Churches in Northwestern Kottayam

Next to the Meenachil River, 2km northwest of Kottayam's centre, lie a couple of ancient churches well worth exploring. The whitewashed, hilltop St Mary’s Syrian Knanaya Church was founded in 1550 by Syrian Knanaya Christians, though the existing building is from 1588; it's decorated with two granite-carved crosses dated to least the 7th century with Pahalavi inscriptions. Just 200m south, the elegant, Portuguese-built 1579 St Mary's Orthodox Church is famous for its blend of European baroque and Keralan temple architecture, as well as for the Portuguese-style vegetable-dye paintings that festoon its altar.