Religious Tolerance & Harmony in Trivandrum



Trivandrum is noted for its religious tolerance and harmony.  Religious confluence and harmony existed in Trivandrum since ages. This is  particularly obvious  in Palayam area which is the  city’s “Marketplace” .    Known as Connemara market, this area  is the center of trade and consist  of  historic buildings and landmarks.  What you notice first about Palayam  are the two massive edifices that tower over the busy intersection. The Juma Masjid on one side of the road and the St.Joseph’s Cathedral on the other.  And sharing a common wall with the Juma Masjid is  the Ganesha Temple, directly opposite the gates of the Connemara Market.  The Palayam Juma Masjid, St. Joseph’s Cathedral and a temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh are situated close to each other.

ganesh templeLord Ganesha Temple

The mosque and a temple are side by side, touching each other.  The nearness of all three places of worship, which has never struck the locals as odd has been a matter of admiration and appreciation from visitors to the capital city.  Today hundreds of devotees offered prayers at the temple. The Friday prayers at the mosque are attended by a fairly large number of people. The festivals and rituals of the respective religions have all been carried out peacefully for decades and no one has impinged upon the religious freedom of one or encroached upon the property of another.  Followers of all three religions participate, contribute financially and co-operate wholeheartedly for the festivities of the others.

st. joseph'sedral cathThe St. Joseph’s Cathedral

This  towering  Roman Catholic  church called “Palayam Palli” located  right in the center of the city falls under the Archdiocese of   Latin Church, Trivandrum.  It is one of the biggest diocese of Kerala having a Catholic population of nearly 2,50,000 people.  It provides daily mass in English and Malayalam.  It has been a witness to many activities and events.  It is recognized as a heritage building.   The first church, built here in 1873   was extended in the manner of a cross in 1912. The final stage of extension, including the Gothic style facade and the bell-tower were  completed in 1927. The three bells were brought from Belgium and were named Joseph, Xavier, and Aloysius in honour of St Joseph the Patron of the Church, St Francis Xavier the Apostle of India and Bishop Aloysius Maria Benziger  the pioneer missionary.  Over the years the original church underwent several modifications and renovations .   St. Joseph’s  Cathedral was among the two churches in the city where Pope John Paul II conducted Holy Sermon during his visit to Kerala.

Connemara Market

This popular market place  is situated at Palayam junction directly opposite the Temple. This  thriving market in the background provide a unifying force. Vendors sell vegetables, fish, live goats, flowers fabric, clothes, spices and more at this busy market.

Connemara-Market-1fruit stall

The Palayam Market was established in 1857, when Sri Uthradom Thirunal was the Maharja of Travancore , mainly to supply day-to-day essential commodities to the Army.
The Arched Gate of the Market was built subsequently and was inaugurated by Sir Connemara, Governor of Madras Presidency, when he visited Trivandrum  during 1888.  The market was then named as “Connemara Market” in his honor.  The recently renovated Market was merged with the Saphalyam Shopping Complex adjacent to it.
This air of communal harmony and peace the area  emanates  makes the other great landmarks nearby  such as the Kerala University, the University College and the University and  Libraries around a   fertile breeding grounds of knowledge, art and culture.

St. Mary, Queen of Peace Basilica

QueenofpeacebasilicaThis Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is located  right behind the Mosque . The former Pompador Cinema Theatre in the Palayam area of Trivandrum was converted into a church, and consecrated on March 11, 1933.   It is the first Syro-Malankara Catholic Church to be elevated to the rank of a Catholic basilica and is the fourth basilica in Kerala.  The roof of the new church was made of tin sheets, therefore people called it the ‘Tin Church’ (Thakara Palli).  In 1991 the ‘Tin Church’ was replaced with a new building and  Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios dedicated this new church to St. Mary, Queen of Peace. Thus it is connected to the St. Mary’s Church in Pattom.
st mary's church pattom

The St. Mary’s Cathedral

cardinal clemis receptionThe St. Mary’s Cathedral, Pattom, Trivandrum is the mother Church and  Cathedral of the Major Archdiocese of Trivandrum of the Major Archiepiscopal Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. It is the See of His Eminence Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos who is the Major Archbishop-Catholicos and the head and Father of the Syro- Malankara Catholic Major Archiepiscopal Church.
The St. Mary’s Cathedral, Pattom, Trivandrum is hailed as the central place of worship of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Major Archiepiscopal Church.  After the world renowned reunion on the 20th September, 1930, led by Mar Ivanios His Holiness Pius XI  granted  permission to keep Trivandrum, as the principal See of the Hierarchy. The St. Mary’s Cathedral was constructed in Trivandrum and the foundation stone of this memorable Church was laid by Mar Ivanios in 1950. The Church was consecrated and dedicated to St. Mary the mother of God on the 22nd February, 1965 by the late Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios, the successor of Mar Ivanios. It  contains the tombs of  eminent Archbishops including Mar Ivanios,the first Major Archbishop-Catholicos of Trivandrum.
 Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal of India  in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican( November 24, 2012) during elevation ceremony.

cardinal--popeNew Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal of India (C) is congratulated by an unidentified cardinal during a consistory ceremony in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican November 24, 2012. Pope Benedict XVI installed 6 new Roman Catholic cardinals from around the world on Saturday. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (VATICAN - Tags: RELIGION)

 The elevation of Archibishop Clemis to Cardinal was welcomed by all political parties and religious leaders .  Eminent personalities   from Kerala greeted him at the installation reception at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Trivandrum.

civic reception

Civic reception      clemis procession



 clemis reception





muslim clemisGteetings  -Muslim     Cleric

civic reception1

cms church




Christ Church

 Christ Church, Palayalam: Christ Church was consecrated in 1859. It  is the oldest Protestant  church in the city.  Set in sylvan surroundings, it is centrally located in the Palayam area. The Church is built in the Gothic style, with beautiful stained glass windows portraying The Good Shepherd.  The windows on the walls depict the twelve disciples (and their symbols) and others associated with the life of Jesus The Foundation for Christ Church was laid on 13th December 1858 by the British Resident Gen. Cullen in the presence of a large number of people, which included the First Prince Rama Varma of Travancore.   The Church was consecrated by Bishop Dealtry of Madras on 15th November 1859.The Maharajah issued an order sanctioning an additional grant of land on the north and west of the Church for extension of the Cemetery. The increase in members, caused mainly by the migration of Christians from other parts of the State to Trivandrum, led  to  the Church.  Laurie Baker,  the renowned architect and an active member of the Church, designed the extension of the Church. A  Bible Garden was planted in the Church compound  with seedlings of all plants and trees that is  mentioned  in the Bible.stained_glass
Stained Glass Windows: The well preserved and beautiful stained glass windows dating back to 1889 present a picture of serenity as the worship progresses in the Church.


Elegantly displayed in its glass-walled museum, the hearse ( coffin bearing carriage)  attracts all visitors to the Church. The hearse,imported from the United Kingdom, was used by the Church till the late 1960’s.  It was earlier kept in the hearse shed on the north side of the Public Library compound.
chiming_tubular_bell_newTubular Bell: Soothe chiming of the Tubular Bell, dates back to 1915.  As the four-piece Tubular Bell reverberates the hushed audience awaits the beginning of the divine worship. There are not many bells like it in operation in the world at the moment and Christ Church has in its possessions a rare and wonderful object that has the stamp of history.

Mateer Memorial Church/ LMS  church


MMchurch is small, lovely church which  stands apart from other churches in the city and is one of the proudest landmarks in the city.   Started in 1838 in Trivandrum it is one of the oldest congregations in South India.   The construction of the Church began in 1902, based on the design by Mr A. H. Bastow, and it was built in four years with funds donated by many generous people, including the Maharaja of Travancore. The Church was dedicated to the glory of God, on 1 December 1906 and it was named Mateer Memorial Church.  With the formation of the Church of South India (CSI) in 1947, the Mateer Memorial Church became the head station of the South Kerala Diocese .  Many dignitaries from London Mission Society   visit periodically,The Archbishop of Canterbury-Cohen  during  has long standing association with MMM church.
Archbishop of Canterbury’s visit


Carmel Hill Monastery Church

carmel hill

Carmel Hill Holy Family Church is one of the ancient churches in Trivandrum City. The  Church is located near Cotton Hill Girls High School, Vazhuthacaud.   This Carmalite House in Cotton Hill was started in 1902 and then renamed as Carmel Hill. This church is served by Carmelite Fathers.

carmel hnill monastry


Salvation Army Church

ss bucket_0


The Salvation Army Church  known  as  Raksha Sainyam in  Malayalam, is located in Kaudiar.Raksha Sainyam is a Christian Charity and Social Services organization  with Territorial Headquarters at Kowdiar.  Salvation Army is an international organisation which  works  in 121 countries. General William Booth is the founder and first General of the Salvation Army.  Salvation Army work commenced in the old Travancore State on 18 March 1894 by Captain Yesudasan Sanjivi, who was a Brahmin Christian  convert.  His work and enthusiasm, impressed the founder General William Booth who  appointed Sanjivi on the spot to start the Army’s work in Kerala state.   Subsequently he was assisted by  his son, Colonel Donald Sanjivi,  who became the first territorial commander from Kerala. The territory has its headquarters at Trivandrum  comprising  the entire Malayalam-speaking area.

    St.Thomas Mar Thoma Syrian Church

Pattoor MT church

  The Mar Thoma Syrian Church was initially a small church building at the cemetery hill in Pattoor.  Later it  became the Cathedral church of Mar Thoma Syrian church in Trivandrum.  As the Parish grew in size with the flow of more and more Marthomites  into the City the Parish  spread to other parts of the City. Currently different Marthomite church  groups exists in  the suburbs of the city.

Concordia Lutheran Church, Peroorkada

 concordia lutheran

Concordia Lutheran Church , was established in 1911 in Peroorkada, Trivandrum. The office of the Lutheran Trivandrum Synod is locatedwithin the Concordia H.S.S. Compound adjacent to the Concordia Church .  LCMS sent a few missionaries to work in South Travancore area that included the present Kerala. Henry Nau, then Missionary for the Travancore area, spearheaded the efforts to establish the early Churches in the present Kerala area, in the year 1911.  Churches, schools and a seminary were established during the next two decades. .

 St Therese of Lisieux Church



 The St Therese of Lisieux Church   or Little Flower Church in  Vellayalam  is a Catholic Church, established in 1992 as a separate  parish  under  Latin  archdiocese in Trivandrum.  Conducts  Latin, English  and Malayalam Mass.

Jacobite church spencer

St. George’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral

This church was originally founded in 1890 by two brothers looking for a place to practice their faith. It took two years to erect the first building for the church, however, that is still the base for the current building. One faction  left the church to form another church which became St. Peter’s Church in Punnen Road.
jacobite church punnen

St.Peters Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Simhasana Cathedral Punnen  Road:

This is a faction  of St. George Syrian Orthodox church . Regular services are held here.

Lourdes Forane Church

  lourdes pmg

Located in PMG, Lourdes Forane  Catholic church conduct regular  services and  has  quite a number of followers especially those who have transplanted from  Central Kerala.  This church has a checkered  history and  is temporarily  housed in a disputed  property in PMG.  It belongs to the Changnassery diocese.
People of Valiyathura are mainly Christians from  various denominations – Hindus and Muslims are minorities.   Many Valiyathura locals trace  their history back to more than 500 years and claim  Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish and English  ancestry.  Due  to external influneces Valiyathura was  considered the most civilized coastal area from the time of  the Travancore Kingdom. Today, Valiyatura is predominantly  Catholic with churches   in Veli, and Vettukad along the coastline.

Vettucaud  Palli-     The Old  Madre De Deus Church

DSC_0641Vettucaud Church

The Madre De Deus Church is a famous centre of pilgrimage, under the Latin catholic Arch Diocese of Trivandrum. People from all parts of Kerala and outside, irrespective of caste and creed come to the church seeking the blessings of Christ the King. Vettucaud is located on the north-west coast of  the city.  This church is popularly known as Vettucaud Palli. The church is believed to have been established by St. Francis Xavier, the missionary who came to India to spread the gospel sometime between C.E. 1543 and 1547 . The region comes alive every year to celebrate the annual ‘Feast of Christ the King’ held in the church in the month of November. This is a colourful event attended by thousands of devotees from  across the State irrespective of caste, colour or creed.  It is, in every sense, a festival of togetherness. The government declares  local holiday on the last day of the festival.
madres deus church vettukad

The New Vettukad Church

festival of lightf


St Antony’s Forane Church Valiathura

vizhinjam old portugese churc33912973_4-S3xvbiXblrhw3lI8B1lXGLU1bfr3cIN2IEAx_K14w

St.Antony’s Forane Church – was established in 1530 by the Franciscan Missionaries. Valiathura the port city of  ancient Travancore has more than seven centuries of Christian heritage. In the 13th century Pope Innocent IV sent a few Franciscan and Dominican  missionaries to Kollam, Mampally and Valiathura to proclaim the gospel.

St. Peter’s Church

Vzhinjan-St josephe's shrine

St. Peter’s Church in Kannanthura is a one of the most beautiful parish churches situated along the coastal belt of the city which is adorned by a series of Christian religious centers. Dedicated to St. Peter, this church is under the Latin Archdiocese of Trivandrum and was rebuilt in 2010 to be replaced by a grand white structure with breathtaking architecture. The main entrance of the church faces the Arabian sea and is marked by a cross on its facade. The interior walls and ceilings of the church comprises works of rich murals old Old Vizhinjam Church (Old St. Mary’s Church)portraying saints and events from the Bible.  Situated close to the International Airport, the church is one of the most visited pilgrim centers in the city.
The Old Vizhinjam Church (Old St. Mary’s Church) Portuguese and the Dutch had commercial establishments here. The Portuguese built a church in Vizhinjam near to the sea shore, which is still functional .  It is located in the Vizhinjam fishing harbour area.

lady of good voyage

festival lady of good voyage

our lady of voyaOur Lady of

Good   voyage


hqdefaultmosque in vizinghamMosque Vizjinham & Beemapalli

Cave Temple of Vizhinjam

rock cut temple viv

This Cave  temple  contains  rockcut sculptures of the 18th century.  It is located in the ancient port city of Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram. The temple  also has a unique display of pearl images of Christ, Virgin Mary,and Hindu Gods .
The presence of the  ancient temple, church and mosque indicate the  peaceful coexistence of European Christians, Hindus and Muslims in the coastal belt from ancient times.
You will find more churches belonging to the Pentecostal and other denominations in the city and suburbs.  Each follow their own rituals and practices .  Likewise. you find more temples and mosques in varying sizes in other parts of the city.  A  certain amount of respect, freedom  and religious  harmony exist .
Those who arrive in Trivandrum from other parts of India stay here permanently  for a variety of reasons and one of the reasons being this sense of religious harmony.  Nobody is going around telling you what to eat and where to worship but you have the freedom to decide.

About jessiesatyanesan

Live in Trivandrum
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