|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2009)|
|• Body||Chirakadavu Panchayath|
|Population (2012)|
|• Official||Malayalam, English|
|• Other||Malayalam, English|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Nearest city||Kottayam, Kanjirappally.|
Ponkunnam (Malayalam: പൊന്കുന്നം) is a census town in the eastern high-ranges of Kerala, India, part of Kottayam district under Kanjirappally Taluk. Ponkunnam literally means 'The Town on a Golden Mountain' (Ponn = Gold, Kunn = Mountain). Nearby towns are Kanjirappally, Manimala and Pala. This part of Kerala is famous for its fertile land and rubber plantations. It is at an altitude of 495 feet above mean sea level.
Ponkunnam is a part of Kanjirappally constituency in legislative assembly (earlier it was part of the Vazhoor constituency) and Dr. N. Jayaraj of Kerala Congress(M) is the current MLA. It is a part of Chirakkadavu grama panchayath. NH 220 (Kollam-Kottarakkara-Kottayam-Theni), the former K.K road (Kottayam–Kumily road), passes through the town. Kottayam is around 34 km. The K.K road is an easy route to Madurai in Tamil Nadu. The Main Eastern Highway (Punalur–Pathanamthitta–Muvattupuzha Road SH – No. 2) meets NH 220 at Ponkunnam. Ponkunnam is well connected to almost all the places of Kerala, by road. Thekkady is 83 km from here.
The famous novelist and short story writer Ponkunnam Varkey lived here. Kerala Congress leader Eapen Jacob contested unsuccessfully from Kanjirappally Constituency in 1979 (worked as a KSC President, KYF State President, Kerala Congress Karshaka Union State president, Handy Craft Corpration Chairman,Kerala Financial corpration Director Board Member (K F C), Kerala Congress State General Seccretry etc lived in here. Ponkunnam Damodaran, a famous poet, was born here. K.P.A.C Ravi, an actor Cum Singer, is from Ponkunnam. Malayalam film actor Babu Antony and his brother Thampi Antony hail from Ponkunnam. Famous lyricist and music director M. D. Rajendran also hails from here.
Ponkunnam has all religious communities (Syrian Christians, Hindus and Muslims) which are mostly agrarian. Though falling well within the traditional Syrian Catholic belt of eastern Kerala, Ponkunnam has a large population of Hindus, mainly concentrated in and around the town area. The region was relatively scarcely inhabited, and much of it was under dense forest cover about a century ago. The Nasrani agriculturalists from Kanjirapally and other regions of the Meenachil Taluk had already begun occupying the surrounding areas of the present Ponkunnam by then, clearing forests and setting up farms as part of the agrarian expansion of the late 19th century. It was during this period that many Hindus, mostly Nair families from other places in Central Travancore, relocated to Ponkunnam & Chirakkadavu. They too engaged in agriculture and related occupations. In the later years of the 20th century, the Hindu population of Ponkunnam increased substantially, owing to migrations to the region. However, the agrarian Syrian Catholic community did not lose their prominence in Ponkunnam town, but shared it with the Hindus. Various caste based organizations such as the NSS played a major role in augmenting the Hindu community of Ponkunnam by encouraging settlements in the region. The NSS and its founder often saw the Catholic Syrian Christians as their 'reference community', whose pattern of organization and spirit of hardwork they wished to emulate.
The old name was Chirakadavu Vadakkum Bhagam. The name Ponkunnam was coined by Magistare T.Pappu Pillai about 100 years back, while inaugurating the vegetable market. The late A.K. Patchu Pillai is the father of modern Ponkunnam. Karippaaparambil Dominic Thommen (Dummini Vakil), Pangappattu S. Ramanatha Pillai, Mulavelil Neelakanda Pillai, P.R. Rajagopal, Ex Minister & the 1st opposition leader of Kerala - P.T. Chacko and the 1st woman M.L.A of modern Kerala - Rosamma Punnose (born Karippaparambil Rosamma Cheriyan) were leading advocates of Ponkunnam Bar. The late P.N. Krishna Pillai, Punnamparambil was the first qualified doctor of Ponkunnam. The operation theater of Kanjirappally Taluk Hospital is built in his memory. Palayakunnel Vaidyans were famous Ayurveda physicians. Dr. C.P.S. Pillai, Chappamattam is the most senior modern medical practitioner. Vidvan A.P. Karunakaran Nair is a famous Sanskrit scholar.
KVMS, Santhi Nikethan and Sri Hari are the three hospitals in Ponkunnam Town. Cutis Care, Skin and Cosmetology Clinic run by Dr. Jaya Maria Thampy and ENT Clinic run by Dr. James Vechoor are the two Modern Medicine Clinics in Ponkunnam Town. Ponkunnam is developing rapidly towards Kanjirappally with the new state-of-the-art shopping complexes and office towers and relocation of banks from the town centre due to traffic congestion. The government offices such as Panchayat, water authority, electricity board etc., are located at KVMS junction. A possibility is that in a short span of 5 years the two towns, Ponkunnam and Kanjirappally may be joined with all commercial and hospitality businesses.
- Holy Family Syro Malabar Church - near KSRTC bus station.
- Chirakkadavu Mahadeva Temple, is on the way to Manimala, nearly 3 km.s from Ponkunnam Town
- Ponkunnam Puthiyakavu Temple is near the Ponkunnam private bus stand.
- Orthodox church is on the Ponkunnam–Thampalakkad road.
- Mosque is near Ponkunnam bus stand & in Manimala road.
- Ponkunnam Varkey, one of the writers from Kerala
- Babu Antony, South Indian film actor
- Bipin Chandran, film script-writer of Malayalam Cinema Industry
- Ponkunnam Damodaran, a film lyricist from Kerala
- Thampi Antony, a actor and novelist from Kerala
- Eapen Jacob, Kerala Congress State Leader
- MD Ratnamma, a novelist
- PM Mathew, Panthiruvelil, A late Kerala Congress leader
- MD Ajayaghosh, a cartoonist
- M. D. Rajendran, a film director and also a lyricist
- K.P.A.C Ravi, a actor and also a singer of Kerala
- Shemim Hanif, the first person from Ponkunnam to start an IAS Coaching Institute.(RISE IAS, KOCHI)
Agriculture is very important in Ponkunnam. Rubber plantation is mainly done by the people. People living in town have good salary jobs.
Here, there is one KSRTC Bus stand and one private bus stand. Daily, there are many buses to Kottayam, Changanassery, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Banglore and also to the nearest cities Kanjirappally, Erumely etc.. KSRTC operates a chain service to Pala. KSRTC also operates a chain service from Kottayam to Kumily via Ponkunnam.
The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, Kochi (94 km).