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5 Ancient and Popular Temples to Visit in Kerala, India

5 Ancient and Popular Temples to Visit in Kerala, India

Kerala is referred to as “God’s Own Country”.

This southernmost state of India is a place with legendary stories and mythological tales as well as some of the oldest temples.


With a vast number of temples dating back as far as 2000 years, Kerala is a state with strict rites and traditions.

In this article, you will get to know about the following ancient and popular temples in Kerala,

  1. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
  2. Sabarimala Sastha Temple
  3. Guruvayoor Srikrishna Temple
  4. Thirunelli Temple
  5. Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple

Let’s see each of these temples in detail…

1. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Kerala

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of Kerala’s most prominent and mysterious temples.

It is located in East Fort, Thiruvananthapuram.

The temple is devoted to the supreme Hindu God Vishnu (protector of the universe) and dates back to the 8th century.

This prominent shrine is one of the main 108 Vishnu temples or Divya Desam.

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is not only a famous temple in Kerala but also one of the wealthiest temples in the world.


It is also one of the greatest examples of Dravidian architecture.

Lord Vishnu, the principal deity here, is portrayed resting atop (in yogic sleep posture), Anantha the hooded Serpent.

The temple’s foundation is thought to be so old that it has been described in famous Hindu writings such as Skanda Purana and Padma Purana.

What to see: The Alpashi festival (October/November) and the Panguni festival (March/April) and the intriguing architecture.

2. Sabarimala Sastha Temple

Vinayaraj, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sabarimala Sastha Temple, located near the Periyar Tiger Reserve, is one of Kerala’s most significant temples.

It is also one of the areas where pilgrims visit in masses every day.

Over 50 million pilgrims travel to the temple each year.

Sabarimala is said to be the location where Hindu God Ayyappan meditated after defeating the evil Mahishi.

This pilgrimage is very different from other religious temples.

Pilgrims to Sabarimala dress in blue or black, smear Chandan (sandal) on their foreheads and stay unshaven until the pilgrimage is completed.


It should be noted that only men are permitted to visit the shrine.

Women in the menstrual age group are not permitted here.

What to see: Mandala pooja, Makaravilakku

3. Guruvayoor Srikrishna Temple

Guruvayoor Srikrishna Temple, Kerala

Guruvayoor Temple is another popular temple in Kerala.

It is dedicated to Lord Krishna and is believed to be created by Lord Vayu.

The primary deity is a four-armed Krishna known as Unnikrishnan.

Here he is standing with the conch Panchajanya, the Sudarshana Chakra, the mace Kaumodaki, and a lotus adorned with a Holy basil garland.

The most unique thing about this temple is that the idol is built of a rare mixture called “Padala Anjanam”, instead of stone or metal.


Guruvayoor has been referred to as the “Dwarka of the South” on several occasions, indicating its popularity.

The temple grounds include a sacred tank, which also has mythological significance.

According to mythology, this is the place where Lord Shiva and his family worshiped Vishnu.

As a result, this pond is considered sacred and is frequently visited by devotees who come to pray at Guruvayoor Srikrishna Temple.

What to see: Morning rituals like Nirmalyam, various ‘Abhishekams’ and pooja

4. Thirunelli Temple

Thirunelli or Maha Vishnu Temple is an ancient Vishnu Temple situated in Kerala.

It is prominent among Hindu worshippers in South India.

This shrine, located in a valley north of Wayanad, is a must-see sacred site in Kerala.

This temple is sometimes referred to as Sahyamala Kshetram and the Kashi of the South.

Thirunelli Temple is also referenced in the Puranas, indicating that it has a pretty extensive history.


According to the Puranas and scriptures, Thirunelli was thought to be created by Brahma himself.

Apart from its historical significance, Thirunelli is known for its setting amidst the lush green hills and thick forests.

Both the serene nature and the tranquil ambiance of the temple complex captivate the pilgrims.

What to see: Papanashini stream, cave Temple Gunnika

5. Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple

Dvellakat, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple, also known as Thrikkariyoor Mahadeva Temple, is another holy temple in Kerala.

The temple has Lord Shiva, Parvati, and Hanuman as the presiding deities.

The hilltop temple is thought to be one of Kerala’s oldest, dating back to the 10th century AD.

According to mythology, Lord Rama personally placed Shivling here on his way back to Ayodhya after killing Ravana.

Kaviyoor Mahadeva temple features exquisite Kerala-style architecture, making it one of Kerala’s most beautiful temples.

What to see: Annual festival held here during December and January, Hanuman Jayanti which is celebrated with great fervor here.


These are some of the ancient and popular temples to visit in Kerala.

Kerala with its holy sites and the blessing of nature is indeed an incredible creation.

The sacred temples in Kerala fill the state with an essence of divinity and spirituality that is worth visiting.

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