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Kottayam

Kottayam is 76 km southeast of Kochi (Cochin). A prominent commercial centre with palm fringed backwaters on the west and scenic western ghats on the east. Several ancient religious shrines of different communities – Hindu, Christian, Muslim – exist in close proximity. Glorious tradition of religious tolerance.

Kottayam also holds the credit of being the first 100% literate district of Kerala. It is a Place of Land, Lake, Latex and Letters.15 kms to Kumarakom.

Attractions

  1. Kumarakom
  2. Bird Sanctuary
  3. Bay Island Driftwood Museum
  4. Thirunakkara Shiva Temple
  5. Valiyapally
  6. St Mary Church (Cheriyapally)
  7. Mannanam
  8. Bharananganam
  9. Thazhathangadi Juma Masjid
  10. Changanassery
  11. Palai
  12. Kanjirapilly
  13. Erumeli
  14. Mundakkayam
  15. Vaikom
  16. Ettumannoor
 

Kumarakom

The backwater village, Kumarakom, is on the banks of Vembanad lake. Former Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee had holidayed here in 2000. His ‘musings from Kumarakom’ thrilled the nation. He said, ‘time is ripe to resolve the problems of the past and move towards better future’. The effect is of Kumarakom, of Vembanad lake.

The tiny village, Kumarakom, was unknown to the people beyond Kottayam. The Brit, Henry Baker, purchased some land from erstwhile Travancore Raja for building a home. When the Brits were to leave India, Taj Hotels purchased it and converted into a fancy resort and let the world know about the backwaters of Vembanad lake. This changed the face of fortunes of Kumarakom. Today Kumarakom has herds of luxury resorts and hotels in the beautiful palm fringed banks to accommodate swelling tourists.

To get the best of backwaters experience leisure in a boat of any hue. Witness clumps of coir retting in water, boats laden with pots kicking on shoppers, fishing boats; smilingly returning to homes with catch. KTDC offers motorboat, speedboat and pontoon boat at Boat Jetty. The cruise races past the paddy fields, coconut groves, rivers debounching into Vembanad lake. A bellyful thrill and joy to remember for ever. [Top]

 

Bird Sanctuary

A 14-acre spread on the eastern banks of the lake. Only a walking distance from Jetty. Spot here, darters, teals, heron, storks, egrets and so on . For migratory birds this sanctuary is a transit camp during November to February. [Top]

 

Bay Island Driftwood Museum

At Market junction, near Jetty, notice a distinct building with pillared verandha and tiled thatched roof. It is museum. The display here is the ‘art of sea’. The chiselled driftwood is gathered from the beaches of Andaman and Nicobar islands. The driftwood pieces are chiseled into different shapes – a crocodile found off Port Blairs’ Wandoor Beach and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose addressing an audience from wood, gathered from Maybunder Beach in Andaman. Sculptures sold here. [Top]

 

Thirunakkara Shiva Temple

Situated in the centre of Kottayan town. :It is built in Kerala style architecture. The ‘koothambalam’ – traditional temple theatre – is one of the best in Kerala. The paintings on the wall are commendable. [Top]

 

Valiyapally

The decorated altar has two eighth century Nestorian stone crosses with Palavi and Syriac inscriptions and it bears some of the first known traces of christianity in India. [Top]

 

St Mary Church (Cheriyapally)

Near Valiapally,it has exquisite murals. The paintings on Biblical and non-Biblical themes are noteworthy and are thought to have been executed by a sixteenth century Portuguese artist. ( 9am-1pm & 2-5pm). [Top]

 

Mannanam

An important Christian pilgrim centre situated 8 km west of town. The St. Joseph’s Monastery here is an old institution and is associated with Fr Kuriakose Elias of Chavara who has been recently pronounced blessed. [Top]

 

Bharananganam

The church here,dedicated to Sr.Alphonsa,is an important pilgrim centre for the Christians. The mortal remains of Sr Alphonsa who is pronounced as blessed is kept here. [Top]

 

Thazhathangadi Juma Masjid

On the banks of Meenachil river. This beautiful masjid made of teak stands in the vicinity of two churches. At first sight it may be mistaken for a king’s palace. [Top]

 

Changanassery

It is situated 20 kms south of Kottayam town. Changanassery is a small town. There is a British market which was once very famous for spice and grain trade.Most trade were done through canals from Alappuzha and Kottayam.Goods reached from high ranges to here and Kottayam.The importance of it is subdued now....Click here to see more about Changanassery [Top]

 

Palai

East of Changanassery lies Pala. Pala is a plantation town with Churches and wealthy Christian families.The cream of Kottayam, in a sense, is Pala, a medium paced town.Rubber trading is the major occupation of the town. [Top]

 

Kanjirapilly

Kanjirapilly is also east of Changanassery.Located in the middle of Kottayam-Kumily state highway.This too is a plantation town,maily rubber&tea and centre of aristocratic Christian families.The village of Kanjirapilly is wealthier by decent Churches.Income from rubber plantations plays a major role in Kanjirapally's wealth.The name is said to be derived from 'kanjirappathal'when the king ploted the boundary to build a church in 1448 with'kanjirappathal' stem. [Top]

 

Erumeli

Erumeli is a small town nestled in the evergreen Western Ghats, 60 kms north east of Kottayam town. Erumeli is the gateway to the Sabarimala temple, Kerala’s prominent Hindu pilgrim centre located in Pathanamthitta district.One among the most religious friendly place. [Top]

 

Mundakkayam

Mundakkayam near Kanjirapilly on Idukki border is the first place where British set up rubber estate in Kerala. Rubber is all around Mundakkayam.The high ranges start from here on the Kottayam-Kumary state highway. [Top]

 

Vaikom

Vaikom has carved out aplace for itself in the history. It is here that Mahatma Gandhi and others undertook Satyagraha (obstinacy - without intake of any food) in 1924 against the foreign rule. An ancient Shiva temple located here is very famous.

A boat cruise from Varkala to Chertala in Alappuzha district through Vembanad lake offers thrilling experience.

Vaikom Road The name of Railway station in Vaikom is Vaikom Road. The Station is located away from Vaikom town. [Top]

 

Ettumannoor

Located 12 km north of Kottayam town, Ettumanoor is famous for its 16 AD Shiva temple. Scenes from Ramayana, Krishna Leela, Bhagawath Geetha and Santhana Gopala are beautifully carved round the shrine. Another noteworthy feature of the temple is its valiyavilakku, a giant oil lamp at the entrance of the main shrine supposed to have remained lit for over 450 years by the constant strams of oil donated by devotees.

Exquisite mural paintings and sculptures inside the temple are worth watching. State Archaeological Centre runs a Mural Art Centre near the temple. The annual festival running to 10 days is in Kumbam (February/March).On the eighth and tenth days, priests bring out the temple's golden elephants seven large specimens made from 95 kilos of gold and a smaller elephant that is half the weight, which were presented by the eighteenth century Raja of Travancore, Marthanda Varma [Top]