is an important commercial centre of Kerala, India, thanks to its strength as 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.
Kottayam, among the state's more
mountainous districts, provides some of Kerala's finest natural scenes
sandwiched as it is between serene palm-fringed backwaters on the west and the
Western ghats on the east. Much of this beauty is laid out in all its glory
along the road which winds from Kottayam to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in
Thekkady through plantations of rubber, tea, coffee and pepper.
Kottayam with its landscape,
rivers, lakes, bird sanctuaries, temples, churches, mosques and historic
remnants attract tourists. Sea shores denied, the western parts of the district
are embraced by the Vembanad lake.
Kumarakom is a small village 12 kms west of Kottayam
town. It is a part of Kuttanad, which is a ‘Wonder Land‘, lying below sea
level, comprising of a number of islands, in the backwaters.
An attraction of Kumarakom
is the bird sanctuary, spreading over 14 acres of land. Birds
like Egrets, Darters, Herons, Teal, Waterfowl, Cuckoo, Wild
ducks etc. Are seen here in abundance. Siberian storks migrate
to Kumarakom every season ‘Coconut lagoon’ is a beautiful
In the last Century, Henry Baker, an
English man, attracted by the beauty of the place, selected Kumarakom as
his residence and built a bungalow, obtaining 104 acres of land from the
then Maharaja of Travancore. He also made a beautiful garden. Preserving
the old style, the beautiful Bungalow of Baker, has now been modified into
the ‘Taj Garden Retreat;, a hotel with modern living facilities. The
Kerala state Tourism Development corporation is converting this place into
a tourist complex. Boating facilities are also provided by the
Traditional cargo boats
called Kettuvalloms are modified into cruise boats and house
boats, with all basic facilities like kitchen, toilet,
bathrooms, sit-outs etc. These boats gracefully move around the
backwaters, providing facilities to tourist to enjoy the beauty
of the Vambanad lake in a relaxed pace.
In the festival months of
August and September, the rivers in and near Kottayam are turned
into festival centres. In the Kumarakom Boat Race, conducted at
Kavanar and Kottathodu rivers, about 50 types of boats, viz.
Veppu, ody, Churulan and few snake boats, participate.
The Siva temple at Thirunakkara is in the heart
of Kottayam town. The sanctum-sanctorum is covered with pictures from the
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, is the festival of Kottayam,
irrespective of the caste and creeds.
Situated behind the civil
station at Kottayam, this is the first church of Diocese of
Vijayapuram. The construction of this church, which is completed
in Italian style, was completed in 1882 and was renovated in
1964. The feast at St.Sebastian is on 20th January
and that of Good Shepherd, is from 10th to 12th
Vimalagiri Church, Kottayam
Vimalagiri (Angathattu Palli) is the cathedral of the Diocess of
foundation stone of the church was laid in 1956 and the
construction was completed in1964.
This church, constructed in Gothic
style, is an example of excellence in architectural beauty. The
main steeple has a height of 172ft., which is considered as the
highest church steeple in the State. Vimalambika is the deity
here. The main feast is in December. This church is situated
near Kottayam railway station.
The chief ecclesiastical dignity of
the Orthodox Syrian Church, the Catholicos of the East, has his head
quarters in Devalokam Aramana at Muttambalam Catholic Church, Latin
Catholic Church and the Church of South India have their Head quarters in
Kottayam. The Arch Bishop of Changanassery who follows the Syro-malabar
rite, has his Head Quarters in Changanassery. The Bishops of Knanaya
Jacobite and the Church Mission Society have their headquarters at
Chingavanam and Kurichy respectively.
The Mosque at Thazhathangadi
is one of the ancient mosques in India. It is believed that
malik Dinar had built this mosque about 1000 years ago.
Now it is an important pilgrim centre
at Kottayam. The artistic value of this mosque is of special
interest to the tourists.