5 Amazing Churches in Kerala (2024)
God’s Own Country Kerala is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of India. Tourists from all over the world flock to this famous state for its picturesque scenic spots, traditional houseboats on the brackish backwaters, hill stations, coffee and tea plantations, majestic waterfalls, golden sandy beaches, colorful festivals, and much more.
Keralites primarily follow three main religions – Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. Christianity is the third largest religion practiced in the state, and as a result, the state is home to some of the most beautiful churches in the country. When you are in Kerala, it is a great idea to visit some of these fantastic churches. Here are some of the best churches to visit in Kerala.
5 Amazing Churches in Kerala
Churches in Kerala:
1. Santa Cruz Basilica in Kochi
One of the most famous churches in Kerala is the Santa Cruz Basilica in Kochi. Located inside Fort Kochi, it is one of the eight Basilicas in India. This is a beautiful ancient Roman catholic church that serves as one of the main cathedral church of the Diocese of Kochi. In fact, this church is the second cathedral that was constructed in Kerala by the Portuguese.
The church is indeed a sight to behold. The magnificent columns of the church have been decorated with frescoes. The breathtakingly beautiful stained glass windows of the church are surrounded by seven large canvas paintings. There are many more beautifully painted scenes on the ceiling of the church that depicts images of Via Crucis of Christ. The Santa Cruz Basilica is important for Christian residing in Kochi because it celebrates the very dawn of their religion in India.
The Santa Cruz Basilica was constructed by Francesco de Almeida, who was the first Portuguese Viceroy in India during his trip to Kochi in 1505. The same year, the cathedral was founded and christened as Santa Cruz Cathedral on May 3rd. This day is even today celebrated as the feast day of the Invention of the Holy Cross.
The architecture of this church is a beautiful blend of Indo-European and classic gothic style. The wooden paneling and pulpit are very impressive. The pulpit and wooden panels are beautifully crafted, and you can also spot some exquisite paintings of Italian origin inside the cathedral.
Perhaps the most alluring aspect of this cathedral is the beautiful use of warm pastel shades. The paintings, most of which are done by Brother Jesuit Fra Antonio Moscheni from Italy, have been adorning the church right from the original foundation of the building.
All the paintings inside the church are based on the theme ‘The Passion and Death on the Cross’ and ‘The Last Supper.’
The mass timings at the Santa Cruz Basilica are as follows:
Sunday – 5:30 pm
Wednesday – 6:00 pm
Mass is conducted in English.
2. St Francis Church in Kochi
Another beautiful church of Kerala is the St. Francis Church in Kochi. This church is one of the finest exhibits of Portuguese architecture. Constructed in the 15th century, this church is believed to be only one of its kind amongst the many European churches in India. The church was constructed by the Portuguese traders, and a fascinating fact about this church is that Vasco da Gama, the famous explorer, is actually buried in this church upon his death in 1524 when he was on this third trip to India. Even though his actual remains have been moved to Lisbon after being here for 14 years, but the gravestone is still located in the church cemetery.
The St. Francis Church was initially built as only a small wooden structure. Dom Francisco Almeda renovated the church and had it reconstructed in 1516. The church is still famous for its simplicity, and there are still many wooden and cloth fans present in the church that are operated with ropes. These fans, along with the glass windows of the entrance hall, lend an old-world charm to the ancient interiors of the church.
The church is built in the typical Portuguese style of architecture and has a timber-framed roof covered with tiles. All the windows and doors in the church are made with a semi-circular arch. The bell tower of the church is constructed in three compartments, while the walls of the church are decorated beautifully with painted artworks.
St. Francis Church has played an important role, and even today, it is an important tourist attraction in Kochi, Kerala, especially for history lovers and architecture enthusiasts.
3. Basilica of Our Lady of Dolores in Thrissur
The Basilica of Our Lady of Dolores is a beautiful Roman Catholic Minor basilica that has one of the largest church interiors in all of South India. The church was constructed in 1875 and has spectacular murals on the ceiling and walls. The church has a towering 140 feet long steeple, which is visible from any corner of the town.
The chapel has an impressive 15 altars, and the neo-gothic spires are well-known all over Kerala. The church is often known by the name of Puthen Palli in Kerala.
4. Catholic Rosary Church in Thalaserry Tellicherry
The Catholic Rosary Church is famous in Kerala for some of the most amazing craftsmanship you will ever see in a church. Constructed sometime in the early 16th century, the church is located near the Thalassery Fort and is one of the oldest churches in Kerala.
The magnificent structure of the church exhibits some of the most fascinating stained glass work that was brought in all the way from London. The Brennen Cemetery and the Thalassery Fort are both located close to this church and are other popular tourist destinations in the town.
5. St. George Forane Church in Edathua
Located on the banks of the River Pampa, the St. George Forane Church is dedicated to St. George. The church is also known as the Edathua Church amongst the locals.
Constructed in 1810, the church is famous as people believe it possesses miraculous healing powers. Local legend has it that praying at this holy site has healed many people of mental disorders and many other medical issues.
This charming church is built in a classic medieval European architecture and is known for its majestic arches and beautiful pillars. Furthermore, the setting of the church amidst picturesque paddy fields, serene backwaters, and rows after rows of tall coconut trees, there is a distinct old-world charm attached to this church.
This two-centuries-old church even today holds many conventions that attract tourists from all over the world. The annual feast here is celebrated at the end of April and early May and sees tourists come in from far and wide.
Considered to be a venerated site, the St. George Forane Church in Edathua, Kerala is a very important pilgrimage site for Christians in South India.