Kerala tours are sought after by tourists for its backwater canals and other natural bounties; if you want to explore the serene backwaters of Kerala, Kottayam is an ideal destination in God’s Own Country. Kottayam is a land of nature bordered by the Western Ghats on the east and the Vembanad lake and paddy greeneries on the west.
Tourist visit Kottayam in Kerala for its panoramic backwater stretches, lush paddy fields, highlands, extensive rubber plantations, etc. Kottayam is also home to the first Malayalam printing press established by Benjamin Bailey, a Christian missionary in 1820 A.D. Backwater destination Kumarakom is located in Kottayam district of Kerala.Kottayam also houses beautiful temples and churches. Tour to Kottayam in Kerala means exploration of its natural bounties and all its tourist attractions.
Season Timing :
Kottayam gets rainfall in two monsoons- from June to August and from October to November. The best time to visit Kottayam is in between November and February.
How to Reach :
Kochi International Airport located at Nedumbassery is 75 km away from Kottayam.
Kottayam is well-connected to Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and other neighboring cities by road networks.
Kottayam railway station has train services to all major towns of Kerala.
The Margamkali, a Christian art is performed by women. Dressed in the traditional white attire, women perform the dance around a lighted lamp. Songs of the dance is related with the life St.Thomas. The Syrian Christian community of Kottayam organizes this dance as a part of their culture.
Koodiyattam, a temple art is ancient art forms of kerala. The performers dressed in traditional attires enact the Sanskrit dramas. This dance form is performed for whole night at the
Kottayam has some fairs and festivals which are celebrated with great pomp and gaiety.
Thirunakara festival :
The Thirunakara festival is celebrated at the Thirunakara temple during the months of March and April which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. In this temple festival art-forms like the Velakali and Mayilattom are performed by the local artistes in the evenings. The local agricultural products are displayed by the locals in this festival in an exhibition.
Thazhathangadi Boat Race :
The ‘vallam kali’ or the snake boat race, one of the most renowned events in kerala is held during the months of August and September in the Onam festival. The boats of the festival are 130 feet long and 16 boats participate in this boat race. The boat rowers row the boats in the tune of the boat song sung by the local singers. Huge crowds gather on the bank shouting with joy.
Back Water Cruise :
While in Kottayam one must enjoy a backwater cruise enjoying the bounties of nature and the local idyllic villages. The backwater routes of Kottayam will take one to various exotic destinations of nature.
Tea shops :
One must have a local tea at the local tea shops. Kerala tea and coffee have a name due to its best flavor.
Specialties in gastronomy :
The delicious cuisine of Syrian Christian population of Kottayam is mostly non-vegetarian dishes. One can savor its taste along with other local typical cuisine.
One can go on a shopping spree while in Kottayam, as it has various local markets with local handicrafts products.
Tourist Places in Kottayam
1Pilgrim Centers :
Kottayam is the gateway to some pilgrim centers such as Sabarimala, Mannanam, Vaikom, Ettumanoor, Bharananganam, Erumeli, Manarcadu, Aruvithura and Athirampuzha. Vaikom Siva Temple is just 40 km. north of Kottayam town which is an emblem of Kerala Temple Architecture. Pilgrims also can set out tour to Perunna, Vazhappally and Thrikkodithanam near Changanacherry. Tourist while in Kottayam can explore the pilgrims centre located in and around it.
2Thirunakkara Mahadeva Shiva Temple :
Thirunakkara Mahadeva Shiva Temple dating back to 500 years is a true example of Kerala architecture. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built by Thekkumar Raja; the main attraction is its murals on its walls which tell mythological stories and epical stories of the Hindu epics. The annual Phalguna Utsav is celebrated with great pomp and show during the month of March.
3Panchikkadu Saraswathy Temple :
This temple is located at Panchikkadu; it has been described as the Dakshina Mookambika of Kerala. Though it is named after Saraswathy, Vishnu is the man deity in the temple. The idol of Saraswathy lies in the waters of a pond. The never changing creeper nearby is worshipped by the devotees as the idol.
4St.Mary’s Knanaya Church :
Known as Valiyapalli, this church is perched on top a hill. The main attraction is its huge Persian crosses made of granite. The ceiling and altar of the church are decked with frescoes depicting stories from the Bible. St. George’s Feast is celebrated here in the month of April.
5Thazhathangadi mosque :
Located on the banks of the Minachil River, this Thazhathangadi mosque is said to be 1000 years old. It is made completely from teak. The architecture is attractive with its latticed windows, the bathing tank, and the carved wooden tank.
6Backwaters of Kottayam :
Kottayam is known for its backwater tourism, the Vembanad Lake with its network of backwater routes make Kottayam a preferred backwater destination. One can enjoy backwater cruise on a traditional houseboat through the backwater canals of Kottayam.
7Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary :
Bird watchers can set out birding tour to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary which is home to birds like Siberian Stork, egret, darter, heron, teal etc. as well as local birds like the wood pecker, parrot, crane etc.
Pilgrim Centre in Kottayam
1Bharananganam Pilgrimage Center
Bharananganam is a renowned pilgrimage center in Kottayam district located on Etumanoor Poonjar state highway. It became a world-famous pilgrimage center of Christians when Pope Benedict XVI canonized the first Indian saint Alphonsa. The mortal remains of her are kept in a chapel near St. Mary’s Church. The Church has a 1000 years old grotto of Virgin Mary.
2Bharananganam Sree Krishna Swami Temple
Known as Dakshina Guruvayoor (Guruvayoor of South), Bharananganam houses a Sree Krishna Swami Temple. A legend says Pandavas and Panchali during their exile days spent some days here. Yudhishtira, the eldest one of Pandavas worshipped Lord Vishnu here and he had a mind to solemnize Dwadasi Pooja on Shukla Paksha Dwadasi day. Krishna sent a Vishnu idol to Yudhishtira in the hands of Vedavyasa Muni and Narada Muni. They bring the idol and perform Vishnu pujja for Yudhishtira.
A pilgrim centre for Hindu and Muslims, Erumelli attracts a large number of pilgrims. . The Sree Dharmasastha Temple located here is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. The mosque is dedicated to 'Vavar' who is said to be the friend of lord Ayyappa. A festival namely 'Petta Thullal' of Kanni Ayyappa is held in December or January.
Mannanam is a Syrian Christian Centre located at a distance of 8kms from Kottayam. The St. Joseph Monastery, related with Fr. Kuriakose Elias of Chavara (1805-71), one of the saintly figures of the Syrian Catholic Church of Kerala is located here. The St. Joseph Press established in 844 is located here.
Ettumanoor is 12 kms north of Kottayam. The ancient Shiva Temple located here has exquisite mural paintings and sculptures. The Archaeological dept.of Kerala state government opened a mural art centre near the temple. This temple celebrates an annual festival in the months of February or March.
6Other Religious Centers in Kottayam
Kottayam has more religious places of worship which are visited by large number of devotees. The other centers are Changanachery Thrikodithanam Temple, Mahadevar Temple, Pundareekapuram Temple, Shiva Temple, Thirunakkara Mahadev Temple, St. Mary's Church, Kuravilangad and Valiyapalli Church and Cheryapall.
More great destinations can be found in the Explore India page.
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