Kollam

Kottayam

Kottayam is a small town with evergreen rubber plantations, lush paddy fields and large extends of backwaters at about 155kms from capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram. This place is also known as the ‘Land of Latex, Letters and Lakes’ for its production of natural rubber, the numerous lakes in the district and due to the high literacy rate it holds. It is the first fully literate municipal town in India. Kottayam holds the credit of first English educational center in South India and also first Malayalam printing press in Kerala. Bordered by the Western Ghats, the Vembanad Lake, Kuttanad and Kumarakom, Kottayam offer a picturesque view of this gorgeous small town. It is a spectacular land with beautiful scenery all around. It is the first tobacco free district in India and the first city in India to be transformed as Eco city. It is the best place for trekking, fishing, swimming and of course photography.


Places to visit


Kumarakom

Kumarakom is no doubt a small paradise in Kerala, God’s own country.It is cluster of islands located on the Kerala’s largest and longest Vembanad Lake. A bird sanctuary is located along the banks of VembanadLake.Wide variety of migratory birds in the bird sanctuary spread in 14 acres flocks together and fascinate the tourists visiting this place. The backwaters offer the most refreshing and enchanting experience which can be cherished forever. The houseboat cruises with all facilities in the backwater stretches along the majestic Vembanadlake surrounded by coconut tress provides the tourist a memorable experience.They are rich with marine life namely the exclusive 'KumarakomKarimeen' (pearl spotted fish), Konju (tiger prawns), Njandu (crabs), Chemeen (prawns) and many more. The dishes prepared with these fishes are the best among all cuisines of Kerala.The boat race in the snake boats during onam festival is another big attraction of Kumarakom.

Vembanad Lake

Vembanad Lake is deep and vast green algae rich lake to which many rivers flow in. This is also the longest lake in India with a large source of surface water. The saltwater barrier divides the lake in to 2 halves, cruising over the lake will show you the difference between the brackish and fresh water. Cruising along the Vambanad Lake we can sight parts of 3 districts surrounding the lake. Kumarakom tourist village and the bird sanctuary can be seen closely as these spots are located in the banks of the lake. You can spend couple days in and around Vembanad Lake by hiring a houseboat to cruise along the lake and spend a day each on the 3 islands in the lake where you can dine and stay. Punamada Kayal is also a part of the Vembanad Lake, where the snake shaped boat (Chundan Vallam) race known as the Nehru Trophy is hosted during the Onam Festival (August- September). In this race long snake shaped boats with arching heads with big number of rowers compete between each other to win the trophy. The rowers who participate in this race form a team and undergo tough practice for more than a month to take part in this competition. Tourist across the world come to Kerala to witness this race and if you hire a houseboat service, you can watch this energy packed competition floating in Punamada Lake live.

Changanassery

At about 17 kms from Kottayam, is Changanassery, an urban cluster where churches, temples and architecture is the main tourist attractions. Changanassery is known as the gateway to high range. St. Mary's Metropolitan Church,is a Christian pilgrimage center. The Imperial Gazetteer of India published by the British government in 1908 this church was described as "the finest Syro-Roman church on the Malabar Coast" .It is landmark in Changanassery because of its amazing architectural beauty.The Changanassery palace also known as Lakshmipuram palace, seat of the royal family Koi Thampurans is another attraction of this town. Kerala Varma Valia Koi Thampuran, A R Raja Raja Varma and L P R Varma belonged to this palace.Puthur Pally Juma Masjid is a mosque in Changanassery famous for chandanakudam. Thrikodithanam Mahavishnu Temple is a Hindu temple where Lord Vishnu is worshipped.this temple is believed to be constructed by Nakula of the five Pandava brothers. Anandashram is an ashram situated in this town which was inaugurated by Mahathma Gandhi . Perunna Subramanyaswami Temple,Vazhappally Mahadeven Temple and Kaavil bhagavathi kshetram are other famous temples in Changanassery.

Elaveezhapoonchira

This beautiful valley is spread over acres of land in Kottayam . This unexplored and unpolluted valley is surrounded by three majestic hillocks of about 3200 ft namely -Mankunnu, Kodayathoormala and Thonippara. It is ideal spot for trekking for tourists. This place is devoid of huge trees and therefore gets its name which means ‘the pond of flowers where leaves do not fall’. It also provides a beautiful scenic view of the sunrise and sunset. During monsoon the beautiful valley surrounded by hillocks gets filled up with water, portraying another unique piece of nature’s beauty. Since there are no trees in the valley, the pond always remains clean and crystal clear.The pond gets dried up during summer. There is cave amidst the hillocks named as Pandavart Guha , were Pandavas stayed during their exile.

Vagamon

Vagamon is a located in the Kottayam-Idukki border at about 1100m above sea level.The route to vagamon will itself provide most exciting and memorable experience through the hanging cliffs. National Geographic Traveler has listed Vagamon on their directory of the "50 most attractive places to visit in India".This place is like a heaven covered with tea plantations, pine forests, misty fogs, green meadows and sparkling waterfalls. This land covered with wide variety of flowers especially orchids. Vagamon is ideal tourist spot for trekking, paragliding and rock climbing. The chain of hills namely Thangal hill, Murugan hill and Kurisumala will provide us a amazing session of trekking. Breathing the fresh and cool air of this virgin land will provide peace of mind. Walking through the zigzag roads with cool breeze blowing is another unforgettable experience.

Illickal Kallu

Illickal Kallu is one of the major tourist spot in Kottayam district.It is one of highest peak of western ghats at about 3400 feet. The illickal kallu is located in the top of illickal Malla. The most peculiar thing about this rock is that half of its portion has fallen down and only half is remaining.Illickal Kallu comprises of three hills among which each is of peculiar shape.One hill is called Kuda kallu since its shape is of mushroom and has the medicinal herb Neela Koduveli which is believed to have super natural powers. Another hill is called Koonu Kallu because of the small haunches in all sides and across this rock is a bridge known as Narakapalam. From the top of the hills the Arabian sea can be seen as a blue ribbon stirp.Misty mountains adds to the beauty of the surroundings.Illickal kallu is undoubtfully every photographers dream place.Kattikayam waterfalls near to this is also a good tourist spot.

Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple

About 13 kms from Kottayam is the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple well known for the worship of Lord Shiva and a famous pilgrimage center for Hindus.The gopurams and fortress around the temple reflects the architectural beauty of the temple. The main worship of Lord Shiva in this temple is lighting of lamps. An ever glowing lamp is kept in front of the temple. There is a golden staff inside the temple and the roof is covered with copper .On the 10th and 8th day of the Arattu, seven and a half elephants (Ezharaponana) made of gold about 13 kgms is exhibited to the public which was donated by Travancore maharaja. The 10 day long Arattu festival is a major highlight of this 400 year old temple with Dravidian Mughal paintings on its wall and the temple entrance.

Thirunakara Mahadeva Temple

Thirunakara Mahadeva temple is situated in the heart of Kottayam district.This temple is one among the 108 shivalayas created by Lord Parasurama. Thirunakara Mahadeva Temple is a famous temple of the Hindu deity God – Lord Shiva. The temple was constructed by Tekkumkoor with unique architectural beauty.Three festivals are celebrated in the temple during Thulam (October-November) Mithunam (June-July) and Meenam (March-April).Among which the last festival conducted during the month of Meenam(March-April) is the most grand and celebrated by everyone irrespective of caste and creed. The 10 day long worship and festival is called Arattu. One peculiarity of this temple is that Brahmin ladies do not enter this temple.The arattu ceremony is accompanied by art forms like Mayillattom, Kathakali and Velakali in the temple premises which makes the festival more colourful. Visiting the temple during the festival time will give tourists a bite of Kerala’s traditions.

Perunna Sree Subhramania Temple

Sree Subramania Temple is situated 22kms from Kottayam.It is a famous Hindu temple temple in Perunna is renowned for the Pallivetta festival in the month of November. This ancient temple is created by Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma of Travancore Kingdom.The temple has the idol of Lord Murugan apart from Lord Krishna, Lord Maha Ganapathi and Lord Ayyappan. The temple is crowded with devotees during the month of November for the Pallivetta festival. Lord Murugan is worshipped in the form of Devasenapathi.

Bay Island Driftwood Museum

Bay Island Driftwood Museum is one most exciting thing to visit in Kottayam. It is Mrs Raji Punnoose who recovered all these rare objects from Andaman sea with great efforts who is the proprietress of the museum. She started exhibiting these articles since 2001 investing major part of her saving. It is the India’s one and only Drift Museum which attracts from all over India. The unique collection of superior quality drift wood articles of great artistic excellence makes this museum rare place. It remains the most unbeatable and innovative project by the Tourist Department of India. Tourists visiting the museum can find different types of root sculptures. The wood pieces and roots were centuries old and having drifted across the seas are cleaned, polished and trimmed to various designs and patterns. All these shapes closely resemble birds, reptiles or animals.

Kottathavalam Caves

Kottathavalam is an ideal picnic spot near Vagamon in Kottayam district.Kottavalam cave is located in kurushumala in Murugan caves. Kottathavalam cave is surrounded by hills which forms a fort, hence the name “Kotta”. The cave has an array of rock cut steps which makes it easy to reach the cave. Its interior has stone carvings in the shape of chairs and couches. This cave is considered as the resting place of Madurai royal family on their way to Poonjar. The sculptures of Lord Ayyappa , Madurai meenakshi are also carved in the walls of these caves. Hundreds of tourists visit this place every year. This place about 70kms from Kottayam. The sculptures of weapon and arms can also be found inside the caves.

Maramala

It is about 45 kms from Kottayam near to Pala district.Maramala waterfalls lies at a distance of 7kms from the Teekoy rubber estate.If you wish to reach Maramala waterfalls by trekking one has to start from Teekoy estate.The trekking path is stony and steep.The waterfalls joins the Teekoy river after falling from a height of 60m and travelling a distance of 200m.A 12m deep cut is created in between the rocks due to the speedy gushing water.in the downstream of Teekoy river beneath the waterfall there is a natural bridge.The amazing view of the milky water falling in streamline which always chats with forest is memorable experience to the tourists.It is one of major attractions in Kottayam.

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