18 Best Heritage Sites in Kerala

Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

Thrissur, also known as Trichur, is one of the famous places of pilgrimage in Kerala, and among the must include places in Kerala tour packages. Situated about 81 km from Kochi, and 279 km from Trivandrum, this is one of the ideal weekend getaways from Kochi & Coimbatore.

Thrissur is also known as the Cultural Capital of Kerala because of its cultural, spiritual, and religious leanings throughout history. Vadakkumnathan temple, Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple and Paramekkavu temple, and Guruvayur Temple, Our Lady of Lourdes Syro-Malabar Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral, Thrissur Zoo, Shakthan Thampuran Palace, and Kerala Kalamandalam are the most popular tourist places in Thrissur.

Thrissur hosts the world-famous Thrissur Pooram, the most colorful and spectacular temple festival of Kerala. UNESCO has awarded Thrissur Pooram as the most spectacular festival event on the planet. It is one of the best experience things to do in Kerala as part of Thrissur packages. Thrissur is also the hometown of the great Hindu Saint, Adi Shankara.

Historical & Heritage | Beach

Kasargod is a coastal town in Kerala. About 48 km from Mangalore, 110 km from Coorg, and 369 km from Bangalore, it is one of the least explored tourist places in Kerala, and among the famous places to visit near Mangalore.

Kasaragod packages are a mix of majestic forts, lofty hills, meandering rivers, and golden beaches. Bekal Fort, among the popular places of heritage in Kerala, Bekal Fort Beach, Pallikere Beach, Kappil Beach, and Kanwatheertha Beach are the popular tourist places in Kasaragod.

Besides, Kasargod is also blessed with a dozen estuaries as 14 rivers crisscross the district that nourishing the verdant landscape. Kasaragod can also be visited along with Coorg tour packages.

Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

At a distance of about 2 km from Trivandrum Central Railway Station, Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is a famous Hindu temple located in the Fort Area of Trivandrum city. It is one of the richest temples in India, and among the must-visit places as part of Trivandrum tour.

Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the 108 Divyadesams of Lord Vishnu and among the most sacred places of pilgrimage in Kerala. Although the origin of this temple remains a mystery, devotees believe it to have existed since the first day of the Kali Yuga, which was 5000 years ago. The Padmanabhaswamy temple also has a mention in the Bhagwad Gita. The scripture states that Balarama, the older brother of Lord Krishna frequented the temple, bathed in the Padmatheertham, and also made several offerings to the deity here.

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 the power. The temple was renovated majorly by King Marthanda Varma, Maharaja of Travancore in the mid of 17th century. Padmanabhaswamy is the tutelary deity of the royal family of Travancore. The titular Maharaja of Travancore, Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma, is the trustee of the temple.

Among the major Trivandrum places to visit, the ...

Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 6 km from Ambalavalayal, 14 km from Sulthan Bathery, and 28 km from Kalpetta, Edakkal Caves are two natural caves located on top of Ambukutty Mala near Ambalavalayal in Wayanad. It is one of the popular places of heritage in Kerala, and among the must-include places in Wayanad tour.

Situated at an altitude of 4000 feet, Edakkal Caves were discovered by Fred Fawcett, the then Superintendent of Police of the Malabar district in 1890, during his hunting trip to Wayanad. The name 'Edakkal' literally means 'a stone in between'. Here one can see a cave formed by a heavy boulder straddling a fissure in the rock. This heritage site is considered one of the prime Wayanad places to visit, especially for history buffs.

Many legends are there behind the formation of Edakkal caves. According to one, these caves are said to be formed with the arrows fired by Lava and Kusha, the sons of Lord Sri Rama. Another one is associated with Kutti Chathan and the Goddess Mudiampilly. The local people used to have a pilgrimage trip to this place to honor the Goddess.

The caves have two levels accessible through 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 high. These caves ...

Beach | Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 20 Kms from Kozhikode Railway Station, Kappad beach is one of the most charming Kerala beaches and also one of the best Kerala tourist places. 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

At a distance of 27 km from Kasaragod, 72 km from Mangalore, 77 km from Kannur, Bekal Fort is an ancient fort situated at Bekal in Kerala. Along the shores of the Arabian Sea, it is one of the best-preserved places of heritage in Kerala, and among the must-include places in Kasaragod sightseeing packages.

Spreads over an area of 40 acres, Bekal Fort happens to be the biggest fort of Kerala, and among the famous heritage sites near Mangalore. This fort is more than 300 years old and is believed to have been built in the 1650s by Sivappa Naik of the Ikkeri dynasty. There is also another belief that it was originally built by Kolathiri Rajas and was captured by Sivappa Naik. The fort was occupied by Hyder Ali of Mysore in 1763 AD and later by the British. Being the source of attraction for historians and tourists, the Bekal Fort was declared as a special tourism area by the Government of India in the year 1992.

Among the best Kasaragod tourist places, the Bekal Fort is a keyhole-shaped lofty structure that stands still against the rocky shores of the Arabian Sea. The fort has a zigzag entrance, strategically designed openings on the outer walls, and various underground passageways. The fort has no palaces inside and ...

Historical & Heritage

At a distance of about 12 km from Varkala & 32 km from Trivandrum, Anjengo Fort, also called Anchuthengu Fort is an ancient fort situated at Anchuthengu village in Kerala. It is one of the famous places of heritage in Kerala, and among the must-visit places for history buffs as part of Trivandrum tour packages.

Located on the outskirts of Varkala, Anjengo Fort was built in the 17th century by the British East India Company when it chose Anjengo to make its first trade settlement in Kerala. The word 'Anjuthengu' means five coconut palms and legend has it that a small area of five coconut trees was given to the British on rent by the Queen of Attingal and that is how the fort got its name. The fort served as the first signaling station for ships arriving from Britain.

The construction of the fort was commenced in the year 1696, and was completed in 1699. While construction was ongoing the Dutch lobbied the Rani against the fort's construction, as it would impact adversely on their trade on the Malabar coast. She ordered Brabourne to stop building but he ignored her orders. The Rani then tried to starve out the British by cutting off supplies; but as they could be supplied from the sea, the land blockade proved ineffectual. She then sent an armed force against Brabourne but he defeated it and peace was arranged. The fort played an important role in the Anglo-Mysore ...

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, one of the prime places of Kerala Backwaters. 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

At a distance of 49 km from Alappuzha, the Krishnapuram Palace is a palace and museum located in Kayamkulam near Alappuzha in Kerala. It is one of the prominent places of heritage in Kerala, and among the must -include places in Alleppey tour packages.

Situated on NH47 between Alappuzha and Kollam, the Krishnapuram Palace was built in the 18th century by Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma (1729-1758 AD) of Travancore kingdom.
The Palace is a rare specimen of the Kerala style of architecture, with gabled roofs, narrow corridors, and dormer windows. Among the most famous heritage sites near Kochi, the palace is situated on the top of a small hill and is surrounded by a terraced garden with fountains, ponds, and lawns. Other attractions here include the beautifully landscaped garden in the palace compound that is home to a variety of flora, and a newly built Buddha Mandapam, which houses a recently recovered statue of Lord Buddha.

Currently, the palace houses an archaeological museum maintained by the Kerala State Department of Archaeology. The museum houses exhibits that belonged to the Palace and its former occupant, the Travancore Maharaja Marthanda Varma. Stone and wood sculptures, copies of Mural paintings, coins, megalithic remains, stone inscriptions, etc. are preserved and protected in this museum.

The most fascinating exhibit ...

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 mid 6th century AD, by Malik Ibn Dinar, the follower of Prophet Muhammad
- A fort built by the Portuguese in 1523, which was later captured by Tipu Sultan of Mysore

Historical & Heritage | Museum & Gallery

At a distance of 10 km from Ernakulam Junction (South) Railway Station, Dutch Palace, also known as Mattancherry Palace is a Portuguese palace located in Mattancherry locality of Kochi. Situated near Jewish Synagogue, it is one of the famous heritage sites in Kerala, and among the must-include places in Kochi holiday packages.

The Mattancherry Palace was built around 1545 CE by the Portuguese and gifted to the King of Cochin Veera Kerala Varma in the year 1555 CE. The Portuguese influence was further supplanted by the Dutch, who took over Mattancherry in 1663. The Dutch then carried out some extensions and renovations in 1663, and since then the palace was popularly known as the Dutch Palace. The palace was included in the 'tentative list' of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Considered as one of the top Kochi tourist attractions, the Mattancherry Palace is one of the finest examples of the Kerala style of architecture interspersed with colonial influences. It is famous for its long and spacious halls along with its central courtyard. In the courtyard there stands a small temple dedicated to 'Pazhayannur Bhagavati', the protective goddess of the Kochi royal family. There are two more temples on either side of the Palace, one dedicated to Lord Krishna and the other to Lord Siva. The Dining Hall ...

Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 15 Km from Pathanamthitta, 53 Km from Alappuzha & 57 Km from Kumarakom, Aranmula is a Aranmula Snake Boat Race, also known as Aranmula Vallamkali is a popular boat race held in the never ending Kerala Backwaters. 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 assemble near the Parthasarathy Temple before the race begins. Festivities take over the whole town as well as the waters. The boat race is famous worldwide and has become an icon of Kerala, attracting thousands of tourists every year during the festival of Onam.

This annual boat race during Onam attracts tourists from all over India and the world. The snake boats are called 'Palliyodams' ...

Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 6 km from Thiruvalla, & 29 km from Pathanamthitta, Trikkukkudi Rock-Cut Temple is an ancient temple carved on a massive rock located at Kaviyoor near Thiruvalla in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. It is one of the popular heritage sites near Trivandrum, and among the best places to visit near Pathanamthitta.

Dedicated to Lord Siva, Trikkukkudi Rock-Cut Temple is an 8th-century Rock-Cut temple built in Pallava style of architecture and a place of great archeological importance. This temple is one of the three rock-cut temples in Kerala. It is preserved as a monument by the Archaeological Department.

This temple is situated on the banks of the River Manimala. The architecture & sculptures of the temple are unique and famous. Enshrined in a square cave is the main deity of the Lord Siva represented in the form of Sivalinga which is about three feet high and carved out of rock. The shrine also has idols of Ganapathi, Maharshi, and Dwarapalakas. Another noted shrine in Kaviyoor is the Hanuman Temple which stands on a small hillock and is built in the gable style architecture peculiar to Kerala.

Timings: 6 AM - 6 PM

Entry: Free

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 2 km from Erattupetta, and 41 km from Kottayam, Poonjar Palace is a 600 years old Palace situated at Poonjar village near Kottayam. It is one of the popular places of heritage in Kerala, and among the most famous tourist places in Kottayam.

The Poonjar Palace in Meenachil taluk was built by Poonjar Rajas and is a glorious testimony to the regal opulence of a bygone era. The palace is entirely made out of wood, reflecting the traditional Kerala architecture. The palace is adorned with a fascinating collection of various types of furniture and antiques which includes grand chandeliers, jewelry boxes, statues, grain measurer, weapons, and palm leaf engravings. Tourists will also see a beautiful sculpture of Nataraja, a palanquin, and a thoni for Ayurvedic massages crafted out of a single piece of wood as part of Kottayam sightseeing packages.

The replica of the Madurai Meenakshi Temple nearby the Palace is another attraction. The walls of this temple have sculptures with warfare stories from the Puranas. However, the most fascinating thing here is the Chuttuvilakku (row of lamps) carved out on the stonewalls of the Sastha Temple nearby. But it is closed for visitors.

Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 22 km from Kannur, Thalassery Fort is a historical fort situated at Thalassery town in Kannur district of Kerala. Maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, it is one of the historical monuments in Kerala and among the must visit places as part of Kannur Packages.

Stands on a rocky cliff, right on the Thalasseri Beach, Thalassery Fort is a formidable historical monument established by the British as a testimony to the might of the imperial rulers. The East India Company authorities came to Thalassery in 1683 and opened a factory here to store spices and other items for trades. In order to safe guard their trade activities they build a fort around the factory on a small hill called Tiruvellapadkunnu in 1700 CE with the support of the Kolathiri Raja and was strengthened in 1708. The fort became a strategic center for the British military activities from 1776 AD to 1784 AD. The fort was used against the rebellion of Pazhassi Raja by Lord Wellesley. In 1781 CE, Hyder Ali, the King of Mysore tried to conquer the fort but was unsuccessful.

Also known as Thallicherry Fort, the square shaped fort has huge walls and intricately carved doors. The foundation of the fort comprises laterite blocks and loop holed walls that are supported by strong bastions. The huge entrance at the top of a giant wall is decorated with mural paintings that date back to the 18th century. The information gallery inside the fort exhibits pictures of burial caves, monuments, ...

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.

Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM. Closed on Monday.

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