Kottayam, Kerala, India



    Kottayam city is the district headquarters and an urban centre. However, by no means, can it be termed 'cosmopolitan', nor does it possess the bustle of a large city. As a local put it, 'the world seems to have bypassed Kottayam'. Chiefly known for its lakes, letters and latex, an undoubtedly unusual combination, Kottayam, in fact, is a land of many accomplishments.

Kottayam, Kerala, India

    Ever since Benjamin Bailey set up Kerala's first printing press in Kottayam, the district has been at the forefront of the publishing industry. Today, 80 per cent of the books published in the State come from here. Kottayam is also the nerve centre of the newspaper industry - five major dailies are published from here. Today, however, Kottayam is better known for the nearby attractions of the Vembanad Lake and the backwaters of Kumarakom.

    The economic strength of the large Christian community, most of them owners of sprawling plantations, makes Kottayam the most prosperous town in Kerala. This is barely visible on the surface, though, as the town shuns pretensions and zealously clings to its age-old laidback ways.

Essential Information




Telephone Code


Vehicle Regn. Code

When To Go
: 2,203 Sq.km.

: 19,52,901

: Meenachil, Vaikom, Kottayam, Changanachery, Kanjirappally

: Vappallypadinjaru, Kurichi, Vazhappalli kizhakku, Changanaseri, Thrukkodithananam, Chethippuzha, Payippadu, Madappalli, Vakathanam, Nedungunnam, Karukachal, Vazhoor, Kangazha, Vellavoor, Thottaykadu, Kanjirappalli, Mundakkayam, Chirakadavu, Elikkulam, Idakkunnam, Ilamkulam, Koottikkal, Manimala, Erumeli thekku, Cheruvalli, Erumeli vadakku, Kottayam, Thiruvarppu, Vijayapuram, Veloor, Muttambalam, Chengalam thekku, Kumarakom, Ettumanoor, Athirampuzha, Kaippuzha, Arppukkara, Aymanam, Onathuruthu, Peroor, Perumbayikkadu, Puthuppally,Pambady, Nattakam, Panachikkadu, Mannarkadu, Meenedam, Anikkadu, Kooroppada, Akalakkunnam, Ayarkkunnam, Chengalam kizhakku, Kuravilangadu, Velliyannoor, Vellilappally, Kidangoor, Kanakkari, Ilaykkadu, Kurichithanam, Uzhavoor, Ramapuram, Monippally, Lallam, Puluyannoor, Meenachil, Bharananganam, Poovarani, Vallichira, Kadanadu, Kondoor, Poonjar vadakkekkara, Poonjar nadubhagam, Poonjar thekkekkara, Melukkavu, Thalappalam, Theekkoyil, Irattupetta, Moonnilavu, Vaikom, Naduvila, Vadakkemuri, Chembu, Kulasagaramangalam, Thalayayam,  Vechur, Vadayaar, Velloor, Mulallulam, Kadathuri, Maanjur, Njayoor, Kallaral muttachiza,   Kallara, Tjothanaloor.

: Vaikom, Kadathuruthi, Ettumanoor, Uzhavoor, Lalam, Irattupetta, Pambady, Pallam, Madappally, Vazhoor, Kanjirappally

: +91 481

: 686 XXX

: KL-05, KL–33, KL-34, KL-35, KL-36

: August to February

Sights and Attractions
Ayyampara hills
      Flat granite rock formations scattered over almost 30 acres of land offer fabulous views of coconut trees interspersed with rubber plantations in the valley below. The innumerable tributaries of the Meenachil River, originating from Illikkal Mala, shimmer in the distance. Note: Take a detour near Teekoy Church on Erattupetta-Vagamon road.
     This is one of the few old churches that still exist in an almost original state. Built in 1579, extensive restoration work was carried out and completed in 1993, but without changing architectural details. The facade is European, whereas the granite pillars lining the porch, added later, resemble those found in temples.
     Erumely epitomises religious harmony - Hindu and Muslim shrines stand side by side. The loud chanting and the sound of conch shells from the two temples mingle with the muezzin's call to prayer from the minaret of the mosque located between the two. Erumely is a beehive of activity during the pilgrimage season, being an important destination for Sabarimala pilgrims.
Ganapathiyar Kovil
     Built by the Chetti community of Tamil Nadu, this 900-year-old structure is almost in ruins today, although the carvings and inscriptions on its granite pillars are still visible. Tamil inscriptions on walls and pillars tell the story of the Pattunool Shetties, the community known for weaving the textile known as kanjirapally katcha.
Good Shepherd Church
      Constructed in 1882 and renovated in 1964, this is the first church of the Diocese of Vijayapuram and was built in the Italian style. The annual feast of the church, located behind the civil station, is held every April.
     After Kumarakom our next destination was Ilaveezhapoonchira which is located 57 kms. north of Kottayam town. Literally it is a valley where no storms roam. Ilaveezhapoonchira is a valely protected by stern hills on all four sides. As the name suggests, no leaf fall in thsi valley since the trees here are protected from gushing winds by the surrounding hills. The valley is associated to several myths related to the Mahabharatha, the natives briefed us. The place is unique due to the unblemished naturalness in its form and the peculiarity of the atmosphere prevailed here. At the northern side of Ilaveezhapoonchira stands erect the Kannadippara, which is the highest point at Ilaveezhapoonchira stands erect the Kannadippara, which is the highest point at Ilaveezhapoonchira. On standing this rock, we had a magnificent view of the valleys on either side of the hill. We were lucky to witness the sunset in its full glory from thsi vantage point.
     This tranquil little town in the foothills of the Western Ghats is often referred to as the gateway to the High Ranges. Once a hub of trading activities, Kanjirapally has now slipped into comparative quietude. But the abundance of rubber plantations still gives the town a degree of commercial importance. The numerous charming bungalows built by rich planters bestow upon it an old-world charm.
Kayyoor Temple
     Kayyoor is a Ghat region blanketed by lush hilly vegetation. There is a small temple atop the hill near Bharananganam dedicated to the Pandavas, where only ghee is used to light the votive lamps.
Krishnapuram Palace Museum
      Situated on the banks of the Meenachil River, near the mountains, Pala is an archetypal small town, where almost everyone knows everybody else. The majority of the local population consists of Christians and with some of the oldest churches in the region situated here, much of the social activity revolves around the church. Pala is known for its huge plantations and much of its prosperity comes from rubber, the main cash crop.
Malanadu Development Society (MDS)
     This is an organisation that works for rural development and environmental sustainability. A guided tour through the 13-acre property takes you through the techniques of bee-keeping and honey processing, sericulture, oil extraction and milk processing. A shop sells MDS products.
      The deity of Karumadi Kuttan, which stands by the side of the public canal to the west of the Kamapuram temple, is a black granite Buddha, said to belong to the ninth or 10th century. The idol has now been installed in a smaller shrine to protect it. Kerala's Ay kings were patrons of Buddhism, which, however, is known to have declined in the State by the eighth century.
Poonjar Palace
      Poonjar, near Erattupetta, was once the capital of the Poonjar royal family from 1155 to 1800. Located in a serene environment, surrounded by the Meenachil River on three sides, it is known for its exquisite architectural beauty
Shrine of our Lady of immaculate Conception
      A landmark structure, also called 'Jubilee Kappela', this shrine is constructed out of 14,444 granite stones and stands in the centre of town. A statue of Jesus Christ, 12.5 ft high, stands on top of the shrine.
St Dominic's Cathedral
     Built in 1826, St Dominic's Cathedral is noted for its architectural beauty. Both the old and the new church remained the parish churches for 18 years until 1842, when they were unified. The shrine was raised to the position of a forane church in 1919. Its reconstruction, begun in 1945, took nearly 16 years to complete. On March 17, 1977, it was elevated to the status of a cathedral.
St George Church
      This 120-ft-high structure in Erattupetta town has a unique shape resembling a cross. The annual feast held in April draws hundreds of people.
St Mary's Church
     Locally known as 'Akkarapalli', St Mary's church was established in 1449 with the patronage of the Thekkumkoor rajas. A delightful stream flows close by, touching the courtyard of the church.
St Mary's Church Bharananganam
      St Mary's Church, located at Bharananganam, is an important pilgrim centre as the remains of the Blessed Sister Alphonsa, who died in 1946, are buried here. The podium used by the Pope when he beatified Sister Alphonsa in 1986 still stands.
St Mary's Forane Church
     Built in 345 AD, this church is one of the oldest in Kerala, but has been rebuilt in 1960. A granite cross, 48 ft in height, and carved out of a single stone, is the highlight. The statue of Virgin Mary on the main altar is a rare blend of Romano-Portuguese art. The three massive church bells and the replica of the vessel used by Prophet Jonah are also must-sees.
St Thomas Benedictine Abbey
     The Benedictines are a Roman Catholic order with a network around the world. The St Thomas Benedictine Abbey has a church that displays a blend of Western and Indian cultural influences. The stone lamp at the entrance of the building, carved wooden doors, huge pillars at the altar, intricate floral motifs and domes are unusual. A traditional Hindu jewel box has been placed in the niche of a marble pillar, where the sacrament is kept and worshipped.
Thirunakkara Temple
      The highlight of the shrine, built by a Thekkumkoor king, is the low-roofed stage or koothambalam, one of the finest in the whole State. The carved wooden windows encircling the stage facilitate viewing of performances. Three festivals are celebrated here in October-November, June-July and March-April, of which the last is the most important. For the grand finale of Araatu, nine caparisoned elephants take part in a procession. Folk arts such as mayilattam (peacock dance) and velakali follow. A major attraction is the all-night Kathakali performance. A Hindu convention and an art festival also take place.
     We started early morning from palai, a developing town north - east of Kottayam towards Vagaomon, the gateway to Western Ghats when travel from mid - Kerala. On the way we had a nice bath under the gushing waters of Maramala waterfalls, near Theekoy, 7 kms. from Erattupetta town. The water that falls from a height of 60 kms. had created a pool of 12 mts. deep. This hill station adorned with tea plantations, bushes and woods is the highest place in the district. Though vagamon lacks the luster of the glamour of other starhill stations in South India, the peculiar serene atmosphere, calmness and gentleness of the place struck us in the first encounter itself. After having a reconnaissance trip of the entire area we undertook a trekking to Kurishumala, which stands aloof in the aura of spirituality because of the presence of the ‘asramam’ (monastery) and the small ancient church.
      'Valiyapalli' or 'big church' was built in 1550 by the descendants of the 72 families whose forefathers were the seven clans who migrated to India in 345 AD from Jerusalem. Built entirely of wood, the church was demolished in 1577, and a new one built of stone. It is famous for its interesting woodcarvings, ancient Persian crosses, mural paintings and Syrian inscriptions. In 1579, a breakaway group set up another church, which came to be called 'CheriyapaUi' or 'small church'.
      Set against the backdrop of rich green paddy fields and still grey waters, Kumarakom was, for years, just another sleepy town, resplendent in scenic beauty. However, when Kerala became a popular tourist destination, Kumarakom's charms were soon unveiled. Today, plush resorts scattered around a large lake and delightful backwaters have transformed this once quiet settlement into a sought after destination - Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, wrote in his hotel register, Truly, this is god's own country'.
Driftwood Museum
      This museum was the brainchild of Raji Punnose, a teacher who worked in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for 25 years. She started collecting pieces of driftwood washed ashore and spent hours pruning and giving shape to what had already been shaped by the sea..
Bird Sanctuary
      Spread across 14 acres in a former rubber plantation that was previously known as Baker's Estate, the Englishman who developed this area into a bird sanctuary would be glad to see the large number of delighted birdwatchers who gather here today.
      The midlands consist of a mosaic of geographical features. Dense forests, humid backwaters, sweltering plains and cold high ranges make for an interesting landscape. While extensive plantations of rubber have fostered a thriving trading community, the region also harbours the nerve centre of Kerala's literary scene.
Places to Visit


Aakulam Tourist Complex, Agasthayarkoodam, Anjengo Fort, Ammachiplavu, Ananthapuri, Beemapalli, Kanyakumari, Kerala State Science and Technology Museum, Kovalam Beach, Maruthwamala, Napier Museum, Neyyar, Padmanabhapuram Palace, Priyadarshini Planetarium, Puthen Malika, Shankhumugham Beach, Sree Chithra Art Gallery, Sree Chithra Enclave, Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Sucheendram temple, The Zoo and Museum Complex, Thriparappu waterfalls, Varkala, Vattakkotta, Veli, Vivekanandappara, Vyloppilly Sanskrithi Bhavan,


Adventure Park, Alumkadavu Boat Building Yard, Ashtamudi Backwaters, Houseboats, Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram, Munroe island, Thangasseri, Thenmala, Thevally Palace.


Aranmula boat race, Ashtamudi Backwaters, Kakki Reservoir, Kaviyoor, Konni, Mannadi, Maramon, Perumthenaruvi Falls, Sabarimala, Thiruvalla, Vastu Vidya Gurukulam, Vijnana Kala vedi Cultural Centre,


Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple, Bhagavathi Temple, Chakkulathukavu Bhagavathi Temple, Chavara Bhavan, Karumadi Kuttan, Krishnapuram Palace Museum, Kuttanad, Mannarassala Snake Temple, Pathiramanal Island, R Block,, St George Orthodox Syrian Church, St Mary's Church, Champakulam, Subrahmanya Temple.


Blossom international Park, Cheriyapalli, CSl Church (St George's Church), Devikulam Lake, Eagle Rock or Parunthumpara, Idukki Arch Dam, Kalvary Mount, Kolukkumalai, Kundala, Kurisumala Ashram, Kurisumala, Malanadu Development Society (MDS), Mampara Grasslands, Mangaladevi Temple, Marayoor, Mattupetty, Mount Carmel Church, Munnar, Murugan Para, Nelliyampathy, Orange and Vegetable Farm,Panchalimedu, Peermede, Pine Forests, Pothundy, Rajamalai, Seetharkundu,Summer Palace, Tea Museum, Thekkady, Thommankuthu, Thrisangu Hills, Top Station, Vagamon, Viewpoints, Waterfalls of Munnar,


Ayyampara hills, Cheriyapalli, Erumely, Ganapathiyar Kovil, Good Shepherd Church, Ilaveezhapoonchira, Kanjirapally, Kayyoor Temple, Krishnapuram Palace Museum, Malanadu Development Society (MDS), Pala, Poonjar Palace, Shrine of our Lady of immaculate Conception, St Dominic's Cathedral, St George Church, St Mary's Church, St Mary's Church Bharananganam, St Mary's Forane Church, St Thomas Benedictine Abbey, Thirunakkara Temple, Vagamon, Valiyapalli, Kumarakom, Driftwood Museum, Bird Sanctuary, Midlands.


Antique Shops in Jew Street, Bhoothathankettu, Bishop's House/indo-Portuguese Museum, Broadway, Cherai Beach, Chottanikkara Temple, Clock tower, Dutch Cemetery, Fort Kochi Beach, Hill Palace Museum, Kerala Lalitha Kala Akademi, Kochi, Kumbalangi, M.G.Road, Marine Drive, Maritime Museum, Museum of Kerala History, Pardesi Synagogue, Santa Cruz Basilica, Shiva Temple, SNC Maritime Museum, Spice Market, St Francis Church, Thirumala Devaswom Temple, Willingdon Island, Chendamangalam.


Athirappally and Vazhachal water falls, Ayyappa and Edathedathu Kavil Bhagavathy, Basilica of Our Lady of Dolores, Cheraman Perumal Juma Masjid, Cheruthuruthy, The land of Arts, Guruvayur, Irinjalakkuda, The land of Bharatha, Juma Masjid,Kodungallur, Koodalmanik, Yam Temple, Irinjalakuda, Kurumba Bhagavathi Temple, Lourdes Cathedral,Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine, Martha Mariyam Chaldean Church, Palayur Church,Punnathoor Kotta, Sakthan Thampuran Palace, Shiva Temple,Sree Rama Temple, Thriprayar,The Cheraman Perumal who embraced Islam, The State Museum and Zoo,The Swaraj Roudn the heart of Thrissur,Vadakkumnathan Temple,


Jain Temple, Lakkidi, Mayiladumpara Sanctuary, Nelliyampathy, Silent Valley, Tipu's Fort, Trithala, Varahamoorthi Kshetram.


Kadalundi Nagaram, Kondotty, Kottakkal(Centre of Ayurveda), Kottapadi, Malappuram, Manjeri, Nilambur(Forest area), Perinthalmanna, Perumpadappu, Ponnani, Tanur, Teak Museum,Tirur,Tirurangadi,


Beypore and its ‘Urus’, Beach Road, CSI Church, Kallai, Lokanarkavu of Vadakkanpattu, Mananchira Square, Mishkal Mosque, Mother of God Cathedral, Muchundipalli, Pazhassiraja Museum and Art Gallery, Planetarium and Science Centre, Tali Temple,Valayanadu Devi Kshetram,


Mananthavady, Brahamagiri, Chembra Peak, Edakkal Caves,Jain Temple, Karalad Lake, Kerala Kalamandalam, Kuruva Dweep, Lakkidi's Chain Tree, Mahe, Meenmutty Falls,Muthanga,The jungle of secrets, Pakshipathalam,Pazhassi Museum,Pookot Lake,River Nila,Soochipara and Kanthampara Falls, The tree of Karimthandan,Thirunelly Temple,Thrissiteri Temple,Wayanad Heritage Museum,


Alluring Beaches, Cheruvathur Kota Palli, Delightful Backwaters, Ezhimalai, Fort St Angelo,Kanhirode weaving Co-operative, Kerala Folklore Academy, Kottiyoor Shiva Temple, Mahalingeshwara Temple, Nileswaram, Parassini Kadavu Temple, Payyambalam Beach,Rajarajeshwara Temple,Thalassery,The tree of Karimthandan,Ummichipoyil and Varikulam,Valiyaparamba Backwaters,


Anandashram, Ananthapura Temple, Bekal Fort, Chandragiri Fort, Kanhangad Hosdurg Fort,Kanwatheertha Beach, Kappil Beach, Kodagu, Kottanchery, Malik Ibn Dinar Mosque, Possadi Gumpe, Ranipuram.