Kottayam district

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Kottayam district
Location in Kerala
Location in Kerala
Coordinates: 9°35′42″N 76°31′52″E / 9.595°N 76.531°E / 9.595; 76.531Coordinates: 9°35′42″N 76°31′52″E / 9.595°N 76.531°E / 9.595; 76.531
Country  India
State Kerala
Headquarters Kottayam
 • Collector U.V Jose IAS
 • Total 1,979,451
 • Density 1,025/km2 (2,650/sq mi)
 • Official Malayalam, English, Hindi(rarely)
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
ISO 3166 code IN-KL-
Website www.kottayam.gov.in

Kottayam is one of the 14 districts in the state of Kerala, India. The district has its headquarters at Kottayam town, located at 9.36° N and 76.17° E. According to the 1991 census, it is the first district to achieve 100% literacy rate in the whole of India. On 27 September 2008, Kottayam district also became the first tobacco free districts in India.[1][2]

Bordered by the Western Ghats on the east and the Vembanad Lake and paddy fields of Kuttanad on the west, Kottayam has many unique characteristics. Panoramic backwater stretches, lush paddy fields, highlands, hills and hillocks, rubber plantations and places associated with many legends given Kottayam District the enviable title: The land of letters, legends, latex and lakes. The district is 15.35% urbanised.[3]

The Headquarters of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church is the Catholicate Palace located at Devalokam, Kottayam, in Kerala state of India. It is the official headquarters of the Catholicos Of The East who reigns on the Supreme Throne of St.Thomas the Apostle. The headquarters of Madhya Kerala diocese of church of south India is located at Kottayam.


Kottayam literally means the interior of a fort - Kotta + Akam. Rulers of Munjanad and Thekkumkur had their headquarters at Thazhathangadi near Kottayam town.[citation needed] 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.

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

It was in Kottayam 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. It is of immense historic significance that national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, C. Rajagopalachari, Acharya Vinoba Bhave and E.V. Ramswami Naykar, associated with this struggle.[citation needed] The ' Nivarthana ' agitation of the early thirties, to secure adequate representation for the non-caste Hindus, Christians and Muslims in the state Legislature, enjoyed considerable support from this district. The district was also a centre of the agitation led by the state Congress for responsible Government in Travancore. The agitation had a triumphant end, with the overthrow of Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, the then Dewan of Travancore.

The present Kottayam district was previously a part of the erstwhile princely state of Travancore. Earlier, the Travancore state consisted of two revenue divisions viz. the southern and northern divisions, under the administrative control of a 'Diwan Peshkar' for each. Later in 1868 two more divisions Quilon (Kollam) and Kottayam were constituted. The fifth division Devikulam came next but only for a short period, which in course of time, was added to Kottayam. At the time of the integration of the state of Travancore and Cochin (Kochi) in 1949, these revenue divisions were renamed as districts and the Diwan Peshkars gave way to District Collectors, paving the way for the birth of the Kottayam District in July 1949 which included Kottayam, Muvattupuzha (including present day Kothamangalam), Thodupuzha, Changanasserry, Vaikkom, Meenachil, Devikulam and Peermade taluks.[4]

Kottayam is also known as the language-capital of Kerala .


Kottayam has a tropical climate like that of the rest of Kerala, hence there are no distinct seasons in the area. Humidity is high and rises to about 90% during the rainy season. Kottayam gets rain from two monsoon seasons, the south-west monsoon and the north-east monsoon. The average rainfall is around 3600 mm per year. The south-west monsoon starts in June and ends in September. The north-east monsoon season is from October to November. Pre-monsoon rains during March to May is accompanied by thunder and lightning ; the highest rainfall during this period in Kerala is received in Kottayam. December, January and February are cooler, while March, April and May are warmer. The highest temperature recorded here was 38.5 °C (6 April 1998) and the lowest was 15 °C (13 December 2000).[5] Kottayam district experienced the most intense red rainfall, heavy downpours occurred in 2001 during which the rain was colored red, yellow, green, and black.


Kottayam has a vast network of rivers, backwaters, ancient religious places, and hillstations. Some of the noted tourist places here are:

Vembanad Lake has a great expanse of water which is a part of the interconnected Kerala Backwaters that run virtually the length one third of the state. Vembanad Lake is 52 miles (84 km) in length and 9 miles (14 km) in width. Traditional cargo boats called Kettuvallams are modified into luxurious cruise boats and house boats. These boats gracefully move around the back waters, providing facilities to tourist to enjoy the beauty of the Vembanad Lake in a relaxed pace.

House boat in Kumarakam

Pathiramanal (the midnight sands) is located in the Vembanad Lake is a small beautiful island. This island is accessible only by boat.

Kumarakom, located on the coast of Vembanad Lake, is a beautiful village stocked with divine mangroves and coconut groves, lush green paddy fields, gushing waters snaking through the dense forests. Kumarakom bird sanctuary, is home to migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal. Local birds like the water fowl, cuckoo, owl and water hen and other common varieties like the woodpecker, sky lark, crane and parrot can also be spotted here. Ninety-one species of local and 50 species of migratory birds are found here. The best time to watch local birds is June–August and the best time for migratory birds is November–February. House boats and motorboats are available on hire for bird watching cruises in the Lake.

During the months of August and September, the rivers in and near Kottayam are turned into festival centres. The serene backwaters come alive during Onam with a spectacular water regatta -the snake boat races. Oarsmen, at least a hundred in each boat, slice their way through the waters to the fast rhythm of their own full-throated singing. Thazhathangadi boat race in Kummanam is over a century old. Boat races are conducted at Kavanar and Kottathodu rivers in Kumarakom. These vallam kali have about 50 boats participating, including Chundan, Churulan, Iruttukuthi(ody) Veppu, and canoes.

Other nearby tourist destinations:


Kottayam town is linked by major roads and rail to other prominent cities in Kerala, and also linked to the waterways for scenic travel. The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport which is about 88 kilometers away. Kottayam is the first town in India selected by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India to be transformed as an Eco City.[1]


Kottayam has a mountainous terrain as well as low-lying areas very close to sea level. Depending on the location different varieties of food crops as well as cash crops are cultivated. Rice is the principal crop extensively cultivated in low-lying regions like Vaikom and Upper Kuttanad. The district occupies the third position in the production of rice in Kerala behind Palakkad and Alappuzha. Though it is the staple food of the people, unfortunately the area under cultivation is dwindling due to more lucrative cash crops like rubber plantations for which Kottayam significantly contributes to the overall rubber production in India. Kottayam occupies the first position in the production of rubber in India. Rubber trees provide a stable income for the farmers and climate is ideal for rubber plantations. Though highlands are more suitable, the cultivation has spread to almost every where. Apart from these, other crops cultivated are tapioca, coconut, pepper, vegetables etc. In order to enhance the rubber productivity, government of India has set up Rubber board and Rubber research institute in Kottayam.[6][7]


Aside from two public sector companies, Hindustan Newsprint at Velloor and Travancore Cements at Nattakom, industries in the district consist mostly of small and medium scale units. The main activity are in publishing (newspapers and books) and processing of rubber (latex) and manufacturing of rubber based products. Rubber based industries in the district include a unit of MRF Ltd. (Madras Rubber Factory) in Vadavathoor, St. Mary's Rubbers (P) Ltd. Koovapplly, Kanjirappally the No.1 centrifuged Latex, Skim rubber Block and Skim crepe rubber exporter in India,(www.stmarysrubbers.com). St. Mary's Rubbers (P) Ltd. newly launched their new product gloves under the brand name of "Medismart" on 30 June 2013.(www.medismartglove.com/) . Midas Rubber Ltd. at Ettumanoor, Intermix factory (Neezhoor) and Rubco at Pampady.

Confined more or less to the Vaikom area of the district, is a thriving coir processing industry, processing coir and making coir products. Consisting of more than twenty co-operatives, it employs around 20,000 people. In the hand loom sector, eight co-operative societies provide employment to 2100 persons. The district has a rich forest wealth with good availability of softwood and other varieties of timber providing raw material for a number of small enterprises in the production of plywood, packing cases, splints, veneers and furniture.


The first printing press in Kerala (C.M.S. Press) was established here in 1821 by Rev. Benjamin Bailey, a British missionary. Maiden printed Malayalam-English and English-Malayalam dictionaries were published from Kottayam in 1846 and 1847 respectively. The only cooperative society of writers, authors and publishers (SPCS), for publishing books and periodicals was set up here in 1945. Kottayam is the hometown of a vast number of books and periodicals and is the centre of publishing business in the state. Popular publishing houses like Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhumi publications, Labour India Publications Ltd, Mangalam Publications, Deepika, D. C. Books, V Publishers, Vidhyamitram, Kerala Kaumudi daily and kerala kaumudi flash are also publishes from here. Kottayam city hosts a number of book exhibitions every year.


According to the 2011 census Kottayam district has a population of 1,979,384,[8] roughly equal to the nation of Slovenia[9] or the US state of New Mexico.[10] This gives it a ranking of 234th in India (out of a total of 640).[8] The district has a population density of 896 inhabitants per square kilometre (2,320/sq mi).[8] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–11 was 1.32%.[8] Kottayam has a sex ratio of 1040 females for every 1000 males,[8] and a literacy rate of 96.4%.[8]

As per 2001 Indian Census, population in Kottayam includes Hindus (49.32%), Christians (44.60%) and Muslims (5.97%).


Religions in Kottayam District
Religion Percent
Distribution of religions
Source: 2011 Census.

Like the rest of Kerala, Hindus, Christians and Muslims form a significant part of the population.In 2001 Indian Census Muslim Population is 5.97%, Hindu 49.32%, Christian 44.60%. Kottayam, Thiruvalla and Chengannur are the railway stations for pilgrims heading to the Hindu holy site of Sabarimala. During December and January of each year pilgrims from all over India head to Kottayam and its vicinities to start their final journey to the Sabarimala Temple. The temple is located around 110 km from Kottayam, in the district of Pathanamthitta. Panachikad Temple, one of the famous Saraswathy temples in Kerala is located nearly 12 km away from Kottayam. The Siva temple at Thirunakkara is in the heart of Kottayam town. Three festivals are celebrated here in Thulam (October–November), Mithunam (June–July) and Meenam (March–April) of which the last one is the most important. The Aaraattu, conducted on the last day of the festival, is the festival of Kottayam, irrespective of caste and creeds. Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is another important temple located near Kottayam town. Thirunakkara Srikrishna temple, and Pallipurathukavu Devi Temple are other important temples located in the town. Kodungoor Devi temple, Kavinpuram Devi Temple (Ezhacherry), Chirakadavu Mahadevar temple, Ponkunnam Devi temple, Cheruvally Devi temple, Kidangoor Subramanyaswamy Temple and Vaikom Mahadevar temple are other famous Hindu temples near Kottayam.

Thekkumthala Devi Temple is in another famous temple. It is located in Pallikkathode in Kottayam.

Cheria Pally Church

Kottayam is a major center for Syrian Christians in Kerala. Syrian Christians include Malankara Orthodox, Jacobite Syrian Christian Church (Jacobite), Knanaya, Syro-Malankara Catholic, Marthoma, and other members of Syro-Malabar Catholic and Madhya Kerala Diocese of the Church of South India. About 40% of Kottayam Christians are Orthodox Christians[ Malankara Orthodox, Jacobite Syrian Christian Church (Jacobite), Knanaya ] , 30% are Catholic Christians [ Syro-Malankara Catholic, Knanaya ] and remaining 30% are Protestants. Catholic Church had the highest population among different Christian Denominations with over 500,000 population including Roman Catholic, Knanaya Catholic and Malankara Catholic. Malankara Orthodox Church with over 350,000 and Jacobite Church with its nearly 200,000 population including Jacobite Knanaya population. A number of old and sacred Christian churches are also located in Kottayam.

The most famous Christian church in the district of Kottayam is St. Mary's Jacobite Syrian Church in Manarcad. It is known for its celebration of the ancient practice of the 8 Day Lent and the Feast of Virgin Mary's Birth between September 1 and 8 every year. During the days of the lent, millions of people from the far corners of the world reach Manarcad to seek the blessings of Virgin Mary.

St. George Orthodox Church Puthuppally Pally[2], is a prominent church that belongs to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. This church is situated beside the Puthuppally-Changancherry road about a kilometre from the Puthuppally junction, on the eastern bank of the Kodoorar rivulet.Puthuppally Pally is one of the most important churches among the ancient churches of Malankara.

The Valia Pally, the oldest church in Kottayam,has Persian inscriptions and a stone cross and belongs to the Knanaya Jacobite Church. Old Seminary Orthodox Pazhaya Seminary, a prominent religious institution belonging to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church and a seminary for aspiring priests for Syrian Christians in Kerala, is also located in Chungam, Kottayam. The Cheria Pally, an ancient Church belonging to the Malankara Orthodox Church is a well preserved church with wall murals dating back to ancient times. These unique wall murals have been painted using vegetable dyes.

Martha Mariam Church (St. Mary’s Forane Church) Kuravilagadu which was built in 105 AD (one hundred years before Constantine declared Christianity as the official religion in the Roman Empire). It is believed, Mother Mary's first appearance in the world, was in Kuravilangad. Our Lady appeared to a few children at Kuravilangad, who were tending their flock in the bushes. Our Lady asked them to build a church at the place from where a miraculous perpetual spring sprouted, a spring which exists even today.Martha Mariam Church is the ancestral home of Christian communities in Kerala and outside the state. Mar Alexander De Campo (Parampil Chandy Metran) is an illustrious son of Kuravilangad. He is the first indigenous bishop of the whole of India. There are lot of histories related to this church such as first Christian families Palli (Kalli), Kaliyakal (kalikavu), Sankarapuri and Pakalomattam and the great history of archdeacons etc.

St. Alphonsa, the first woman saint of India was born on 19 August 1910 in Kudamaloor and died on 28 July 1946 in Bharananganam. St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Kudamaloor where she was baptized and the St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Bharananganam where she is buried are pilgrim centers of large interest among Christians.

Some of the important Syrian Catholic churches in Kottayam include Christ the King Syro-Malabar Catholic Cathedral of Kottayam Knanaya Archdiocese and Lourde's Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church. Important Latin Catholic churches are Good Shepherd Church and Vimalagiri Cathedral. Pope John Paul II visited Kottayam during his visit to India in 1986. In Kottayam he announced the beatification of Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Alphonsa, who hail from Kottayam district.

Cherpunkal Church is a famous Church in the name of Infant Jesus. Lots of people visit the church every First Friday. The Syrian Christians of Kottayam are popularly known as Achayans.

One of the oldest mosques in Kerala, Thazhathangady Mosque is situated in Thazhathangady at 3 kilometers from Kottayam town. This mosque is considered to be around 1500 years old and was built by early Arab travelers who landed in Kerala during the time of the Cheraman empire.


The Old Seminary (Orthodox Pazhaya Seminary) of the Malankara Orthodox Church at Chungam, is the first institution to start English education in South India. It was founded in 1815 by Colonel John Monroe.[citation needed] C.M.S High School (which later became Church Missionary Society College High School) was founded by the British missionary Rev. Benjamin Bailey. The first college in the state (C.M.S. College) was started at Kottayam in 1840. It is also the second college in India established by the British empire.[citation needed] C.M.S. College was previously known as "Grammar School".

Kottayam is a major centre of education. Mahatma Gandhi University, one of the six universities in Kerala is located here. Other prominent educational institutions located in Kottayam include Government College, Kottayam, C.M.S. College, Baselius College, KG College Pampady, B.C.M College and K. E. College (Kuriakose Elias College, Mannanam). Medical College, Kottayam one of the government medical colleges, is located at Gandhinagar close to Kottayam. Government Dental College, Kottayam, the third and the latest Dental College is also located in Gandhinagar. Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology, the government engineering college named after former prime minister of India Mr. Rajiv Gandhi is situated in Pampady. There are also a number of other engineering colleges situated in the district. Theophilus college of Nursing, Kangazha is the first Self-financing Nursing College to be started in the private sector. The Mar Thoma Seminary Higher Secondary School situated on Zion Hill of Kottayam. This school was awarded the best school of the Kerala state in 1976. Kottayam has a Technical Higher Secondary School and College of Applied Science managed by IHRD located at Puthuppally.

Notable persons[edit]

Hospitals, health care[edit]

  • Medical College, Kottayam
  • Indo - American Hospital, Vaikom (Institute for Brain & Spine)
  • Caritas Hospital
  • Bharath Hospital, Kottayam
  • AMMA Hospital kottayam
  • Matha Hospital, Thellakom
  • S. H. Medical Center, Kottayam
  • Little Lourdes Mission hospital, Kidangoor
  • MGDM Hospital, Kangazha
  • Mangalam Hospital
  • KVMS hospital, Ponkunnam
  • Karipal Hospital, Kalathilpady
  • PMC Hospital, Erattupetta
  • Marian Medical Centre, Pala
  • Carmel Hospital, Pala
  • Cherian Memorial Mission (CMM) Hospital, Karukachal
  • Cherupushpam trust Hospital Pala
  • Apart from above, Kottayam has a Government medical college and Dental college
  • St. Thomas Hospital,Changanassery
  • St. Mary's Hospital Manarcad
  • Mary Matha Hospital, Kanjirapally
  • Mary Queens LDFMission Hospital, Kanjirappally
  • High Range Medical Centre, Kanjirappally
  • Mandiram Hospital, Manganam
  • Udayagiri Hospital,Changanacherry
  • St. Retas Hospital Nalukody
  • E.S.I Hospital Vadavathoor
  • St. Jude's Hospital
  • Dr.Ivans Eye Clinic & Opticals Chingavanam, Kottayam
  • Good Samarittan hospital, Koprakalam
  • Nirmala hospital, Pallikathodu
  • Santhi Niketan hospital, Ponkunnam
  • Amala Ayurveda hospital, Attickal
  • PMI hospital, Puthupally
  • KIMS Hospital, Kumaranalloor


K. R. Narayanan, the former President of India hails from Kottayam district. Currently Kottayam is represented in the Lok Sabha by Jose K. Mani of Kerala Congress (Mani).

Members representing constituencies in Kottayam in the Kerala state Legislative Assembly

Towns and villages in the district[edit]

Ambikamarket, Amayannoor, Arumanoor, Amparanirappel, Anchery, Arpookara, Athirampuzha, Ayamkudy, Aymanam, Ayarkunnam, Chemmalamattam, Chengalam, Cheruvally, Chungam, Changanassery, Cherpunkal, Chingavanam, Ettumanoor, Edakkunnam, Elikkulam, Erumely, Erattupetta, Kadaplamattom, Kadappoor, Kaduthuruthy, Kaipuzha, Kalikave, Kallara, Kanakkary, Kanjiramattom, Kanjirappally, Kangazha, Karikkattoor, Karukachal, Kidangoor, Kodungoor, Koottickal, Koodalloor, Kothala, Kothanalloor, Kudamaloor, Kumarakom, Kumaranalloor, Kummannoor, Kuravilangad, Kurichithanam, Kurupanthara, Malloossery, Manarkadu, Manimala, Marangattupilly, Mundakkayam, Mutholy, Muttuchira, Neendoor, Neericadu, Padinjattinkara, Palackattumala, Palai, Pallickathode, Palayam, Pampady, Panachikkad, Panamattom, Parampuzha, Parathodu, Peroor, Ponkunnam, Poonjar, Poovarany, Puthuppally, Puthuvely, Ramapuram Vaikom, Kidangoor, Thalayolaparambu, Thekkumthala, Thiruvanchoor, Uzhavoor, Vadavathoor, Vaikom, Vakathanam, Vechoor, Villoonni, Pathamuttom

Educational institutions in the district[edit]


  1. ^ Kottayam to be declared as tobacco free district soon Yahoo! India
  2. ^ Kottayam district to be declared tobacco-free The Hindu
  3. ^ http://www.censusindiamaps.net/page/India_WhizMap/IndiaMap.htm Urban statistics of the district
  4. ^ K. M. Mathew, ed. (2006). Manorama Year Book. Malayala Manorama. p. 116. 
  5. ^ http://www.kerala.gov.instatistical/panchayat_statistics2001/ktm_shis.htm Climate of Kottayam
  6. ^ http://www.ktm.kerala.gov.in/agriculture.htm
  7. ^ http://www.naturemagics.com/kottayam-backwater-cruise/kottayam-agriculture-rubber.shtm
  8. ^ a b c d e f "District Census 2011". Census2011.co.in. 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  9. ^ US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". Retrieved 2011-10-01. Slovenia 2,000,092 July 2011 est.  line feed character in |quote= at position 9 (help)
  10. ^ "2010 Resident Population Data". U. S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-09-30. New Mexico - 2,059,179 

External links[edit]