is a composition of the words Kotta (meaning fort) and
Akkam (meaning inside). It is an important commercial centre of Kerala
as it is a producer of cash crops. Most of India's natural rubber originates
from the acres of well-kept plantations of Kottayam
, also home to
the Rubber Board, one of the country's primary commodities board. Since
ages, Kottayam has been regarded as one of the most important places of
Kerala both politically and otherwise.
has some of the finest natural scenes sandwiched as it is
between serene palm-fringed backwaters on the west and the Western ghats on
Nearest Airport is at Cochin, 76 km away. The
Thiruvananthapuam International Airport is 152 km.
Kottayam Railway Station 2 kms. away from the
Central Bus Station and is connected with major cities and tourist centres.
There are two bus stands, one run by state
transport and the other private. The buses to major centres operate from the
KSRTC bus station.
The Ferry Station is 3 km, away from the railway
station. Services to Alleppey, Mannar, Chempakulam, Mankombu and
of interest - Kottayam
Valiyapalli Church :
The St. Mary's Church, built as
early as 1550 AD and is situated 2 kms from Kottayam. The church was built
by the descendants of the Syrian Kanaya Christians who migrated to India in
345 A.D., from Jerusalem and near-by places under the leadership of Kana
Thoma. The Valliyapalli Church is famous for its two granite crosses known
as Persian Crosses, engraved with ancient inscriptions, which were brought
to their present location from a much older church near Crangannore, built
by the forefathers of the builders of this church.
Bharananganam is an important Christian
Pilgrimage centre, located 5 km east of Palai on the Kottayam
Erattupett Road. Associated with Sister Alphonsa, the blessed saint of the
Catholics, the mortal remains of the saint are preserved in a chapel next to
the St. Mary's Church. She lived from 1916 AD to 1946 AD. The day of 28th
July, the death anniversary of the saint is observed with much solemnity.
This 100-year-old church features an attractive grotto of Virgin Mary.
Bird Sanctuary :
Located on the banks of the Vembanand Lake, the
Bird Sanctuary, is known for its varied avian population. Local varieties
such as waterfowls, cuckoos and owls, as well as the migratory Siberian
Cranes can be viewed here. Parrots, teal, larks, flycatchers, wood beetle,
and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons.
Tourist Complex has been renovated now in grand style
by the Taj Kerala Resorts Ltd. Boats are available on hire for a a cruise
around the sanctuary. The Best Time to bird watching is between June and
August . To watch Migratory birds, November to February is the best time.
Parasurama, the mythical founder of Kerala, is
said to have built a temple here dedicated to Lord Shiva. The twelve-day
festival of the temple falls in November -December, and is celebrated with
classical dance and music performances. Also famous is the 'Kshetra
Kalapeedhom', a school devoted to temple arts.
Ettumanoor Temple :
Located 12 kms north of Kottayam town,
at Ettumanoor is an ancient Shiva temple, which was built in the 16th
century. Ettumanoor temple is a marvelous example of the Kerala style of
architecture, attracts many Hindu devotees from all over the state. The
copper plated conical roof of the central shrine, is in itself a majestic
structure. The shrine is inlaid with beautiful carvings of scenes from the
Ramayana, Bhagavatha and Krishna Leela. The temple is also endowed with an
exquisite collection of Mural paintings and sculptures, depicting scenes
from the Hindu mythology.
Vembanad Lake :
Asia's largest fresh water lake is the
Vembanad Lake, is 12km west from Kottayam. Kottayam
is a vast
network of rivers and canals, which empty into the great expanse of water
called Vembanad Lake. The lake, a mystical tourist spot and a fast
developing Backwater Tourism
destination, provides boating, fishing
and sightseeing experiences that are truly exhilarating. Vembanad, the
beautiful reservoir stretches across the verdant lands of Kerala. Due to the
lake the flora and fauna have flourished in this area.
Located near the Valia Palli, the smaller
church of Cheria Palli, also dedicated to St. Mary, built in 1579, has some
Murals and paintings of Biblical and other themes.
Shepard Church :
Situated behind the civil station at Kottayam, this is
the first church of Diocese of Vijayapuram. The construction of this church,
which is completely in Italian style, was completed in 1882 and was renova
Sted in 1964. The feast att.Sebastian is on 20th January and that of Good
Shepherd, is from 10th to 12th April.
43 km from Kottayam, Ayyampara, a good base
for trekking expeditions is a little-known scenic spot of rocky plains where
a 100-acre area of flat rock makes a natural granite stadium to enjoy the
sunset and the view of the town below.
60 kms form Kottayam, its an important pilgrim
centre of both the Muslims and Hindus. An ancient temple dedicated to Lord
Ayappa and a mosque of Vavar, his Muslim ally, are both located here. The
pilgrims to the holy shrine at Sabarimala also pay obeisance to Vavar, an
enduring custom, which brilliantly exemplifies the communal harmony of the
land and its people.
The Siva temple at Thirunakkara is in the
heart of Kottayam town. The sanctum-sanctorum is covered with pictures from
the epics. Three festivals are celebrated here in Thulam (October-November)
Mithunam (June-July) and Meenam (March-April) of which the last one is the
most important. The Arat, conducted on the last day of the festival, is the
festival of Kottayam, irrespective of the caste and creeds.