The ancient port town of Kodungallur, once called ‘Cranganore’, echoes with the tales of an illustrious past in which legends and history become one. A busy port town once, it is a quiet, picturesque place today, with a bustling fishing centre at nearby Azhikode. The town’s ancient shrines beckon the devout.
Cheraman Perumal Juma Masjid:
This mosque is believed to have been built in the seventh century at the behest of King Cheraman Perumal, who embraced Islam and later went to Mecca. Rebuilt and renovated over the years, the masjid still retains some of its original interiors.
Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine:
Located at a vantage point on the edge of the backwaters at Azhikode Jetty, this shrine was built to commemorate the arrival of St Thomas the Apostle at Kodungallur. Built in the form of a semicircle, the small church in the centre is flanked by statues of the saints.
Kurumba Bhagavathi Temple:
Kali is the main idol of this temple complex. The majestic six-foot-high wooden image of Kali, her eight hands with their deadly weapons, and face covered by a mask, is carved out of a jackfruit tree. Bharani and Thalappoli are the famous annual festivals and attract pilgrims.
The Mahadeva Temple, dedicated to Shiva, is located in the same area as the Cheraman Anna Masjid. Inside the enclosure are a large multi-tiered metal lamp and a porch adorned with carvings dedicated to the heroes of the Ramayana. The shrine is a fine example of Kerala’s famous temple architecture.
Bharata, Rama’s brother, is the deity of this temple. It is an architectural marvel with imposing gateways, round sanctum sanctorum and a marvellous koothambalam. Exquisite woodcarvings and granite friezes on the outer walls and the murals on the other walls are distinctive.
Sree Rama Temple, Thriprayar :
Built in the same architectural style as the Vadakkumnathan Temple, the exquisite sculpture here is noteworthy, as are the 24 panels of woodcarvings and several ancient murals. The circular sanctum sanctorum has several sculptural representations of scenes from the great epic, the Ramayana.