Pathanamthitta district, flanked by ranges of hillocks and covered in beautiful green woods, provides the ideal setting for spiritual seekers. The district, which is located in central Travancore, is noted for its natural forests and spiritual centres. The region, which is noted for its strong religious ties, features a variety of temples, churches, and mosques that serve as repositories of faith, traditions, and history. Here some of the pilgrims in Pathanamthitta
St. George Orthodox Church - Chandanapally
St. George Orthodox Church, Chandanapally or Chandanapally Valiyapalli is one of South India’s largest churches, located in the Chandanapally village. Chandanapally literally translates to “sandalwood dwelling.” The church is named for St. George, who defeated the dragon snake and is also England’s patron saint. It was built using the Indo-Sarsanik art of sculpture. It is a combination of Christian, Muslim, and Hindu sculptured art, Gothic-style towers, mathematically built pillars, and a Persian-style roof, giving it the charm of a magnificent sculpture. Every year on the 7th and 8th of May, the legendary Chandanapally Festival attracts thousands of pilgrims.
It is known as the “Sacred Abode of Lord Ayyappa” and is a major Hindu pilgrimage site in the country. The temple is surrounded by mountains and dense forests and is located on a hilltop at an elevation of 468 metres (1535 feet) above sea level. During the most gruelling festivals known as ‘Vishu Vilakku’ in April, ‘Mandalapooja’ in the months of Vrichikam Dhanu (Nov. – Dec.), and ‘Makaravilakku’ in mid January, coinciding with Sankramam, millions of pilgrims from all across the country congregate here. For individuals planning to visit Sabarimala, there are strict customary customs, ceremonies, preparations, and dress rules. Males of all ages are welcome to visit the temple, however women between the ages of 10 and 50 are not permitted. Sabarimala can be reached via an 8-kilometer journey from Pamba, the temple’s closest road terminus. It is one of the most popular pilgrims in Pathanamthitta
Aranmula Parthasarathi Temple
According to legend, the deity of the Aranmula Sree Parthasarathy Temple was transported here on a raft built of aru (six) pieces of mula (bamboo). This is also what gave the place its name, Aranmulaits. The temple is located on the banks of the Pamba River and is dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Krishna. It is one of the 108 Divyadesam devoted to Krishna, who is worshipped as Parthasarathy and is an avatar of Vishnu. The temple’s top and some of the pillars are known for their beautiful wood carvings depicting various stories from old Indian epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. On the walls of this shrine are paintings from the early eighteenth century CE.
Malayalapuzha Devi Temple
The Malayalapuzha Bhagavathy Temple is a 3000 year old temple where pilgrims are greeted by a 5’5″ tall Goddess known as ‘Malyalapuzha Amma.’ Bhadra Kali Devi, a ferocious warrior form of Shakthi or Parvathi who is supposed to be a benevolent mother to her worshippers, is the major deity. The deity stands at a height of five and a half feet. Unlike other temples, where the deity is usually constructed of stone, this one is composed of a variety of materials. Inside the temple, there is a modest Namaskara Mandapa, a chuttambalam, and a Balikkalpura. The temple is about 3,000 years old, according to legend. The temple is modest in size and has a magnificent gopuram at its eastern entrance. With a mukhamandapam, the inner sanctum is rectangular (entrance porch). The idol was created utilising the ‘Kadu Sarkara Yogam’ technique.
Vinayaka Chathurthi, Navarathri, Sivarathri, and other major festivals are widely observed. In all Devi temples, Tuesdays and Fridays are significant days. Due to the huge traffic on particular days, you may have to wait for darshan (viewing). Malayalapuzha Devi Temple’s yearly celebration begins on the day of the star Thiruvathira in Kumbham (February–March). On the eleventh day, Aarattu (dipping the deity in the temple tank or river) is conducted.
Mahadeva Temple - Kaviyoor
Thrikkaviyoor Mahadeva Temple, also known as Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple, is a mediaeval temple that has been protected as a monument by the Archaeological Department. This landmark shrine is located on the banks of the Manimala River, in the Kaviyoor district, which is known for its temples. Although Shiva is the major god, the temple is also known for a sub-shrine devoted to Lord Hanuman.
Thiru Utsavam, Hanuman Jayanthi, Panthrandu Kalabham, and Uthrattathi Thirunal are among of the temple’s annual festivities. Thiru Utsavam is a ten-day festival that begins with the Kodiyettam (ceremonial flag hoisting) on the Thiruvathira asterism in the Malayalam month of Dhanu and concludes with the deity’s arattu (holy bath) rite. From the 1st to the 12th of the Malayalam month of Chingam, Panthrandu Kalabham is observed (August-September). In the Malayalam month of Makaram, the Uthrattathi Thirunal is celebrated on the Uthrattathi asterism (January- February). Here, Sivarathri is also observed.
Manjinikkara Dayara Church, located in Omallur, is one of the most popular pilgrims in Pathanamthitta. This is one of the most important Christian pilgrimage sites in the region. The mortal bones of Mar Ignatius Elias III, the Holy Patriarch of Anthioch, are kept here, according to Mor Ignatius Elias Dayarais. Kassisso Skaria Malpan Elavinammannil founded it in 1925, and it was refurbished in 1964. The church was constructed in a modern architectural style. The church’s main altar is dedicated to St. Stephen, with altars dedicated to Mother Mary and St. John the Baptist on either side.
Thousands of pilgrims visit the Malankara Orthodox Church in Parumala, Pathanamthitta district, to seek the blessings of the patron saint. One of India’s oldest cathedrals, according to legend. St. Peters and St. Paul’s Indian Orthodox Church, also known as Parumala Church/Parumala Pally, is a well-known church in Parumala, located on the banks of the river “Pampa.” Visitors to the Parumala Church in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district enjoy a one-of-a-kind opportunity to participate in the church’s week-long celebrations. The yearly feast of Parumala Perunnal commemorates the death anniversary of Bishop Mar Gregorios Metropolitan, the Malankara Orthodox Church of Kerala’s first canonised saint. The Bishop’s mortal remains are buried in the church.
Maramon Convention - Kozhenchery
Maramon is a tiny town in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district that is known for its Christian culture. The Maramon Convention is Asia’s largest annual Christian gathering. The meeting is hosted near Kozhencherry on the sandbanks of the Pamba River. It has grown into one of the world’s most important Christian gatherings. The Maramon Convention is typically held in February. It is run by the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association, a missionary wing of the Mar Thoma Church. The eight-day convention attracts up to 30,000 attendees. Other sects were inspired to have retreats and prayer sessions as a result of this. As a result, several permanent conventions centers were formed.