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Bharananganam Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
Bharananganam Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
Lisieux of India
Coordinates: 9°42′00″N 76°43′40″E / 9.70000°N 76.72778°E / 9.70000; 76.72778Coordinates: 9°42′00″N 76°43′40″E / 9.70000°N 76.72778°E / 9.70000; 76.72778
Country India
 • Total16,000
 • OfficialMalayalam, English
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Telephone code914822
Vehicle registrationKL- 35
Lok Sabha constituencyKottayam
Vidhan Sabha constituencyPala
Bharanamganam Church
Bharanamganam School
Bharananganam town

Bharananganam, an important pilgrimage centre in South India, is located on the banks of the Meenachil River, 5 km away from Pala and 4 km from Plassanal, in Kottayam district in the state of Kerala. Bharananganam and surrounding places are hilly areas with a lot of vegetation. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people, who cultivate plantation crops such as rubber.


The population of Bharananganam comprises Catholic Syrian Christians and Hindus. The Syrian Christian community here is said to be 1000 years old, who migrated from the nearby Aruvithura area, along the upper course of the Meenachil River, in the 10th and 11th centuries. Also, many other Christian families migrated to the region from other ancient Christian centers in the following centuries. The community traditionally practices farming. Both the Christians and Hindus live in absolute peace and harmony.

Recent history[edit]

Bharananganam is known for its many aristocratic and affluent Nasrani families who've branched out from the place to other agrarian areas of Kerala, following the early agrarian expansion of Central Travancore, in the mid-19th century. This expansion lasted till the 1980s, with the last few waves of migrant Syrian Christians from in and around the area, migrating to the hilly villages of Northern Kerala.

Other major attractions[edit]

Sree Krishna Swami Temple[edit]

Bharananaganam is well known for Sree Krishna Temple in the banks of river Meenachil, it is one of the major temples of South Kerala. The east facing Sree Krishna Swami temple is located 1.3 km away from Bharananganam junction in Ettumanoor - Poonjar State Highway. The 8 day long annual festival in Makaram (January) is a very vibrant event in the whole region commencing with the hoisting of the temple flag on Makara Samkramam day, and concluding with ‘Arattu’ (Ritual Bath of the deity) on 8th day. Besides the regular daily rituals the festivities include processions of the deity on elephant's back to the suburban villages like Kizhaparayar, Keezhambara, Chittanappara and Bharananganam (on 5 days) the precious ‘Utsava Bali’ (for 6 days) and art and cultural programs every day. The ‘Arattu’, typical of the 'Arattu' in almost any temple, is a magnificent night-long ceremony including procession of several elephants and performances by major percussion teams. The slow-moving procession of the caparisoned elephants carrying decorative silken umbrellas and other paraphernalia, illumined by multi-tongued oil torches, is a gorgeous spectacle, a delightful experience for the participants.

The official website of the temple is

Assisi Ashram[edit]

Assisi ashramam, run by Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap.) missionaries, is also situated here. This Renewal Centre has completed 34 years of praiseworthy service in providing spiritual assistance to numerous people. The first Malayalam Charismatic retreat was conducted here. This Renewal Centre publishes a Malayalam magazine named Assisi and they manage a publishing house named Jeevan Books.

Educational institutions[edit]

Bharananganam is famous for its elite institutions.

Saint Alphonsa's tomb[edit]

This small town is known as the Lisieux of India after the birthplace of St. Thérèse of Lisieux in France. The thousand year old St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Church here is one of the famous pilgrim centers of the Christians in Kerala. Saint Alphonsa is the first woman to be conferred sainthood from the Kerala Church, which traces its origins to the visit of St. Thomas around 2,000 years ago to preach the gospel in India, and the second Indian to get that status after St. Gonsalo Garcia. The death anniversary of Saint Alphonsa, which falls on 28 July is an important day for the devotees. Every year on this day, thousands of devotees visit this holy shrine, where the mortal remains of the saint is preserved, to pray and seek her blessings.

Saint Alphonsa's tomb

Saint Alphonsa lived a saintly life and was recognized as a saintly person during her lifetime. Even at a young age she showed a great zeal for suffering and she used to pray fervently and longed for sacrifice and fasting as and when possible. She believed that she must endure all things that tests her will and offer them to the Lord. It is said that in spite of her painful diseases, she was cheerful to the last. It was her students who established the cult of Saint Alphonsa. After her death, they began visiting her tomb and offering prayers. As they continued, they started receiving favours. Ever since, her tomb has been a centre of pilgrimage and innumerable miracles. The first officially confirmed miracle was that of, a disabled child miraculously cured of his ailment and his limbs restored, due to prayers at the altar of Sister Alphonsa's shrine. The miracle was approved in 1985 and the beatification of Sister Alphonsa was proclaimed by Pope John Paul II, during his visit to India in 1986. There is a two floored structure in front of the shrine which was originally the Papal podium for the beatification ceremony on 8 Feb.1986. Sister Alphonsa became Saint Alphonsa after she was canonised by Pope Benedict XVI at a ceremony at St. Peter's Square, Vatican City on 12 October 2008. The Clarist convent where Sr. Alphonsa lived is located near St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church in Bharananganam. There is a museum adjacent to the convent chapel where the personal belongings of the Saint are well preserved.