Kodungallur is a town of historical importance, which is situated 29 km Northwest of Kochi and 38 km from the town of Thrissur. The town holds an important place in the history of South Asia.
The town was once a maritime port of international reputation because of its strategic location, at the confluence of the Periyar River and the Arabian Sea.
Kodungallur was a gateway to ancient India, because of its status as a centre for trade. It was also the starting point to two major religions in India - Christianity and Islam. It was called Muziris by the Greek and is the place where St. Thomas first preached Christianity in India.
India's first church, St.Thomas church and the first mosque, Cheraman Juma Masjid are located here. From the 15th century, the region started to come under in various foreign powers, starting with the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British.
Kodungallur is located at a distance of 510 km from Bengaluru and about 30 km from Kochi.
Best Time To Visit
Kodungallur is a year round destination. The weather is more towards the humid side, hence keep a towel handy to wipe your sweat.
Places To Visit
1. Cheraman Juma Masjid
The mosque is the first mosque built in India. It was built in 629 AD by Malik Bin Deenar, it is also the second oldest mosque in the world to offer prayers. The mosque is constructed in the architectural style of Hindu temples, which is something very unique.
Unlike the other mosques in the region that face westwards, this mosque faces the east. The mosque has an ancient oil lamp which always burns and is believed to be more than 1000 years old. People of all religions bring oil for the lamp as an offering.
The mosque is named after the ruler of that time, Cheraman Perumal.
2. Kodungallur Bhagavathi Temple
The temple is dedicated to the Mother Goddess, facing the north direction. The temple is also known as Sree Kurumba Bhagavathi temple, it is one of the ancient temples in India. The idol of the Goddess is carved out of jackfruit wood and measures seven feet in height. The goddess here can be seen with eight arms holding different weapons in each hand.
The temple is the place where Kannaki, the heroine of Ilango Adigal's Tamil classical Silappathikaram attained salvation. The localities believe the temple in olden days was a Shiva temple, and it was Parashurama, who installed the idol of the goddess.
A peculiar shrine to the left of the temple is dedicated to Vysoorimala. It is a medieval shrine with the deity for smallpox, chickenpox, mumps and other contagious diseases. Devotees offer turmeric to the deity to protect them from skin related diseases.
The temple is famous for the Bharani festival which happens during the Malayalam month of Meenam (April - May) and also for Thalapoli during the month of January.
Timings: Morning 4:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Evening 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
3. St. Thomas Church
St Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus Christ landed in Kodungallur in 52 AD. The St. Thomas Church was established by him to propagate Christianity, it is the first church to be constructed in India.
The church houses various ancient holy relics which are displayed to visitors certain times.
4. Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple
The temple is believed to have been built by the Cheras in the 8th century. It is remarkable for its number of representations of Lord Shiva. The shrine is an architectural marvel to be seen.
Timings: Morning 5:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Evening 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
5. Cranganore Fort/Kottapuram Fort
The fort is built by the Portuguese in 1523, it was popularly known as Cranganore Fort and now as Kodungallur Fort. It was captured and destroyed by the Dutch in 1663. The fort had a very strategic position, on the mouth of the river Periyar, before it joins the Arabian Sea.
A church and many houses built by the Europeans still remain today.
Food and Accommodation
There are few options for one to stay and plenty of options to eat near the Kodungallur Bhagavathi Temple. If you are looking for better options to stay, you head towards Kochi or Thrissur. There a plenty of buses - both private and KSRTC plying to Kodungallur.