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Nedumkunnam is a village in Kerala, India, located about 16 km East of Changanacherry on Changanacherry-Manimala Road, in Kottayam district. It is 3 km East of Karukachal towards Manimala/Cheruvally. Literally, it is the 'land of hills', being on the hilly terrain. It is between the High Ranges and the Kuttanad plains in Central Kerala. It was the centre of trade and commerce in the area for nearly two centuries. Earlier it included lands up to Champakara in the North to Vaipur in the South, Karukachal in the West and Kanam/Kangazha Pathanadu in the East.
It is fast becoming a centre of education in Central Kerala. The taluk (local government) headquarters is located in Changanacherry and the District headquarters in Kottayam. Local people mostly work as farmers, cultivating cash crops such as rubber and black pepper, and food crops such as cassava and plantain. The village is also a good base for trekking through hills in the local area. Sight-seeing destinations include are Mulamala, Chathanpara, Puliyalackalpara and Nilampodinja.
Nearby places include Punnavely, Pathanadu, Karukachal, Vellavoor, Mallappally, Kangazha, Kanam (Kerala), Champakara, Vaipur, Noorommavu, Nedumanny, Mulayanveli etc.
Nearest Railway stations: Kottayam (23 km) or Changanacherry (16 km)
Nearest Airport is Cochin Airport (Nedumbasserry)- 75 km
Nedumkunnam can be reached by road from Changanacherry or Kottayam. See the Kottayam District map for details.
According to Government of India Census 2001 statistics, population statistics for Nedumkunnam village are as given below:
No of Households: 5,040
Total number of persons: 22,505
Males: 10,911 Females: 11,594
The following are the average numbers for Kottayam District. Specific numbers for Nedumkunnam Village are yet to be obtained.
The literacy rate for Kottayam District is 95%. The population distribution is 50% Hindus, 45% Christians and 5% Muslims.
The Nedumkunnam Bhagavati Temple is one of the oldest temples in Kerala. The word 'Kavunnada' is derived from the words 'Kavu' and 'Nada' both related to the temple. The Nampoothiris of Edamana Illam of Nedumkunnam, trace their ancestry to the 237 Tulu Brahmin families, who were brought in 1617 AD (792 ME) by Kolathiri Raja Udayavarman and got settled in five desams in Perinchallur. Later, the then Travancore Raja brought 185 of these Saagara families to Thiruvalla. They are generally called Thiruvalladesi Embraanthiris. All of them follow the customs of Namboothiris.
Nedumkunnam's ancient historical status is indicated by its geographical proximity and easy accessibility using waterways (River Manimala) or the road, to the ancient towns or ports of Niranam, Kaviyoor, Tiruvalla, Changanassery, Kottayam and Alappuzha. Vaipur on River Manimala had Christian settlements from the thirteenth century and must have been a center of timber trade using timber from the forests of Nedumkunnam, Manimala, etc.
The Chathanatt (Panicker) tharavad is believed to have originally owned the land comprising Nedumkunnam. This is not to dispute the fact that the native tribals (the Pulayas and the Arrayans) were inhabitants of the forest land. The Chathanatt kudumbom was reportedly, related to the Thekkumkur royal family (that had its headquarters in Kottayam and Changanassery). When Marthanda Varma Maharajah annexed Thekkumkur in 1750 AD, Nedumkunnam became part of the Travancore kingdom.
Towards the latter half of the eighteenth century, people started settling in Nedumkunnam. They cleared the forest areas and started cultivating various highland produce, such as tapioca, coconut, black pepper, coffee, arecanut, ginger, etc. Trade in timber from the forests and the spices, increased.
The Mukkattu Syrian Christian family monopolized the spice and timber trade. They stayed near the temple. According to tradition, Christians had to purify the oil used in the local Hindu temple. Such purification was required when people of different castes started visiting the temple and donating oil to the temple and Christians were considered as merchants outside Hindu caste system.
Trade flourished with use of the waterways (Manimala River) from nearby Vaipur (6 km South) to the Arabian Sea Coast (Purakkad & Alappuzha). With the introduction of bullock carts, the produces were taken by land using bullock carts through the land route to Changanacherry (about 16 km to the West).
Places of interest
There are several places of pilgrimage for all religions. Some of them are listed below:
- Nedumkunnam Bhagavathi temple: is said to be 600 years old. Nedumkunnam junction is also known as Kavumnada. The Malayalam word Kavumnada is closely related to Shri Bhagavathi temple located at the centre of the junction.
- Shri Dharmasastha temple
- Thekkekara Sree Bhagavathi Temple
- St. John the Baptist Church, Nedumkunnam
- St. Andrew's CMS Anglican Church Chelakompu
- Nedumkunnam Juma Masjid.
- Syrian Orthodox Church in Kangazha
- St. Stephanose Anglican Church, Parackal, Nedumkunnam
St. Andrew's CMS Anglican Church Chelakompu'
St. Andrew's CMS Anglican Church is situated at Chelakompu. This is a Protestant church established by the missionaries of the church mission society (in short CMS)in 1857, on the day of St Andrew, 30th Nov. (Now St. Andrews day was transferred to 2nd Dec.)
The missionaries of CMS came to Calcutta first and started gospel work there. As a result of their work a diocese was established. Then their work spread to Madras and there too a diocese was established. It was in July 1879, diocese of Travaccore and Cochin was established and St. Andrews CMS Anglican church became one of the churches in Travencore and Cochin Diocese (in short TC Diocese).
Before the formation of TC Diocese, St Andrews CMS Anglican Church was in existence. The Missionary named Thomas Norton came to Alleppey in 1816. A Church existed Mallapally wholly became a church of the CMS missionaries and thereafter the missionaries began their gospel work making this church as their centre place or headquarters. The downtrodden castes enjoyed freedom when they became Christians. Seeing the freedom enjoyed by the converted Christians, almost all members of the downtrodden castes at chelakompu converted to Christianity. Thus a church was Anglican church. In order to educate the converted Christians, a school was also established nearly one kilometer away from this church. This school is "CMS U.P school chelakompu". To express their gratitude to God, the faithful conduct procession (or rassa) every year on 8th vrichikom at 7 PM from the foot of this UP school to their church. Hundreds of faithfuls participate in this grand procession. This harvest festival of this church is celebrated on 8th and 9th of vrichikom.The faithfuls of this church even today continue to keep up the faith rites and rituals taught by the CMS Missionaries.
- ' St. John Baptist College of Education
- SJB College of Special Education
- St. John the Baptist's T.T.I. Nedumkunnam (Courses:- TTC, D.Ed.)
- P G M College, Devagiri, Kangazha, Kottayam.
- Theophilus College of Nursing, Devagiri, Kangazha, Kottayam.
- Government Higher Secondary school
- The St. John Baptist Higher Secondary school
- St. John's C.B.S.E school
- St. Alphonsa's U.P School Nedumanny
- St. Theresas's Girls High School
- Baselios Higher Secondary School, Devagiri, Kangazha, Kottayam.
- CMS LP School, Nilampodinja
- CSI LP School, Kunnikadu
- Industrial Training Center and Vincentian Ashram, Myladi, Nedumkunnam
- Bharath Sevak Samaj computer college, Gadha tower Opp SBT, Nedumkunnam
- P Geevarghese School of Nursing, Devagiri, Kangazha, Kottayam.
- School of Laboratory Technology MGDM Hospital, Devagiri, Kangazha, Kottayam.
Hospitals and Medical Education Centres
MGDM Hospital Devagiri Kangazha Kottayam is within 2 km of Nedumkunnam town and is a huge hospital complex with a number of medical education institutions. P G M College, Devagiri, Kangazha, Kottayam is a new liberal arts and science college in Devagiri, Kangazha, within the MGDM Hospital complex.
There is also a unit of Kerala Khadi and village industries located at a distance of 1.5 km from the junction.
Nedumkunnam's culture and prosperity can also be attributed to its Public Library (the Gandhi Smarak Public Library), which continues to spread knowledge and education, particularly among the village youth.
Social Service Institutions
The following are some of the social service institutions that are run under the auspices of the Changanacherry Diocese of the Roman Syrian Catholic Church:
- 1. Sanjeevani Rehabilitation Centre for Mentally Disadvantaged, Nedumkunnam,
- 2. Mother Theresa Home (For Women)
- 3. Sanjeevani Sneha Sadan (For Men)
- 4. Sanjeevani Clinic
Nedumkunnam Chanda, the open air market, and three prominent stores (Puthiaparampil Devasia, Pullomparampil Koshy John and Koshy Mathai) functioning in the 1930s played key roles in the development of Nedumkunnam as a commercial center. All these stores were closed by 1990 and their place is taken over by several stores. Prominent among them are the Elappumkal Stores, Kidithara Stores, Vazhiplackal Stores, several jewellery shops, rubber marketing society and several rubber merchants and Panicker's hardware stores. The Panicker's Stores, have also been functioning in Nedumkunnam for a long time.
Several banks are also now functioning in Nedumkunnam, such as State Bank of Travancore, Federal Bank and Cooperative Bank. Earlier Nedumkunnam had its own share of money lenders. Chit Funds later became popular as the common man's savings fund and financing channel.
Dramas have been a regular feature of Church festivals, Temple festivals and School Anniversaries.
Nedumkunnam has also produced a number of brilliant writers and journalists. M.O. Joseph Nedumkunnam used to be known in literary circles as just Nedumkunnam. He was a freedom fighter, suffered imprisonment and also was under house arrest for two years during the freedom struggle. He was editor of Sathyadeepam for a long time.
Among the artists and painters, N G Arts (started by N Gopinathan) from Karukachal, has achieved fame and renown.
The Nedumkunnam Library (Gandhi Smarak Public Library) has played a central role in the development of Nedumkunnam's unique culture, by promoting education and socialism.
Nedumkunnam today is well known for the All Kerala Basketball Tournament that is held annually by CYMA, Nedumkunnam. Reputed basketball teams such as KSEB, Cochin Customs, etc. take part in the tournament from all over Kerala. CYMA (Catholic Young Men's Association) has been active in promoting sports among the youth of Nedumkunnam. The tournament is held on the flood-lit basketball courts on the grounds of the St. John Baptist High School, Nedumkunnam.
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