The Palakkad district of Kerala has several ancient temples worth visiting. Not only are they architecturally beautiful, they each have their own legend associated with it and colourful annual festivals. Most of the temples are easy to reach by car or public transport. While visitors are welcomed at the temples, keep in mind that they are still functioning religious places, so visit with respect to the people worshipping there. Here are some of the oldest and most interesting temples to visit.
Viswanathaswamy Temple is a well-known Hindu temple that is commonly known as Kasi. It is located in the Palakkad village of Kalpathy. The temple has a very long history dating back to 1464 AD or even further. When the temple was built, it was also granted lands by the Prince of Palakkad at the time, Raja. The land was meant to pay for the maintenance of the temple. However, in recent years new land reforms caused the temple to lose the income it gained from the land. The temple is now in urgent needs or repairs, but will get help under a new Kerala scheme to preserve historic buildings.
It is thought to be the oldest Shiva temple in the region and is the site of the popular Chariot Festival, which usually falls in November. It is located just 3 kilometres from Palakkad town. It sits on the bank of the Neela Bhagirathi river.
Vadakkanthara Bhagavathi Temple is located in the town of Vadakkanthara, and is dedicated to Durga, a goddess. Each year it plays host to the Vadakkanthara festival, which is held from February to March ¨C known as the month of Kumbam. The temple is very busy with worshippers, who start to arrive as early as 4.30am. It is closed in the afternoon and opens again at 4.30pm.
The temple is located 18km from Palakkad Junction, which takes around 30 minutes to reach by car. It is also only 5km from the town of Chunnamputhara. The temple is hundreds of years old and adorned with beautiful woodcarvings.
Govindarajapuram Varadaraja Peruma Temple is a beautiful temple located on the edge of the River Nila in the Govindarajapuram area of Palakkad town. It is the only Kerala temple in existence today that is dedicated to Lord Varadaraja Perumal. The temple has no income of its own and relies on the kindness of a trust and local people to maintain it.
Manappully Kavu Temple This temple is easy to reach by car. It is located just off the National Highway, NH 47, close to Palghat Town, on the Palghat-Chittur road. It dates back to ancient times and is thought to have been originally owned by a famous Bhrahmin family. It is in an area known as Yakkara, a name given to it because residents of the area commonly carried out Yagas there.
At this temple, the Goddes Durga, in the form of Kannagi, is worshipped. During the summer is a great time to visit and enjoy the annual festival, complete with music and dancers.
Chinakkathoor Bhagvathy Temple Situated in northern Kerala in the town of Palappuram is the Chinakkathoor Bhagavathy Temple. It is located 5km from Ottapplam and 20km from Shoranur train stations. The main event held at the temple each year is the Chinakkathoor Festival during February to March. The festival is filled with brightly coloured processions, tuskers, a shadow puppet show, and Vellattu.
The temple has two shrines, an upper shrine of mele kaavu and a lower shrine of thazhe kaavu, dedicated to the goddess Bhadrakali. Pujas take place at 10.30am and 5pm. It is open from 5am to 10.30am and 5pm to 8pm.