|Manarcaud, the small town located about nine km from Kottayam is one of the most populated villages of Kerala. It is best known for its pilgrim centre, the Manarcaud St. Mary’s Church, which is also one of the important churches of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christians. The Manarcaud Perunnal (Feast of the Manarcaud church) is famous for its procession attended by thousands of devotees.
The church, rebuilt many times, is believed to be about 1000 years old. Many memorial stones and old stone inscriptions have been found here. The writing on the stones is in Malayalam or Tamil and the scripts used date back to about 600 years.
The story goes that the fore-fathers longed for a church in their locality and took on an eight-day fast for divine guidance. On the eighth day, they had a vision and accordingly, built a church for Virgin Mary in Manarcaud. The eight-day fasting, in September, is the main ritual of the church.
The town is also home to a Bhagavathy temple (temple of the Goddess), believed to have been built about 2000 years ago. According to legend, the Goddess of the temple killed a yakshi (evil fairy) and her bell (mani in Malayalam) was thrown into the forest nearby. The name of the forest was Maniyerkkavu, and this later became Manarcaud. Kumbha bharani is the traditional festival of the temple.