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18 BEST HERITAGE SITES IN KERALA

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Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

At a distance of 81 km from Kochi, 55 km from Athirapally, 69 km from Palakkad, 113 km from Kozhikode, 114 km from Coimbatore, 279 km from Trivandrum and 280 km from Madurai, Thrissur (also known as Trichur) is a city situated in central Kerala. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Kerala and also a famous pilgrimage site in Kerala state. This is one of the ideal weekend getaways around Kochi & Coimbatore.

The name Thrissur was derived from Tiru-Shiva-Peru which literally means the big town of Lord Shiva. The name owes itself to the most prominent feature of the city that is the Vadakkunathan Temple, Shiva as its presiding deity. Thrissur is also known as the Cultural Capital of Kerala because of its cultural, spiritual and religious leanings throughout history.

Thrissur had witnessed the rise and fall of various dynasties that include the Chera and Kulasekharas in the 12th .....


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 49 Kms from Alappuzha, Krishnapuram Palace situated on NH47 between Alappuzha and Kollam is a wonderful palace built by Kayamkulam Kings.

The palace was occupied by Marthanda Varma, the Maharaja of Travancore from Kayamkulam kings in 18th century. The origin and age of the palace are unknown. The Palace is a rare specimen of the Kerala style of architecture, with gabled roofs, narrow corridors and dormer windows.

Currently the palace houses an archaeological museum, with many wonderful exhibits of the region. The most fascinating exhibit being the 49 Sq. Meter Gajendra Moksham, the largest mural painting discovered in Kerala. The mural was placed at the entrance of this palace near the pond to help the kings to worship the deity after their bath. Other attractions of the palace include the garden with a variety of flora, Buddha mandapam, rare antique bronze sculptures and paintings.

Timings: .....


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 5.5 Kms from Alappuzha Railway Station, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race held in Punnamada Lake is the most competitive and popular boat race of Kerala.

The race is held on second Saturday of August every year. The boat race was introduced in 1952 to celebrate Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's Alappuzha visit. Several snake boats participate in the competition, each representing different village of Kuttanad region. Each boat is accompanied by about 150 oarsmen, showcasing their skills on 1.5 KM race track.

Around 200,000 visitors including foreign tourists participate in these breathtaking celebrations.

Official Website: http://www.nehrutrophy.nic.in


Historical & Heritage | Museum & Gallery

At a distance of 10 km from Ernakulam Junction (South) Railway Station, Dutch Palace, also known as Mattancherry Palace is located in Mattancherry near Jewish Synagogue.

Built by the Portuguese and presented to the Raja of kochi in 1555 AD, it took on its present popular name 'Dutch Palace' after 1663, when the Dutch carried out some extensions and renovations in the palace. Today, it is a portrait gallery of the Cochin Rajas and notable for some of the best mythological murals in India. The entrance to the Palace compound is through two arches which are typically Portuguese in character. The Palace with two floors built around a central courtyard follows the traditional Kerala style of architecture known as Nalukettus. From the outside, the palace looks European in character .The palace also houses Pazhayannur Bhagavati Temple, Lord Krishna Temple and Lord Siva Temple.

Timings: 10 AM - 5 PM. Closed on Fridays & National Holidays. .....


Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

At a distance of 13 km from Ernakulam Junction (South) Railway Station, St.Francis Church is the first European Church built in India. It is located on Parade Road in Fort kochi, less than 1 Km from Kochi Beach.

The Church was originally named as Santo Antonio, the patron Saint of Portugal. The history of this Church reflects the colonial struggle of European powers in India, from the 15th to 20th Centuries. The Portuguese Vasco da Gama was the first European to discover the sea route to India. In 1503 Alphonso Alburquerque was given permission by the Rajah of Cochin to build a fort. The original structure was built in wood, which was later rebuilt in stone. Vasco Da Gama has died in Kochi in 1524 and was originally buried in this church cemetery. After 14 years, his remains were moved to Lisbon in Portugal. The gravestone of Vasco Da Gama can still be seen here.

The Church became a protected monument in April 1923.


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 38 km from Kochi & 36 Kms from Thrissur, Kodungallur, also known as Cranganore is a historical town located in Thrissur district on NH17 between Kochi and Kozhikode. This is one of the popular tourist places to visit near Kochi and also an ideal getaway from Kochi for a short trip.

Kodungallur was the capital of Cheraman Perumal, the last Chera Ruler in the 7th century AD. Kodungallur is home for several important historical monuments:

- Bhagawati Temple is one of the oldest temples in Kerala with history of above 2000 years and was mentioned in the epics Ramayana and Mahabharatha
- Thomas the Apostle of Jesus is believed to have landed in Kodungallur with his followers in the year 52 AD. This place has become the earliest Syrian Christian centre of Malabar. Monuments built in the memory of Thomas still exist here, including St. Thomas Church.
- Cheraman Juma Masjid is the first mosque built in India in .....


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 28 km from Kalpetta, 6 Kms from Ambalavayal & 14 km from Sulthan Bathery, Edakkal caves are located on top of a hillock at an altitude of over 4000 feet on Ambukutty Mala. Edakkal caves are one of the prime tourist places to visit in Wayanad and often represented in the promotion of Wayanad Tourism..

The caves were rediscovered in 1890 by an archaeologist. The caves have several line drawings belonging to the Neolithic Age dating back to 6000 BC, the earliest drawings being 8000 years old. The caves can be reached by about 1.5 km uphill trek from the parking area at the bottom. Most of the trekking path is cemented and lined up with several shops selling spices, drinks and local made handicrafts. The trekking usually takes about 30 minutes one way.

The caves have two levels accessible though narrow iron steps. The lower chamber is around 18 feet long and 10 feet high. A small path from here leads to the upper chamber which is around 95 feet long and 18 feet .....


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 30 Kms from Kalpetta, Pazhassi Raja's Tomb is located in Mananthavady. This tomb is the memorial of the 'Lion of Kerala' Veera Pazhassi Raja, a descendent of Kottayam Royal family.

Pazhassi Raja organized guerilla warfare against the British around the year of 1800 AD and he is remembered for his bravery. Pulpally Cave near by is the place where the Pazhassi Raja took refuge until he was captured by the British in 1805. The tomb marks the point where he was cremated after being shot by the British.

Pazhassi museum located nearby has a sword which is believed to have been used by Pazhassi Raja. The location of the tomb offers beautiful views of the surrounding valleys of Wayanad.


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 1 km from Kumarakom Bus Station, Kumarakom Boat Race, also known as Sree Narayana Jayanthi Boat Race is held in Vembanad Lake. The race is held in September every year during Onam festival. More than 20 boats of different sizes and shapes participate in this event. Even though Snake Boats participate in this race, the importance is given here is for Iruttukuthi, in which about 50 oarsmen row. The successful Iruttukuthi win The Sree Narayana Ever Rolling Trophy.

The boat race is conducted to celebrate the arrival of Sri Narayana Guru, who visited Kumarakom in 1903 to inaugurate Kumara Mangalam Temple. The day will begin with special pujas at the Kumaramangalam Temple. Prior to the commencement of boat race, the grand procession of country boats carrying a portrait of Sri Narayana Guru from Kumara Mangalam Temple will be held up to Kottathodu in Kumarakom, the venue of the boat race.


Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

At a distance of 20 Kms from Kottayam, St.Mary's Forane Church (also known as Martha Mariam Church) is located in Kuravilangad, on the way to Muvattupuzha.

Constructed in the year of 105 AD, this Church belongs to the diocese of Palai. It is believed that Mother Mary appeared to a few children in this area and asked them to build a church at the place from where a miraculous spring emerged, which exists even today. The church was built and a statue of the Virgin Mary carved from granite is installed here. A 48 feet single block granite cross is located in front of the church, which was erected around 1597. Three majestic bells of Kuravilangad were brought from Germany in 1911.

The main festival of the church called 'Moonnu Nompu', celebrated for 3 days in the month of xx. Thousands of devotees from all parts of Kerala participate in the festival.


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 41 Kms from Kottayam and 2 Kms from Erattupetta, Poonjar Palace is 600 years old Palace built by Poonjar Rajas.

The Poonjar Palace is entirely made out of wood, reflecting the traditional Kerala architecture. The Place has a museum that exhibits royal collection of exquisite furniture, a boat carved out of a single piece of wood, huge chandeliers, palm leaf engravings, jewel boxes, lamps, sculptures, etc.

The replica of the Madurai Meenakshi Temple nearby the Palace is another attraction. The Sastha Temple close to the Palace is also an interesting place to visit.


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 167 Kms from Kozhikode, 72 Kms from Mangalore & 27 Kms from Kasaragod, Bekal Fort is the biggest and best preserved fort in Kerala. The fort is built on 35 acre headland on the shores of Arabian Sea, rising to a height 130 feet. Bekal Fort is among the top visited Kerala tourist places.

This fort is more than 300 years old and is believed to have been built by Sivappa Naik of the Ikkeri dynasty in1650. There is also another belief that it was originally built by Kolathiri Rajas and later captured by Sivappa Naik. The fort was occupied by Hyder Ali in 1763 AD and later by British.

The important features of this fort are the Tank with its flight of steps, the tunnel opening towards the south, the Observation Tower. There is also a mosque built by Tipu Sultan just outside the Bekal Fort. The Bekal Fort Beach adjacent to the Fort is added attraction.

Bekal Fort is about 6 Kms from NH47 between Kasaragod & Kozhikode .....


Beach | Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 20 Kms from Kozhikode Railway Station, Kappad beach is one of the most charming among Kerala beaches. Vasco da Gama landed on Indian soil on 27th May 1498 at Kappad beach along with 170 men.

There is a monument on the beach that commemorates the landmark event of Vasco da Gama's arrival. This marked the beginning of a new era in the relationship between the Indians and the Portuguese which lasted for 4 to 5 centuries.

The beach is ideal for relaxing and playing around with sand. Devi Temple, which is believed to be 800 years old, is situated on top of a rock near the beach. Karappula River at Elathur close to the beach is a good place for boating. Sunset is a great site to watch here, in the combination of Sea and River.

This place is very close to NH17 towards Mangalore. It is connected by frequent buses from Kozhikode.


Historical & Heritage | Nature & Scenic

At a distance of 40 Kms from Munnar, Marayoor is a scenic place located between Munnar and Udumalpet and it is a pre-historic site on Kerala-Tamil Nadu boarder. It is one of the best sightseeing places in Munnar. Marayoor is the only place in Kerala that has natural sandal wood forests. The rare neelakurunji flowers that blooms once in every 12 years is native to this place.

The ruins of Stone Age civilization, which are older than 10,000 BC have been discovered here. The Stone Age structured of Megalithic Dolmens (chambers made of four stones placed on edges and covered with the cap stone) are located in Muniyara near Kovilkadavu (5 kms). Dozens of Dolmens at Kovilkadavu on both sides of the banks of the River Pambar, and rock paintings on the south-western slope of the plateau overlooking the river have attracted visitors. Apart from the dolmens of Stone Age, several dolmens of Iron Age exist .....


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 15 Km from Pathanamthitta, 53 Km from Alappuzha & 57 Km from Kumarakom, Aranmula Snake Boat Race, also known as Aranmula Vallamkali is a popular boat race in Kerala. This is an annual boat race held in Aranmula district of Kerala during the Onam festival in the month of August-September. It is also known as Uthrittathi Boat Race.

Aranmula Vallamkali owes its origin to the Sri Parthasarathy Temple situated on the banks of the Pamba River. The Vallamkali, associated with the annual festival of Sri Parthasarathy, is usually held on the last two days of the festival. The event that attracts tourists from all over the world is conducted not to win any trophy or prize but to celebrate the anniversary of the Sri Krishna idol installation, the main deity at the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. It is conducted in the Pamba River in front of the temple to commemorate the crossing of the river by Lord Krishna.

The snake boats .....


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 29 Kms from Pathanamthitta & 6 Kms from Thiruvalla, Trikkukkudi Rock-Cut Temple located near Kaviyoor is an 8th century Rock-Cut temple built in Pallava style of architecture and a place of great archeological importance

Dedicated to Lord Siva, this temple is one of the three rock-cut temples in Kerala and one of the rare specimens of rock-cut temples in Kerala. It is preserved as a monument by the Archaeological Department. Lord Siva represented in the form of 3 feet high Siva Linga and is enshrined in a square cave. The shrine also contains idols of Ganapathy, Maharshi and Dwarapalakas.

This temple is situated on the banks of the River Manimala. The architecture & sculptures of the temple are unique and famous. This place is connected by Bus with Thiruvalla town, but hiring a private vehicle from Thiruvalla is the most convenient way to visit this place.


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of about 32 kms from Trivandrum Central Railway Station & 12 km from Varkala, Anjengo Fort (also called as Anchuthengu Fort) is a 16th Century fort constructed by the English East India Company

It was the first settlement of East India Company in Kerala. Attingal Queen allowed the British to build a fort and trading settlements here. The remains of the old English Fort, which had withstood many a siege, can be seen here even today. Anchuthengu fort was one of the most important bastions of the British East India Company. An ancient church is located nearby

The Fort is located on the shores of clean Anchuthengu beach. Nearest Bus Station & Railway Station is Kadakkavur, which is connected by frequent buses Trivandrum city.


Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

At a distance of about 2 kms from Trivandrum Central Railway Station, Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, located in the Fort Area. The temple is one of the 108 Divyadesams of Lord Vishnu. The main deity is seen in reclining position over the serpent Anantha or Adi Sesha. The temple depicts a blend of Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture.

Padmanabha Kshetram and its properties were controlled by Ettuveetil Pillamar under the guidance of Ettara Yogam. Later, Marthanda Varma defeated the Pillamar and his cousins took over power. The temple was renovated majorly by King Marthanda Varma, Maharaja of Travancore in the mid of 17th century.

The temple has an impressive 100 feet gopuram. Only Hindus are permitted inside the temple. Men should remove clothes above waist, no pants for men or churidhar for women. Dhotis can be borrowed at the locker room for Rs. 15.

Timings: 4:15 AM to .....

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