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This article is about the municipality in Kerala, India. For its namesake district, see Kottayam district. For the old princely state, see Kingdom of Kottayam. For the city in northern Kerala, see Kottayam-Malabar.
Kottaykkakam (Old name)
Land of Letters, Lakes , Latex
Rubber is the lifeline of Kottayam economy
Rubber is the lifeline of Kottayam economy
Nickname(s): Akshara Nagari (City of Alphabets)
Chuvar Chitra Nagaram (City of Mural)
Coordinates: 9°35′N 76°31′E / 9.58°N 76.52°E / 9.58; 76.52Coordinates: 9°35′N 76°31′E / 9.58°N 76.52°E / 9.58; 76.52
Country  India
State Kerala
District Kottayam
Established 1924
Official Language Malayalam, English
Native Language Malayalam
 • Type Municipal Council
 • Body Kottayam Municipality
 • Municipal Chairperson P R Sona (INC)
 • City 2,208 km2 (853 sq mi)
 • Metro 55.2 km2 (21.3 sq mi)
Elevation 3 m (10 ft)
Population (2011)
 • City 129,894
 • Density 59/km2 (150/sq mi)
 • Metro 60,725
Demonym(s) Kottayamkar
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 686 001
Telephone code Kottayam: 0481, Pala: 04822, Kanjirappally: 04828, Vaikom: 04829
Vehicle registration Kottayam: KL-05, Changanassery: KL-33, Kanjirappally: KL-34, Pala:KL-35, Vaikom:KL-36, Uzhavoor:KL-67
Sex ratio 1025 female(s)/1000 male(s)/ /
Literacy 96.1%
Website kottayam.nic.in

Kottayam (koʊttɑːjəm) is a city in the Indian state of Kerala covering an area of 55.40 square kilometres (21.39 sq mi). It is the administrative capital of Kottayam district and is located in south-central Kerala with a city population of 129,894[1] and UA population of 357,533 according to the 2011 census.[2] Kottayam is known as the city of three 'L's - Literacy, Lakes and Latex. Kottayam is the first town to achieve 100% literacy rate in India and thereby set a new record in1989. Now, Kottayam enjoys the glory of being the first Tobacco-free city as well. The Kottayam Municipality was established in 1924. It was one of the main centres of literature and hence was called AksharaNagari or Land of Letters. Many of the first Malayalam dailies like Deepika, Malayala Manorama, Mangalam were started and are headquartered in Kottayam.


Kottayam district gets its name from the town of Kottayam, which serves as the headquarters of the district. It is believed that the name Kottayam is derived from a combination of the Malayalam words kott (fort) and akammm (inside), which can be translated as "the interior of the fort".[3]


The kings of the small independent kingdom of Thekkumkoor ruled Kottayam from Thazhathangady till the mid-18th century.[citation needed] Later, Marthanda Varma, the ruler of Travancore, annexed Thekkumcore and the surrounding areas of Kottayam to the Kingdom of Travancore. During British rule in India, Kottayam remained a part of the Princely State of Travancore.[3]

Slave traders prevailed at Thirunakkara, Kottayam in the 17th Century.[4]

Colonial Period[edit]

The citizens of Kottayam played an important role in the early social struggles in Kerala. In 1891, a protest movement known as the Malayali Memorial Agitation originated in Kottayam, in order to seek better representation for the local people of Travancore in the Travancore civil service sector, against outsiders. Later, the movement spread to other parts of Travancore and had a major influence on the beginnings of modern political movements of Kerala.[3] The people of Kottayam also played a major role during the Abstention Movement in the 1930s, which aimed at the representation of Hindus of the lower castes, Christians and Muslims in the Travancore Legislature.[3] The Vaikom Satyagraha of 1924 against untouchability, led by Mahatma Gandhi, took place in Vaikom near Kottayam.[3] It was the first systematically organized agitation in Kerala against caste system and primitive customs to secure the rights of the depressed classes.

After Indian Independence[edit]

Earlier, the state of Travancore consisted of two revenue divisions: southern and northern, under the administrative control of a 'Diwan Peshkar' for each.[citation needed] In1868, Kottayam also became a revenue division of Travancore.[3] A fifth division, Devikulam, existed for a short period but was later added to Kottayam. At the time of the integration of the State of Travancore and Cochin in 1949, these revenue divisions were renamed as districts and the Diwan Peshkars gave way to District Collectors. As a result, in July 1949, Kottayam came into being as a district.[5] Later, it became a part of the state of Kerala, and the headquarters of the district bearing the same name when the state was formed in 1956.[citation needed]


Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) photographed in Vembanad Lake, Kottayam

Kottayam has an average elevation of 3 metres (9.8 ft) above sea level.[6] and is situated in the basin of the Meenachil River and in the basin of the Vembanad backwaters, which are formed from several streams in the Western Ghats in Idukki district. According to the division of places in Kerala based on altitudes, Kottayam is classified as being a midland area. The general soil type is alluvial soil. The vegetation is mainly tropical evergreen and moist deciduous type.


The climate in this district is moderate and pleasant. Kottayam's proximity to the equator results in little seasonal temperature variation, with moderate to high levels of humidity. Annual temperatures range between 20 to 35 °C (68 to 95 °F).[citation needed] From June through September, the south-west monsoon brings in heavy rains, as Kottayam lies on the windward side of the Western Ghats. From October to December, Kottayam receives light rain from the northwest monsoon. The average annual rainfall is 3,200 millimetres (130 in).

Kottayam is bordered by Pathanamthitta district on the south, Alappuzha district on the west, Ernakulam district on the north and Idukki district on the east.

Climate data for Kottayam
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 32
Average low °C (°F) 22
Average precipitation mm (inches) 22
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 1 2 3 7 10 21 20 17 13 12 8 3 117
Source: Weather2Travel


As of 2001 India census,[7] Kottayam Urban Agglomeration had a population of 172,878, while Kottayam district had a population of 19,52,901. Males constitute 62% of the population and females make up 38%. Population growth in the district is in a diminishing trend and it had a decadal population growth rate of 6.5 per cent compared to 9.35 per cent for Kerala during 1991-2001 period.[8]

Kottayam District is ranked 1st in literacy with a percentage of 95.9 compared to 90.92% for Kerala State and 65.38% for India (2001 census).[3] It is ranked 10th in population, as well as in area among the districts in Kerala.


Rubber Industry[edit]

One of the three L's of Kottayam City is Latex. Kottayam is a major trading center of natural rubber in India. Rubber trees are extensively cultivated in central Kerala, on plantations, both large and small especially in vast areas of Kottayam District, . The Rubber Board, a body set up by the Government of India for the development of the rubber industry, is located at Kottayam.[9] A number of small and medium-sized enterprises in and around the town are engaged in the processing of rubber latex and manufacturing of rubber products. Besides rubber, Kottayam is a trading place of other commercial crops like spices cultivated widely in the surrounding areas. The Plantation Corporation of Kerala has its headquarters at Kottayam.


Illikkal Kallu
Trekking destination in Kottayam

Tourism is a major contributor to the economy as many tourism related businesses thrive in the town. Kumarakom, a popular tourist destination in Kerala, is located 14 km from the town. Wagamon, another tourist destination is located on the borders of the districts of Kottayam and Idukki. Illickal Kallu (ഇല്ലിക്കൽ കല്ല്)is the best trekking destination in Kottayam. Kottayam is known for religious tourism. There are many famous temples, churches and mosques within the district.



The cuisine of Kottayam is the same as rest of Kerala, but with a distinct Syrian Christian influence seen in the use of coconut and spices, as well as beef, pork and sea food in Kerala cuisine. But still it has a multitude of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Rice is the staple food eaten twice or thrice a day. Luch dishes are most probably rice with curry. Most of the breakfast foods are made using either rice or wheat. There are many snacks like Achappam, Kozhallappam, banana chips, Neyyappam and so on. Tapioca is also one of the favourite food item among the people. Restaurants in the city also serve Kerala, Tamil and Northern cuisines. Kumarakom, the major backwater tourism destination on the outskirts of the city, has several luxury hotels and resorts including those of reputed hotel chains such as Taj, Zuri and Casino.


Margamkali and Arjuna Nritham are popular dance forms. Margamkali and martial arts such as Parichamuttukali are popular among the Syrian Christian community. It is performed by men and women separately. In the past, it was performed during Syrian Christian weddings. Arjuna Nritham, also known as Mayilpeeli Thookkam is a popular dance form performed by men. Besides these, other South Indian dance forms like Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattom, and Kuchipudi and classical Carnatic music are also practiced by a large number of young people.

Chuvar Chitra Nagari[edit]

Chuvar Chitra Nagari or City of Mural was an initiative taken by the authorities of Kottayam to add a new tag to Kottayam. She was the first city in India to be so. It was a huge success as it beautified the city through the murals. Public and governmental buildings like the Thirunakkara Sri Mahadeva Temple, police station, railway station, district hospital, Thirunakara Maidan and other public walls were used as the canvas for the mural.

Mural near Gandhi Statue

Many private institutions like the Pushpagiri Church, Thellakom also joined this attempt.


There are several movie halls which screen Malayalam, English, Tamil and Hindi movies. Kottayam have 7 theaters where movies are released periodically. They are Abhilash, Anupama, Anaswara, Anand cinemax,dhanya,ramya and Asha. Recently Anand Theatre is awarded the best theatre in the state. Most of these theaters lie close to the K.S.R.T.C bus stand apart from Anaswara which is closer towards Thirunakkara bus stand (Private Bus Stand). Dhanya and Remya are the two newly built theatres which started working from 2011 onwards. Kottayam is also the homeland for many prominent actor in the Malayalan Film Industry, like Mammooty, VD Rajappan, Kottayam Nazir etx.



Road Networks[edit]

Kottayam lies on the National Highway 183 (Old NH 220) connecting the City of Kollam and Theni. The NH183 connects Kottayam to the state of Tamil Nadu and the tourist destinations of Thekkady and Kuttikanam, as well as the agricultural towns of Kanjirapally and Mundakayam and State Highways SH1 or Main Central (MC) road,SH 9, SH11, SH13, SH14, SH15 and SH32 pass through Kottayam. The major port city of Kochi (70 kilometres (43 mi)) can be reached by the Changanassery-Alappuzha road and also via Ettumanoor and Kumarakom.


Public transport in the town is largely dependent on buses, run by both private operators and the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). There are three bus stations serving Kottayam, two of which cater to private buses and one exclusively for KSRTC buses. The bigger of the two private bus stations is located at Nagampadam, close to the railway station and the other is located in the heart of the town. Besides local bus services for, traveling within the town, Kottayam is well-connected to the rest of Kerala through inter-state bus services run by KSRTC.


Hired forms of transport include metered taxis and auto-rickshaws.


Kottayam railway station (Station Code:KTYM) is under the administration of the Southern Railway. Kottayam railway station has 3 platforms for handling long distance and passenger trains. A railway goods shed is also situated at the station.The station is located at Nagampadam which is at a distance of 2.5 km from Kottayam town. Kottayam lies on the busy rail route between Thiruvananthapuram - Kollam - Ernakulam and is served by several long distance trains connecting most major cities in the country, like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmedabad. This is the nearest station to tourist attractions like Kumarakom, Wagamon and pilgrim centres like Bharananganam, Vaikom Temple, Sabarimala etc.


The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, 90 km to the north.


Kottayam Port, India's first multi-modal Inland Container Depot (ICD) and a minor port using inland water way, is situated at Nattakom (near Kodimatha), on the banks of Kothoor river.

The Kerala State Water Transport Department (KSWTD) operates ferry services through the backwaters in and around Kottayam city. Ferries are a major mode of transport to the town connect to the tourist destination of Kumarakom and Alappuzha, as well as several smaller destinations. There are two major ferry jetties in the city - Town Jetty and Kodimatha Jetty. In recent years, the boat jetty at Kumarakom has acquired international fame as a launch point for the backwater rides on Vembabad lake, which has virtually become a poster image for tourism in Kerala.


Kottayam is the first city in India to attain 100% adult literacy. The city has more than 40 colleges and a vast number of schools. There are two Kendriya Vidyalayas in Kottayam. One in Puthuppally and the other in Kaduthuruthy.

An old building in the CMS College campus

Arts and Engineering Colleges[edit]

Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology, a college located in Pampady about 13 km for Kottayam has been ranked among the top 5 colleges in Kerala. CMS college, founded by the Church Missionary Society of England in 1817 is the first Western styled Arts College in India. St.Berchmans College Changanassery also known as SB College,established in 1922 is the first Autonomous College in Kerala, India situated in the town of Changanassery 18 kilometers south of Kottayam.

MG University[edit]

Mahatma Gandhi University, established in the 1980s is one of the 6 universities in Kerala and has grown to become one among the top 50 universities in India. It is located near Athirampuzha, nearly 13 km from Kottayam.

National Institutes[edit]

There are two National Institutes in Kottayam. One is the Indian Institute of Mass Communication located within the Mahatma Gandhi University Campus. Institute of Information Technology located in Valavoor, Pala is the other.

Science City[edit]

A science city is being constructed in Kuravilangad, about 22 km from Kottayam. It is expected to be completed by 2024. It is one of the few science cities in India. It aims for science popularisation and improving science literacy in the region.[10]

Medical College[edit]

The Government Medical College, Kottayam is one of the most prominent medical colleges in Kerala. It was established in 1962 in the town and later shifted to the current location in Aarpokara, about 8 km from Kottayam.


Aksharashilpam by Kanayi Kunjuraman at the courtyard of Kottayam Public Library

The Public Library in Kottayam is located at Sastri Road, which is a frequent happening place with art exhibitions.

Kottayam has produced many well-known writers, journalists and artists. Muttathu Varkey, a novelist and Pala Narayanan Nair, a poet, both have their footing in Kottayam. Kottayam Pushpanath, a writer of crime thrillers lives in Kottayam. The famous Indian-English novelist Arundhati Roy is a native of Kottayam and her semi-autobiographical Booker Prize–winning novel, The God of Small Things contains her childhood experiences in Aymanam, Kottayam. Padmabushan D. C. Kizhakemuri established his flagship DC Books in Kottayam. DC Books along with its retail arm Current Books is the leading publisher of Malayalam and English works in Kerala. D. C. Kizhakemuri died on January 26, 1999.


A number of popular basketball tournaments including the Marian Trophy, Girideepam Trophy, Lourdes Trophy and Virginia Memorial Tournament are conducted every year. The main sports stadia in Kottayam are Nehru Stadium and Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium. Both are located in Nagambadom. The indoor stadium was opened recently and it is the largest one in the state. A sports college is planned to be set up in Chingavanam, near Kottayam. Kottayam is also famous for athletics, as the place has produced several athletes who represented India in various international tournaments.


Kottayam is considered as the nerve center of Malayalam literature and publishing media. Unnuneeli Sandesam, a beautiful and a famous work of poetry, is supposed to have been written by one of the Rajas of Vadakkumkur. In 1821, Benjamin Bailey, a British missionary, established C.M.S. Press, the first printing press in Kerala, in Kottayam. The town has been in the forefront of newspaper and book publishing in the state ever since.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Malayalam literature was enriched by the works of Christian missionaries. Varthamana Pusthakam (1778), written by Parammekkal Thoma Kathanar on a visit to Rome, is the first travelogue in Malayalam. The first Malayalam English dictionary and Malayalam dictionary were published in Kottayam in the years 1846 and 1865 respectively. The first autobiography in Malayalam by Vaikom Pachu Moothathu was published in Kottayam in 1870. The first Malayalam Bible was also published in Kottayam.[citation needed]

Jnananikshepam was the first newspaper published by the natives of Kerala, and it was brought out from CMS press at Kottayam in 1848.[11] Nasrani Deepika was started in 1887 by the Carmelities of Mary Immaculate (CMI) missionaries at Mannanam near Kottayam. The newspaper still continues to be published under the name Deepika and is a leading Malayalam daily. Malayala Manorama, India's largest circulating regional daily,[citation needed] was founded here by K.C. Mammen Mapila in 1890. The part played by newspapers published from Kottayam, like Malayala Manorama, Deepika and Bhashaposhini, a literary magazine from Malayala Manorama Group in the cultural and literary development of Kerala is immense.

Today, seven major Malayalam newspapers – Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhoomi, Deshabhimani, Deepika, Madhyamam , Thejus and Mangalam – and around thirty periodicals are published from Kottayam. Kottayam is also home to several book publishers in Malayalam such as D. C. Books, Labour India Publications and Current Books. Almost 70 percent of books published in Kerala are from Kottayam.[12] In 1945, a group of writers set up Sahithya Pravarthaka Sahakarana Sangam, which means for Literary Workers' Co-operative Society in Malayalam. It was the first co-operative enterprise of writers, novelists and poets.

St Joseph College of Communication, Changanassery, Kerala is the first university affiliated media college in South India.

Government and Politics[edit]


Kottayam is one of the six municipalities in the district. The members of the municipal council is elected from each ward every five years along with Local Government Election in whole state. The chairperson is the executive authority of the municipality. The Kottayam municipality formed after the implementation of Kerala Municipalities Act in 1994. There are a total of 52 wards in the municipality.

Kottayam city is the part of the Kottayam legislative assembly constituency. Just like the local government election, the legislative assembly election is also conducted every for years. The last election was conducted in 2016 May.

The Kottayam is part of the Kottayam (Lok Sabha constituency).


The current municipal chairperson is PR Sona. UDF is the current front with majority in the municipal council.

The current member of legislative assembly (MLA) from Kottayam is Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan. .[13]

Jose K Mani is the Member of Parliament from Kottayam parliamentary constituency. .[14]

Kottayam used to be in the power of Communist front in the 1960s to 1980s. But later it became a stronghold of INC and UDF. But still, there are parts in the city and the district where the Communist front enjoy support. Kerala's former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is a Member of the Legislative Assembly from Puthuppally.

Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan


  1. ^ http://censusindia.gov.in/PopulationFinder/Population_Finder.aspx
  2. ^ http://www.citypopulation.de/India-Kerala.html
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Kurien L (2010). "Structure and functioning of Gramsabhas" (PDF). 
  4. ^ Adoor K. K. Ramachandran Nair (1986). Slavery in Kerala. Mittal Publications. pp. 22–. GGKEY:0GS56AKWN68. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  8. ^ Srikumar Chattopadhyay (2006). Striving for Sustainability: Environmental Stress and Democratic Initiatives in Kerala. Concept Publishing. p. 157. ISBN 9788180692949. 
  9. ^ [3]
  10. ^ "Science City facilities". 
  11. ^ official website of Information and Public Relation Department
  12. ^ Official website of the Kottayam District
  13. ^ "Assembly Constituencies - Corresponding Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies" (PDF). Kerala. Election Commission of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2009. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  14. ^ "Assembly Constituencies - Corresponding Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies" (PDF). Kerala. Election Commission of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2009. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 

External links[edit]