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Niranam is one of the most important puilgrimage destinations in Kerala.

Niranam Pilgrimage

The Church at Niranam, known as St. Mary's Orthodox Syrian Church, is situated 7 km from Thiruvalla and is believed to be among one of the seven-and-a-half churches originally established by St. Thomas in 52 AD in Kerala. St. Thomas was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus who traveled across the globe to spread the message of Jesus Christ. Since the saint had great respect for the Holy Virgin, he named all the churches after St. Mary. At Niranam Church, St. Thomas baptized a number of people and ordained them with social stature of a priest so that they could administer the ongoing of the church. The church displays a marked influence of ancient temple architecture and is a renowned place of worship and a pilgrimage site for the Christian community. Interestingly, a temple stood tall by the church as a symbol of religious harmony, but it was plundered and destroyed during a war.

Niranam Church remained the southern headquarters of the Orthodox Church in Kerala for centuries. The church is famous for its historical importance, its loyalty towards the Indian Orthodox Church, and the antiques, which are still stored here and used during important functions and ceremonies. An ecumenical body, known as Niranam Thomathu Kadavu Smaraka Trust, has built the St. Thomas Art Gallery here. Another important fact which makes this place important for followers is that four of the Malankara Metropolitans of the church passed away while staying here while two were buried here. Niranam is also popular as the birthplace of a group of 14th century poets, known as the Niranam Kavikal or Kannassa Panikkars. These poets were renowned for their translation works from Sanskrit to Malayalam, the most distinguished being 'Kannassaramayanam', a translation of the great Indian epic, Ramayana.

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