Incense is an integeral part of Indian culture and it cuts across caste, creed and religion. There are some practices, which are similar and constant in almost all global cultures, and incense is one of them. This week we take you on a tour of the incense trail in Kerala!
Kerala has a reputation of being one of the most vibrant, diverse states in India, where religions coexist peacefully. The proof to this statement is the many temples, churches and mosques that co-exist in the state. Here are some of the popular places of Kerala:
Aranmula: This beautiful temple town of Kerala is located on the banks of River Pampa. Arunmula is a town in Kerala where the fragrance of incense permeates the entire space. This small town is the spiritual hub of Kerala, with temples like Aranmula Parthasarathi Temple, Pulikkunnumala Mahadeva Temple and other famous temples situated in 5-10 km radius from Aranmula.
Guruvayur Temple: The holy adobe of Lord Vishu, Guruvayur is the pilgrimage centre of Keralites and it is located in the cultural capital of Kerala, Thrissur. The temple has gained immense popularity because of its antiquity and the grandeur of festivals celebrated in the temple. The temple is open much before dawn and the fragrance of the incense and the grandeur of the worship is something, which has to be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
Kanjiramattom Mosque: Suburban area of Kochi, Kanjiramattom comes to life in the month of January when the annual festival Kanjiramattom Kodikuthu is celebrated. Kodikuthu is held at the mosque and it is one of the most vibrant and religious festivals of Kerala. The pilgrims carry pots with sandalwood paste and the procession proceeds towards the mosque. The fragrance of Sandalwood and incense burnt on the way captures the spirit of the festival. The procession is followed by Muslim folk art, song and dance performances along with ornamented elephants marking the festivities. This scintillating event attracts tourists from all over the world.
Sabarimala Temple: Perhaps the most popular pilgrimage centre of Kerala, Sabarimala Sri Dharmasastha Temple is tucked away in the high mountains of Western Ghats. Lord Ayyappa is worshipped in this temple and devotees from all over the world visit the temple during the months of November, December and January. Millions of people visit the temple after keeping a strict 41 day vritham, these devotees chant the lord’s name, take bath in the holy Pampa river and worship the god by burning incense, offering garland and lighting lamps.
Malayatoor Church: A small village in Ernakulam District of Kerala, Malayatoor is a meeting place of hills, river, and land. Malayatoor church is believed to be built by St. Thomas himself and it is situated on the hills of Malayatoor, hence the church is popularly known as St. Thomas Church. Malayatoor church is surrounded by picturesque hills which overlooks River Periyar, making it a perfect location for a family outing as well. People from all over India and abroad visit this church during festive occasions like Easter and Christmas. The fragrance of incense cones and the echoes of the prayers by the priest makes the occasion even more special and spiritual.
So this summer, get ready to pack your bags and explore the gorgeous beauty of God’s own country Kerala!