Kerala Pilgrimage

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*Kerala Pilgrimage Map showing all the pilgrimage centers in Kerala.
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The native Dravidians of Kerala worshipped nature gods, elements, animals, spirits and a pantheon of ancestors. Some gods like Mari Amman (goddess causing and curing the pox), Bhagavathy and Dharma Sastha (god of righteousness) were also revered with rituals and the natives feared succumbing to their outrage. Slowly with the influx of the Aryans mainstream Hindu deities such as Siva, Parvathy, Ganesha, Krishna etc. started to be worshipped as well.

The Aryans introduced Kerala to the Temple Culture. These high citadels of culture and religion were built on traditional models out of stone, laterite and wood. The layouts were fairly simple but the adornment was rich. Elaborate carvings, delicately painted murals, expertly sculpted bronze and "panchaloha" (alloy of 5 metals- brass, bronze, copper, gold and silver) idols testify to the enormous patronage received by these temples.

These temples became the nexus of social relations and caste hierarchy. They were the centers where performing arts flourished and the Festivals and culture of the common man fostered. The Hindus of Kerala are extremely devout and fervid. The rigid penances and sacraments are an outcomes an orthodox temple culture. In most Kerala temples, a non Hindu will not be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum. Even a trouser and shirt clad Hindu man or a salwar kameez clad woman will not be allowed to enter the inner sanctum. The fact that millions of devotees visit these shrines every year testifies to the remnants of the strict discipline in these inviolable centers held sacrosanct by the masses.

The predominating "Gopurams", the gold plated towers, the punctiliously conducted "Trikala Pujas" are all testament to the Kerala temples being hubs of spiritual growth and major tourist attractions of the state.

Welcome to the majestic temples, the spiritual cultural hubs which shaped the social, cultural and political history of Kerala.