The Temples of Kerala  

The temple architecture in Kerala is different from that of other regions in India. Largely dictated by the geography of the region that abounds in forests blessed with the bounties of the monsoons, the structure of the temples in Kerala is distinctive. The roofs are steep and pointed, and covered with copper sheets. The Kerala roof resembles those found in the Himalayan regions and those in East Asia. 

The shape of the roof is in accordance with the plan of the sanctum below. With a circular plan, one sees a conical roof, while with a square plan the roof is pyramidal. The roof is constructed with wood and is covered with copper plates. Most of the temples seen in Kerala today, have undergone several phases of renovation, given the perishable nature of the construction materials.

The history of Kerala dates back to the Cheras of the third century BC. The temples of Kerala are referenced in the works of the Tamil Alwar Saints and the Nayanmar Saints. Kulasekhara Alwar and Cheraman Perumaal (one of the Nayanmaars)belonged to the Cheras of the ninth century AD. There are several works on temple architecture written in Kerala during the 15th and the 16th centuries. The Bhakti literature of the 16th century played an important role in the temple culture of Kerala.The Maharajas of Travancore were ardent patrons of temples.

Temples have held an important place in the life of Keralites. Several temples in Kerala trace their origins to antiquity. However, they were renovated frequently and the current structures that are seen are vastly a result of the numerous renovations. 

Ananthapadmanabha Swami Temple at Tiruvananthapuram (Kerala)
Deities: Vishnu

This temple has been sung by the Vaishnavite Alwar Saints. This is the largest temple in Kerala and it exhibits several Dravidian architectural features, particularly the massive Gopuram. Vishnu is worshipped in a reclining pose and is seen through three doors. Much of the structure today is a result of renovations of the 18th century.The mandapams and the corridors have fine works of sculpture and the outtside of the sanctum is decorated with murals. This temple has been sung by the Tamil Alwar Saints and is revered as one of the 108 shrines held sacred in the Sree Vaishnavite tradition.This temple has been patronized by the Travancore royal family and the rulers of Travancore have traditionally ruled over their province, only as subordinates to the Deity Padmanabha. The Royal Composer and King Swati Tirunal has composed several kritis (songs) in praise of this deity.  

Access and Accomodation: Tiruvananthapuram 

Ayyappan Temple at Sabarimala near Kottayam (Kerala) 
Deities: Ayyappa - Saastha 

This shrine attracts millions of pilgrims in Nov,Dec and Jan. Dedicated to Dharma Saastha - in the form of the son of Shiva and Vishnu (Mohini) this is located in the mountains of Kerala. Strict are the austere requirements for the pilgrimage which involves a steep climb and culminates in the 18 steps leading to the shrine. 

Access and Accomodation: Kottayam 

Kozhikkode Tali Temple at Kozhikkode(Kerala) 
Deities: Shiva

This ancient temple dedicated to Shiva has good stone and wood sculptures. There is also a beautiful image of Krishna in this temple. 

Access and Accomodation: Kozhikkode 

Mammiyur Mahadevar Temple at Guruvayoor near Trissur(Kerala) 
Deities: Mahadeva (Shiva)

This is a small temple dedicated to Shiva, whose image is said to have been existing in Guruvayoor, even prior to the installation of the image of Krishna. It is located near the famous Krishna temple. A visit to this shrine is considered mandatory for all those worshipping at the Krishna temple.

Access and Accomodation: Trissur    

Parthasarathi Temple at Aranmula near tiruvananthapuram(Kerala) 
Deities: Parthasarathy - Krishna 

This temple dedicated to Parthasarathi - Krishna is said to date back to the days of the Mahabharata. The Vaishnavite Alwar Saints have sung its glory. This temple is also associated with water sports involving snake boats.  

Access and Accomodation: tiruvananthapuram 

Purnathrayeesa Temple at Tripunithura near Cochin(Kerala) 
Deities: Krishna

This temple is dedicated to Krishna which attracts several pilgrims. The old shrine was destroyed by a fire in 1920 and a new one was erected in its place.  

Access and Accomodation: Cochin 

Sree Krishna Temple at Guruvayoor near Trissur(Kerala) 
Deities: Krishna - Guruvayoorappan

This is one of the most famous sites of pilgrimage sites in Kerala. The temple traces its origins back to antiquity, although the structure that stands today dates back to the sixteenth century. The worship protocol followed here is said to have been established by Adi Sankaracharya the great religious leader. Murals adorn this temple. The flagstaff is made of a single piece of teak wood and is covered by bell metal plated with gold. Millions visit this shrine. 

Access and Accomodation: Trissur 

Taliparamba Shiva Temple at Taliparamba near Cannanore(Kerala) 
Deities: Shiva

This temple is a magnificient structure covered with brass plates. The current structure dates back to the 16th century. 

Access and Accomodation: Cannanore 

Tiruvalla Temple at Tiruvalla near Alappuzha(Kerala) 
Deities: Vishnu

This temple is said to date back to the pre Christian era. It has beautiful corridors made with granite slabs. The flagstaff made of granite is a colossal structure. This temple also has a natural pool in its precincts and it has been sung by the Alwar Saomts. 

Access and Accomodation: Alappuzha 

Vadakkunnathan Temple at Trissur(Kerala) 
Deities: Vadakkunnatha (Shiva)

This temple dates back to the time of Adi Sankara the religious leader. The presiding deity Shiva worshipped in the form of a Lingam is covered with mounds of ghee which does not melt despite the lamps nearby, and which has not decayed over centuries. This is a vast temple with lofty towers and is the site of the famous Pooram festival which attracts thousands.  

Access and Accomodation: Trissur 

Vaikom Mahadevar Temple at Vaikom near Kottayam(Kerala) 
Deities: Mahadeva (Shiva)

This temple is said to have been built by Parasurama. The current structure dates back to the sixteenth century. Vast in construction, it is artistically very impressive. This temple has the tradition of feeding devotees on a mass scale. It is considered to be special to visit Vaikom, Ettumanoor and Kaduthrutti nearby on the same day.

Access and Accomodation: Kottayam 

Padmanabhaswamy Temple 
It is the imposing seven-storied tower built by Raja Marthanda Varma in 1733 A.D, that makes it by far the most impressive landmark around the city. The Hindus have held the temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, sacred from antiquity. There are innumerable pillars, intricate carvings and mural paintings. Only Hindus are allowed inside and dress regulations are strictly followed. A large market, lines the street in front and the pool beside it is for ritual bathing.

Location: Trivandrum 

Some of the places of worship
Temples of Tamil Nadu
Temples of Karnataka
Temples of Orissa
Temples of Maharashtra
Temples of Kerala
Temples of Andhra Pradesh
Temples of Madhya Pradesh
Temples of the Gangetic Plains