This tranquil little town in the foothills of the Western Ghats is often referred to as the gateway to the High Ranges and Wildlife tourism in Kerala. Once a hub of trading activities, Kanjirapally has now slipped into comparative quietude. But the abundance of rubber plantations still gives the town a degree of commercial imporatnace.The numerous charming bungalows built by rich planters bestow upon it an old world charm.

Agriculture now prevails over trade as the main source of income for the locals. The land, made fertile by the Manimala River, is a veritable planter’s pradise.Apart from large rubber plantations; banana, tapioca, pepper; vanilla and ginger are some of the other important crops that support the town’s economy.

The beautiful granite temple, Ganapathiyar Kovil, today in ruins, points to early Tamil influence.However, the Madurai Meenakshi Temple is now the most important Hindu shrine in town. The Shiva Temple in Chirakadavu and the Bhagavathi Temple in Cheruvali are the two other popular shrines.

Apart from being a base camp of sorts for pilgrims setting off for Sabarimala, Kanjirapally is alos an ideal take off point for Thekkady, the Periyar Sanctuary, Peermede and Kumily.


St Mary’s Church

Locally known as Akkarapalli,St Mary’s church was established in 1449 with the patronage of the Thekkumkoor rajas. A delightful stream flows close by, touching the courtyard of the church.

St Dominic’s Cathedral

Built in 1826,St Dominic’s Cathedral is noted for its architectural beauty. Both the old and the new church remained the parish churches for 18 years until 1942, when they were unified. The shrine was raised to the position of forane church in 1919.Its reconstruction, begun in 1945, took nearly 16 years to complete. On March 17, 1977, it was elevated to the status of cathedral.

Ganapathiyar Kovil

Built by the Chetti community of Tamil Nadu,this 900 year old structure is almost in ruins today, although the carvings and inscriptions on its granite pillars are still visible.

St Thomas Benedictine Abbey

The Benedictines are a Roman Catholic order with a network around the world. The St Thomas Benedictine Abbey has a church that displays a blend of Western and Indian cultural influences. The stone lamp at the entrance of the building, carved wooden doors, huge pillars at the altar, intricate floral motifs and domes are unusual.

Malanadu Development Society

This is an organization that worked for rural development and environmental sustainability. A guided tour through the 13 acre property takes you through the techniques of bee keeping and honey processing, sericulture, oil extraction and milk processing.


Erumely epitomized religious harmony. Hindu and Muslim shrines stand side by side. The loud chanting and the sound of conch shells from the two temples mingle with the muezzin’s call to prayer from the minaret of the mosque located between the two.Erumely is beehive of activity during the pilgrimage season, being an important destination for Sabarimala pilgrims.

Vavar Moseque

Dedicated to Vavar, the Muslim friend and guide to Ayyappa.He is believed to have helped Ayyappa kill the demon in the form of a buffalo. Pilgrims proceeding to Sabarimala also worship at this mosque.


Standing just opposite Vavar Moseque, there are two statues near its entrance, of Vavar Swamy and Kadutha Swamy. This is where the famous petta thullal – the ritual art form performed by pilgrims to Sabarimala – starts. As the name suggests, it is a small temple, but is surrounded by vast grounds.


This is built in the traditional Kerala temple style and is located a kilometer from Kochambalam.


It is an old, thatched mud house, standing a few hundred metres from Kochambalam.Legend has it that an old woman who once lived here gave shelter and food to Lord Ayyappa for a night, and the god, in turn, presented her with the sword he had used to slay the buffalo demon,Mahisham.The sword is displayed in the hut.

Getting There

By Air : The nearest is Kochi International Airport,130 km away .

By Rail : The nearest railhead is Kottayam,39 km away .

By Road : Kanjirapally is on the Kottayam Kumily road.All the buses from Kottayam KSRTC station  headed to Kumily/Erumely/Mundakkayam come to Kanjirapally.


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