Paying homage at any holy place offers a blissful experience and churches in Kerala are no exception. Meticulously designed and portraying superb architecture, these sacred places of worship lure visitors from all over the world. Home to the very first church, it is no wonder why Kerala is considered as the ‘Cradle of Christianity’ in India.
Whether for their soul-soothing prayers, festivities, feasts or historical legacy, the churches are a must-visit for a number of reasons. Here’s a list of must-visit churches in Kerala. Make sure you visit all of them and curate some of the amazing memories out of your Kerala tour.
1. Santa Cruz Basilica
Adorned with beautiful murals, ancient paintings and frescos, the Santa Cruz Basilica is one of the popular churches in Kerala. Flaunting of an eye-catching edifice, the church showcases impressive architecture and style. Reckoned as one of the 8 Basilicas in Kerala, the sacred place stands gloriously even after being invaded by many introducers.
Location: Fort Kochi
Mass Timings: Monday-Saturday – 6:00 am, 7:00 am and 6:00 pm and Sunday: 5:30 am, 6:45 am, 8:00 am, 9:30 am and 5:30 pm.
Events: Feast of Our Lady of Fathima, Christmas Celebration, Feast of Christ the King, Inauguration of Jubilee of Mercy, Feast of St. Theresa Of Lisieux, Feast of our lady, Queen of the most holy rosary, Feast of the holy cross.
2. Kadamattom Church
Head towards the Kadamattom Church to witness a fine example of the traditional Kerala architectural style. Founded by a Syrian monk with unnatural capabilities and transcendental powers, the church is associated with many legends. The spectacular grandeur and surreal beauty make the church regarded as one of the must-visit places in Kerala.
Location: Fort Kochi
Mass Timings: Saturday – Evening Prayer – 6:00 pm, Sunday – Holy Qurbono (1st) – 7:00 am; Holy Qurbono (2st) – 8:30 am
Events: Kadamattom Feast
3. St. Francis Church
Counted amongst the oldest European Churches in India, St. Francis Church stands as a testimony to the colonial struggle of the yesteryears. The holy place is one of the famous churches in Kerala for serving as the resting place of Vasco Da Gama, a Portuguese explorer. However, his mortal remains were shifted Lisbon after fourteen years. One can still see his gravestone here.
Location: Fort Kochi
Timings: Monday – Saturday: 7:00 AM – 6:30 PM, Sunday: 8:00 AM – 6:30 PM, Sunday Service: 8:00 AM (except third Sunday)
Events: A special mass is organized on every Sunday.
4. Vallarpadam Church
Also known as ‘Basilica of Our Lady Ransom’, the Vallarpadam Church is dedicated to Mother Mary. The popular church in Kerala welcomes each and everybody, irrespective of their caste, creed or religion. Many devotees visit the church to get insights about the popular myths and uncountable legends associated with the site.
Mass Timings: Monday – Friday – 6.30 am, 5.30 pm, Sunday – 7.00 am, 9.30 am, 4.00 pm, 5.30 pm, Saturday – 6.30 am, 10.30 am, 4.00 pm, 6.00 pm
Events: Vallarpadath Amma
5. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
Named after and believed to be built by St. Thomas, an apostle of Jesus Christ, the St. Thomas is worth visiting. Presenting a unique spectacle, the holy place is counted as one of the beautiful churches in Kerala. The Vatican has declared the site as one of the international pilgrimage spots. Worshiping at the church makes offers a great experience.
Mass Timings: Weekdays – 6:30 am, 5:30 pm, Sunday – 6:30 am, 9:00 am and 5:00 pm
Events: Onam, Christmas, New Year, Perunnal, Palayur Mahatheerthadanam
6. George’s Syro-Malabar Forane Church
Also known as the Edapally Church, the St. George’s Syro-Malabar Forane Church is a famous pilgrim center in Asia. The popular church in Kerala is thronged by millions of visitors every year. As per a common belief, the church possesses healing powers and offer a calming experience. Interestingly, visitors pay homage here in the form of gold, chicken, coins etc. A well which is believed to have curative powers is the major attraction of the church.
Mass Timings: Weekdays – 6.00am, 7.00am and 6.00pm, Sundays – 5.45am, 7.00am, 8.45am, 10.15am, 4.30pm, 5.30pm, 7.30pm, First Fridays – 5.45am, 7.00am, 9.00am, 10.30am, 12.00pm (Latin rite mass), 3.30pm, 5.00pm, 7.30pm
Events: Feast of Saint George, Edappally St George’s festival
7. Parumala Church
Showcasing a unique architecture, the Parumala Church is also known as the tomb of the Saint Gregorious Geevarghese. Designed by Charles Correa, the present church is a wonder with a capacity to accommodate 2000 people at a time. Also, the church is a parish church of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
Mass Timings: – Monday, Tuesday and Thursday – 7 am, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday – 7:30 am and Sundays – 8:30 am
Events: Parumala Perunnal
8. Alphonsa’s Church
Built after the canonization of St. Alphonsa, the first saint of India and a pious nun, the St. Alphonsa’s Church is a pilgrimage site. Featuring a mesmerizing brick red building, the church houses the mortal remains of the saint. A scenic garden fountain adds to the beauty of the place. Further, this beautiful church in Kerala preserves a glass portrait of the saint.
Mass Timings: Weekdays – 5:30 am, 6:30 am, 8:30 am, 11:00 am, 5:00 pm, Sunday – 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:40 am, 12:00 pm, 2:30 pm
Events: St. Alphonsa’s feast, Candle –lit Rosary Procession
9. Arthunkal Church
Dating back to the 16th– century, the Arthunkal Church is one of the top tourist attractions in Kerala. Reckoned as the largest shrine of the St. Sebastian, the holy place present a sight to behold. Also, the site came into notice when a miraculous statue of the saint was brought here from Italy. Many folklores of magical events keep on reverberating at the shrine. Moreover, as per an old tradition, devotees after paying homage at the famous Sabarimala Temple, visit the church to offer prayers.
Mass Timings: Monday-Saturday – 5:30 am, 7 am and 5:30 pm and Sunday – 5:30 am, 7 am, 9 am, 11 am and 5 pm, Thursday – 5:30 am, 7:00 am, 10:30 am and 4:30 pm
Events: Arthunkal feast
10. Vimalagiri Church
Next on the list of the popular churches in Kerala is the Vimlagiri Church. The Gothic-styled architecture catches the eye of everybody passing by. Featuring the tallest church towers in the state, the sacred site of worship remains thronged by visitors throughout the year. Christmas Eve and the annual feast, both celebrated in December, are the major highlights of the church. Pay a visit for cherishing a divine experience.
Mass Timings: N/A
Events: Christmas and the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
So, whenever you plan to visit Kerala, make sure that the aforementioned churches find a place in your itinerary for sure.