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Churches, Synagogues and Mosques

Old churches, synagogues and mosques, including St. Thomas Jacobite Syrian Church, Paravur Synagogue, Kottakavu Church, St. Marys Jacobite Syrian Church, Pallippuram Mosque, Azhikode Marthoma Church, Cheraman Juma Masjid and Holy Cross Church come under this circuit.

St. Thomas Jacobite Syrian Church: St.Thomas Jacobite Syrian Church was founded in AD 1566. It is said to have been constructed by the Big Bazaar Tharakan families in North Paravur on the land given free of tax by the Ruler of Paravur. It is named after St.Thomas, the apostle and is also known as Kizhakke Pally or Cheriapally. Records show that famous historians, the Whitehouse Priest, Dr. Buchanan and others visited it . The tomb of St. Gregorios being here has made it a major pilgrim centre of the Malankara Syrian Christians.

Paravur Synagogue: This was the place of worship for the Jewish community that settled close to the Paravur Market. There are two rooms at the entrance and the synagogue is beyond the small courtyard. The balcony is supported on decorated pillars and gilded beams. The entrance to Jew Street, from the main road to Paravur is guarded on either side by two tall pillars.

Kottakavu Church: Kottakavu Church is said to be one of the seven churches founded by St. Thomas during 52 AD. It is also known as Valiyapally or Big Church, indicating that it was a mother church. In the 19th century, due to the lack of space in the old church for conducting Holy Mass and community functions, the new church was built. The parishioners have preserved the old church, which is behind the new one, the elephantine wall, called Anamathil, on the adjacent western side and the Pilgrim Pond where the Apostle baptized the devotees and they continue to maintain them.

St. Mary's Jacobite Syrian Church: St. Marys Jacobite Syrian church was established in April 1802 with the permission of Sakthan Thampuran. The founder parishioners of this church were members of the ancient St. Thomas Jacobite Syrian church at North Paravur. Cherai St. Mary's church is one of the prominent parishes in the Kochi diocese. The church is popularly known as Cherai Valiyapally and its main festival is celebrated on January 15th.

Pallippuram Mosque: This mosque which is located at Pallippuram is a few centuries old. The plinth level of the Mosque is four feet higher than the road level.

Azhikode Marthoma Church: The Marthoma Church is located on the bank of River Periyar. A holy relic of St. Thomas the Apostle of Jesus is enshrined here in the Sannidhi, for public worship. The Sannidhi is opened for the pilgrims every day on request, so that they can come close to pay their tribute and worship. Azhikode derived its name from Azhimugham meaning 'opening to the sea', as River Periyar joins with the Arabian Sea here at Azhikode. Boating facilities for pilgrims are available at a moderate rate at the Marthoma Gate on the river. Other facilities for pilgrims are as follows: a light & sound show, a dining hall, a mini auditorium, stalls for mementos, research books, scenery posters and so on.

Cheraman Juma Masjid: The Cheraman Juma Masjid is said to be the first mosque in India, built by Malik lbn Dinar. It is located 4km south of Kurumbakavu Bhagavathi Temple.Kerala Vyasan Kunhikuttan Thampuran is of the opinion that an old Buddha Temple was gifted to the Muslims to establish a mosque. This mosque was perhaps first renovated and then reconstructed in the 11th century AD and again 300 years ago. When it became difficult to accommodate the large congregations, the front portion of the mosque was demolished and extended in 1974. Again in 1994, further extension was done. People of all religions come to this Mosque and many non Muslims conduct "Vidhyarambham" of their children here. A Museum, adjacent to the Mosque, has been opened recently.

Holy Cross Church: This church, which is in the compound as the ruins of Vypeekotta Seminary, still functions. It was probably also built during the same period, but renovated later. Many stone inscriptions were unearthed in the church compound during the exploration done in 1935. The inscriptions are fixed on a half wall, in front of the church.

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