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Kottayam

Kottayam is a town located in central Kerala, conjointly referred to as"AksharaNagari" or "Land of Letters".  Kottayam is culturally wealthy, naturally fascinating and is encircled by Vembanad lake on the west and majestic western ghats on the east. The key attractions of this town are intensive rubber plantations, lush paddy fields, broad backwater stretches and many more. 100% literacy is the main attraction of Kottayam. It is an important trading center for commercial crops and spices. Major print media publications of Kerala such asMalayalaManorama, Deepika and Mangalam are headquartered in this town.  There are many schools, colleges and other institutions that are established in and around the town by various missionaries during the British period.  In South India, English education started from the old seminary of Kottayam and in 1840 first college in the entire State that is CMS College started here at Kottayam.

Kottayam is an ideal destination in God's Own Country to enjoy holidays with our family and friends. The major places to visit in Kottayam are ThirunakkaraMahadev Temple, Kottathavalam, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Island of Pathiramanal, Nadukani and others. The city is also a gateway to the pilgrim centers of Sabarimala, Ettumanoor, Mannanam, Erumeli, Manarcaud, Bharananganam to name a few. With great pride, folks of Kottayam can say that the former president of India Sri K R Narayanan hails from this district.

How Kottayam Got its name

As the celebrations of the 70 years since the formation of Kottayam district are in full swing, no medias are discussing  how Kottayam got its name. The name "Kottayakam" was initially recorded in the year 1550 AD when the land of the first Christian church in Kottayam was given by the then king of Thekkumkoor, Adityavarma, to Valiya Palli.

In the historical records it's written as follows “In the year 725, the king Adithya Varma and his niece iravi manikandaru , gave their land on the side of the vettarkunnu ,as tax free land to make the church.

The Portuguese records of the same period and later refer Kottayam as Cottaty. Within the mid-17th century the Kottayam was referred to as the cottate. The lanthakkas may have been called "Kottayam", which means "Kottayathe" or "Kottayathu".. Thazhathangadi is marked as "Basaar Cottate" on a Dutch map created in 1695 AD, that is housed within the National Archives of The Hague. Within the writings of English missionaries it seems as Cotym.

The name Kottayam is derived from Kottayakam. At the beginning of the 15th century, the Thekkumkoor dynasty was elected as the administrative capital of Thaliyilkotta which was known as Thaliamanathanapuram. The fortifications were built on top of the thaliyil hill to protect the palaces and administrative buildings erected near the Thaliyil temple. Beneath the fort, which was about one and a half kilometers long, there were twelve rods, seven feet wide and twelve feet high .The six bastions were in different parts and crocodiles were raised in the surrounding trenches.

People from different areas of Thekkumkoor came to the executive capital of the state and referred to as the entire space as Kottayam.Thazhathangadi, Valiyangadi, Puthanagadi, Govindapuram, Veloor , Karapuzha and Chaliyakunnu became a part of Kottayam.

Thekkumkur surrendered and came below the management of the Travancore army in December 1749 once the fort was destroyed. By 1880 AD, Sir T. Rama Rao, the Diwan Peshkar of Kottayam Division had fully destroyed the ruined fort. With that, the historic thalilikotta that was the explanation for the name of Kottayam became a history.

Sir T. Rama Rao has shifted from the east of Kottayam town with the restructuring of the town focused on Thirunakkara and established the division headquarters (Hajur concert).

As the division was named Kottayam, folks from Muvattupuzha to Chengannur and from Kumali to Kumarakom became the a part of Kottayam. Later, with the formation of Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts, the folks from Kottayam became the  part of those districts .

Today, from Vaikom to Changanassery and from Mundakkayam to Kumarakom area are noted as Kottayam, despite the fact that, three hundred years ago, only the residents of Thaliyil Fort and encompassing space were referred to as Kottayam

Weather

The Kottayam has a pleasant and moderate climate.  The city gets rain from two monsoon seasons, the south-west monsoon and the north-east monsoon. The south-west monsoon starts in June and ends in September brings in heavy rain. The north-east monsoon season is from October to November, Kottayam receives light rain. The highest temperature recorded here was 38.5 °C (6 April 1998) and the lowest was 15 °C (13 December 2000). August to march is the best time to visit in Kottayam.

Tourism

Kottayam is a beautiful district with a lot of famous places to visit. It is a hub for many tourism activities. The city is an important cultural and spiritual hub in God's Own Country. The major tourist attraction in Kottayam are backwaters, rivers, hill stations, ancient religious places, etc. People can enjoy the real natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Some of the famous temple located in Kottayam are Thirunakkara temple, Ettumanoor Mahadevar Temple, Vaikom Mahadeva temple, etc. The best places for boating, fishing, and Sightseeing in Kottayam is Kumarakom. Vembanad Lake is famous and is popular for houseboat cruise. The best place for trekking & paragliding after the famous Munnar is Vagamon, located in Kottayam district and is spread towards Idukki district. There are many other tourist destinations such as Manimala Waterfalls, Pathiramanal Island, Arvikuzhi Waterfalls, etc.

 

Agriculture

In Kottayam, different varieties of food crops, as well as cash crops, are cultivated depending on the location. The low-lying regions like Vaikom and Upper Kuttanad majorly cultivate rice. Rubber plantation is another main cultivation here. As a result, Kottayam occupies the first position in the production of Rubber in India. The Kottayam has a favorable climate for rubber cultivation which provides a stable income for the farmers. Other crops cultivated are coconut, vegetables, pepper, tapioca, etc. Rubber board and Rubber research institute in Kottayam set up by the government of India enhance rubber productivity.

Publishing

C.M.S press is the first printing press in Kerala. It was published in 1821 by Rev. Benjamin Bailey, a British missionary. Also, English-Malayalam dictionaries and Maiden printed Malayalam-English were published from Kottayam in 1846 and 1847 respectively.  In 1945  the only cooperative society of writers, publishers, and authors for publishing books and periodicals was set up here. Kottayam is the center of publishing business in the state. Also,  It is the hometown of a vast number of books and periodicals.

Education

The main contributors to the high literacy rate in Kerala is Kottayam district. It is the first town in India to obtain 100% literacy. The Malankara orthodox church missionaries in Kottayam establish the first educational institution to begin English education.  C.M.S college is the first college in Kerala. Mahatma Gandhi University is the largest of all the universities in Kerala located in Kottayam under which many colleges are affiliated. The university offers many graduate and postgraduate degree courses.  The prominent educational institution located in Kottayam is Baselius College, B.C.M College, KG College Pampady, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology, K. E. College, etc. The Medical College is located at Gandhinagar. One of the latest and third Dental College is also located in Gandhinagar.


Worship places in Kottayam

Ettumanoor Mahadeva temple

Ettumanoor Mahadeva temple is one of the ancient Siva temples situated in the southern part of Kerala called Ettumanoor. The temple has been a long history. There is believes that Pandavas and sage Vyasa had worshipped at this temple. This temple is very famous for its mural painting especially painting of Nataraja in the gopuram. The temple has been conducted arattu festival on February or March every year. The exact date will be declared depending on the Malayalam stars and Malayalam calendar. As part of the Arattu festival, they conduct Ezharaponnana every year on the Thiruvatira. On that day they present 7 and a half golden elephant with the icon of Lord Siva for devotes view. Thousands of people usually see this one and get blessings from Lord Siva. Thulabaham is valiyavilakk, bagavathiseva, mrithyunjayahomam are the important poojas in this temple. The visiting time of the temple is 4.00 am to 12.00 pm noon and 5.00 pm to 8.30 pm night. The nearest railway is the Ettumanoor railway station and the nearest airport is Cochin international airport.


Thirunakkara Mahadeva temple

Thirunakkara Mahadeva temple is very famous for Pakalpooram. This temple is situated in the heart of Kottayam town and has been long history around 500 years. The main deity in this temple is Lord Siva. But there are also subordinate deities who include Ganpati, Ayappa, Subramanian, Naga, Vadakkumnathan, Durga, Brahma rakshas. The main attraction of the temple is anakkottil and kodimaram in front of the main entrance. There is a Banyan tree in front of the temple and it has been considered as a secret tree. The temple conducts pakalpooram in every march during the evening. The major attractions of pooram are elephants, crack works, kudamattom, and Aaltharamelam (Chendamelam). Thousands of people enjoyPakalpooram every year. Thulabharam and navagrahapooja, mahamrithyunjayahomam, Ganapathy Homam, Sudarshana Homam, bagavathisevaare the main poojas there. The temple timing is 4.00 am to 11.00 pm noon and 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm night. The nearest railway station to the temple is Kottayam railway station and the nearest airport is Cochin international airport.


Vaikom Mahadeva Temple

Vaikom Mahadeva temple is one of the biggest temples in Kerala situated in Vaikom, Kottayam, Kerala. This famous temple is also known as the Kashi of south and vaikom Siva is fontly known as vaikkathappan. There is a believe that if someone visits and pray vaikommahadeva temple along with ettumanoormahadeva temple and Thaliyil Mahadeva temple on the same day before uchapooja (Noon pooja), the lord siva will fulfil their wish. Vaikom Mahadeva temple is very famous for ‘Vaikkathashtami’, one of the main festivals in this temple. It usually held on Malayalam month vrishchikam (November/December). Lots of elephants, crack works, light works, traditional art forms and chendamelam are the major attractions of vaikkathashtami.Prathal, AnandaPrasada, SahasraKalasa, DravyaKalasa, Aayira Kalasa, Ayirakudam, Vilwapatra mala, Bhasma Mala, Vilakku or Lamps, AppamNivedya, KsheeraDhara, Aluvilakku, JalaDhara are main offering to Lord Vaikkathappan. The temple opens at 3.00 am with palliunarthal and 11.30 am with Uchasribeli. During evening the temple will be opened at 5.00 am and closed at 8.00 pm. The nearest railway station to the temple is Vaikom Railway station and nearest airport is Cochin International airport.

 


Kumaranalloor Devi Temple

Kumaranalloor Devi temple situated in Kumaranalloor, Kottayam district is one of the popular Devi temples among 108 durgalayas (Devi temples) in Kerala. The temple has around 2400 of history and believes that Lord Parasurama has constructed this temple. The goddess Karthyayani is worshipped in five different forms Saraswati, Lakshmi, Parvathy, Durga, and Vanadurga. Devotees consider this temple equivalent to Madura Meenakshi Temple. The temple constructed with lots of carvings, sculptures and mural paintings. Main gopuram, Kodimaram (Flagstaff), Anakkottil, Nalambalam are the major attractions of this temple. Subordinate deities which include Ganapathy, Siva, Bhadrakali can be found here. Thulabharam, Bhadradeepam, Nirapara, Divasapooja are the main poojas in this temple. The temple usually opens at (morning)4.00 am and close at 11.15 am. Then reopens at 5.00 pm and close at 8.00pm night. The main festival thrikarthikais celebrated in the Malayalam month of vrishchikamon the star karthika (Devi’s birthday). The celebration starts with the flag hosting before 9 days. On the tenth day, Devi goes to holy bath nearby Meenachil River. During these 10 days, special poojas and traditional art forms are performed. Thousands of people come to the temple to experience a world of devotion.

 


Malliyoor Mahaganapati Temple

The Malliyoor Mahaganapathi temple is one of the famous Hindu temples in Kerala with the divine presence of Lord Ganesha. The deity of the temple is Vaishnavaganapathy, with young sreekrishna on the lap of Shree Ganesh. Subordinate deities which include Bhagavathy, Ayyappa, AyaYakshi, Brahma Rakshas, and Anthimahalan can found in this temple. The temple opens morning at 5.00 am and close at 11.30 am. Then it is opened at 5.30 pm and close at 8.00 pm night. The major offerings in this temple are Mukkuttipushpanjali, Aayiramkudamjalabhishekam, Thadinivedyam, pasha mala, palpayasam, daily pooja, udayasthamanapooja, and ashtadravyamahaganapathihomam. The eight-day long Thiruvutsavam (March- April) is one of the main attractions of Malliyur temple and every year it concludes on the Vishu day with colourfulaarattu. Thousands of people have been participating in this procession every year. Vinayaka Chaturthi in Chingam (August-September) is the main festival. On that day Sahasrashtathika (1008) AshtadravyaMahaGanapathyHomam and Gajapooja will be performed. The nearest railway station is Vaikom Railway station


Panachikkad Saraswathi Temple

Panachikkad Saraswathi Temple is situated in a small village called Panachikkad, Kottayam. The temple is popularly known as Dakshina (southern) Mookambika. The main deity of the temple is Saraswathi Devi. The deity is completely covered with green creeper plants with water dripping and flowing around. The green creeper plants covered by Saraswathi Devi is to be considered as sacred plants. The temple opens between 5.30 am to 11 am in the morning and 5 pm to 7.30 pm in the evening. The major offering of the temple is Ganapathi Homam, Nithyapooja, Janmanakshathrapooja, Vishnu pooja, Purushasooktharchana, Vidyagopalamanthrarchana, Mahasudarshanamanthrarchana, Badhradeepam. The major festival Navarathri is celebrated in September every year. As the part of Navarathri festival, Vidhyarambam (beginning of education) has been performed. Thousands of children participate in Vidyarambam festival every year. The nearest railway station to the temple is Kottayam railway station and the nearest airport is Trivandrum international airport.


St. Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Cathedral, Manarcad

St. Mary’s Jacobite Syrian cathedral is one of the famous churches in Kottayam district. It has been a long history and famous for Ettunomb (8 days fasting). Thousands of people have been visiting here every year searching for the blessings of the Virgin Mary. The church is popularly known as Manarcad church. The old Manarcad Church was built in the late 16th century and the construction of the present church was completed in 1954. The main festival of the manarcad church is ‘Ettunomb’, that means 8-day fasting. The fasting starts from September 1 and ends on September 8. Nadathurakkal (opening of holy portrait) has been conducting as the part of “Ettunomb” festival. The portrait of a holy mother with child Jesus kept in Sanctum sanctorum will be opened on7 September every year for public view. Thousands of people visit here in search of blessings from the Virgin Mary. Viewing this portrait is considered to be the source of blessing. Dedicating of children to the church is a main offering at the church. Those who have been dedicated to the church come to the church every year with their offering. Kurubana Timings are Monday to Thursday 7.00 am to 8.00 am, Friday and Saturday: 7.30 am to 8.30 am and Sunday: 09.00 am to 10.30 am. The nearest railway station to the church is Kottayam railway station and the nearest airport is Cochin international airport.


St. George Orthodox church, Puthupally

St. George Orthodox church is situated in Pathupally belongs to Kottayam district and around 10 km away from Kottayam town. This church is popularly known as Puthupallypalli. The festival in this church starts with Kodiyett (flag hoisting). Virakedeel, vechoot, nerchvilamb, Rasa, deepakazhcha (light display) and crack works are an important part of festivals. Rasa is a kind of procession with lamps. Lots of people have been participating in rasa every year. Deepakazhcha and fireworks are being held after rasa. Thousands of lamps lit and floated on the paddy field in front of the church. It will be really a wonderful experience for you. Holly mass timing in the church is Sunday 6.30 am and 9 am, Saturday 8.30 am and weekdays 8 am. Morning Prayer will be conducted on Sundays at 6 am, 8 am and other days at 7.30 am. Evening prayers conduct on 5.30 pm every day. Kottayam railway station is the nearest railway station to the church and Cochin international airport is the nearest airport.


St. Mary’s Forane church Bharananganam

St. Mary’s Forane church is one of the most pilgrim centers in Kerala. It is located at Bharananganam in Kottayam district. The church is also known as Anakkallu Palli. The church has been around 1000 years of history. The holy tomb of St. Alphonsa is situated close to the church. St. Alphonsa is the first saint in India. A large number of people has been visiting here every year. Here St. Alphonsamma’sdeath anniversary has been celebrating as a major festival on every July. The Feast begins on the 19th of July and the main feast day is 28th July. On the 9 days preceding the feast, novenae, candle-lit processions, and special services are held. As part of the festival, they conduct rasa and other processions. Thousands of people have been participating in these events. Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on 9th of November and Feast of St Sebastian on 20th of January are the other important festivals celebrated here. Holy mass and Novana timing is Monday to Saturday at 5.30 am, 6.30 am, 8.30 am, 11.00 am and 5 pm. Timing for the same on Sunday is 7.30 am, 9.00 am, 10.50 am, 12.00 am,12 noon and 2.40 pm.

 


St. Mary’s Forane church, Athirampuzha

St. Mary’s church, Athirampuzha is one of the popular churches and the best pilgrim center in Kerala. It is located in a village called athirampuzha in Kottayam district and around 10 km away from Kottayam town. The church celebrates 2 major festivals like the feast of St. Mary and feast of St. Sebastian. The feast of St. Mary celebrates on 3rdSunday of every September. This festival is popularly known as kannimasaperunnal or naraganaperunnal. The members of Darsanssamooham play a great role in this festival. They participate in their special customs in the mass and procession. Apart from St. Mary’s feast, the church celebrates the feast of St. Sebastian from 19th to 26th of January every year. Every Friday at 7.30 pm the way of the cross has been conducting in the church. The holy mass timing on Sundays is 5.15 am, 9.30 am in cheriyapalli, 6.00 am, 7.45 am, 9.30 am and 4. 15 pm and all others are in Valiyappali. The nearest airport to the church is Cochin international airport and the nearest railway station is Ettumanoor railway station.


St.Mary’s Forane church, Kuravilangad

St. Mary’s Forane church, Kuravilangad is one of the ancient Christian pilgrimages in Kerala. The church is located in Kuravilangad, Kottayam district. The church is built in the year AD 105. It is believed that the first appearance of Mother Mary was in Kuravilangad.St. Mary’s church is also known as Martha Maria church. The major festival celebrates in this church is Moonunombperunnal (3 day feast). The event falls during January with a three-day fast period in the Syro-Malabar church, known as the Rogation of the Ninevites. The church is also well known for Kappalottam (racing ship). The Kappalottam, which takes place during the fast period and it is a huge event where local men carry a large, brightly decorated 40-foot ship on their shoulders and down the massive stairs from the church, into the streets. The timing of holy mass in weekdays is at 5.30 am, 6.30 am and 7.30 am. On Friday it is performed at 5.30 am, 6.30 am, 7.30 am and 4.30 pm. The holy mass on Saturday is at 5.30 am, 6.30 am, 7.30 am and 8.30 am. The novena and Candlelight procession is performed at 5 pm on Saturday. The timings of holy mass on Sunday is 5.30 am, 7 am, 8.45 am, 11 am and 4.30 pm. The nearest railway station to the church is Kottayam railway station and it is around 20 km away from the church. The nearest airport to the church is Cochin international airport.

 


ThazhathangadyJuma Masjid

Thazhathangady Juma Masjid mosque is one of the ancient mosques situated in the banks of Meenachil River in Kottayam district. The mosque has been the history of around 1000 years. So it is considered as one of the oldest mosques in India. This is also considered as a historic place. Only men are allowed to enter into this mosque. The mosque contains lots of wood carving and architecture. The place is attracted by everyone because of its architecture. Thazhathangady Juma Masjid is also called as Tajjuma Masjid. A square inner-courtyard, an attractively carved wooden gabled roof, a traditional bathing area and lovely latticed windows resembling a temple or a king's palace make it a delight to behold. Large numbers of people have been visiting here every year. The nearest railway station to this place is Kottayam railway station and the nearest airport is Cochin international airport.


Puthenpalli Mosque, Erattupetta

Puthenpalli Juma Masjid is one of the famous pilgrimage mosque located the called Erattupetta in Kottayam district. It is around 35 km away from Kottayam town. The mosque is very famous for the festival Chandanakudam. It has been celebrating every February/ December. Thousands of people have been participating in the festival every year. The nearest airport to the mosque is Cochin international airport and nearest railway station is Ettumanoor railway station (Around 31 km).

 


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Politics

K. R. Narayanan, the former President of India hails from Kottayam district. Currently, Kottayam is represented in the Lok Sabha by Jose K. Mani of Kerala Congress (Mani).

Members representing constituencies in Kottayam in the Kerala State Legislative Assembly

Kanjirappally: Prof. N. Jayaraj, Kerala Congress (Mani)
Changanacherry: C. F. Thomas, Kerala Congress (Mani)
Kottayam: Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, [Congress]
Ettumanoor: K. Suresh Kurup, Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Puthuppally: Ommen Chandy (Chief Minister), Indian National Congress
Poonjar: Vacant
Pala: K.M. Mani, Kerala Congress (Mani)
Kaduthuruthy: Mons Joseph, Kerala Congress (Mani)
Vaikom: K. Ajith, Communist Party of India

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