Kottayam - The land of letters, Latex  and Lagoons 

Click here to view kerala kottayam district Map

District Head Quarters Kottayam,     Area 2,208 Sq.Km,      Population 19,52,901

Literacy 95.90%          Tourist Season :September to March

           

Geographical hints: - Geographical hints: - Kottayam district  was formed in July 1949. Before when Travancore- Kochi joined  there were three Revenue divisions: Thiruvanathapuram -Kollam - Kottayam. These were under the administration of ‘Diwan Peshkar’. When the State formed it become 'district' and under the administration of District Collector'.  No Seashore. Edanadu on the banks of Vembanattu Lake and High ranges at the border of Idukki district 

         Situated seventy six kilometres away from Kochi, Kottayam is a place strangely ancient in spirit but fairly modern in atmosphere. This land, located in the erstwhile Central Travancore, is remarkably fertile and brilliantly green. A true topical diversity adorned with backwaters, green paddy fields, rubber plantations and palmgroves as far as the eye can see. The people are healthy, hard working and educated. This is Kottayam, the Land of Letters, Latex and Lakes. Kottayam, provides some of Kerala’s finest natural scenes, sandwiched as it is between serene palm-fringed,  the lovely Vembanad lake and the vast paddy fields of ‘Kuttanad’ in  the West and the plantations of rubber, tea, coffee and pepper in the east .        

         Kottayam is known as Land of letters because as a district Kottayam has the highest literacy in India.  It was the first town in India which  attained total literacy, an event which triggered a mass movement to make Kerala the Country’s first totally literate State. The town is also the birth place of the publishing industry and the home of the fourth estate in Kerala. The first printing press in Vernacular, Malayalam was established at Kottayam by Benjamin Bailey, a Christian missionary in 1820 A.D. Kottayam is also the Mecca of Kerala’s publishing scene, home of dozens of Malayalam Newspapers and Magazines including the State’s first daily  ‘The Deepika’ as well as country’s largest selling daily and weekly, the ‘Malayala Manorama’,The national daily,Matrubhumi etc. are   publishing from here.

Kottayam is the Land of Latex because the district abounds in extensive rubber plantations which earned for its headquarters the sobriquet ‘Rubber Town’.Rubber controls the economy of the district. Kottayam is also home to the Rubber Board, one of the country’s primary commodities board. A trip from Kottayam to Thekkady,  through the zig-zag Kumily road, offers enchanting views of rubber, coffee and tea plantations.

       Kottayam is the land of lagoons. It's lakes form the great expanse of water called Vembanad into which a network of riverslike Manimala, Pamba, Achankovil and canals merge providing boating, fishing,canoeing and sight seeing experiences that are unparalled.     The vivid blue and green palmfringed backwaters of Kottayam is a perennial source of attraction to the tourists.

 Kottayam is the ideal take off point for visits to Peerumed, Munnar, Idukki, Thekkady, Sabarimala and the temple city of Madurai. When the proposed Aerospace comes to a reality,it will be a land mark  in the history of the district.

How to get there: Air :-
The nearest international airport is at Nedumbassery, Ernakulam, 90 km. North.Trivandrum, 160 kms south

Rail :-
Kottayam is linked by rail to meet major Indian cities. 2 km from central bus station
Road :-
Motorable roads connect Kottayam to important South Indian cities.
KSRTC Ph. No. 2562908.
Ferry Station (Boat Jetty), Kodimatha : Boats are available here, to Alleppey, Nedumudi, Kumarakom and Kavalam.

 

TOURIST  PLACES
 KUMARAKOM

          Only  16kms from Kottayam town

       A short ride  from Kottayam  brings you at Kumarkom, on the vast Vembanad Lake, is well known  for bird sanctuary specially parrots, egrets, herons, teal, larks, fly catchers, wood beetle and other birds. These  are seen here during their respective migratory seasons. Every year hundreds of Siberian cranes come across from far away Siberia to roost and breed before going back.The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is an ornithologist's paradise and a favourite haunt of migratory birds  A cruise on the Vembanad Lake, gently rocked by the waves rippling to the rhythm of the swaying coconut palms on the distant banks could be truly exhilarating. Preserving the old style, the beautiful bungalow of Albert George Baker at Kumarakom has now been modified into 'Taj Garden Retreat', a hotel of Taj group with modern living facilities.

      An unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with white lilies. Situated on the bank of Vembanad Lake, in this small water world you’ll come across plenty of traditional country crafts, boats and canoes which will take you into the heart of the scenic lake. The resorts nearby offer comfortable accomodation and exclusive leisure options like an Ayurvedic message, yoga, meditation, boating, fishing, angling and swimming.
   
      Kumarakom, an enchanting picnic spot and a fast developing backwater tourism destination, provides boating, fishing and sight-seeing experiences that are truly exhilarating. The Kumarakom Eco-Tourist Village offers bouseboat cruises and holiday packages. The serene lake comes alive during Onam with a spectacular water regatta - the snake boat races. It is indeed amazing to watch oarsmen, at least a hundred in one boat, slice their way through the waters to the fast rhythm of their own full throated singing

   PATHIRAMANAL Island  (Sand of Midnight) 
 
     A unique back water spot accessible only  by boat is 'PATHIRAMANAL'a lonely island in the middle of Vembanad lake, ideal for the honeymooners and the tourists.It is  around 1 ½ hours by motor boat/30 min. by speed boat away  from Alappuzha. Tourists come here in search  tropical scenery and a change from the din of city life and Pathiramanal can provide all kinds of happiness  in plenty.

    According to mythology a young Brahmin dived into the Vemabanad Lake to perform his evening ablutions and the water made way for land to rise from below, thus created the enchanting island of Pathiramanal (sands of midnight).This little island on the backwater is a favorite haunt of hundreds of rare migratory birds from different part of the world. The island lies between Thaneermukkom and Kumarakom, and is accessible only by boat from Kumarakom and Muhamma in Alappuzha.

BOAT RACE IN KOTTAYAM

  Every year, during Onam season, Kavanattinkara and Kumarakom Boat Races are conducted at Kavanar and Kottathodu river respectively. About 50 boats including a few snake boats participate in these races. With fun, frolic and fanfare on the banks of the back waters, it is thrill and entertainment galore for the tourist to see these long bedecked boats surging forward propelled by hundred oars to the rhythm of country, folk beats. A ride by boat or by country craft from Changanacherry to Alappuzha through Punnamada Kayal will provide an unforgettable sight of some of the paddy fields and stretches of coconut palmgroves

MOUNTAINS OF ELAVEEZHAPOONCHIRA 

      It is yet another picnic spot accessible from Pala and located in the midst of beautiful hillocks. About 3200 feet above sea lelvel the pristine beauty of nature is preserved almost intact here. Elaveezhappoonchira formed of imposing mountain ranges with rocky cliffs is on the eastern periphery of Kottayam district. Getting onto the rocky peak is no easy task. The first way is to catch the Moolamattem bound bus and get down at Kanjar, 16 km away. From here to Chakkikavu, 7 km in a van and a two - km walk from here to foothills and then climb the mountains. Other way is to get down at Kanjiramkavala, 16 Km from Thodupuzha, and a seven-km trek to Elaveezhappoonchira. A DTPC rest house nearby offers comfortable accommodation.

 KANNADIPARA

 Kannadipara is the highest point in Elaveezhapoonchira. As the name suggests, the valley of this rocky mountain reflects the morning sun with a mirror like perfection. 3 km from here is the Pazhakakanam Plateau nourished by the Kadapuzha River. Bamboo groves, meadows and wild flowers make this place exotic. An added attraction here is the Kazhukankulimali Waterfalls that playfully cascade down the mountain and greet the river below with a magnificent splash.

WAGAMON

Vagamon is about 18 km from Erattupetta, 60 km from Kottayam and  30 km from Pala situated on the Idukki-Kottayam border, at an elevation of 1100 metres above sea level is a trekker’s paradise.
The greatest attraction of the place is Kurishumala, a sky scraping mountain with a small church on its peak and the Kurishumala Ashramam, a monastery atop another hill. The Ashraman is a small community of ascetics who follow the Christian faith but combines with it the Indian spiritual traditions and Gandhian thought. People of all faith are welcome to visit the place. On Good Friday  thousands of people are visiting this place.

  MARAMALA WATERFALLS 

  Maramala waterfall lie a few kilometers away from Eerattupetta. It is exactly 7 km from Teekoy rubber estate. From here a private vehicle can take you further 2 km after which the road is not motorable. To reach the falls one has to trek through the estate over the rocky path. The waterfall is about 60 meters in height falling into a 12 meter-deep pool and joins the Teekoy river way down. 
 
ILLICKAL KALLU 
 
  This consists of three hills, each of a peculiar shape, such as Kudakallu (Umbrella shaped rock) .  Another hill is the Koonu Kallu or the “Hunch Back rock”. (4000 ft above sea level).And the 3rd one is  Wide bridge called Nara-ka-palam (bridge to hell). From the hilltops, the Arabian Sea can be seen in the distant horizon as a thin blue line.Medicinal herbs like Neela Koduveli, believed to have super natural powers grown here.

 POONJAR PALACE 

           This palace is 47km from Kottayam and 18km from Palai. In this palace there is a huge collection of royal antiques and exquisite furniture which includes palanquins, chandeliers, jewel boxes, palm leaf engravings, statues and weapons. A unique conch preserved here is taken out once a year for ritualistic purposes. Near the palace is an amazing replica of the Madurai Meenakshi Temple. The walls of this temple bear sculptures which narrate stories from the Puranas ,the legends of ancient India

 AYYAMPARA 

   Ayyampara (2000 feet above sea level) 43kmfrom Kottayam is a little known scenic spot of rocky plains where a 20 acre area of flat rock makes a natural granite stadium to enjoy the sunset and the view of the town below. It is a good place for trekking. 

  KOOTTICKAL 
 
    Koottickal, situated in the Western Ghats is 5 km north of Mundakayam in Kottayam district. The majesty of the mountain ranges combined with the beauty of the forest and the artificial lake created by the check-dam of the Manimala river makes the spot linger in your mind. Amruthameda, famous for medicinal plants is nearby. Koottickal is well connected by roads to the main cities. Erumeli, the famous pilgrim centre is only 12 km south, while sabarimala is 60 km away. The waterfall at Vadakkemala, near Koottickal is another attraction.

TEMPLES

Kottayam town is the gateway to pilgrim centres of Sabarimala, Mannanam, Kuruvilangad, Vaikom, Ettumanoor, Bharananganam,Erumeli, Manarcadu, Aruvithura and Athirampuzha. The famous Vaikom Siva Temple, associated with the legendary Parasurama, is just 40 Km.from north of Kottayam town and is a typical example of Kerala Temple Architecture. So also are the Temples of Perunna , Vazhappally and Thrikkodithanam near Changanachery. There is a school imparting training in Temple art forms like PaNchavadyam, (orchestra of five musical instruments) Sopanasangeetham, Nagaswaram etc at Vaikom in connection with Siva Temple.

          The temple at Ettumanoor about 12Km.from north of Kottayam is famous for the exquisite samples of ancient murals and 'Ezharaponnana' or the 7 ½ elephants finished in gold.  St. Mary's Church at Kuravilangad built in 355 AD. there is an old bell which bears a hitherto undeciphered inscription. The mortal remains of the Blessed Sister Alphonsa and Blessed Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara are entombed at the St. Mary's Church at Bharannganam and the St.Joseph's Monastry Church at Mannanam respectively.

          The religious festivals of this district are also famous. Pettathullel at Erumeli (January) Ashtami at Vaikom ( November/December) Ezharaponnana at Ettumanoor ( February/March)Blessed Alphonsa at Bharananganam(July) Ettunompu at Manarcad(September)Chandanakudam at Changanacherry (December) are prominent among them. One will find thousands of Hindus, Muslims and Christians mixing and mingling during these occasions in their  quest for peace and salvation
Mosque at Erumeli

      Erumeli  is famous for  Hindu Muslim religious harmoney . The Mosque at Erumeliabout 60 Km from north-east of Kottayam town is dedicated to Vavar, a contemporary and companion of Lord Ayyappa, a Hindu deity. Every year the unique sight of multitudes of Hindu pilgrims worshipping at this mosque before they trek to Sabarimala to worship Lord Ayyappa.

Valiapally

       Valiapally (Metropolitan Church) Kavil Bhagavathi (Goddess) Temple and Puthoorpalli Muslim Juma-ath stand shoulder to shoulder in changanacherry town. From the very ancient past the 'CHANDANAKUDAM' the religious festival procession of Muslims with a sacred pot filled with sandal, is being given grand reception every year (December25) by Hindus in front of Kavil Bhagavathi Temple, Changanacherry. What better examples of Hindu-Muslim amity over centuries in this country can one expect,

Bharananganam (Pilgrim Centre) 5km from Palai

   Bharananganam is an important christian pilgrimage centre - the place where the mortal remains of Blessed  Sister Alphonsa (1916-1946) was interned in a chapel next to the St.Mary’s Church. This 1000 year old church features an attractive Grotto of Virgin Mary.

  Mannanam

   An important Syrian Christian Centre, the town of Mannanam, 8 km from Kottayam, sites the St. Joseph’s Monastery, associated with the name of Fr. Kuriakose Elias of Chavara (1805-71), one of the Saintly figures of the Syrian Catholic Church of Kerala.Among renowned institutions here is the St. Joseph’s Press. Established in 1844, this is one of the oldest priting presses in Kerala. It printed the Nasrani Deepika,Which later renamed as The Deepika,  Kerala’s first daily.
 
  Vaikom
 
  Vaikom, 40 km form Kottayam is famed for the Siva temple which according to legend was constructed by Lord Parasurama, the mythological creator of Kerala.

  The sacred ‘Ashtami’ festival of the Mahadeva Temple at Vaikom lasts for twelve days. The festival takes place during the dark lunar fortnight of the Malayalam month of Vrischikam (November-December) which concludes on the Ashtami day. The actual ‘Ashtami’ festivities are on the twelth day. In fact, ‘Vaikom Ashtami’ is considered so auspicious that it is celebrated throughout Kerala. On the ‘Ashtami’ night, many of the deities of nearby temples are ceremoniously brought in a procession to Vaikom temple. Among them, the pride of place goes to Subramanya, Siva’s son presiding over the nearby Udayanapuram temple. The father-son meet and departure is a moving experience to the devotees.

  In contemporary history Vaikom’s prominence derives from the Sathyagraha of 1925, blessed by Mahatma Gandhi and aimed at throwing open the temple’s doors to HarijansKannadippara
Kannadipara is the highest point in Elaveezhapoonchira. As the name suggests, the valley of this rocky mountain reflects the morning sun with a mirror like perfection. 3 km from here is the Pazhakakanam Plateau nourished by the Kadapuzha River. Bamboo groves, meadows and wild flowers make this place exotic. An added attraction here is the Kazhukankulimali Waterfalls that playfully cascade down the mountain and greet the river below with a magnificent splash.

PUTHUPPALLY ;- PUTHUPPALLY ST.GEORGE VALIYA PALLY is one of the oldest and renowned churches of MALANKARA ORTHODOX CHURCH.   The name itself proclaims. The patron saint of this parish is St.GEORGE. Situated by the side of coconut palms and a wide stretch of paddy fields, at a beautiful and serene village called PUTHUPPALLY which is about 8 kms from KOTTAYAM Town, this church is the refuge of thousands of people all over the world who seek the intercession of St.George. For more information click here

MANARCAD CHURCH ;- The Marthamariam Church (St. Mary's Church) at Manarcad is internationally famous. The ancient practice of 8 day fast and the Feast of Virgin Mary's Birth are celebrated between September 1st and 8tDuring the 8-day Fast in September, the helpless and the hapless throng the church to pray to Virgin Mary for cure of diseases, for getting children for the childless, for guarding against calamities and for getting the wishes fulfilled. The pray and beg to their Mother with tearful eyes. They place their offerings before hearth of every year at the church.  click here                        

MALLIYOOR MAHAGANAPATI TEMPLE;-Malliyoor Mahaganapati temple is located at Village Malliyoor of district Kottayam, 28 kilometer distance from Kottayam enroute Kuruppanthara and Kallara. Mahaganapti is famous as obstacle remover of any one who is progressing with his life. To know more click here . Click here

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