Kottayam is known for its religious harmony. There are over 50 temples and 70 churches including a 1000 year old mosque in this district. Besides, Kottayam is also the gateway to the pilgrim centres of Sabarimala, Vaikom, Ettumanoor, Bharananganam, Erumeli, Manarcad, Aruvithura, Athirampuzha.
Good Shepherd Church
Situated behind the civil station at Kottayam. The Construction of this church is in Italian style.
Valiyapally at Kottayam (St. George's Church)
Situated at Thazhathangadi near Kottayam town. The cross made of stone and the writings in ancient scripts on it is the main attraction here.
St. Mary's Church, Athirampuzha
This church was built in 1080 AD and was renovated in 1874. The annual feast here celebrated in honour of St. Sebastian is a big event with fireworks and illuminations. Votive offerings of gold and silver arrows set this event apart from other festivals.
Vimalagiri Cathedral church
This temple built in the Gothic architectural style has a 172 ft. tower which is one of the tallest church towers in Kerala. The feast is celebrated in December.
St. Joseph's Monastery, Mannanam (near Medical College)
This church was built by the blessed Father Chavara Kuriakose Elias. The mortal remains of this saintly priest is preserved here. Thousands of devotees gather here to pay homage to the saint every day.
St. Mary's Church, Manarcad
Situated 10 km East of Kottayam town. It is famous for Ettu Noyampu, i.e. the eight day retreat and fast which begins on the first September every year.
Valiyapally at Pala (St. Thomas Church)
Situated in Pala about 39 km from Kottayam town. The important festival of this church is the Rakkulithirunal which is celebrated on 6th January.
St. Mary's Church, (Bharanganam church)
It is an important pilgrim center in Kottayam district. This church is 5 km from Pala. The mortal remains of Sister Alphonsa who died on 28 July 1946, is kept here. This church is now Internationally known.
Kaduthuruthi Valiapalli (on MC Road between Ettumanoor and Vaikom)
Built in 500 AD, the church has a huge cross sculpted out of a single stone at the entrance.
3 km from Vazhikkadavu is this renowned Christian pilgrim centre where hundreds of devotees from far and near converge during the holy week and after, to climb the hill in faith, carrying small wooden crosses.
St. Thomas Church, Cherpungal
Believed to have been established by the apostle St. Thomas, this church was relocated to the southern banks of the Meenachil river with the cooperation of poet Kunchan Nambiar and his family. In 1107, the Valiapalli was built on the original site.
St. Thomas Mount
This holy place of Christians is located 1200 ft. above sea level and offers a panoramic view of the Vaikom lake and the surrounding areas.
Aruvithira church (11 km from Kottayam)
Believed to be one of the seven churches established by St. Thomas, this is also one of the churches in Kerala which collects the largest amount of monetary offerings during the festival days. The annual feast is celebrated on the 22, 23 and 24th of April.
Mahadevar temple, Ettumanoor
Mahadeva temple, Ettumanur is 12 km away from Kottayam town. This temple is famous for its murals, especially the painting of Nataraja in the gopuram and ezharaponnana (the 7 1/2 elephants covered with gold). Festival : Ezharaponnana ezhunallathu (10 days in February/March).
Shiva temple, Vaikom
Situated about 40 km from Kottayam town, Vaikom is famous for the Siva temple. More popular as the Kasi of the South, this temple is famous for its elephant pageants and traditional art performances. Here, two Ashtami festivals are held annually, one is Kumbham (Feb-Mar) and the other is Vrischikam (Nov-Dec) of which the latter is more famous.
The Siva temple at Thirunakkara is in the heart of Kottayam town. Three festivals are celebrated here - Thulam (Oct-Nov), Mithunam (June-July) and Meenam (March-April) of which the last one is the most important.
This is the biggest pilgrim centre in the district. This is dedicated to Vavar, a companion of the deity - Sree Ayyappa - of the Sabarimala temple. This pilgrim centre is unique in that Hindu pilgrims customarily worship here before their trek to Sabarimala. It is famous for 'pettathullal' (January).
Saraswathi temple, Panachikkad
This temple, also known as the Mookambika temple of the South, holds the Saraswathi (goddess of learning and the arts) pooja every year in October/November. Children are initiated into the world of letters at the Vidhyarambham ceremony held here.
Dharmasastha temple, Pakkil (3 km from Kottayam town)
This is one of the eight temples established by Parasurama, the legendary founder of Kerala. Annual festival : Sankranti Vanibhyam - a fair of household articles (June/July).
Surya temple, Adityapuram
The only temple in Kerala dedicated to Aditya, the sun god. The first and last Sundays of the zodiacs Scorpio (November- December) and Aries (April - May) are considered auspicious.
Kalkulathukavu temple, Vazhappalli
This temple is famous for its Mudiyeduppu utsavam (festival) celebrated once in 12 years and the rare art forms connected with it. The procession carrying madhu (honey), kulavazha (plantain tree with the fruit), bhairavi purapadu and darika vadha purappadu etc. is a grand affair.
Jama Masjid, Thazhathangadi
The mosque at Thazhathangadi is one of the ancient mosques in India. It is on the banks of the Meenachil river and is believed that Malik Dinar had built this mosque about thousand years ago.
Pazhayapalli, Changanacherry (21 km from Kottayam town)
This 950 year old mosque is one of the most famous ones of Central Travancore. The annual festival, Thangal adiyanthiram, is well known. The Chandanakuddam festival at the mosque is one of the largest crowd pulling events in Changanacherry town.