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Churches in Kerala

The state of Kerala is best known for its rich blend of several cultures and religions. The majority of the people in Kerala are Christian. Almost 40 percent of the total population of Kerala follow Christianity, therefore there are a number of churches in Kerala. In 16th century, when Portuguese came, the architecture of the churches in Kerala took a new phase and gradually many churches were constructed in Kerala.

Some of the most famous and worth visiting churches in Kerala are:
Malayatoor Church:
Malayatoor Church is located 52 km from Kochi, which is dedicated to St. Thomas. It is situated on the top of a 609 m high Malayatoor hill, hence the name of the church is after the name of this hill. Set amidst the backdrop of Western Ghats and beautiful Periyar river, the church enhances a picturesque site. Inside the church there is a divine statue of St. Thomas. The church is supposed to be an international pilgrimage of the region, hence a large number devotees rush here throughout the year.

Santa Cruz Basillica Church:
It is a 500 years old historic church of Kerala, situated in the Ernakulam district of Kochi. It is a Roman Catholic church, which was constructed by the Portuguese. In 1795 it was destroyed by the Britishers and renewed further in 1887 by Bishop Dom Joao Gomes Fereira and finally declared as Basillica by Pope John Paul II in 1984. The interior of the church is ornamented with beautiful paintings, that exhibits the life of Christ.

St. Francis Church:
St. Francis Church is the first European church of India, which is originally called Santo Antonio. It is situated 2 km west of Mattancherry in the Ernakulam district of Kochi. The original wooden building of the church was built by the Portuguese in 1503, which got replaced by the present granite building of church, built around 1546 AD. In 1524 AD the great European sailor Vasco De Gama was buried here. The church has its significant importance in the Indian history as well as for its unique architecture.

Valiyapalli Church:
Valiyapalli Church is one of the oldest churches in Kerala, which is also known as Syrian Kanaya Church. It is located at a short distance of 2 km from Kottayam. It was constructed in 1550 AD by the descendants of Syrian Kanaya Christians. It is renowned for its two granite crosses, called Persian Crosses, these were brought here from a very ancient church near Crangannore. The magnificent sculptures and mural paintings on the main altar and ceilings of the church mesmerize every visitor.