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KOTTAYAM
The land of Letters, Lakes and Latex
The word Kottayam is a composition of the words Kotta (meaning fort) and Akkam (meaning inside). Kottayam is one of the exotic backwaters sites attracting tourists throughout the year. Being a mountainous region with scenic landscapes, backwaters, bird sanctuaries, temples and churches make this a place of tourist attraction. Lying below the sea level, some of its nearby places are also a treat to the eyes.


Area 2024 sq km
Population 2,398,285
Best time to Visit September to March
Languages Malayalam, Hindi, English
STD Code 0481


Location:

Kottayam, located in the southern part of Kerala is an important commercial centre of India, producing a large chunk of cash crops. A beautiful town situated in the hills, most of India's natural rubber originates from the acres of well-kept plantations of Kottayam.


Access:

Air:The nearest airport is at Cochin (Kochi) located 76 km from Kottayam. Another airport is at Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) 160 km away.

Rail:The railway station is situated just 2 km away from the central bus station. There are regular trains from Kottayam to Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam (165 km), and Ernakulam (65 km).

Road: There are two bus stations, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus station on T.B. Road and a private bus stand near the railway station.


History:

The history of Kottayam is significant from the time of the second Chera Empire who used to have a great influence on the region. Maharaja Marthandaverma had a great influence on the state of Kerala as a ruler. He conquered the Vembolinadu established by his former rulers. Since ages, Kottayam has been regarded as one of the most important places of Kerala both politically and otherwise.


Climate:

The climate of Kottayam like the rest of Kerala can be classifiedas in equatorial type of climate. It is hot and humid. From June to Sept. it experiences torrential rains brought by the monsoon clouds. However from September to March, the climate remains relatively dry and cool and it is the best period to visit the city.

Wildlife Sancturies :
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary : 12 km west of Kottayam town, on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, at Kumarakom is the Bird Sanctuary known for local varieties of Waterfowl, Cuckoo, and Water Ducks, as well as for the migratory Siberian Storks.


Pilgrimage Centres :

Erumelli : 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.


Bay Island Driftwood Museum :
A display of unique large collection of superior quality driftwood articles of very high artistic value, prepared through a rare and innovative modern art-form Visiting Hours.


Monuments :
The Poonjar Palace is a glorious testimony to the regal opulence of a bygone era. Within the palace walls is an extraordinary royal collection of antiques and exquisite furniture including a palanquin, a thoni carved out of a single piece of wood for Ayurvedic massages, huge chandeliers, palm leaf engravings, jewel boxes, varieties of lamps, sculptures of Nataraja (the dancing Siva), grain measures, statues and weapons.


Fairs and Festivals :
Elamkavu Attuvela During the two-day Attuvela, beautifully illuminated canoes, carrying a huge replica of the temple, glide down the waters accompanied by hordes of colourfully decorated small canoes and temple percussion music.

Ettumanoor Festival The ten-day annual festival of this temple is celebrated in February- march. Various performing and ritual art forms are staged during the festival.

Manarkad Perunal On the last three days, colorful processions are taken out with golden crosses and rows of brilliantly hued umbrellas.

Thirunakara Festival The annual festival of this temple falls in the months of March-April, when folk arts like "Mayilattam' and 'Velakali' are presented in the temple grounds during the evenings.



Places to visit :
Peermed, an inviting hill resort with an altitude of 1066 meters, is a place worth visiting while going to Kottayam.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is a place to go if one wants to have a look at the natural habitat of elephants, the tiger and the bison. A glimpse of the spotted deer, wild pigs, bisons, tigers and the leopard by cruising on the lake is truly enchanting.

The Thirunakkara Shiva Temple is also a famous must-see spot here. The temple is a storehouse of the typical Keralan temple culture. The walls of the temple are decorated with beautiful paintings. Phalguna Utsav is celebrated here every March. The Kootiattam or the Sanskrit dramas are also an event of attraction.

One of the nearby places to visit near Kottayam is Kumarakom. It is in the west of the Vembanad Lake. This lake is also famous for the seasonal migratory birds that come to this bird sanctuary in their respective seasons. Pathiramal, which literally means 'the midnight sand,' is a lonely island in the lake. Backwater cruises are accessible from this spot. A number of visitors flock to this place during the tourist season. It is an ideal destination for the newly married couples.

Forty km north of Kottayam is another important Shiva temple known as the Vaikom Temple. This temple is associated with the legendry Parasurama. This temple also depicts the typical Kerala temple culture.

Wagamon is another place to visit while going for excursion in and around Kottayam. The place is 60 km from Kottayam town. This place has good spots for trekking and so the place is called the trekkers' paradise.

A few other places worth visiting while at Kottayam are St Mary's Church (Valiapally), St Mary's Orthodox Church (Cheriyapally), and St Joseph's Monastery (Mannanam)


Excursions :

Hill Stations
Peerumedu
Grampi
Ilaveezhapoonchira



Temples

Vaikom
Ettumanoor Temple
Pundareekapuram Temple Lakes
Vembanad Lake Others
Mannanam

Beaches :

The Vembanad Lake, Pathiramanal, Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls and Karimbukayam - Meloram River.

 
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