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Coordinates: 9°35′29.8″N 76°31′19.9″E / 9.591611°N 76.522194°E / 9.591611; 76.522194
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Top to bottom, left to right: MC Mathew memorial at Thirunakkara, Aksharashilpam, Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral, Kodimatha Boat Jetty, Kottayam Government Medical College, CMS College Kottayam
Top to bottom, left to right: MC Mathew memorial at Thirunakkara, Aksharashilpam, Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral, Kodimatha Boat Jetty, Kottayam Government Medical College, CMS College Kottayam
Kottayam is located in Kerala
Kottayam (Kerala)
Kottayam is located in India
Kottayam (India)
Coordinates: 9°35′29.8″N 76°31′19.9″E / 9.591611°N 76.522194°E / 9.591611; 76.522194[1]
Country India
RegionCentral Travancore
Official LanguageMalayalam
Native LanguageMalayalam
 • TypeMunicipality
 • BodyKottayam Municipality
 • Municipal ChairpersonBincy Sebastian
 • City108 km2 (42 sq mi)
 • Land179.54 km2 (69.32 sq mi)
 • Water5.46 km2 (2.11 sq mi)
 • Urban
185 km2 (71 sq mi)
 • Metro
220 km2 (80 sq mi)
 • Rank7th in Kerala
47.96 m (157.35 ft)
 • City489,615
 • Rank5
 • Density4,500/km2 (12,000/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density3,100/km2 (8,000/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density3,600/km2 (9,400/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Telephone codeKottayam:0481
Vehicle registrationKL-05 Kottayam, KL- 33 Changanassery, KL- 34 Kanjirappally, KL - 35 Pala, KL - 36 Vaikom, KL- 67 Uzhavoor
Sex ratio1075 female(s)/1000 male(s)/ /
Literacy rate99.66 %
Websitewww.kottayammunicipality.lsgkerala.gov.in kottayam.nic.in
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) photographed in Vembanad Lake, Kottayam

Kottayam (IPA: [ko:ʈ:ayam]) is a city in the Kottayam district of Kerala, India. It is the district headquarters of the district and is located about 151 km (93.8 mi) north of the state capital Thiruvananthapuram. As per the 2011 Indian census, Kottayam has a population of 489,615 people, and a population density of 4,533/km2 (11,740/sq mi). The total Kottayam Metropolitan area (the combined area of Kottayam municipality and its adjacent suburbs) has a population of 802,419 people, and a population density of 3,647/km2 (9,450/sq mi).

Kottayam is also referred to as "the City of Letters" as many of the first Malayalam daily newspapers, such as Deepika, Malayala Manorama, and Mangalam, were started and are headquartered in Kottayam, as are a number of publishing houses.[citation needed]


The royal palace of the Thekkumkur ruler was protected by a fort called Thaliyilkotta. It is believed that the name Kottayam is derived from a combination of the Malayalam words kotta which means fort (Thaliyilkotta) and akam which means inside. The combined form, Kottaykkakam (കോട്ടയ്ക്കകം), can be translated as "inside the fort".[1][2][3]


Thekkumkur rule (1103 - 1753)[edit]

From the beginning of the ninth century AD, the history of Thekkumkur and of Kottayam are virtually indistinguishable. Kottayam was then a part of Vempolinad, an area in the Kulashekara Empire (800 AD – 1103  AD). By 1103, the Kingdom of Vempolinad had split into the Kingdoms of Thekkumkur and Vadakkumkur, and the latter became a vassal of Cochin.[4][5]

The royal house had originally been situated in Vennimala in Kottayam. It was protected by a fort known as Thaliyilkotta and, as a result, the locality came to be known by the same name as the fort. Afterward, Thekkumkur kings shifted their capital to Nattassery near Kumaranallore at the outskirts of Kottayam town. It is believed that the Thekkumkur dynasty ruled Kottayam from Thazhathangadi. Rulers of Munjanad and Thekkumkur had their headquarters at Thazhathangadi in the present Kottayam town. Marthanda Varma of Travancore attacked Thekkumkur and destroyed the palace and the Thaliyil fort. The remnants of the palaces and forts are still seen here.

The Portuguese and the Dutch established trade relations with both of these kingdoms, dealing in black pepper and other spices. After the subjugation of the Dutch East India Company by the Kingdom of Travancore in the 1741 Travancore–Dutch War, military operations of Marthanda Varma progressed against the northern neighboring kingdoms, including Thekkumkur.

Travancore rule (1753 - 1949)[edit]

Though Thekkumkur allied with Chempakassery and Vadakkumkoor to protect the kingdom, all of them were finally annexed to Travancore.[6] Another source states that the ruler of Thekkumkur had sided first with the Kingdom of Kayamkulam and then with the principality of Ambalapuzha against Travancore. After the fall of Ambalapuzha, and as the ruler of Thekkumkur refused to come to terms with Travancore, his capital city was taken on 11 September 1750 by Ramayyan Dalawa, the general and prime minister of Marthanda Varma, and the state was annexed to Travancore in 1753.

By the early 19th century, Travancore became a Protectorate of Britain after a series of unfair treaties. In 1817, the Church Missionary Society established CMS College as the first Western-style college in Kerala. It was welcomed by the Travancore government to provide administrators for the public bureaucracy[7]

Mahatma Gandhi at Vaikom Satyagraha

Kottayam has played its role in all the political agitations of modern times. The ‘Malayali Memorial ‘ agitation may be said to have had its origin in Kottayam. The Malayali Memorial sought to secure better representation for educated Travancoreans in the Travancore civil service against persons from outside. The Memorial, which was presented to the Maharaja Sri Moolam Thirunal (1891) was drafted at a public meeting held in the Kottayam Public Library. The event marked the beginning of the modern political movement in the State.[1]

It was here that the famous Vaikom Satyagraha (1924–25), an epic struggle for eradication of untouchability, took place. Scheduled castes and other backward classes in Travancore were denied not only entry into temples, but also access to temple roads. Vaikom, the seat of a celebrated Siva Temple, was the venue of the symbolic satyagraha.[8] Due to these protests, the Maharaja Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma issued the Temple Entry Proclamation in 1936.

Contemporary period (1949 - Present)[edit]

Kottayam became a revenue division of Travancore.[2] 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 redesignated as districts and the Diwan Peshkars gave way to district collectors, with the Kottayam district established in July 1949.[9]


Kottayam has an average elevation of 3 metres (9.8 ft) above sea level.[10] It 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 of the Idukki district. The city is situated near the inland estuary of Meenachil river where it empties into the Vembanad lake in Kumarakom.

According to the division of places in Kerala based on altitudes, Kottayam is classified as a midland area. The general soil type is alluvial soil. The vegetation is mainly tropical evergreen and moist deciduous.


Under the Köppen climate classification, Kottayam has a Tropical monsoon climate (Am).

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.

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

Climate data for Kottayam (1981–2010, extremes 1970–2012)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36.6
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 32.9
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 22.2
Record low °C (°F) 16.9
Average rainfall mm (inches) 9.6
Average rainy days 0.9 1.4 3.0 8.3 10.9 22.3 22.3 17.3 12.8 14.3 9.7 2.7 125.8
Average relative humidity (%) (at 17:30 IST) 65 63 63 67 71 80 81 79 76 76 75 67 72
Source: India Meteorological Department[11][12]


Historical population

As of 2001 India census,[13] Kottayam Urban Agglomeration had a population of 172,878, while Kottayam district had a population of 1,974,551. The population of Kottayam municipality was 136,812. Males constituted 62% of the population and females 38%. Population growth in the district had a diminishing trend with a decadal population growth rate of 6.5% compared to 9.35% across the decade 1991–2000.[14] Population growth in the municipality is due to migration for employment. Kottayam District is ranked first in literacy, with 95.9% literacy compared to 90.92% for Kerala State and 65.38% for India (2001 census).[2]

Religions in Kottayam (2011)[15]
Distribution of religions

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes constituted 6.73% and 0.31% of the total population in Kottayam respectively.[16] 19,739 persons were engaged in work or business activity, including 14,282 males and 5,457 females. In the census survey, the worker is defined as a person who does business, job, service, cultivator or labour activity. Of total 19,739 working population, 90.17% were engaged in main work while 9.83% of total workers were engaged in marginal work.


Jnananikshepam was the first newspaper published by the natives of Kerala, published at CMS press at Kottayam in 1848.[17] Kottayam has produced many well-known writers, journalists and artists. Novelist Muttathu Varkey and poet Pala Narayanan Nair both have roots in Kottayam. Kottayam Pushpanath, a writer of crime thrillers lives in Kottayam. The 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. Unni R. a story writer and scriptwriter, is also from Kottayam. Kottayam was the first town in India to have achieved 100% literacy.[18] Kottayam Public Library was founded in 1882 by T Rama RaoDewanPeshkar (Collector) of Northern Division of Travancore State.[19]


In the 17th century, a Dutch school was started at Kottayam, which was short-lived. The first English school in Kerala, and the first college in India, was established in 1817 by the Church Missionary Society of England as CMS College.[20] Kottayam became India's first town with 100% literacy in 1989.[21]

The Government Medical College, Kottayam, is one of the most prominent medical colleges in Kerala. Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, is based out of Kottayam. Kottayam boasts several other colleges and universities.

There are 14 engineering colleges. Government Engineering College, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology, Kottayam is located in Pampady, 14 km east of Kottayam. Indian institute of information technology, Kottayam is an institute of national importance is also located around 30 km (19 mi) from Kottayam, near to Pala town. Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) also has one of its regional centres based at Kottayam.


In 1821, Benjamin Bailey, a British missionary, established C.M.S. Press, the first printing press in Kerala, in Kottayam. The town has been at the forefront of newspaper and book publishing in the state ever since.

Newspaper Malayala Manorama, published from Kottayam, is one of the largest circulating dailies in India.[22] The Malayala Manorama Group, based in Kottayam, also owns Manorama Online, Manorama News Channel, The Week magazine and other publications. Other major Malayalam newspapers—Mathrubhoomi, Deshabhimani, Deepika, Madhyamam, and around thirty periodicals are published from Kottayam. Kottayam is also home to several Malayalam book publishers such as D. C. Books, Labour India Publications and Current Books. Almost 70 percent of books published in Kerala are from Kottayam.[23] In 1945, a group of writers set up Sahithya Pravarthaka Sahakarana Sangham (English: Literary Workers' Co-operative Society) in Malayalam.


A number of annual basketball tournaments including the Marian Trophy, Girideepam Trophy, Lourdes Trophy and Virginia Memorial Tournament are conducted. The main sports stadiums in Kottayam are Nehru Stadium and Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium, both located in Nagambadom.



Kottayam is one of the six municipalities in the district, formed after the implementation of the Kerala Municipalities Act in 1994. The members of the municipal council are elected from each of 52 wards every five years, held with the local government elections across the state. The chairperson is the executive authority of the municipality.

Kottayam town is the part of the Kottayam legislative assembly constituency and the Kottayam Lok Sabha constituency. The legislative assembly election is conducted every four years, last in May 2016.


Kottayam Collectorate

The collectorate of the Kottayam District is located in Kottayam town. The present collector is Smt. V. Vigneshwari IAS. Many administrative and district offices of Kottayam including the District Court is situated within the collectorate premises.


Five courts were established during the tenure of Colonel John Munro, as the Diwan of various states in India. One of these was established in Vaikom, in the northwest of Kottaya district.

The district court at Kottayam was established in 1910 during the period of Sree Moolam Thirunal Maharaja of Tranvancore. The court celebrated its centenary in 2010.

The District Headquarters of the judiciary is set up at Kottayam town with the Principal District Court as it Administrative Centre. The justice delivery system consists of eight Munsiff Courts, ten Judicial 1st Class Magistrate Courts, three Sub Courts, one Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, and three Additional District Courts. In addition to these regular courts, two Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals, one special court for Vigilance cases and two Family Courts also function in this district.


Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, The current member of legislative assembly (MLA) from Kottayam

The major political parties active in Kottayam are Indian National Congress (INC), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Kerala Congress. Trade union movements are also popular in Kottayam as Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS, Indian Workers' Union), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) affiliated workers engaged in the labor sector.

The current municipal chairperson is PR Sona. United Democratic Front (Kerala) (UDF[K]) is the ruling coalition of parties, holding a majority in the municipal council.

The current member of legislative assembly (MLA) from Kottayam is Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.[24] He has been of the member of legislative assembly of Kerala representing Kottayam town constituency since 2011.[25]


  1. ^ a b "About Kottayam". Kottayam. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Kurien L (2010). "Structure and functioning of Gramsabhas" (PDF). {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ "Structure and functioning of Gramsabhas". 2010. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ P. Shungoonny Menon - A HISTORY OF TRAVANCORE - First edition: 1878, New edition: 1983, Page 130, 131 - ISBN 978-8170200406
  5. ^ K.N Gopala Pillai Kuruppum Veettil (1948). Thekkumkur Rani (Queen of Thekkumkur). The Hindustan Publishing House, Trivandrum, Publisher: Thomas George BA. pp. 224–. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  6. ^ A. Sreedhara Menon (1987). Political History of Modern Kerala. D C Books. pp. 140–. ISBN 978-81-264-2156-5. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  7. ^ "Setting standards of excellence: UGC recognition has added to CMS College's list of merits". The Hindu. 4 January 2005. Archived from the original on 15 March 2005. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
  8. ^ "Kottayam". Government of Kerala. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Kottayam District, Government of Kerala | Kottayam, the Land of Letters | India".
  10. ^ "Kottayam Travel Guide: Useful information to visit Kottayam. 8 Reviews".
  11. ^ "Station: Kottayam Climatological Table 1981–2010" (PDF). Climatological Normals 1981–2010. India Meteorological Department. January 2015. pp. 433–434. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Extremes of Temperature & Rainfall for Indian Stations (Up to 2012)" (PDF). India Meteorological Department. December 2016. p. M107. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  13. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 16 June 2004. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
  14. ^ Chattopadhyay, Srikumar (2006). Striving for Sustainability: Environmental Stress and Democratic Initiatives in Kerala. Concept Publishing. p. 157. ISBN 9788180692949.
  15. ^ "Towns in Kottayam - Religion 2011". Indian Population Census 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Kottayam Municipality City Population Census 2011-2021 | Kerala".
  17. ^ "official website of Information and Public Relation Department". Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  18. ^ "About District". Government of Kerala. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  19. ^ "About Us – Kottayam Public Library". Retrieved 22 November 2023.
  20. ^ "Setting standards of excellence: UGC recognition has added to CMS College's list of merits". The Hindu. 4 January 2005. Archived from the original on 15 March 2005. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
  21. ^ "City of letters sets itself a new milestone". www.thehindubusinessline.com. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 5 December 2023.
  22. ^ 2019 Highest Circulated Dailies, Weeklies & Magazines amongst Member Publications (across languages) Audit Bureau
  23. ^ "Official website of the Kottayam District". Archived from the original on 2 October 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  24. ^ "Assembly Constituencies - Corresponding Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies" (PDF). Kerala. Election Commission of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2008.
  25. ^ "Assembly Constituencies - Corresponding Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies" (PDF). Kerala. Election Commission of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2008.

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