Thiruvalla is a small, quiet town nestled on the banks of river Manimala in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. It is known as a 'Temple Town' and is rich with its history and culture that stand tied to its numerous temples. It attracts tourists and worshippers from all over the nation as the legendary 'Sri Vallabha Temple' also known as the, 'Southern Tirupati', is located here.
Thiruvalla has many stories and legends kept in its cultural folds. There is a story behind everything associated with this place, be it the temples, festivals or even its name. Story goes that during the reign of the Thiruvathamkoor Maharaja this place was known as Sri Vallabhapuram and later changed to Thiruvallabhapuram and it has evolved as Thiruvalla in recent times. Here is a guide to the religious town of Thiruvalla.
Paliakkara church, a legendary place of worship for the Syrian Christians from all over the nation co exists with the Sri Vallabha Temple. The history of the church can be dated back to the arrival of St. Thomas to Kerala in A.D 54.
The uniqueness of its architecture and the breathtaking beauty of its sculptures, especially the murals on the eastern wall of the altar are the main attractions. Among the carved latticed walls of this church lie many tales of struggles embarked to establish and spread religion and to undertake various social movements. Travellers coming here can seek the blessings of the lord and also admire its architecture.
View of the church.
Photo Courtesy: Pradeep Thomas
Sri Vallabha Temple, also known as Southern Tirupati attracts not just the staunch devotees of the deity but tourists from all over the world. Not only does it carry a valuable religious sentiment but serves as a feast to the tourists eyes. The ancient idols carved here are mostly out of a single rock, with numerous delicate patterns and murals on them.
Lush green grass patches and trees enclose the complex. Sri Vallabha Temple is distinct from the rest as it is the only temple in Kerala where Kathakali is performed every single day as a manner of ritual. Such is the grandeur of this temple that even individuals who are not devotees of Vishnu would be in awe of the sculptures and architecture. The 50 ft long flag post with an idol of the eagle lord Garuda which is carved out of a single stone is indeed an architectural wonder here.
Devotees at the temple.
Photo Courtesy: Dvellakat
Chakkulathu Kavu is located 12 km westwards from Thiruvalla and draws devotees and visitors alike as it provides quite a picturesque view. It is nestled between the two rivers called Pampa and Manimala and is placed on the border of two districts, namelyPathanamthitta and Alappuzha. The temple is believed be around 3000 years old and Goddesses Bagavathy who is also known as Chakkulathamma is worshipped here.
Chakkulathu Kavu is more popularly known as the Sabarimala for women. Located in a forest, the temple offers a tranquil ambience to the visitors. The confluence of the two rivers is indeed very picturesque and boat racing is very popular in this area. It is a riveting experience to go crisscrossing and enjoying the scenic beauty the place has to offer.
Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple is the oldest Shiva temple in Kerala, located 6 km away from the town of Thiruvalla. This temple is famous for its one of its kind gable style of architecture. It is characterised by the building with a triangle formed by the slanting of roof. Built over 100 years ago, this temple is among oldest temples of South India and is commonly called as Thrikkaviyoor Mahadeva Temple.
People coming here, pray to lord Mahadev and Parvathi Devi in this temple. Devotees swarm to Kaviyoor in the months of December and January during the temple festival and also during the Hanuman Jayanti. The ancient carvings gracing the walls of this temple belong to the 16th century and are mostly texts from the epic scriptures of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. One can observe the extensive use of wood in the buildings of the temple. This unique structure with ancient carvings is truly an architectural marvel and will delight a traveller.
How to Reach Thiruvalla
By Air: Though Thiruvalla does not have an airport, it is well connected from other airports of Kerala. The nearest airports are Kochi International airport and Thiruvananthapuram Airport which are situated at a distance of approximately 118 and 125 kilometres respectively.
By Train: Travelling to Thiruvalla is not tiresome as the town has connectivity to other cities through rail. The town has a railway station and trains run frequently from the Thiruvalla to all major cities in Southern India and Western India.
By Road: Buses are the easy way of transport in the town of Thiruvalla as there are frequent services to every nook corner of the town. Travelling by road can cut your expenses to a considerable degree as well. Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kannur, Kochi, Coimbatore, Chennai, Madurai, Bangalore and Mangalore are connected from Thiruvalla via road.