PILGRIMAGE IN PATHANAMTHITTA, KERALA
The Rakthakanta Swamy temple and the annual cattle fair held in the Malayalam month of Meenam are some of the main attraction of Omallur. People from both within and outside the state participate in the fair. Sabarimala: Sabarimala is situated on the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats at an altitude of 914 m above sea level and is accessible by foot from Pamba (4 km). Sabarimala is one of the most famous pilgrimage centres in India. The temple is dedicated to Sree Ayyappa who is regarded as the guardian of the mountaineers. This temple is open from November to mid January. Mandalapooja and Makaravilakku are the two main festivals which are celebrated during this season. People of all castes and creeds are permitted inside the temple, except the women between 10 to 50 years of age.
Aranmula is the place where the splendid Onam festival boat races take place. The famous Aranmula boat race is held every year in the month of Chingam (Aug.-Sept.), commemorating the consecration of the 5 feet idol of the presiding deity and said to be endowed with the form of Hari (Lord Vishnu) and spirit of Lord Shiva. Aranmula is the picturesque Hindu pilgrimage centre on the banks of Pamba river, famous for its rich culture and heritage. The Parthasarthi temple, dedicated to Sree Krishna on the banks of the holy river Pamba attracts large crowds of devotees. It was declared as a Heritage (INTACH) and is believed to be the only place in the world to manufacture the traditional non-refractive metal mirrors called as Aranmula metal Mirrors. These mirrors were supposed to be used in Italy and Crete in 2000 and 3000 BC.
Thiruvalla is the headquarters of the Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church. The Paliakara Church in Thiruvalla has some exquisite mural paintings. The Sree Vallabha temple in Thiruvalla is perhaps the only temple in Kerala where Kathakali is performed as a ritual offering everyday.
This Place is situated on the banks of the Manimala river, and famous for its temples. The Hanuman temple is situated on a small hillock and is built in the gable style of architecture peculiar to Kerala. The rock cut Shiva temple, half a kilometre away, is of great archaeological significance. This temple belongs to the 18th century AD, and bears close resemblance to the Pallava style of architecture. The stone engravings here are among the earliest specimens of stone sculpture in Kerala.
Pandalam is a holy town and the related to Sree Ayyappa (The son of both Lord Maha Vishnu & Lord Shiva). Sree Ayyappa, the presiding deity of Sabarimala had his human sojourn as the son of the Raja of Pandalam. The Valiyakoikal temple near the palace on the banks of river Achenkovil was mdelled on the Sabarimala shrine. Pilgrims usually stop here to worship before proceeding to Sabarimala. Three days prior to the Makaravilaku festival, the sacred ornaments of Sree Ayappa are taken in a procession from Pandalam to Sabarimala.
Manjanikara Church :
The annual festival of this Church is held in the month of February. Mar Ignatius Elias III, the holy patriot of Anthiod while on his visit to India, died at this place in 1932. Later this place was developed into a pilgrim centre.
The place is near Kozhencherry and is the venue of the largest religious convention of Christians from all over the world. The convention which is usually held in February is addressed by religious thinkers and Christian scholars from all over the world. It is attended by people from all communities. This is perhaps the largest Christian convention in Asia.