This ancient Syrian Knanaya Church is the oldest in this part of the country, and the mother church for almost all the Christians of this area.
This church was built in the year 1550 A.D by the descendants of the Syrian Knanaya Christians who migrated to India in 345 A.D. from Jerusalem and nearby places under the leadership of kana Thoma. The migrants consisted of Bishop Joseph of Urha, two priests and two deacons, besides a group of four hundred persons, representing seventy-two families from seven clans. They landed at Crangannore and were cordially welcomed by Cheraman Perumal, the then ruler of Malabar (Northern region of present Kerala) .
Good Shepherd Church
Situated behind the civil station at Kottayam, this is the first church of the Diocese of Vijayapuram. The construction work of this church was completed in 1882. It was renovated in 1964. It is constructed in the Italian style. The feast of St. Sebastian is on 20th January and that of Good Shepherd is from 10th to 12th of April.
St.George's Church, Aruvithura
Aruvithura is 35kms east of Kottayam town. The St. George’s Church here is one of the oldest churches in Kerala. It is believed that this church was constructed by St. Thomas. The reconstruction of this church was done in the 16th century A.D. The feast of Aruvithura Church fall on 23rd, 24th and 25th of April every year.
St.Mary’s Church , Manarcad
Situated 10 Km. east of Kottayam town, Manarcad Church is famous for the 'Ettu Noyampu' i.e., the eight-day retreat and fast which begins on the 1st of September every year. The Perunnal (Feast) falls on 8th and 9th of September. The pilgrims participating in the retreat stay in the church itself for these days and spend all the time fasting with prayers. The Church has a tank and a cross which are considered sacred.
St. George’s Orthodox Church,Puthupally
Puthuppally is 8 Km. away from Kottayam town. The church in the name of St. George is located at the centre of the famous temples of Vennimala, Kadamuri, Iravinelloor and Vazhakkulam. It is believed that the Kings of Thekkumkur had constructed this church when they ruled Vennimala. The Perunnal which is in the month of May attracts a large crowd. St. George Church, popularly known as 'Puthupally Pally' is a famous pilgrim center.
Thousands of devotees throng to the church to celebrate the annual feast of St George in the first week of May every year. A noon meal served to the pilgrims at church courtyard (Vechoottu), colourful procession carrying the Gold Cross of the Church and fireworks are the main programmes of the feast.
St.Mary's Church, Athirampuzha
Situated 10 Kms. north of Kottayam town, though this ancient church is dedicated to St. Mary, it is the feast of St. Sebastian that attracts a large crowd to the church. The statue of St. Sebastian installed here is considered very ancient. During the days of the Portuguese three statues were brought to. Kerala; the legend says that the smallest of them was-brought to Athirampuzha by local traders. This is known as Adiyelpicha Roopam (representing St. Sebastian after being flogged by his persecutors). The original church here, it is said, was constructed in 1080 A.D. The feast here lasts for 5 days. The display of fireworks in connection with the celebration is very famous.
Valiyapally at Palai
Situated in Palai about 30 Kms. away from Kottayam town, it is generally accepted that this church was built in 1002, and is in the name of St. Thomas. This church was destroyed by the Muslim invaders in 17th century A.D. and was reconstructed in the next century. Important festival of this church is the 'Rakkuhthirunal ' which is celebrated on 6th January every year. For more details Click here to visit www.palai.com a Kerala.com site.
Also known as 'Anakkallu Palli' Bharananganam is an important pilgrim centre in Kottayam district. The mortal remains of Sister Alphonsa in kept here. This church is now internationally known. She died on 28th July 1946. Thousands of devotees reach here on that day every year to observe her death anniversary. Bharananganam is 5 kms. away from Palai.
Church at Mannanam
This church in the name of St. Joseph is another important pilgrim centre in Kottayam district. The mortal remains of Fr. Chavara Kuriakose Elias is kept in this church. Thousands of believers reach here to offer their prayers at his tomb.
Vimalagiri Church, Kottayam
Vimalagiri (Ankathattu Palli) is the cathedral of the Diocese of Vijayapuram. The foundation stone of the church was laid in 1956 and the construction was completed in 1964. This church constructed in the Gothic style is an example of excellence in architectural beauty, the main tower has a height of 172 ft. which is considered as the highest church tower in the State. Vimalambika is the deity here. The main feast is in December. This church is situated near Kottayam railway station.
Cheriya Pally - St. Mary's Church
Cheriya Pally is one of the few old churches that still exist in the near original state.Cheriya Pally which literally means small church in fact much bigger than Valiya Pally(big church) - which is closeby.
This church was built in 1579 by the local Rajah, ruler of the native state for his Christian subjects and it shows strong temple architectural influences including .An outer wall of the type found around temples with niches for the oil lamps. It is interesting to see the Christian and the Hindu synthesis in the design of this church. The Facade of the church seems to be influenced by the Portuguese with galleries, pillars, cornices and pediments.