Have you heard about this place called Malayattoor? It is a village in the Aluva Taluk. If we talk about its exact location, it is somewhat 15 km northeast of Angamaly in the Ernakulam District, in the state of Kerala. Now let us focus on the name 'Malayattoor'. How do you suppose it got its name? It is a combination of three small words. Mala (mountain), Arr (river) and Oore (Place).
Thus, Malayattoor is a meeting point of the river, mountain and land.
It is a wonderful pilgrimage destination around 47 km from Kochi and the Catholic church on top of the Malayatoor Hill is also praiseworthy. It is devoted to St. Thomas, the apostle of Jesus Christ, where a lot of pilgrims gather together to celebrate the Malaytoor Perunnal during the months of March/April.
History Of Malayattoor
Let us explore the history of this place. St. Thomas is said to have arrived at the Kodungalloor port in Kerala via an Arab merchant vessel. And in AD 52, he took it upon himself to build a Christian community at Malayattoor. So, while he traversed the entire area, he is believed to have found the churches in Kodungalloor, Quilon, Niranam, Nilakkal, Kokkamangalam, Kottavaku and Paalayoor.
Those searching for spiritual happiness shall not be disappointed in this Nature's lap. As it is believed to be the largest pilgrim centre in India, the most important occasion being the feast of St. Thomas takes place on the first Sunday right after Easter, when a multitude of devotees set their foot in the shrine for his blessings.
Now, we can focus on the extravagant architectural style of the pilgrimage centre at Malayattoor. It shall definitely catch your eye. With the altar designed in a traditional Greek style, the church is a fabulous combination of Greco-Roman architecture with the front portion of the church following the Roman Catholic Church style.
If you go to the backside of the central altar, you shall find carvings, designs and paintings, which again comprise the five joyful mysteries of Jesus Christ. You can confess as well as adore. The church has arrangements for both. You shall also observe the ancient baptismal pond and the traditional pulpit at the pilgrimage site of Malayattoor. They are relevant objects of history which hold a lot of value.
Check here some of the top places to visit in Malayattoor
1) Athirapilly Falls:
A wonderful tourist spot in Kerala, these gorgeous falls are around 70 km from Cochin which give a magnificent view of the Chalukudy river, pouring down from a height of around 80 feet. Present in Chalakudy of Thrissur district; this waterfall could make any traveller fall in love with it. Also known as the 'Niagara of India', the falls at Athirapilly flow through the sub-tropical rainforest to spring down at the glittering rocks below.
If you take a look at the statistics, you shall find that around 7 million tourists traverse this place every year! Located at the entrance to Sholayar ranges and about 55 km from Kochi (Cochin), this bewitching place toppled with greenery shall freshen any soul with a sense of liveliness and wrap you in its wild and natural embrace. It is soothing and calm at the same time and you can enjoy some enthusiastic trekking as well.
This is a place in Muankuzhi, Ernakulam district of Kerala. It is a place with a serene atmosphere where you shall enjoy the most in the months of September to May. It shall definitely be a soul-refreshing experience for all. It is at a distance of about 10 km from Malayattoor and around 62 km from Kochi. It is breath-taking with the wonderful Periyar river on one side and grand mountains on the other. This place is a bit uncommon but tourists are still increasing in number quite rapidly.
Do you know what is the most delightful? There is a river making it way through the forest and it shall take you 15-20 minutes to cross the Mahogany and Teak forests to reach up to the river. But beware of the undercurrents in some places! It is quite an exotic location for film-makers and not to forget the naughty monkeys hanging from the branches of trees.
3) St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church:
When this church comes under discussion, it is one of the most significant churches in the Ernakulam district of Kerala. If you climb to the top of the Malayttoor hill, you shall spot the 'Malayattoor Church' at a height of 609 m. Now having bagged the position of an international pilgrimage station, this shrine is devoted to St. Thomas who began a Christian community in Kerala.
4) Kodanand Elephant Training Centre:
Which is the animal you have mostly spotted during huge festivals in Kerala? Grand, massive elephants, right? This is because they are deemed to be the luckiest animals and any kind of celebration is always incomplete without the grandeur of the elephant processions. Thus, they are treated with respect and royalty.
The training centre which was moved from Abhayaranyam near Kaprikkad is one of the greatest training centres in Kerala. It is present near the southern banks of the Periyar river. There are two more elephant training centres in Muthanga of Wayanad and Konni of Pathanamthitta.
If you are an elephant lover, then you shall enjoy being here to see the elephants being groomed with so much love! Also, Punnathurkotta in Thrissur has some 40 elephants who are especially well-groomed for the Guruvayur Temple. The visiting hours of this training centre are 8 am to 5 pm. Nearest railway station to get here is Ernakulam, around 45 km and Cochin International Airport at around 20 km.
Well, you can expect a certain fee to enter the place. It is ten rupees for adults and five rupees for children up to 12 years. Foreigners have to pay twenty-five rupees and the parking fee is rupees five for two and three wheelers while it is ten rupees for cars and jeeps. Still camera usage shall cost you another twenty-five rupees.
5) Thumboormuzhy Dam:
The most interesting bridge the dam is famous for is the hanging suspension footbridge which was allowed public access in the month of January 2015. You shall experience a mesmerizing view of the Thumboormuzhy Dam, the River View Garden, the Ezhattumukham Eco Village and also the butterfly garden. The bridge joins two popular hotspots - the Ezhattukham Eco Village and the Thumboormuzhy Dam.
If you peep through the middle of the footbridge, it shall give you a spectacular view of the river gushing downstream. It is in between Athirapally and Kochin, 32 km towards south from district headquarters Thrissur.
6) Adi Shankaracharya Birthplace and Temple:
At about 7 km from Cochin International Airport, Kaladi is the birthplace of the honourable philosopher Adi Shankaracharya. The place is so famous because it is capable of flaunting a number of significant temples, as well as shrines totally devoted to Sri Sankara, Sarada Devi, Sri Krishna and Sri Ramakrishna.
Festivals being celebrated here are rare, so they attract those having faith in large numbers. This place is also called Crocodile Ghat. Do you know why? It is because of a popular belief that Sankaracharya was held by a crocodile and refused to budge until his mother let him embrace the ritual of renunciation.
7) Abhayaranyam Zoo:
A mini zoo was built as the tourists started trickling in large numbers. The total area of Kodanad is about 2.5 acres and animals needed a large area to be reared in peace. Hence, the elephant training camp, as well as the mini zoo, was shifted to Abhayaranyam in Kaprikkad.
Project Abhayaranyam saw a light in the year 2010. An area of 200 acres was covered by the project in which around 100 acres was solely dedicated to elephant training. Elephants have the freedom to roam around and the close proximity to the Periyar river makes their training an easy affair.
It comprises a lot of animals like the spotted deer and sambar deer. You can take the help of walking trails to walk around the camps and interact with the animals. Birds can also be seen scampering in huge cages and the prospect of a wildlife safari is also prominent in the Abhayaranyam Zoo. The best time to visit the animals is right after the monsoons, during the months of October to March. It is impossible to step feet here in the scorching summer months, so do avoid travelling then! It is about 3 km from Malayattoor and 10 km from Kaladi. The nearest town is Perumbavoor, around 10 km away.
8) Paniyeli Poru:
You can visit this trekking paradise between 8 am in the morning and 4 pm in the evening. You shall reach the Periyar river, if you continue trekking for about 1.5 km, flowing merrily between the rocks. Now, what is the story behind the name 'Poru'? It refers to the olden ritual of the men rafting their way through the ferocious waves only to find their way out.
When there is bamboo cut from the 'Edamalayar' forest, the formation of raft occurs, which is tied as logs. Bamboo cutters used to do it previously; they used to carry logs from the river 'Periyar' to destinations like 'Kaladi' and 'Malayattoor'. You definitely have to be truly experienced to smoothly sail via the restless water present here.
You can also cross the river and make your way to Malayttoor but you have to seek permission from the Forest Department. You shall definitely find the company of guides helpful. What makes the place picture perfect is the lush greenery, melodiously tweeting birds and the harmonious melody of the river water. You can spot mangroves on several varieties of rocks as well.
9) Silver Storm Water Theme Park:
This park, present in Athirapilly, is at a distance of about 49 km from Thrissur. It is your one-stop destination for a high adrenaline rush for dry rides as well as water rides. Excitement shall always be at its peak with a huge variety of world-class rides as well as plenty of facilities for your joy! It is an entertainment hub for all your relatives with the provision of restrooms for the aged as well.
There are locker rooms, changing rooms, ATM centres, food courts and ice-cream parlours: all at your fingertips and in very close proximity. Not to forget the poolside dinner as well as a comforting campfire, to bring a smile on your face! The charges are INR 673/- for adults, INR 555/- for children and INR 437/- for senior citizens. College students can check for a 50% discounted student package too!
10) Nagancheri Mana Park:
Have you heard about the Naganchery family of royal blood? They were the landlords of Iringole. This park is around 3 km from Perumbavoor. It is an enjoyable abode for little children. It is also a rejuvenating place for adults. This park belonged to the Naganchery Mana Brahmins but the local government took over to take care of it. You can savour some snacks and sip some delicious tea as well.