A unique old Cheriya Pally church, Kottayam

St.Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church or Cheriya Pally church,  kottayamcheriapally.com

 Artistic interior & roof.Cheriapally or St Mary Orthodox Church, Kottayamwww.alamy.co

Cheriya Pally church in Kerala's style roof stockpicturesforeveryone.com

Kerala, like Goa and Tamil Nadu has numerous churches. Unlike Tamil Nadu and elsewhere, Kerala has lots of pretty old churches. The amazing aspect of  Kerala churches is invariably its design and style, quite unique to this state. Slanting tiled roof that projects  father above the outer walls to prevent rain water damping the walls. In this part of India it rains a lot, hence steep slanting tiled roof is a common feature. The tiles protect the wooden roof or the concrete roofs  will improve the life of the buildings. With respect to the  Hindu temple design, etc., the  temples  here  normally follow the local, traditional design. But commonly in all other southern states,  Dravidian style of  temple design and architecture is followed as per Agama Sastras. Further, in many Kerala churches, oil lamps are common features as many Hindus visit the churches as well. Lot of Christians also light the oil lamps. The method of worship in churches shows the influence of local culture and how well the Church authorities integrate the local tradition and make it richer and more appealing to the devotees. St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church of Kottayam is a good example.  

Cheriya Pally church-colorfull altar. www.stockpicturesforeveryone.com

St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church or the Cheriya Pally church, Cheriya Pally,  is an old Syrian Christian church in Kottayam in Kerala and  is one of the many  old churches  frequently visited by the devout Christians. The design and architecture of this church is unique, reflecting the influence of the local culture and style of  Hindu temple worship, blended with typical  Kerala style of architecture with steep  slanting roof. The combination of the Hindu worship tradition and that of  Christian is an important feature of this church where one can see  exclusive niches for the oil lamps which  are  common in Hindu temples. There are big brass oil lamps used in the church. This temple is believed to have been built by the local king for the Christian community living in his kingdom.

tall brass pole similar to Hindu temples.Cross atop the pole.  stockpicturesforeveryone.com
Brass oil lamp.Kottayam Cheriapally(St. Mary's Orthodox Syrian Church. www.tripadvisor.com

Cheriya Pally church. brass lamps as in Indian temples. stockpicturesforeveryone.com

Built in 1579  the front part of the church shows the influence of  the European/Portuguese style of  architecture. The interesting features that draw the attention of the visitors are  the nice  galleries, pillars cornices, amazing  religious murals on the walls, etc. Paintings show both Indian and Western styles of art on biblical and non biblical themes.

There is a  tall thick pole made of  brass (gold?), very much similar to the Dwajasthambam or flag staff commonly found in the Hindu temples.
The "Cross" atop the pole distinguishes it from a temple flag staff! Lamps are lit in the church  as in the Hindu temples. All along the corridor,  there are brass lamps. Oil lamps, it is believed, will impact the sanctity of the place of worship. Devotees, who visit this unique church,  will derive positive energy after intense prayer and meditation.


During the time of Punnathara Mar Dionysious, the 11th Marthoma of Malankara Church, the relation with Travancore and Cochin was good. The Ruler of Travancore Rani Gouri Parvathi Bhai, magnanimous as  she was, gave a number of privileges to the Seminary. The Rani respected the other faiths very much.  As for Christians, she showed special privileges.  During her reign, for the first time in Travancore in 1818, Maha Rani appointed a number Christians as Judges.  Mar  Dionysious  passed away on May 17, 1825 and was laid to rest at Kottayam Cheriapally.