An ancient town located on a hilltop bordered by the western ghats on the east and the thrilling Vembanad Lake on the west, Kottayam is a culturally rich and naturally enchanting destination. Apart from nature’s bounty, the town has many laurels to its name. It is a proud town to achieve 100% literacy in India for the first time. Also being the land of several publishing houses and print media, Kottayam is also tagged as the ‘Akshara Nagari’ meaning ‘City of letters’.
The city is also a significant commercial hub for spices and crops, especially rubber. One will see acres of a well-kept plantation of rubber all across the town. Other than its commercial importance, Kottayam is also dotted with a plethora of ancient and fascinating shrines all narrating a story of their own. The mesmerizing landscape and verdant fields are sure to lure you back to this place.
Places to Visit
A fascinating cave carved out of rock surface is Kottathavalam lying on the top of Murugan Hills at Kurisumala. The cave is considered to be the resting place for the Madura Royal family.
The cave is adorned with various sculptures of Gods and Goddesses along with the sculptures of weapons used in the ancient times giving us a glance into the amazing past.
After all the blessings from temples, it is time for some adventure. Nadukani is one such place nestled amid the wilderness of nature and densely wooded hills offering its visitors a beautiful trail for trekking.
Lying at an altitude of 3000 ft above the sea level atop a hill, this place also affords a mesmerizing view of mountains on the northern side and that of River Muvattupuzha.
Thirunakkara Mahadev Temple
A popular Hindu shrine and great epitome of Kerala style of architecture, Thirunakkara Mahadev Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple was established in the 16th century by the king of Thekkumkoor.
The place is also adorned with several beautiful murals showcasing the Hindu themes. A festival of Aaraattu celebrated for 10 days witnessed several cultural performances of various art forms like Kathakali, Velakali and Mayilattom performed by professionals. The festival attracts devotees and tourists in large numbers to the temple.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
A paradise for bird watchers, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary or Vembanad Bird Sanctuary is situated on the banks of Lake Vembanad in kavanar River basin. The place is spread across a huge area of 14 acres providing a natural habitat to about 91 species of local birds and 50 species of migratory birds.
Considered one of the largest bird sanctuaries in India, one can spot the local exotic variety from June to August while migratory birds visit the area from November to February. Apart from that, the sanctuary abodes various water bodies.
Island Of Pathiramanal
A beautiful natural abode to various species of birds, Island of Pathiramanal is situated in Alappuzha District offering a paradise for ornithologists.
The island derives its name from the word ‘Pathiramanal’ which means ‘sands of night’. Lying in the middle of Vembanad Lake, the island houses birds like pintail duck, common teal, darter and Indian shag etc. The place is only accessible via backwater cruises, speed boat and motor boat.
Located at a height of 6000 ft above the sea level in the Western Ghats of Kottayam, Kerala, Illikkal Kallu is a major tourist attraction and one of the most pristine spots in all of India. Situated in Moonnilavu Village, Meenachil taluk, the nearest city to the summit is Teekoy. Besides several other factors which make this peak unique, the most prominent feature is that half the boulder of the majestic rock has fallen apart. The remaining half stands sturdy and presents an extremely exalted picture. Surrounded by colossal green hills, the offbeat destination boasts of immaculate environs, enchanting panoramic vistas and an all around utopian atmosphere. In addition to the surreal natural beauty, the sublime view of the Arabian Sea in the near horizon as a thin blue stroke, is a sight beyond description.
One of the highest peaks in the vicinity, Illikkal Kallu comprises three different hills- each rising to at least 4000 ft above the sea level. Boasting of mystical surroundings, hills imbued with a green blanket and an overall idyllic setting, the destination is blessed with bounteous natural bliss and is still unexplored and untapped by tourism. Above all, the sunset view as seen from the peak is absolutely riveting; the moon rises adjacently as the orange sun goes down. Also, the winding roads leading to the majestic boulders can give an adrenaline rush to all the adventure junkies.
Shopping In Kottayam
Kottayam offers its visitors a splendid experience of shopping. The town is famous for its handmade products. The design and exquisite carvings are an example of great craftsmanship of the locals.
Also do not forget to add some spices to your shopping list which are a specialty of the region.
Located at a distance of a few kms from Erattupetta in Kottayam inside a private rubber estate, Marmala Waterfalls are popularly known as the ‘enchantress of the jungle’. Plummeting from a height of 200 feet, the unblemished clear waters create an aura of mist around them. The tantalising waterfalls splash into a 12 feet pond and run down to join the river Teekoy. Replete with timber trees on the green-carpeted mountains, the clear cascading waters offer a sight like no other. Slightly veiled amidst thick bushes and blue hills, the location can only be reached by a short trek on the hillside.
Blessed with a rich biodiversity, an emerald forest cover and an all around utopian environment, the waterfalls is the perfect place to get away from the din and chaos of the city and spend some moments of solitude to reinvigorate and rejuvenate. Besides, the mesmerising natural environment provides plenteous opportunities for photography enthusiasts to capture those picture perfect moments in their cameras and their lives forever. The waterfalls also offer trekking opportunities. However, the rough terrain is very difficult to trek; the road is slippery and full of rocky obstacles. It is advisable that only professional trekkers or expert mountaineers take up the challenge.
A huge majestic palace bounded by a boundary of massive walls is Poonjar Palace situated in Meenachil Taluka. The palace is adorned with a fascinating collection of various types of furniture and antiques which includes grand chandeliers, jewelry boxes, statues, grain measurers, weapons and palm leaf engravings.
Tourists will also see a beautiful sculpture of Nataraja, a palanquin and a thoni for Ayurvedic massages crafted out of a single piece of wood.
Vaikom is a town located in the district of Kottayam in Kerala. It was also a destination of Satyagraha during the Indian Independence Movement. It is the oldest city in Kottayam and lies very close to the famous tourist spot of Kumarakom. Vaikom Temple lies at the heart of the town and becomes very prominent during its Vaikom Ashtami celebrations during the month of November. This temple was constructed in 1594. It is also enclosed by a courtyard which is spread across 8 acres of land.
The history of Vaikom can be traced back to the time when there existed a kingdom known as Venmalanadu of which Vaikom is a part. Later, Venmalanadu was broken down into Vadakkumkoor and Thekkumkoor. Vaikom became a part of the dynasty of Vadakkumkoor.
In 1742, Vaikom became a part of Travancore after the Maharaja of Travancore took over Vadakkumkoor and merged it into his kingdom. However, Vaikom became famous due to the Satyagraha which was held there during the Indian Independence Movement. It has a population of approximately 22637 and a literacy rate of 92%.
Must Try Food in Kottayam
1. 12 to 12 Bar-Be-Que
2. The Punjabi Restaurant
3. Ko.Co.Kottayam Company
4. Wheels Restaurant
5. Thali Restaurant
6. Favourite Pizza
7. 12 to 12 Downtown Restaurant
8. Mahe Cafe
9. Kingdom of Dosa
10. Wok Sticks
How To Get Here
Kottayam doesn’t have an airport of its own, and the nearest airport is in Kochi which is only 90 km from Kottayam. Kottayam is well connected to the rest of Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka by frequent and reliable bus service. You can either opt for the bus service provided by the government or the private services. Kottayam has a railway station of its own, and it receives trains from a lot of major cities in India.
Kochi International Airport serves as the nearest airbase to Kottayam District. It lies about at a distance of 93 km from the required destination. The airport connects the town directly with many major cities of the country including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Goa, Trivandrum, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Kozhikode, Mangalore, and Agatti, etc. It also connects to several Middle East and South Asian countries via regular flights. From here you can either hire a taxi or take a bus or train till Kottayam.
Nearest Airport: Kochi – 47 kms from Kottayam
Kottayam is approachable via well-maintained roads to several major cities of Kerala as well as states. Regular bus services ply to and fro between Kottayam and towns like Kannur, Kochi, Kozhikode, Mangalore, Bangalore, Chennai, and Trivandrum. One can take a ride in private as well as buses operated by KSRTC.
The town houses a station of its own which connects it to several major cities of the country. In fact, there are many long distance trains that stop at the town. One can avail taxi, bus or auto rickshaws from the station till the required destination.