The Central Travancore or Madhya Thiruvithamkoor in South Central Kerala, India, was the region known under the old Travancore kingdom. This region now is parts of districts consisting Kottayam district, Pathanamthitta district, Alappuzha district parts of Kollam District and Idukki District. The region is informally known as the 'Bible Belt' of Kerala.
Central Travancore region of Kerala is known for its large Syrian Christian population, of both Catholic and Orthodox factions. The Christians have been living in this part of the Travancore kingdom for over a millennium, as 4 of the 7 churches that are believed to be built by St Thomas the apostle, is in the region. The Nasrani community is the socioeconomically dominant group, with the highest Per capita land holding, Per capita income and highest % of literates and college graduates. Many Syrian Christian denominations have their headquarters in the region. Certains pockets in the region are traditional Hindu Nair strongholds, particularly in Kollam and Pathanamthitta districts. The NSS (Nair Service Society) is headquartered in Changanacherry.
Central Travancore was the earliest region in Kerala to have experienced agrarian expansion and development in Kerala. The 'Paattom proclamation' of 1865 by the then ruler of Travancore granted ownership rights to tenants and small scale holders of land, and also enabled them to acquire uncultivated land in the midland regions of the Kingdom. Many farmers, particularly the Catholic Syrian Christians made use of the opportunity, and had come to hold several thousand hectares of land. By the 1930s the Central Travancore region was fully developed in terms of agriculture, and no more land was available for further acquisition. This led the aggressive Catholic farmers of the region to migrate to other regions of Kerala, such as Kannur and Wayanad uplands of Malabar (North Kerala), and continue their agrarian expansion. Thousands of families migrated to North Kerala from the 1930s to the 1980s.
Notable cities, towns and villages of Central Travancore
- Kottayam, Changanacherry, Pala, Vaikom, Ettumanoor
- Ponkunnam, Kanjirappally, Erumeli, Erattupetta
- Kaduthuruthy, Kidangoor, Karukachal, Kumarakom
- Kuravilangadu, Pambady, Vazhoor, Mundakkayam, Thalayolaparambu,
- Ayarkunnam, Uzhavoor, Ramapuram, Pallikkathodu
- Tiruvalla, Niranam, Parumala, Kuttoor, Kaviyur
- Mallapally, Kallooppara, Kunnamthanam, Puramattam
- Koipram, Kumbanad, Pullad, Eraviperoor
- Kozhencherry, Maramon, Aranmula, Cherukole, Ayroor,
- Pandalam, Thumpamon, Kulanada,
- Edathua, Thalavady, Mankombu, Pulinkunnu,
- Mavelikara, Vallikunnam, Thamarakkulam, Nooranad
- Kayamkulam, Krishnapuram, Cheppad, Kattanam, Bharanikkavu
- Chengannur, Cheriyanad, Mannar, Venmony