church. The church is located atop a hill and is dedicated to St Mary. It was constructed in 1550 AD by the successors of Syrian Knanaya Christians who came to India in 345 AD. The land on which the church stands today was donated by Hindu chieftain. Inside the church, there are two granite Persian crosses, each sculpted out of a single piece of stone and bearing an inscription Pahlavi language (the erstwhile official language of Sassanian dynasty of Persia). The altar and the ceiling, too, are adorned with paintings from Bible. The main feast of the church is held on 24th April and is known as St George's Feast.
This church is also not far off from Valiyapalli. It was built and consecrated by the Portuguese in the year 1579, however, a local Hindu raja also helped out. As such you have a good blend of Portuguese architecture along with the temple architecture of Hindus. The Hindu influence is seen in the large brick walls outside, suspended lamps of the halls and granite pillars while the Portuguese impressions manifest themselves in the vegetable dye paintings on the walls and ceilings. These paintings depict the life of Christ. The church, today, is in need of proper conservation. The church is open from 8 am to 6 pm. The main Feast Day is held every January on the 15th day.
This mosque stands on the banks of river Meenachil river and is made up of teak. The mosque is believed to be around thousand year old and was constructed by Malik Dinar. Inside the mosque, there is a square courtyard, carved wooden roof, a bathing area and beautiful latticed windows. The mosque is open from 7 in the morning to 6 in the evening.
This church has an interesting story of faith and devotion related to its construction. A brahmin family of Ettanesseri, yearning for a male heir, prayed to Virgin Mary. On his wish being fulfilled, the brahmin donated a piece of land for the construction of this church as a token of thanks to the respected Virgin Mary. The church is located at a distance of 10 km from Kottayam town in Athirumpuzha and has a rather unusual image of Jesus Christ on crucifix - one without any wound. The church is open from 9.30 am to 1 pm and then from 3.30 to 6 pm.
This place is located 11 km from the Kottayam town at a height of 150 feet, on a hillock. The importance of the place can be gauged from the fact that it is linked inextricably with the Blessed Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara. It also has many first to its credit - it is the seat of very first seminary of the Malabar Church, first Catholic Sanskrit School in Kerala, first printing press in Kerala started by Rev Benjamin Bailey, first Catholic English School and lastly the first daily newspaper in Malayalam. Moreover, there is the St Joseph's church, that despite being renovated a number of times, has the original altar ornated with gold filigree work and paintings by Tamil artists. The Chavara Art Museum is an added attraction.
This Shiva temple is situated 12 km north of Kottyam town. The temple is considered the most important amongst the trimvirate of Shiva Temples, a group of three temples, the Ettumanur temple has an inscription at the base which states that the temple was consecrated in the year 1545 AD. The temple is open from 4 in the morning to 12.30 in noon and then from 5 to 8 in the evening.
The Pazhassi Raja Museum is located atop the East Hill at a distance of 6 km from the Kozhikode town. The museum displays items like antique bronzes and old coins, as well as models of temples, megalithic monuments like dolminoid cysts and umbrella stones. Mural paintings are an added attraction of the Museum. Very nearby is the Krishna Menon Art Gallery that exhibits the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and Raja Raja Varma. A section of the art gallery is dedicated to late V.K. Krishna Menon, former Indian Defence Minister and national leader. Items that have an association with him are kept in this section.
This is a classic example of the secular nature of the India. Chanaganassery is a distortion of sankhu-natha-sseri, the three sounds that associate themselves with temple, church and mosque respectively. There is a temple (Kavil Bhagavaty), mosque (Pazhayapally) and a church ( St Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral) located at a equal distance from each other here. Chanaganassery is 18 km from the Kottayam town. The temple timings are 5 to 10 in the morning and 5 to 8 in the evening. The cathedral timing are 5.30 in the morning to 8.30 in the evening. The mosque is open only for men between 8 in the morning to 8 in the evening. .
Standing on the edge of the famous Vembanad lake, at a distance of 15 km from the Kottyam town, Kumarakom is a wonderful backwater destination. The serene beauty of this village has inspired many, including former Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee. Attractions here include a bird sanctuary and a driftwood museum.
39 km east of Kottayam and at the foot of Sabari Hills is this beautiful place known by the name of Kanjirappally. Attractions here include a number of highly revered churches, temples and mosque.
Pala is at a distance of 27 km from Kottayam town and also boasts of a number of churches, temples and mosques within its area. Few of the prominent amongst these are St Thomas Cathedral, St Mary's Forane Church of Kuravilangad and the Twin Temples of Poonjar. Additional attraction here are Ayyampara and Poonjar Palace Complex.