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The Western Ghats are in the east, Alappuzha in the west, Kottayam and Idduki on the north and Kollam on the south. The very famous Ayyappa temple in Sabari Hills is in this district. The district is also famous for Vasthu Vidya.


  1. Sabarimala
  2. Pandalam
  3. Pamba
  4. Aranmula
  5. Parthasarathy Temple, Aranmula
  6. Mahadeva Temple, Chengannur
  7. Vasthu Vidya Gurukulam


A wellknown pilgrim centre of South India. The holy shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa is situated 914 metre above sea-level. It is 191 km away from Thiruvanathapuram and 210 km from Kochi. Over 2 million pilgrims go to this Hindu shrine every year. The devotees going to the shrine have to wear only black robes. The pilgrimage to Sabarimala has several distinct features as against any other pilgrimage. It is an experience indeed as unique as it is exiting . The pilgrim who goes up the hill is conscious of not only the presence of an effulgent spiritual power , but also the burden of his past which he carries with him . Rigorous austerities are to be observed unfailingly without which it becomes a futile exercise with no spiritual gain. It is virtually a penance lasting at least forty one days from the first day of the Malayalam month Vrischikam , the mid November . A pilgrim who takes his maiden trip to the hill is called "Kanni Ayyappan"

As the preliminary ritual of the .pilgrimage, the aspirant wears a beaded garland usually of Thulasi or Rudraksham as a symbol, the garland which he receives from Guruswami , the one who has been privileged to be the holy presence of the Lord repeatedly on several occasion. Ordinarily the ritual is conducted in the precincts of a temple or any other such sacred place. From the moment the garland falls around the neck , the aspirants reposes complete faith in Ayyappa and he identifies himself with the Lord . He surrenders his thoughts, words and deeds to the powerful deity. [Top]



This is a small town which comes alive during the Sabarimala pilgrimage season, an otherwise sleepy town. Pandalam is the birth place of Lord Ayyappa. The Pandalam king who found an abandoned baby in the forest brought the baby to his Palace and brought him up as his own son. The boy-prince left the Palace one day to meditate in the forests of Sabarimala. He made his abode there ever since. Every year, during Sabarimala Makara Vilakku (January/February) ornaments for Ayyappa are brought from his former home, Valia Koikkal Palace, by the head of the family, to Sabarimala in a colourful procession. [Top]



Pamba’s importance lies in the river known as Pamba Nadhi (river). It is here the lakhs of pilgrims make themselves clean before ascenting to the Sabarimala temple located on a hill. It is estimated, minimum 3 million pilgrims dip in Pamp every year during Makara Vilakku (the festival of lamp in Makaram (January/February). [Top]



Aranmula is also famous for Aranmula Kannadi (mirror). It is made of alloy of copper and white lead in a particular ratio. The alloy in liquid form is poured into clay moulds. When the liquid transforms into solid state the mould is broken open. Then polishing by soft cloth and velvet goes into. Finally it is fitted into gleaming brass frame with handle. The know-how of its manufacture is the asset of a single family and nobody else on earth has been able to manufacture this type of mirror except this family. The Krishna temple here attracts large number of devotees. The annual festival falls on the last day of Kerala’s harvest festival, Onam. A boat race is held here as part of the festival. The famous mirror, Aranmula Kannadi, is made here. [Top]


Parthasarathy Temple, Aranmula

700 years old temple is believed to have been built by Pandavas. Parthasarathy is the charioteer Krishna who recited Bhagwad Geetha to Arjuna in the battlefield. The temple is on a platform in Pamba River. There are four entrances. The entrance on eastern side has 18 wide steps strong enough for elephants to climb. The temple has 8 tuskers which are housed in temple’s own anakottil, the stable of elephants.

The idol for installation was brought in a raft made of aru (six) mula (bamboo) and the place thereafter was known as Aramula which later on fashioned to Aranmula. The Aranmula Vallamkali (boat race) is conducted every year in Chingam (August/Septrember) to commemorate the arrival of the idol through water. Krishna’s birthday, Ashtamirohini, is also celebrated in gaiety as a 10-day festival during Makaram (January/February). [Top]


Mahadeva Temple, Chengannur

In addition to the deity of Shiva, the deity of Parvathy, wife of Shiva is also installed here. Both are in same sanctum. The legend is that Parvathy had menstruated while visiting Chengannur and the goddess here is in her teenage with pavada (skirt) as attire. The devotees believe that touching her pavada fulfills the dreams. The devotees strain to touch the pavada during Tripoothe Arattu festival when the deity is taken out for arattu (bathing), the only occasion available to touch the pavada. Chengannur where this temple is situated is accredited with three temples out of five constructed by Pandavas. Chengannur is 5 km south of Thiruvalla [Top]


Vasthu Vidya Gurukulam

This institution is governed by State Cultural Department. It imparts training in traditional Kerala architecture to architecture graduates. A Mural Art Gallery functions here. [Top]