Kerala is a famous holiday destination because of its Backwaters and hill station. Alleppey, Munnar, and Kumarakom are the destinations to which most of the Kerala Tourism Packages are taken. But other than for tourism and sightseeing a large number of people choose Kerala to visit the famous pilgrimage sites located here. From Trivandrum to Kasargod, famous temples of different deity's are situated in this land which is often referred to as God's Own Country.
Some people often take pilgrimage packages with the list of temples they want to visit as it provides them an easy journey to these. From Padhmanabhaswami Temple to Adukkathu Bhagawathy Temple, you go through places where believers rush to seek blessings as well as to see the outstanding architecture of ancient temples. While some of it has been considered as National Heritage sites, some of it has a lot of history lying behind it. Hence a journey to understand the history and story of it is also an opportunity to seek the enlightenment showered by God. I, along with my family set on a pilgrimage travel to Kerala where we were followed by awe and grace at the same time. Our first destination was to go to the most famous temple of the lot, in the capital city of Kerala, Trivandrum.
As we landed at the International Airport in Trivandrum, we were picked up by our tour planners and dropped at a resort, where I and my family stayed for the night. By early in the morning, we left to the Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple. The most important deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu. Built in the Dravidian architecture, it is also known to be the richest due to the assets and wealth in it. Before traveling to Kerala I had gone through the official site of the temple for knowing the time of Darshan. I also called to confirm the timing so that we can enter the Great Temple situated inside the premises. Other than Lord Vishnu Sree Narasimha Swamy, Sree Krishna and other images of various Gods have been displayed in the Temple. We spend ample time here, reciting phrases and seeing the Mural paintings on the outer wall. Several programs were taking place on the Mandapams which were interesting. By evening we got out after witnessing several Pujas and reached our resort from where we started to Alleppey. The major destination for us at this place was Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple. The most famous Ambalapuzha Palpayasam is served in this Temple as their Nedyam. We had some offerings and pujas to be done at this ‘Dwaraka of South’ which this temple is referred to as, after which we left to Thrissur.
Our next destination was the Vadakkunnathan Temple located at Thrissur. On the way to this temple, we did some sightseeing at Kochi. We also visited the Jain Temple located in Mattancherry. As it was not the Darshan time, we prayed from outside. We also spend some time with the pigeons fluttering around this place. The next day morning we reached Vadakkunnathan Temple. The feeling this temple brings into the heart of the people is unexplainable. From the structure of the temple to the chanting mantra 'Aum Namah Shivaya', this temple provides you the most positive vibes. Build in Kerala style, the important deity here is Lord Shiva and the most celebrated festival is Maha Shivarathri. There are shrines in which Lord Krishna, Parashurama, and Ayyappa are situated. We also pray at the mural paintings here which are displayed at the museum here. Most famous Thrissur Pooram and Aanayoottu also take place across the temple premises. It has also been considered to be included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Other famous pilgrimage sites close by are Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi. We visited these in the evening and left right after the darshan to the most famous Guruvayoor Temple. The rush to enter this temple is high every day. People from different parts of India rush here to seek blessings of Guruvayoorappan often referred to as Unnikrishna or Balakrishna. All the prasadam served here are most favorite to the believers. We spend a day here as we wanted to witness all five major poojas taking place here. We took up the comfortable stay provided by the Devasom for the ease of Darshan. After prayers and offerings, we went for a small street walk across this place which is filled with street shops. An elephant yard is also located here from where we got to see plenty of them being taken care of, here. There was everything available around from traditional clothes of Kerala to freshly made snacks. The history this temple holds from 5000 years can be witnessed from its surrounding. Beautiful sculptures and mural paintings here are worth buying. I got few of these and some toys for the children. Before leaving, I took a dip in the Rudratheertham, the pond situated on the north of the temple.
Our final destination was the Adukkathu Bhagavathy temple located at Bibungal in Kasargod. The major deity is Mahishasura Mardhini and the sub deity is Saraswathy. The specialty of this place is relating to the turtles being grown in the temple pond. Devotees often feed them with the rice which is being sold in the Temple. Another main offering to the deity here is raw buffalo silk. After seeking blessings we set to go to the hotel near by which was included in our Kerala Trip. All of us had been tired of the continuous trip. So we decided to spend the whole night in the hotel. Our tour planners had set a surprise for us which was a part of our Amazing Kerala Holiday Packages. By evening, they asked us if we would be ready for Ayurveda Spa. We decided to give it a shot as we were badly in need of some relaxation. It happened to be worth the trial. We felt completely relaxed and got over our travel tiredness through this. It also helped us to sleep peacefully the whole night that followed.
Many other famous temples are located in Kerala. In fact, each district has innumerable pilgrimage sites in it. And taking such a trip would surely be an answer to those who doubt why this land is referred to as Gods own country