Kattakkada Road at Ottasekhara Mangalam
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Kattakada is the entry point to the mountain ranges (Western Ghats) and the nerve centre of the eastern parts of the district. Also, it is a growing educational centre in the Trivandrum district, which fast emerges as the educational hub of the district. The present day Kattakada town lies in two village panchayts; Kattakada and Poovachal. Many important institutions like the Primary Health Centre, the public market, the post office, Christian College, etc. are situated in Poovachal Panchayat. The virtual population present in the semi-urban areas of the town is calculated to be between 15,000 and 20,000, while the combined population of both these panchayats is 70,000.
Kattakada Taluk (Tehsil) was declared in the Legislative Assembly in March 2013. The new Taluk was inaugurated on 11 February 2014. Kattakada is a constituency in the Legislative Assembly since 2011. Presently Adv. I. B. Satheesh represents the constituency after former Speaker of Kerala Legislative Assembly, N. Saktan of Congress, faced a surprise defeat from him in the 2016 assembly election. A considerable portion of the town which forms part of Poovachal Panchayat, is included in the neighbouring Aruvikara Assembly constituency.
Kattakada is in the eastern part of Thiruvanathapram (Trivandrum) District. It is situated about 18 km east of Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. To its north is situated Nedumangad (18 km) and to its south, Neyyattinkara (14 km). It is a commercial centre and the second biggest market of hill products in the district, after Nedumangad. Neyyar Dam, a tourist spot and the core of Agasthyavanam Wildlife Sanctuary, is only 10 km away from Kattakada, towards the east. Thus, Kattakada is situated at the centre of four places: Trivandrum to the west, Neyyattinkara to the south, Neyyar Dam to the east and Nedumangad to the north.
The nearest railway stations are Trivandrum Central(18 km), Balaramapuram (10 km) and Neyyattinkara (13 km).
The nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.
Kattakada was a sleepy village till the beginning of the nineteenth century. Few small temples owned by private families were the only institutions in the village. A village market began to develop when merchants and vendors from present day Kanyakumari District and Tamil Nadu began to assemble under a banyan tree, situated in front of the Bhadra Kali Temple. Thus, the place began to be called ‘Kattalkada’, meaning the market of wild banyan tree. This name gradually got itself abbridged and became “Kattakada”. Red chilli, onion and other spices formed items of merchandise in the initial stage. It may be interesting to know that these items were not native to our land; in fact, they were brought to India by the Europeans.
Another version regarding the origin of the name says that the word “kada” means the bottom of the tree. The village elders used to meet under the banyan tree. Hence the place was known as the “Kattalkada” or the “span of banyan tree”.
As demand for these items increased, the market was developed and the local populace, especially farmers, also began to sell their products. Small village paths leading to Kattakada were formed. Most of the people came to the market by foot. Mud roads were made to ply on bullock carts to and from Trivandrum and Neyyattinkara. Barter system was prevalent. But cash system began to develop, as merchants from the Tamil country began to insist on cash. Later, the market was evicted from the temple premises, as fish and meat were brought here for sale. Thus, it was shifted to its present location.
Invariably, the social situation was governed by caste considerations. The lower caste people were deemed to be “un-touchables”. Local bullies known as “chattamby”s ruled the land. The people obeyed their words out of fear. The words of the upper caste people were the law of the land.
Pathan Muslims & Arrival of Christianity
Some Muslim "Pathan" soldiers were permitted to settle in this land by the King of Travancore. With the establishment of Church of South India (CSI) Kattakada (then London Mission Society or LMS), Christianity was introduced to the land. Though the Catholics had established their fellowship around Thachottukavu during the second half of the 18th century, large scale Christian missionary activities commenced only with the arrival of the Protestant missionaries led by the LMS. A large number of people became affiliated to the Kattakada parish. As per the oral traditions, Rev. John Cox, the founder missionary of the parish decided to settle here because he saw people ploughing the fields with human beings tied to the yokes instead of oxen. The establishment of the parish brought about a revolutionary change in the social life of Kattakada.
The Kundaman Kadavu bridge was constructed with the aid of the British army towards the end of the 19th century (1898). This made the transportation to Trivandrum easier. Earlier, people used to go by walk through Vilappilasala and cross the river Karamana by country boats. By the 1930s, transport buses were introduced. The next epoch-making event in the history of Kattakada was the formation of the Christian College, Kattakada under the management of CSI South Kerala Diocese (1965). It was the first arts & science college in the eastern parts of Trivandrum district. This announced the growth of Kattakada as a town.
The first school in the place was established in the CSI parish compound in 1910. As per the official records available with Poovachal Grama Panchayat, it was the first school in the present day Poovachal and Kattakada Panchayats. Inspired by this, Shri. P.R. William, a member of the CSI parish started the first High School in Kattakada in 1935. It was a milestone in the history of Kattakada’s growth as a town. Many students, eager to earn education, came from far off lands by taking a walk. Until 1982, it was the only high school in Kattakada, Poovachal and Kallikadu Panchayats. The school had as many as 15 divisions in each standard.
At present, there are many higher secondary schools (HSS) existing in Kattakada Taluk. Some of the Panchayats like Kattakada and Poovachal have two or more HSS within their area.
The Kattakada Christian College was established in 1965. It played a prominent role in ensuring education to the young students of this rural hub. At present, there are many autonomous colleges functioning in this Taluk. Immanuel College, Vazhichal and Kerala Institute Of Co-operative Management (KICMA), Neyyar Dam are two main stream colleges, while professional colleges like Pankaja Kasturi Ayurvedic Medical College, Kattakada, Pankaja Kasturi College of Engineering, Kandala, Sarabhai Institute of Science & Technology, Vellanadu,Vigyaan College of Applied Sciences, Kattakode, Shine College, Anthiyoorkonam, Lourdes Matha College of Science and Technology, etc., have increased the educational facilities in the villages and even attracted students from far away places. Madhavakavi Memorial Govt Arts and Science College Malayinkeezhu was established in 2014.
Kulathummal Panchayat was formed in 1953. The Poovachal Panchayat was also formed in the same year, bifurcating Vellanad Panchayat. Kulathummal Panchayat was renamed as Kattakada Panchayat during the tenure of the Panchayat Committee which governed the local body in 1963-1979.
With the increase in transportation facilities in the 1970s, a large number of students began to undertake various courses in Trivandrum city. This also resulted in educational progress in a large scale and subsequent social transformation. A bus depot was inaugurated in Kattakada in 1981, and many bus services connecting even the remotest areas to the town were started. With the increase in the number of virtual population, many new business concerns and shops were set up. Thus, the town became a major commercial centre.
Ponnara Sreedhar, a prominent freedom fighter and member of Travancore-Cochin Legislative Assembly, was born in Kattakada. He later became the first Mayor of Trivandrum city after the formation of Kerala in 1956. Kattakada R. Balakrishna Pillai (1925-2013), a member of the first Kerala Legislative Assembly (1957–59) was also born in this place. He represented erst-while Aryanad Constituency in the Assembly. Other notable personalities born in Kattakada include the film actresses of yesteryear, Lalitha, Padmini, Ragini; together known as Travancore Sisters. In the present generation, lyricist Poovachal Khader, singer and Lalita Kala Academy Award winner (2000) Aamachal Ravi, the film director Rejin Thomas (Monkey Pen fame) and the young poet Murugan Kattakada belong to this town.
- Neyyattinkara Railway Station
- Neyyattinkara Sree Krishna Swami Temple
- Upper cloth revolt
- Municipalities of Kerala
- Kattakkada Taluk formed
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- About Kattakada - In the Local Self Government, Kerala website
- About Kattakada - In the Official Website of Church of South India (CSI) Parish Kattakada
- Kattakada Details on 1city.in
- Map of Thiruvananthapuram District
- About Kattakada