Pilgrim Centre and Museum
In order to give greater facilities and convenience to the devotees who flock to Mannanam almost daily, a pilgrim centre was constructed in the 1990s.
It also houses a museum, designed and executed by Master Ramachandran. The exhibits, mostly paintings, are based on the events connected with the life of St Kuriakose Elias. Memorial items like the country boat and bullock cart used by him for journey and the wooden press designed by him and executed by carpenters and black smiths can be seen in the vicinity. San Jose Book Stall, established in 1976, is functioning here. The edifice of the Sanskrit School started by St Kuriakose Elias Chavara in 1846 was shifted from the original place to the present site recently.
The Sanskrit School
The establishment of the Sanskrit school was an epoch-making event in the annals of the history of education mission of the Catholic Church in Kerala in particular and in India in general. The motive of this giant leap was to facilitate basic education to all sections of the society irrespective of caste and creed and any kind of divisions either, it was open to the children of the neighbourhood. The teacher was one Variar from Thrissur who was well versed in both Malayalam and Sanskrit.
In tune with this one has to remember the mandate given by St Chavara as the Vicar General that every parish church had to establish a school attached itself. The Kerala Secular history may forget him, but we children of St Chavara should not ever forget this mandate since what we enjoy is a fruit of his sweat and blood. “We should not forget the root when we reap the fruit.” The original building was very near to the monastery and for the sake of pilgrims, it is being shifted to the front premise of the Monastery.
St Joseph’s Press
The plantain stem revolution was the nick name given to the indigenously developed Catholic Press in India. The story of the establishment of the wooden press is fascinating and inspiring. After having denied of visiting the CMS press at Kottayam, he managed to get the permission to see the government press at Thiruvanathapuram.
The ingenuity of St Chavara motivated him to create a model of the press with plantain stem and the carpenter who accompanied him, converted it in a wooden press imitation of the model. Jnanapiyusham was the first work that came out of the press. The press has now evolved into a huge press and its existence today is really monumental . it is a testimonial of the hard work of the saint. There perhaps, isn’t be disagreement if we say that ‘the plantain stem press revolution’ has played a vital role to inspire reading and towards building the literacy culture of the Kerala society.
The Saint Chavara Room
The Chavara room is situated on the northern side of the church where he lived for 32 years. This is most ancient building on the premise and the first seminary was also started adjacent to this building. The chair, cot and the wooden box used by Father Chavara are found in this room. He was known for his devotion to the Holy family and consequently involved in the welfare of the families in Chavarul. The picture of Holy Families . That is depicted in his Last Testament to the Families in Chavarul. The picture of the holy family found in his room is also placed in this room.
The prior’s Rowing Boat
In search of timber for the construction of the Ashram church, Father Chavara and Yakob Kanianthara made a journey to Arakuzha and Vazhakulam in 1873. They found a tree good to make a rowing boat in Kalaykattu forest and cut it and kept it on Neycherry hill. The log was made a rowing boat. As the boat was a common vehicle od St Chavara, it was known as Prior’s boat among the people. The same boat is kept in front of the museum.