25 Most Famous Temples in Kerala
Kerala is a state located in southern India. This place is well known for its scenic beauty and many tourist attractions. There are numerous places in Kerala where you can find some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. But there is another side to Kerala – it is called the land of temples. Many people travel here just to see the best temples in Kerala. If you want to know about those temples, we have gathered 25 of the best ones for you. These temples are spread across different parts of Kerala. So, let us start our journey now.
1. Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple – Thiruvananthapura
2. Kottakkavu Shiva Temple – Ernakulam District
3. Chirayinkeezhu Mahadeva Temple – Alappuzha District
4. Pazhassi Raja Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Church – Palghat District
5. Ambalavanadu Sri Krishna Devaneshwara Temple – Thrissur District
6. Kalady Vishnu Temple – Wayanad District
1. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram
Thiruvananthapuram is home to Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, one of Kerala’s most celebrated temples. It dates back to the 8th century and is built in Dravidian style in honor of Hindu God Vishnu. Located in Trivandrum’s East Fort, this prestigious temple is part of the 108 Vishnu temples or Divya Desams.
Probably the most famous temple in Kerala, Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the finest examples of Dravidian architecture. Vishnu, the hooded serpent, is the presiding deity here. According to Hindu scriptures such as Skanda Purana and Padma Purana, the temple’s foundation can be traced back thousands of years. This temple’s presiding deity (Anantha) gave the city its name (Thiruvananthapuram).
2. Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram
Attukal Bhagavathi Temple is located near the Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvattar, about 5 km away from Trivandrum International Airport.
The temple is situated on the banks of River Chaliyar. The main deity here is Goddess Bhagawati, who is known for her divine powers.
This temple is very well maintained and attracts devotees from different parts of India. During Attukal Pongalam festival, thousands of devotees throng the temple premises and offer pongal to the presiding deity.
3. Udiyanoor Devi Temple, Thiruvananthapuram
The Udiyannoor Devi Temple is an ancient Hindu temple in southern India. In Thiruvananthapuram District, Kerala, it is located at Maruthumkuzhi. Malayalam month “Medam” is the month during which the festival is celebrated. During this time, the temple becomes the center of attention in the city. Festival days are marked by colourful processions on the streets.
4. Tali Temple, Kozhikode
Known for its exclusive architecture, Tali Temple in Kozhikode dates back to the 14th century. In addition to Zamorin’s two Brahmanical royal temples, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. There is a perfect blend of laterite and wood architecture at the shrine.
Visitors are certainly captivated by the elaborate brasswork on the wall of the sanctum sanctorum and by the brass carvings on the wooden roof. There are a lot of tourists in Kozhikode that visit Tali Temple.
5. Sivagiri Temple, Varkala
The Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP), established in 1953, is one among the oldest Hindu religious institutions in India. SNDP is headquartered in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. This organization has been working in the field of education, social welfare, health care, environmental protection and devotional activities.
This organization has been working in different parts of India since the early 1970s. In 1973, SNDP had initiated the construction of Sree Narayna Swamy Devasthanam, a huge complex in Varkala town of Kollam district, Kerala state. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The main deity installed in the temple is Sri Narayana Guru, a great saint and philosopher of 19th century. The name of the temple is “Sivagiri”. The foundation stone was laid down in the year 1976 by Shri Moolam Thirunal Balarama Varma, the King of Travancore. The work took almost 15 years to complete. The grand inauguration ceremony was held on 7 February 1993.
Today, there are about 2,500 members in SNDP. There are about 20 temples under SNDP. These temples are scattered across India. The total area covered by SNDP is around 3,00,000 square meters. The annual budget of SNDP is around Rs.100 crore.
The organization conducts many programmes
6. Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, Kottayam
Ettumanoor Mahadev temple is located in the heart of Kerala’s famous tourist destination – Munnar. This ancient shrine is known for its beautiful architecture. The temple is situated amidst lush green forests and surrounded by hills. It is believed that this place was once ruled by King Ravana. The main deity here is Lord Shiva. During festivals like Onam, Thrikkarthikai and Arattu, the temple becomes crowded with devotees.
The temple is open daily from 4 am till 8:30 pm. However, it closes down for maintenance work between 12 noon to 5 pm every day except Sundays.
7. Chottanikara Devi Temple, Ernakulum
Image SourceLocated atop a hilltop, Chottanikkara Devi Temple is one among the most popular devi temples in Kerala.
This temple is located near Alappuzha, about 30 km away from Kochi city. This temple is dedicated to goddess Bhagawathi.
The main attraction of this temple is its beautiful idol. This idol is worshipped in three different forms – Saraswatyam, Lakshmya and Durgam.
If you are looking for famous bhagavathies in kerala, you’ll find everything here.
8. Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple, Mannarasala
The Mannarasala Nagaraaja Temple is located in the heart of Malappuram district, Kerala, India. It is situated about 20 km away from Kottakkal town and 15 km away from Paravoor town. The famous temple of Mannarasaala nagaraja is one of the oldest Hindu temples in South India.
The temple is believed to be built during the Chola dynasty. There are many legends associated with the history of the temple. One of those legends says that Lord Shiva came here to bless his devotee named Manjeswari Devi. He asked her to worship him with flowers and water. She did it and he gave her a boon that she will get a son who will kill snakes. After some days, the baby grew into a young boy and killed the snakes. Later, he became a great warrior known as Nagaraja.
This place is very well known in the state of Kerala. People come here for pilgrimage. They believe that the temple gives good luck to people.
9. Lokanarkavu Temple, Kozhikode
The Lokanarkavu temple is located near Vatakara town in north Kerala, India. It is one of the few Hindu temples in Kerala dedicated to Vishnu. It is situated about 2 km from the main bus stand, just beside the road leading towards Palchur. There are many legends associated with this place. One legend says Lord Krishna stayed here while he was hiding from his father. Another legend says that there is a pond inside the temple premises, where Sita washed her feet after she was abducted by Ravana.
Lokanarkavu temple dates back to 1000 AD. The present structure was constructed during 17th century. The idol of lord shiva is placed facing south, whereas the goddess durga faces west. In front of the goddess durga, there is a huge statue of kaliyattom sreekrishna swamy. A big bell hangs above the entrance door of the temple.
There are many devotees coming here every day offering prayers and asking for blessings. During festivals like Onam, Karunya Deepa etc., thousands of people come to offer prayers.
10. Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur
There is a Hindu temple called Vadakkumnathan Temple in the Indian city of Thrissur, dedicated to Shiva. An example of Keralan architecture, this temple has a kuttambalam in addition to one monumental tower on each side. Inside the temple you can see murals illustrating scenes from the Mahabharata. Wooden vignettes are displayed on shrines and Kuttambalams. Indian authorities have declared the temple and its murals a National Monument under the AMASR Act. Vishnu’s sixth avatar, Parasurama, built this temple according to local legend. Festivals such as Thrissur Pooram are held at Thekkinkadu Maidan, which surrounds the Vadakkumnathan Temple. UNESCO has suggested 14 sites from Kerala for inscription on the World Heritage List in 2012, including Vadakkumnathan Temple and palaces.
11. Sabarimala Sastha Temple, Pathanamthitta
Lord Ayyappa is believed to have been born on Mount Kailash in Tibet. He later moved to India and settled down in Kerala. His mother, Parvati Devi, asked him to marry her cousin Shri Lakshmi Narayana. But he refused because she belonged to a lower caste. So, his father, Siva, cursed him that he would become a celibate. Later, he married Goddess Mohini and had four sons named Apparao, Vadakkumnatha, Thirumoolathuvar and Manikka Vinayagar.
He performed penance at Kailasam, Mt.Kailash and finally reached the holy mountain where he meditated for thousand years. When he returned to earth, he found out that his wife had given birth to twins – one boy and one girl. They became twin brothers called Nambi and Madhavi. After some time, Lord Ayyappa left his parents and went into the forest. One day, while bathing in Ganga, he saw a beautiful woman. She turned out to be Goddess Parvathi. In return, he promised to come back to her after attaining moksha.
When Lord Ayyappa attained moksha, he came back to earth as a child and lived in Sabarimala. This place is considered sacred and it attracts millions of pilgrims every year. Every year during the month of November/December, thousands of women travel to Sabarimala to take part in the pilgrimage. They go there to seek blessings from Lord Ayyappa.
12. Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha
Ambalapuzha Srikrisha temple is situated near the banks of river Periyar in Kerala state. It is one among the 108 temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The name of the place is derived from the word “Ambalam”, meaning ‘the end’ and “puzhala”, meaning ‘water’. Ambalapuzha temple is the oldest temple in Kerala. It is located about 10 km away from Thiruvananthapuram city. The temple is very popular due to the annual festival held here. During the festival, thousands of people gather here to offer prayers to the presiding deity. The temple is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The temple is famous for its festivals like Ambalappuzha Maholsavam, Arattu, Chottanikkara Kavu Vela, etc. Every year, it holds the famous Ambalapuzha Temple Festival, where thousands of pilgrims come to take part in the festivities. The main attraction of Ambalapuzha sreekrishna temple are the huge number of idols placed around the temple premises.
Monday – Friday : 4 am to 12 pm & 5 pm to 8 pm
Saturday : 4 am to 12 noon & 5 pm to 7 pm
Sunday : Closed
13. Ananthapura Lake Temple, Ananthapura
The Ananthapura Lake temple is one of the most ancient temples in Kerala. This picturesque place is situated amidst a scenic lake. The temple is believed to be over 1000 years old. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in his form as Anantha Padmanabha Swami. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Vishnu in the form of Anantha Padmanabhan. He is known as Anantha Padmananabh swami. The idol of lord Vishnu in the form anantha padmanabhan is very unique because it has four hands. There are many legends associated with this temple. One legend says, once upon a time there was a king called Parameshwara. Once he went hunting in the forest and lost his way. He came across an antharashram where he saw a sage meditating under a tree. When he asked him about the whereabouts of the place, the sage told him that he had been performing penance since thousands of years. King Parameshwara became curious and wanted to know why the sage was doing such a long period of penance. So he offered food to the sage. But the sage refused and told him that he did not want anything. Then the king left the place thinking that the sage must be crazy. After some distance, he met another person who was also looking for directions. Again, he tried to offer food to the man. But again, the man refused saying that he does not want anything. Then, the king thought that both men might be mad. However, he realized that both the men were holy people. They were actually doing penance. Both the persons turned out to be Brahmins. Later, the king returned home and found out that his kingdom was suffering from drought. He prayed to god to provide rain. And soon enough, the rains arrived. The king thanked God and built a temple in honor of the gods who helped him. The temple is called “Ananthapura”. Hence, the name of the temple is Ananthapura Lake.
14. Sree Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple, Parassinikadavu
Amidst the beautiful hills of Kollam district, lies one of the most sacred temples in Kerala – Sree Parassiniakadavu Muthappa Temple. Located at Parassinikkadavu village, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. With its breathtaking beauty and rich culture, the temple attracts thousands of tourists every day.
The temple is situated amidst lush green paddy fields and coconut trees. The place offers a stunning view of the river Vembanad Lake and the surrounding hills. The main attraction here is the temple itself, which houses several rare idols of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva along with some very interesting sculptures.
The temple is unique in quite few ways. First of all, it is the only temple in India where devotees offer alcohol bottles as offerings to the Gods. Second, the temple welcomes both Hindus and Muslims. Thirdly, there are no restrictions on women entering the premises. In fact, women are allowed to walk around freely within the temple complex.
Apart from offering prayers to the Gods, devotees can also enjoy delicious food prepared by the priests. They serve rice, curry, dosa, idli and puli to the pilgrims. A special feature of this temple is that it provides free meals and accommodation
15. Guruvayur Temple, Guruvayur
Guruvayur Sri Krishna temple is one of the most popular Hindu temples in India. This temple is located in Thrissur district of Kerala state. It is dedicated to Lord Krishna. This place is also called as Guruvayoorappan Kshethram. There are several legends associated with the origin of this temple. One legend says that sage Narada meditated here while another legend says that Sage Markandeya meditated here.
There are many myths and stories behind the construction of this temple. Many people believe that there is a secret chamber inside the temple where Goddess Parvati kept her earrings. The temple is very well maintained and managed by the Travancore Devaswom Board. Every year thousands of pilgrims come to visit this holy shrine.
This temple is situated near the river Periyar. Thousands of devotees come to offer prayers during festivals like Onam and Vishu.
Opening Hours: 7 am – 12 noon & 2 pm – 5 pm
Timings: Open daily except Fridays and Saturdays
Admission Fee: Free
16. Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple, Ambalapuzha
Ambalapuzha Sree Kṛṣṇa Temple is one of the most famous temples in Kerala. It is situated near the town of Ambalappuzha in Ernakulam district. It is dedicated to Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. There are many legends associated with the temple. One such story tells us about how the idol of Lord Krishna came here.
The legend says that there was once a king named Devan Nambi. He had a son named Thiruvalluvar. When he grew up, he became very pious. He used to pray to God daily. Once, his father asked him why he prayed to God every day. His reply was that he wanted to see God directly. So, his father gave permission to go to Tirupathi where the lord resides. On the way to Tirupathi, he met a Brahmin called Gopala Bhattathiri. He told him that he could meet God personally if he went to Guruvayur. But, he needed money to travel there. Then, he narrated the whole story to Gopala Bhattatiri. He promised that he would return after worshipping God.
Then, he left and travelled towards Guruvayur. After reaching there, he saw a young boy playing with cows. He thought that the boy
17. Chottanikkara Temple, Chottanikkara
Chottanikkara is located in Kollam district, Kerala. It is one of the most important temples in Kerala. It is home to Goddess Chottanikkara, the goddess of learning. She is worshiped here during day time in three forms – Saraswathi, Lakshmi and Parvati.
The main festival here is called “Kumbha Bharani”. During this period, there are many rituals performed and people come here in large numbers to take part in it.
This temple is very popular among tourists because of its beautiful architecture. It is also famous for its unique aartis. People from across India come here to perform poojas.
18. Guruvayoor Srikrishna Temple, Guruvayoor
Guruvayur Sreekrishna Temple is located near Kottiyam town in Malappuram district in the south Indian state of Kerala. The name of the temple derives from the word “guru”, meaning teacher, and “Vyarana”, meaning knowledge. The presiding deity here is Goddess Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy, who takes the form of Sri Krishna. She is believed to look after devotees who are afflicted with diseases like cancer, tuberculosis, asthma, etc.
The temple is visited by thousands of people every day. Many pilgrims come here to worship the Lord during the festival season of Onam.
19. Thirunelli Temple, Wayanad Valley
Thirunelli Temple is situated in Wayanad, Kerala. This temple is very famous among Hindus because it is considered holy. There are some stories behind the construction of this temple. Some say that there used to be a pond here. When the pond dried up, people prayed for water and God gave them a lot of rain. They asked him to give them water for drinking and he did. He told them to build a temple over the place where they got water. People built this temple.
20. Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple, Kaviyoor
Kerala is known for its ancient temples and religious places. One such place is the Kaviyoor Maha Devi temple. This temple is located in the village of Kaviyoor, situated near Kozhikode district. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvathi. The shrine houses the idol of Lord Shiva along with Goddess Parvathi. There are many legends associated with this temple. In one story, Lord Rama visited this temple while he was travelling towards Ayodhya. He had defeated the evil king Ravana and returned to Ayodhya to take rest. On his way back to Ayodyha, he stopped at Kaviyoor and prayed to the deity. After completing his prayers, he asked the people to install a statue of him there. They did so and thus the idol of Shiva came into existence. Another story tells us about how the idol of Lord Shiva came into existence. Once upon a time, Lord Vishnu took the form of Lord Shiva and went to the Himalayas. During his stay there, he met Goddess Parvathi and fell madly in love with her. She too reciprocated his feelings. However, she could not reveal her identity because of fear. But Lord Shiva knew her true identity
21. Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple, Mallapuzhassery
This temple is one of the most popular temples in Kerala. The name of the place is Mallapuram which lies in Kollam district. There is another famous temple named Vadakkunnathan Temple located here too. In fact, both the temples are very close to each other. But there is one difference between them. One is dedicated to Lord Vishnu while the other is dedicated to Lord Shiva. However, both the temples are considered to be one of the prominent temples in India.
The main attraction of this temple is that it houses the idol of lord Partha Sarathi. He is known as the incarnation of Lord Krishna. His image is placed inside the sanctum sanctorum. The processional deity is placed outside the temple. There are many legends associated with this temple. Some people believe that the idols of Parthasarathy and his wife Sridevi are kept here. They say that the couple came here during their exile. And when they returned home, they built a temple in their memory. Other legends say that the family of king Cheraman Perumal had come here. Then, he became a devotee of Lord Parthasarathy. Later, he donated money for constructing the temple. So, this
22. Vaikom Mahadeva Temple, Vaikom
Vaikom Mahadeva temple is located in the town of Vaikom in Kottayam district, Kerala, India. It is one of the famous Shiva temples in Kerala. This temple is known as one of the most important places among the people living near the river Pamba. There are some legends associated with this place. One legend says that Lord Vishnu once came here to perform his penance along with Goddess Parvati. Another legend says that there was a king named Nambi who had built this temple. He used to worship lord Shiva and offer prayers to him. Once he offered prayers to lord Shiva, he got a vision of lord Shiva telling him that he will build a big temple. After hearing this, he became very happy and donated money to construct the temple.
The main deity of this temple is Lord Shiva. In front of the main shrine, there are four statues of goddess Durga. These statues are called “Kadavul Bhagavathy”. On both sides of the main entrance, there are two huge images of Ganapathi. There are several other deities around the temple. Some of them include Ayyanar, Sree Narasimha Swamy, Subramanya, Ganesha, Brahma, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Navagrahas, etc.
There are few other attractions inside the temple like the “Nalambalam”, “Vedic school”, “Guruvayoorappan kshethram”, “Thirumala Devasthanam”, etc. You can find beautiful paintings on the walls of the temple. To reach the temple, you must take the bus number 17A/17C/18A/18C from Vaikkom railway station. If you want to go to Guruvayoor, you have to take the train number 18A/18C from Ernakulam Junction Railway Station.
23. Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple, Haripad
Mannarasala Nagaraj Temple is located in Haripad district, Kerala. It is famous because it is believed that Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati here. As per the legend, the serpent god Nagaraj had abducted Goddess Parvati. To save her, Lord Shiva came here and killed the demon. He took away his head and placed it in front of the goddess. After that he returned to his abode. Later, Lord Vishnu assumed the form of snake and rescued Goddess Parvati. Hence, the name Nagaraja.
The temple is situated amidst dense forests in the western part of the city. It is surrounded by mountains. The main deity is Lord Shiva. There are many other deities like Muruga, Ganesha, Brahma, Durga, etc.
There are about 2300 small temples inside the premises of the main temple. These temples are called ‘kavu’ meaning “small”. Each kavu contains a statue of some particular deity. People believe that whoever visits each of these small temples during their life span gets salvation.
24. Lokanarkavu Temple, Villiappally
The Lokanarkavu temple is located in Vellappally village near Kottakkal in Palakkad district of Kerala. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga and the presiding deity is called Subhadra Devi. There are three main shrines in the temple complex namely Sree Narasimha Swamy, Sree Bhagawati Mahadevi, and Sree Lakshmi Narasimham. The temple is very famous among people in the area for being a place where the legendary warrior Thacholi Othenen lived.
25. Thiruvalla Temple, Thiruvalla
Thiruvalla is a town located in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala state in India. It is known for being the birthplace of Saint Thomas the Apostle. The city is also home to many ancient churches and mosques. It is also known for its rich history and culture. One such place is the Thiruvalla Temple. This temple is one of the most important ones in Kerala and is considered to be one of the best examples of Kerala Architecture.
The temple is believed to have been built during the 8th century AD. During the period of British rule, the temple was renovated several times. In 1801, the temple was destroyed due to a fire. After the renovation, the temple was reopened again. However, there are many stories about the origin of the name Thiruvaalil. Some say that the name came from the word “Tiruvala”, meaning “the abode of Vishnu”. Others believe that it was named after the king of Travancore, Sri Vallala Perumal.
In addition to the main deity, there are many other gods here. These include Parashurama, Ganapathi, Ganesha, Brahma, Subramanya, Bhadrakali, Ayyappan, Narasimham, Kannaki Amma, Rama, Lakshmana, Krishna, Chandikeswarar, Varaha, Nandi, Mahishasura Mardini, Mariyadhaippu, Nagalingeshwara, Sastha, Chidambaram Durga, Murugan,
Frequently Asked Questions About Temples In Kerala
Kerala is known for its beautiful beaches, lush green forests, scenic hill stations, pristine waterfalls, and a lot more. But what makes it unique is the number of temples that dot across the state. There are a total of 104 active temples in Kerala, out of which around 90% are located in Thrissur district alone. The rest can be found in Palakkad, Ernakulam, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Idukki, Malappuram, Kasaragod, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Kannur, Kottayam, Thiruvananthapuram, Trivandrum, and Periyar.
The majority of the temples in Kerala are believed to date back to the period between 2nd century BC and 12th century AD. Some of them even go back to the period between 5th century BC and 10th century AD. They are built according to the architectural styles prevalent during those times. However, some of them have been constructed later based on the architectural styles prevailing today.
Most of the temples in Kerala follow a similar pattern. First, a small shrine called kavu is dedicated to the presiding deity inside the main temple compound. This is followed by a big complex called Viharam (the abode). Next is the sanctum sanctorum where the idol of the presiding deity resides. Then come the mandapa, garbhagriha, mukhamantapa, nandi, navagrahas, and finally, the prasada vinoda.
There are three types of deities worshipped in the temples in Kerala – Vishnu, Shiva, and Devi. Each one has a specific set of rituals associated with it. For example, the worship of Vishnu involves offering food items like rice, milk products, etc., while the worship of Shiva involves offerings of flowers, fruits, incense sticks, etc. On the other hand, Devi worship involves chanting hymns in praise of her.
In addition to the above, each temple in Kerala follows certain customs and traditions. One such tradition is the practice of inviting Brahmins to perform poojas in the temple. Another is the custom of having daily puja rituals conducted in the morning and evening. These include lighting lamps, offering prayers, etc.
Apart from the above, the people living near the temples in Kerala observe certain customs too. For instance, they offer coconut oil to the presiding deity every day. They also light candles, burn incense sticks, and make offerings of coconuts, bananas, sugarcane, etc. to the presiding deity.