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Kerala Tourist Places - KOTTAYAM

Area 2203 sq. km
Population 18,20,000 (2001 census)
Altitude Sea level

Bordered by the lofty Western Ghats in the east and the Vembanad Lake and paddy fields of Kuttanad in the west, Kottayam is a land of unique characteristics. Panoramic backwater stretches, lush paddy fields, highlands, extensive rubber plantations and a totally literature people have given this district the enviable title: The land of letters, latex and lakes. This land also boasts of the first Malayalam printins press which was established by Benjamin Bailey, a Christian missionary, in 1820 AD. Kottayam is the ideal take-off point for visits to Peermede, Munnar, Idukki, Thekkady, Ernakulam and the temple city of Madurai.

Accessing Kottayam
Telephone access code : +91-481

Air : Nearest Airport: Kochi (76 km), Thiruvananthapuram (160 km)

Rail: The railway station is situated 2 km from the central bus station and is connected to the major cities of India.

Road: An excellent network of roads connects the district to all the major towns and cities of India.

Backwater ferry services : There are two ferry stations. The Town Jetty is about 3 km from the railway station and operates services during the monsoon. During summer, boasts are operated from the Kodimatha Jetty.
Places to Visit

Kumarakom

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 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 accommodation and exclusive leisure options like an Ayurvedic massage, yoga, meditation, boating, fishing, angling and swimming.

The Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom

Distance: 16 km from Kottayam town
Kottayam is a vast network of rivers and canals which empty into the great expanse of water called the Vembanad Lake. The lake, an enchanting picnic spot and a fast developing backwater tourism destination, provides boating, fishing and sightseeing experiences that are truly exhilarating. The Kumarakom Tourist Village offers houseboat 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.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Distance:16 km from Kottayam town
Located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, an ornithologist’s paradise, is a favourite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal. Other common varieties like the woodpecker, skylark, crane, water hen and parrots can also be spotted here. A cruise along the Vembanad Lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary. Pathiramanal, an enchanting island on the lake, can be accessed by boat from here. A cruise along the Vembanad lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary.

Pathiramanal

Distance:sands of midnight
This 10 acre island on the backwaters is home to many rare varieties of migratory birds from different parts of the world. According to mythology a young Brahmin dived into the Vembanad Lake to perform his evening ablutions and the water made way for land to rise from below. The island can be accessed only by boat.

Anchuvilakku

Distance:22 km from Kottayam
This stone lamp post, a typical example of Kerala architecture, was built near the Changanacherry boat jetty by the renowned freedom fighter Veluthampi Dalawa. The Changanacherry market, one of the largest in Kerala, was also established by him. The five lamps on this post are lit using kerosene.

Nadukani

A picturesque location at the top of a hill with endless stretches of meadows girded by huge rocks. A bird’s eye view of the low lying places can be enjoyed from here.

St. Mary’s Church, Bharananganam

The mortal remains of the Blessed Aphonsa are entombed at this church which is now a famous pilgrim centre. Thousands gather at this holy shrine during the annual festival: Feast of the Blessed Alphonsa (July).

Ilaveezhapoonchira

Skirting the Kottayam district are beautiful valleys of Ilaveezhapoonchira, spread over thousands of acres. The verdant landscape punctuated by four gigantic hills, each rising to around 3200 ft., is an ideal place to unwind. During the monsoons when the valley fills up to form a scenic lake, this place unveils yet another beautiful slice of nature. Ilaveezhapoonchira means valley where leaves don’t fall and is named so because the place has no trees. This is also one of the best places in Kerala to enjoy both the sunrise and sunset.

Kannadipara

As the name suggests, the valley of this rocky mountain reflects the morning sun with a mirror like perfection. This is also the highest point in Ilaveezhapoonchira. 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. On the eastern side of Kannadipara is a natural fort set amidst steep rocks.

Mankallu Mudikal

The three hills in this region lie close to each other, their flat hilltops covered with lush grasslands. An aerial view of these resemble a traditional clay oven. With no trees around, the hilltops give you the feeling that you are walking in the clouds.

Ayyappara

According to legends, the five Pandava brothers - epic heroes of the Mahabharatha - stayed near this rock, 2000 ft. above sea level and spread over 20 acres, during their exile. The name of the rock is said to be a modified version of the original term Anchupara (five rocks). However, some say that the name owes its origin to the Ayyappa Temple here. This temple has four pillars which support a flat piece of rock that forms the roof. On one side of the rock is a cave that can accommodate over 15 people. The sunset is beautiful from here. Above all, the cool mountain breeze does wonders to your mind and body.

Pathiramanal

Distance:sands of midnight
This 10 acre island on the backwaters is home to many rare varieties of migratory birds from different parts of the world. According to mythology a young Brahmin dived into the Vembanad Lake to perform his evening ablutions and the water made way for land to rise from below. The island can be accessed only by boat.

Kolani Mudi

Yet another peak in the Ilaveezhapoonchira mountain range, which also has a cave.

Kurisumala

3 km from Vazhikkadavu is this renowned Christian pilgrim centre where hundreds of devotees from far and near converge during the holy week and after, to climb the hill in faith, carrying small wooden crosses. The peaceful Monastery at the top of the hill, the silence of the hills, the cool mountain air and the lush green landscape are all soothing to the soul.

On the eastern side of the hill is Muruganmala housing a rock cut temple dedicated to Murugan (son of Lord Shiva). The road to Kurisumala offers some real sightseeing opportunities in a European model house and the beautiful artificial lake, both designed by the renowned architect, Laurie Baker.

Vagamon

This enchanting hill station on the Idukki - Kottayam border, dotted with tea gardens and meadows, will soon be one of India’s foremost ecotourism projects. The breeding centre of the Kerala Livestock Board is located here.
Pilgrim Centres
Kottayam is known for its religious harmony. There are over 50 temples and 70 churches including a 1000 year old mosque in this district. Besides, Kottayam is also the gateway to the pilgrim centres of Sabarimala, Mannanam, Vaikom, Ettumanoor, Bharananganam, Erumeli, Manarcad, Aruvithura, Athirampuzha and the temples of Perunna, Vazhapalli and Thrikkodithanam near Changanacherry.

SivaTemple, Thalikkotta St. Mary’s Church, Cheriapalli Thazhathangadi Valiapalli Jama Masjid, Thazhathangadi ThirunakkaraMahadevarTemple St. Mary’s Church, Manarcad DharmasasthaTemple, Pakkil St. George’s Church, Puthupalli MahadevarTemple, Ettumanoor St. Thomas Mount   ShivaTemple, Vaikom
St. Mary’s Church, Kuravilangad
St. Mary’s Church, Athirampuzha
St. Mary’s Church, Kudamaloor
St. Joseph’s Monastery, Mannanam
Kaduthuruthi Valiapalli
VimalagiriChurch
St. ThomasChurch, Pala
St. Thomas Church, Cherpungal

St. Thomas Church, Cherpungal

Believed to have been established by apostle St. Thomas, this church was relocated to the southern banks of the Meenachil River with the cooperation of poet Kunchan Nambiar and his family. In 1107, the Valiapalli was built on the original site. Oil poured into lamps and kept before the image of Infant Jesus is the votive offering here – a ritual similar to the devotional practices of Hindus.

AruvithiraChurch

Distance: 11 km from Kottayam
This 950 year old mosque is one of the most famous ones of Central Travancore. The annual festival, Thangal adiyanthiram, is well known and is marked by a grand community feast. Meat and two tones of rice, offered by the devotees, is used to prepare biriyani for the community feast on this day. The Chandanakuddam festival at the mosque is one of the largest crowd pulling events in Changanacherry town.

Puthenpalli, Erattupetta
SaraswathiTemple, Panachikkad
SuryaTemple, Adityapuram
BhagavathyTemple, Ambalakkadavu
Pallipurathukavu
BhagavathyTemple, Manarcad
KavilBhagavathyTemple, Changanacherry
SreeSubramanyaSwamiTemple, Perunna
SivaTemple Vazhappalli, Changanacherry
KalkulathukavuTemple, Vazhappalli