Most Famous Hindu Temples in Kerala

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Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple

Kerala is affectionately called God’s Own Country. It is the place that was created by Lord Parashurama, an incarnation of the Supreme God Vishnu, for his people to live peacefully. Today, Kerala stands as a testament to this divine legacy. With its lush landscapes, calm backwaters, and, most importantly, majestic temples, it is a place that narrates tales of devotion, artistry, and traditions that have been followed for thousands of years.

Here, we have tried to capture the divine essence of Kerala through a carefully compiled list. The following are 20 of the most popular Hindu temples that devotees and travelers alike can visit in the southernmost state of the Republic of India.

Famous Hindu Temples in Kerala

Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple

Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple

Sabarimala Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple is one of the most popular temples in the beautiful state of Kerala. It is a revered pilgrimage site that attracts thousands of devotees every year. According to some estimations, around 50 million pilgrims visit here annually.

Sabarimala Temple is renowned for its 41-day Vratham and the Makaravilakku season. During the 41-day Vratham, devotees undertake a challenging trek through dense forests while maintaining strict vows. The location of the temple, in the hills of the Western Ghats, only adds to its spiritual ambiance.

A noteworthy fact about Sabarimala Sree Ayappa Temple is that only men and women of certain ages are allowed to enter the temple premises. This is because Lord Ayappa is a celibate entity. And even though the Supreme Court removed the ban for women aged 10 to 50 to enter the temple, their entry is still not allowed at this time.

  • Main Deity: Lord Ayappa
  • Location: Pathanamthitta District, Kerala
  • Timing: 3 am to 1 pm (Morning); 3 pm to 11 pm (Evening)
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Cochin International Airport (153 km)
    • By Train: Chengannur Railway Station (82 km), Kottayam Railway Station (120 km)
    • By Land: Direct buses to Pamba from major cities; from Pamba, a trek to the temple

Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram

The second temple on this list is located in the magnificent city of Thiruvananthapuram. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Padmanabhaswamy Temple is an architectural marvel; the influence of Dravidian culture is quite clearly present here.

Dating back to the 8th century, the Padmanabhaswamy temple is one of the oldest Vishnu temples on the land which is still standing. Lord Vishnu is present here in the form of Lord Padmanabhaswamy, reclining on the Anantha – the eight-hooded serpent God. Visit to the Padmanabhaswamy temple is a must for every devotee of Lord Vishnu.

A noteworthy fact about this temple is the presence of the vaulted chambers inside it. The seven vaulted chambers in the temple are shrouded in mystery and are rumored to hold immense treasure beyond imagination. Some of the chambers had been opened in recent years, revealing artifacts that were hidden from the public eye for hundreds of years.

  • Main Deity: Lord Vishnu
  • Location: Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
  • Timing: 5.30 am to 7.30 pm
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Trivandrum Airport (6 km)
    • By Train: Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station (1 km)
    • By Land: Well-connected with road within Thiruvananthapuram City

Vadakkunnathan Temple

Vadakkunnathan Temple

Vadakkunnathan Temple is the third temple on our list and the first one that is dedicated to the Supreme God of Creation & Destruction. Lord Shiva is widely prayed in the southern region of India, and this ancient temple is proof of that.

Vadakkunnathan Temple is a crown jewel of Thrissur. However, you should not think of it as just a spiritual haven for devotees; it is the heartland of the culture of the region. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is a classic example of Kerala’s architectural brilliance. The presence of Dravidian culture is also clearly present with imposing gopurams, intricate murals, and majestic deity halls.

  • Main Deity: Lord Shiva
  • Location: Swaraj Round N, Kuruppam, Thekkinkadu Maidan, Thrissur, Kerala
  • Timing: 3 am to 10.30 am (Morning) & 5 pm to 8.30 pm (Evening)
  • How to Reach:
  • By Air: Cochin Airport (50 km)
  • By Train: Thrissur Railway Station (2 km)
  • By Land: Accessible by road within Thrissur City

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Ananthapura Lake Temple

Ananthapura Lake Temple

Ananthapura Lake Temple, located in the beautiful Kasaragod, Kerala, is the next one on our list. Situated in the middle of a serene lake, this temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The lake is supplied with fresh spring water.

It is believed that this is the original seat of Ananthapadmanabha Swami, making this temple an even more important spiritual site in the eyes of the devotees. A fascinating fact about this temple is that its guardian is Babia, a vegetarian crocodile who lives in the lake.

  • Main Deity: Ananthapadmanabha Swami (Lord Vishnu)
  • Location: Ananthapura, Kumbla, Kasaragod, Kerala
  • Timing: 5.30 am to 12.30 pm (Morning) & 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm (Evening)
  • How to Reach:
  • By Air: Mangalore International Airport (65 km)
  • By Train: Kasaragod Railway Station (12 km)
  • By Land: Well-connected by road from Kasaragod and nearby towns

Guruvayur Temple

Guruvayur Temple

Guruvayur Temple is a marvel on this list. Often referred to as the ‘Dwarka of the South,’ this temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, who is present here in his Guruvayurappan form. The temple is also known as ‘Bhuloka Vaikuntha,’ which translates to ‘Vaikuntha on Earth.’

Darshan in Guruvayur is a divine experience, which is why millions of devotees visit this place every year. The captivating idol of Lord Krishna, adorned with exquisite ornaments and a resplendent crown, radiates a mesmerizing charm. Note that the temple has a strict dress code: white mundu for men and saree for women.

  • Main Deity: Lord Krishna (Guruvayurappan)
  • Location: Guruvayur, Thrissur District, Kerala
  • Timing: 3 am to 12.30 pm (Morning) & 4.30 pm to 9.15 pm (Evening)
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Cochin International Airport (80 km)
    • By Train: Guruvayur Railway Station (1 km)
    • By Land: Well-connected by road from nearby cities in Kerala

Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple

Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple

On the banks of the Pampa River in the Alappuzha district, you will find enchanting Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple. Renowned for its unique architectural style (this temple features a barrel-vaulted roof and intricate wood carvings), this temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna.

The temple is also popular among the masses due to its connection with the martial art form of Kerala, Kalaripayattu. Ambalapuzha Temple & the Aaraattu festivals are the best time to visit this temple.

  • Main Deity: Lord Krishna
  • Location: Ambalapuzha, Alappuzha, Kerala
  • Timing: 4 am to 12.30 pm (Morning) & 5 pm to 8 pm (Evening)
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Cochin International Airport (85 km)
    • By Train: Ambalapuzha Railway Station (2 km)
    • By Land: Easily reachable via roads within Alappuzha district

Chottanikkara Devi Temple

Chottanikkara Devi Temple

Near the beautiful city of Kochi, you will find a sacred sanctuary that is dedicated to the Goddess Bhagavathi in the form of Chottanikkara Devi temple. The temple is visible from afar and is distinct for its golden architecture and peaceful surroundings.

Devotees flock to this temple all year round, especially during the annual festival for the ‘Makom Thozhal’ ritual. Partaking in this ritual is believed to cure one’s mental ailments. So, it should not surprise anyone that the annual festival draws a huge crowd.

  • Main Deity: Goddess Bhagavathi
  • Location: Chottanikkara, Ernakulam District, Kerala
  • Timing: 4 am to 12 pm (Morning) & 4 pm to 9 pm
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Cochin International Airport (32 km)
    • By Train: Tripunithura Railway Station (5 km)
    • By Land: Close to NH 85; well-connected by road within Ernakulam district

Lokanarkavu Temple

Lokanarkavu Temple

Hindu Goddesses are worshipped all over the country, especially in the southern state of Kerala. The second entry on this in Lokanarkavu temple signifies this fact.

Lokanarkavu temple is a historic temple located in the Kozhikode district and dedicated to Goddess Durga. The temple is not only the epitome of architectural brilliance and spiritual significance, but it is also intertwined with the heroic tales of the medieval warrior Thacholi Othenan. This only makes this temple popular among both devotees and tourists alike.

The Lokanarkavu Utsavam, an annual celebration at the temple, is a must-watch.

  • Main Deity: Goddess Durga
  • Location: Lokanarkavu, near Vatakara, Kozhikode District, Kerala
  • Timing: 5 am to 11 am (Morning) & 5 pm to 8 pm (Evening)
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Calicut International Airport (70 km)
    • By Train: Vatakara Railway Station (5 km)
    • By Land: Near NH 66; well-connected by road within Kozhikode district

Mannarasala Temple

Mannarasala Temple

Next on this list is another famous temple that is located in the lush greenery of Kerala’s forests. We are, of course, talking about the Mannarasala temple, a unique shrine that is dedicated to Nagaraja, the serpent God.

This is quite a mystical ancient temple, with its origin not clear to the devotees. It is also renowned for its unique rituals and traditions that are aimed at honoring the serpent deity. Catch the Mannarasala Ayilyam festival if you can.

  • Main Deity: Nagaraja (Serpent God)
  • Location: Mannarasala, near Haripad, Alappuzha District, Kerala
  • Timing: 5:00 am to 12:00 pm and 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Cochin International Airport (115 km)
    • By Train: Haripad Railway Station (3 km)
    • By Land: Close to NH 66; accessible by road from major cities like Alappuzha.

Thiruvanchikulam Temple

Thiruvanchikulam Temple

One of the oldest shrines located in Kerala is the Thiruvanchikulam temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva & Devi Parvati, this temple is quite popular among devotees, especially due to its intricate designs and serene surroundings.

The temple is also known as Thiruvanchikulam Shiva temple and is believed to be around 2000 years old. It is also one of the abodes of Lord Shiva and his entire family, so it is not surprising that this shrine holds great importance for the Shaivite cult.

  • Main Deity: Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati
  • Location: Thiruvanchikulam, Thrissur District, Kerala
  • Timing: 5:00 am to 11:00 am (Morning) and 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm (Evening)
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Cochin International Airport (25 km)
    • By Train: Kodungallur Railway Station (3 km)
    • By Land: Near NH 66; well-connected by road within Thrissur district.

Sree Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple

Sree Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple

Sree Parassinikadavu Muthappan temple, more simply known as Muthappan temple, sits apart from others on this list. Not only does the temple not follow the satvic Brahmanical form of worship, but it also has a ritual enactment of the characters of Muthappan through traditional dance. This dance is known as Muthappan Theyyam, and you should try to catch it if possible.

The Muthappan Theyyam is practiced twice a day, every day, in the morning and in the evening. Also, offer fish, meat, and toddy to the deity.

  • Main Deity: Lord Muthappan (a manifestation of Lord Shiva)
  • Location: Parassinikadavu, Kannur District, Kerala
  • Timing: 5:00 am to 8:00 pm
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Calicut International Airport (132 km)
    • By Train: Kannur Railway Station (20 km)
    • By Land: Near NH 66; accessible by road from major cities like Kannur.

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

If you are visiting the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple (mentioned earlier in the list), then just a walking distance away is the Attukal Bhagavathy temple, dedicated to Devi Attukalamma. This temple is a famous place of worship, frequently visited by devotees of Devi Parvati, whose incarnation is Goddess Attukalamma.

The temple is world-famous for its Attukal Pongala festival and holds the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of women for a religious activity.

  • Main Deity: Goddess Attukalamma
  • Location: Attukal, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
  • Timing: 5:00 am to 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Trivandrum International Airport (7 km)
    • By Train: Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station (3 km)
    • By Land: Well-connected by road within Thiruvananthapuram city, near NH 66.

Tali Temple

Tali Temple

Tali temple in the district of Kozhikode is another Hindu temple in the land of Kerala that you cannot afford to miss out on. This temple is a revered architectural masterpiece dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is an ancient temple, one of the two Brahmanical royal temples that were built by Zamorin. It is known for its intricate wooden carvings and traditional Kerala-style architecture. The annual ‘Revathi Pattathanam’ is an excellent time to visit the Tali Temple.

  • Main Deity: Lord Shiva
  • Location: Tali, Kozhikode, Kerala
  • Timing: 5:30 am to 11:00 am (Morning) and 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm (Evening)
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Calicut International Airport (28 km)
    • By Train: Kozhikode Railway Station (3 km)
    • By Land: Close to NH 66; well-connected by road within Kozhikode city.

Thirunelly Temple

Thirunelli Temple, Wayanad

Located in the Brahmagiri Hills, one can find the famous Thirunelly temple. It is a sanctuary that is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Often referred to as the ‘Kashi of the South,’ the temple is revered for its closeness to nature and the presence of the holy Papanasini stream, which devotees believe washes away their sins with just a single dip. The Thirunelly temple is not just a spiritual site, but it is a place where folks can travel and enjoy the peaceful nature of its surroundings.

  • Main Deity: Lord Vishnu
  • Location: Thirunelli, Wayanad, Kerala
  • Timing: 5:30 am to 12:00 pm (Morning) and 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm (Evening)
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Calicut International Airport (120 km)
    • By Train: Thalassery Railway Station (80 km)
    • By Land: Near NH 766; accessible by road from major towns like Mananthavady.

Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple

Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple

Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple is one of the Divya Desams, the 108 temples mentioned in the works of the Alvars. This naturally makes it quite prestigious and a must-visit on our list. Lord Krishna is present and revered here in the form of Parthasarathy, referring to his role as the charioteer of Arjun in Mahabharat.

The temple is also an integral part of the Aranmula Boat Race during the Onam festival. Another noteworthy fact about this temple is that the Thanka Anki, the golden attire of Ayappa, is safeguarded in this very temple.

  • Main Deity: Lord Krishna (Parthasarathy)
  • Location: Aranmula, Pathanamthitta, Kerala
  • Timing: 4:00 am to 11:00 am (Morning) and 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm (Evening)
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Trivandrum International Airport (117 km)
    • By Train: Chengannur Railway Station (10 km)
    • By Land: Close to NH 183; well-connected by road within Pathanamthitta district.

Shivagiri Temple

Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple

Another majestic temple you can find on this list is the Shivagiri temple, which is located in the Varkala district of Kerala. However, note that this temple is not just a place of worship but a beacon of spiritual enlightenment and social reform. This is due to its association with Sri Narayana Guru, a revered spiritual guru.

This temple attracts thousands of devotees every day, especially in the last few days of the year. During this period, the Sivagiri Pilgrimage is held.

  • Main Deity: Sri Narayana Guru (Spiritual Leader)
  • Location: Sivagiri, Varkala, Kerala
  • Timing: 5:30 am to 12:00 pm (Morning) and 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm (Evening)
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Trivandrum International Airport (51 km)
    • By Train: Varkala Sivagiri Railway Station (3 km)
    • By Land: Close to NH 66; accessible by road from Thiruvananthapuram and other major cities.

Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple

Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple

Another temple on this list, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Ettumanoor Mahadeva temple, is situated in the heart of Kerala. It is one of the few Shiva shrines in Kerala which has rich Dravidian architecture so prominently displayed.

Travelers can easily gaze their eyes upon ancient murals as well as the legendary seven-and-a-half elephant copper lamp. The temple also hosts an annual Ettumanoor Festival, which is highlighted by the ‘Ezhara Ponnana’ procession.

  • Main Deity: Lord Shiva
  • Location: Ettumanoor, Kottayam, Kerala
  • Timing: 4:00 am to 12:00 pm (Morning) and 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm (Evening)
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Cochin International Airport (76 km)
    • By Train: Ettumanoor Railway Station (2 km)
    • By Land: Close to NH 183; well-connected by road within Kottayam district.

Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple

Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple

Kaviyoor Mahadeva temple is the spiritual home of the devotees of Lord Shiva. However, this sacred shrine also hosts Devi Parvati & Hanuman as the presiding deities. The temple is one of the oldest temples in Kerala and is believed to have been constructed in the 10th century.

A noteworthy fact about this temple is the legend that is associated with it. It is believed that Lord Rama himself Installed the Shivling here after defeating Ravana on his way to his capital city of Ayodhya.

  • Main Deity: Lord Shiva, Devi Parvati & Hanuman
  • Location: Kaviyoor, Pathanamthitta, Kerala
  • Timing: 5:00 am to 11:00 am (Morning) and 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm (Evening)
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Trivandrum International Airport (119 km)
    • By Train: Thiruvalla Railway Station (5 km)
    • By Land: Near NH 183; easily accessible by road within Pathanamthitta district.

Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple

Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple

Lord Ganesha is another major deity worshipped in the southern region of India, and the Pazhavangadi Ganapathy temple dedicated to him is evidence of that. This temple is located in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram. Here, one can find 32 different sculptures of Lord Ganesha in different forms. However, what is unique is the presence of Lord Ganesha with the right-turned trunk.

Lord Ganesha is the Hindu God of the removal of obstacles and the bestower of success. So, it should not surprise any reader that thousands of devotees visit this temple and seek the blessing of the deity every day.

  • Main Deity: Lord Ganesha
  • Location: Pazhavangadi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
  • Timing: 4:30 am to 10:45 am (Morning) and 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm (Evening)
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Trivandrum International Airport (6 km)
    • By Train: Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station (2 km)
    • By Land: Located in the city center, near NH 66; easily accessible by road within Thiruvananthapuram.

Kottarakkara Sree Mahaganapathi Kshethram

Kottarakkara Sree Mahaganapathi Kshethram

The final entry on this list is the Kottarakkara Sree Mahaganapathi Kshethram, more commonly known as the Kottarakkara Ganapathy temple. It is another must-visit temple on this list, and here, both Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha are worshipped. This temple is famously known for its ‘Kottarakkara Unniyappam,’ a unique offering made to Lord Ganesha.

  • Main Deity: Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha
  • Location: Kottarakkara, Kollam District, Kerala
  • Timing: 4:00 am to 11:30 am (Morning) and 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm (Evening)
  • How to Reach:
    • By Air: Trivandrum International Airport (71 km)
    • By Train: Kottarakkara Railway Station (2 km)
    • By Land: Near NH 744; well-connected by road within Kollam district.

Conclusion

There you have it: 20 of the most popular Hindu temples in Kerala. Now, this list is by no measure an absolute. Also, there are many more temples that can be found in this beautiful state. This list only serves as a starting point for your spiritual adventure. Bon Voyage!

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