is a city in the Indian state of Kerala, spread over an area of 55.40 km2 and it is the administrative capital of Kottayam District. Kottayam is located in south-central Kerala and has a population of 357,533 according to the 2011 census.Colourful and charismatic Kottayam, slightly inland from the Malabar Coast is just 30km from Alleppey. In ancient period, it was stronghold of Syrian Christian sect (that exists in Kerala since AD 1907). It has very beautiful churches, most noted being Valiapatti Church, possessing a cross that is believed to have come from the original church founded by St. Thomas.
Kottayam has an average elevation of 3 metres (9 feet) above sea level. Kottayam 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. It flows through Kottayam district and joins Vembanad lake. Panoramic backwater stretches, lush paddy fields, highlands, extensive rubber plantations and a totally literate people have given this district the enviable title : the land also boasts the first malayalam printing press which was established by benjamin bailey, a christian missionary, in 1820 A.D.
Places to see in Kottayam
An unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with white lilies. Situated on the Vembanad Lake, in this small water world you'll come across plenty of traditional country crafts, boats and canoes which will take you into the heart of the scenic lake. The resorts nearby offer comfortable accomodation and exclusive leisure options like an Ayurvedic massage, yoga, meditation, boating, fishing, angling and swimming.
The Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom :
(16 km from Kottayam town): Kottayam is a vast network of rivers and canals which empty into the great expanse of water called the Vembanad Lake. The lake, an enchanting picnic spot and a fast developing backwater tourism destination, provides boating, fishing and sightseeing experiences that are truly exhilarating. The Kumarakom Tourist Village offers houseboat cruises and holiday packages. The serene lake comes alive during Onam with a spectacular water regatta - the snake boat races. It is indeed amazing to watch oarsmen, at least a hundred in one boat, slice their way through the waters to the fast rhythm of their own full throated singing.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary Kottayam :
(16 km from Kottayam town): Located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, an ornithologist's paradise, is a favourite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal. Other common varieties like the woodpecker, skylark, crane, water hen and parrots can also be spotted here. A cruise along the Vembanad Lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary. Pathiramanal, an enchanting island on the lake, can be accessed by boat from here.
This 10 acre island on the backwaters is home to many rare varieties of migratory birds from different parts of the world. According to mythology a young brahmin dived into the Vembanad Lake to perform his evening ablutions and the water made way for land to rise from below, thus creating the enchanting island, Pathiramanal (sands of midnight).
(22 km from Kottayam): This stone lamp post, a typical example of Kerala architecture, was built near the Changanacherry boat jetty by the renowned freedom fighter Veluthampi Dalawa. The Changanacherry market, one of the largest in Kerala, was also established by him. The five lamps on this post are lit using kerosene.
A picturesque location at the top of a hill with endless stretches of meadows girded by huge rocks. A bird's eye view of the low lying places can be enjoyed from here.
Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls :
( 18 km from Kottayam town): 2 km down a mud lane from Kumarakom is this beautiful picnic spot where streams tinkle as they make their way through the landscape and waters roar as they cascade down the mountains from a height of 100 ft. Tourists can also enjoy the shade of the rubber plantations here.
St. Mary's Church, Bharananganam :
The mortal remains of the Blessed Alphonsa are entombed at this church which is now a famous pilgrim centre. Thousands gather at this holy shrine during the annual festival: Feast of the Blessed Alphonsa (July).