(Last Updated on : 31/01/2009)
Delimited by the lofty Western Ghats on the east and bordered by the Vembanad Lake Kottayam is a land where beauty ideally gels with dream. Stretches of shimmering backwater, lush paddy fields, highlands have offered a distinct touch to the place. Kottayam is dotted with interesting places which further enhances the tourist quotient of the place.
: This Temple is situated in the busy area of Kottayam. This is dedicated to Lord Siva. There is a popular legend that the idol at this temple is `Swayambu i.e. Self-manifested and not installed. A 12 day festival is celebrated annually at this place.
Sri Krishnaswamy Temple
: This temple is situated just 8 km from Kottayam. This temple is famous for the festival, Ezhunallathu procession in which Elephants have their own part to play along with humans. The festival goes on for 10 days and so does the ritual procession. Kathakali, Ottamthullal and other classical art forms of Kerala come alive during the festival.
: This temple is situated at the distance of about 6 km from Kottayam. This is the place called Kumaranallur where this temple stands with the architecture of the `Gopurams` i.e. Temple-Tower or Portal Tower of Tamil Nadu. The idol is made of Anjanakkal or antimony sulphate. A 9 day long festival is held every year at this place.
Dakshina Mookambika Saraswathy Temple
: This temple is dedicated to Goddess Saraswathy. She is the Goddess of Arts and Learning. She is the consort of Lord Brahma, who is the God of Creations. This temple is situated 10 kms from Kottayam at Panachikkadu in Chingavanam. The nine day festival named `Navarathri` i.e. nine nights is famous at this place.
: Ettumanoor is situated at the distance of 12 km north of Kottayam. This temple is dedicated to Lord Siva. Here at this place the deity is in two forms. The forms can be mentioned as Vallya i.e. Love and Rudra i.e. Fury. The mural paintings of the temple are especially that of Nataraja on the `Gopuram` i.e. Tower and the ezharaponnana i.e. Elephants finished in gold are famous. The festival `Ezharaponnana Ezhunallathu` lasts for 10 days in February or March.
St. Mary`s Church
: This church is situated at Mannarkad. This is placed at the distance of 8 kms from Kottayam. This church is dedicated to St. Mary. This is one of the most important churches of the Malankara Jawbite Syrian Christians. `Ettunompu is a festival of fasting for 8 days. This is held annually during which devotees from far and wide pour in to take part in rituals and prayers as well.
St. Mary`s Ferona Church
: This church is situated at the distance of about 20 km from Ettumanoor. Situated at Bharananganam, this is one of the oldest churches in Kerala. The feast of carmel and that of St. Sabastian are held annually at this place.
: This is situated at the distance of 7 km from the Mundakkayam Kuttikanam stretch on the Kottayam-Kumili road. Panchalimedu is placed at an attitude of about 2500 feet above the sea level. A three hour trek from Valliankavy, which is connected by bus service from Kottayam takes someone to the spot. According to legends, the Pandavas stayed here and the pond beside a small temple is where Panchali is said to have bathed.
: The Kesari Falls is also sometimes known as Valanjamakanam Falls. This falls lies in between Kuttikanam and Murinjapuzha on the Kottayam-Kumili route. Valanjamakanam is a three-hour journey from Kottayam by any bus to Kumili.
: The breathtaking beauty of the mangrove forests, the green sea of paddy fields and the vast, fantastic coconut groves benevolently accommodating eye-pleasing and thirst-quenching rivulets are really magnificent beauties of this place. There are also some canals, that are channelled between wild flora and mild lilies extend a warm welcome to every nature loving tourist. The resorts nearby offer comfortable accommodation and exclusive leisure options like an ayurvedic massage, yoga, meditation, boating, fishing, angling and swimming. This place is 10 km from Kottayam on the Eastern bank of Vembanad Lake.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
: It is situated at about 16 km from Kottayam. This is placed on the banks of the splendid lake of Vembanad. A number of species of birds flock in and flock out during migration at this place. Among the migratory birds some names are very popular. The names can be mentioned as siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal. Some of the other common varieties are woodpecker, skylark, crane, waterhen and parrots. Taking a cruise on the Vembanad lake, the curious visitor, could catch a glimpse of a few of the endless species of living flying machines whose mysteries have been puzzling expert ornithologists across the globe ever since the study began. Pathiramanal, that is an enchanting island can be reached by boat from this place.
The Vembanad Lake
: This Lake is situated at about 16 km from Kottayam. This is the repository to myriad rivers, rivulets and canals of Kottayam. This enchanting tourist spot is fast turning out to be also known as a backwater tourism destination. The fish rich lake offers excitement not only to fishing hobbyists but also to boating maniacs. The sights here are to be seen and enjoyed in good spirit. House boat cruises and holiday packages are offered by the Kumarakom Tourist Village. The placid lake turns vibrant with the arrival of Onam as it is the place for spectacular regatta i.e. the snake boat races.
: Pathiramanal is actually means sands of midnight. This is a wonderful island on the backwaters. According to mythology a young Brahmin once, dived into the Vembanad Lake to perform his evening ablutions and the water made way for the land to rise from below to form this beautiful island. In present days the island has become the abode of a variety of migratory birds from different parts of the world. The area of the island is about 10 acres.
Nattakom and Panachikad Reservoirs
: This place is very beautiful in sense that the marvellous reservoir is surrounded by lush green environ and this adds lusture to the calm village. The landscape of this place is again an invitation to scores of migratory birds. The boat ride from Kodoorar in Panachikad to Kumarakom is very popular. Other interesting features are Ayurvedic massages, boating, fishing and swimming.
Vaikom Tourist Land
: This piquant picnic spot is ideal for languorous break. Various recreations including boat cruises on the Vaikom Lake are also present.
Mannanam Tourist Home
: It is situated at the distance of 8 km from Kottayam. It sites the St. Joseph`s Monastery associated with the name of Fr. Kuriakose Elias of Chavara. The time period is 1805-71. This is one of the saintly figures of the Syrian Catholic Church of Kerala. An intricate network of shimmering waterways embroider the richly green landscape always makes the place ever so charming. There are boat cruise packages, ingenuously devised to make the tourists` experience most exciting. Through the Pennar canal, the cruise does not forsake the scenic backwaters of Alappuzha and Ernakulam.
: Anchuvilakku means five lamps where five is the English for `Anchu` and lamp for `Vilakku`. This was built near the boat landing pier at Changanacheri by the great freedom fighter `Veluthampi Dalawa`. He was also the one who established the Changanacheri market. This market is one of the largest markets in Kerala. Five lamps are lit on this stone lamp post using kerosene. It is situated at the distance of 22 km from Kottayam.
: This is a fabulous hill-top-spot with abundant stretches of beautiful meadows and gigantic tenacious rocks. Nadukani offers an overall view of the immensely beautiful land lying below.
: This is situated at the distance of 18 km from Kottayam and 2 km along a narrow muddy terrain. This spot of boundless charms receives visitors looking for sheer enjoyment. The awe-inspiring streams jink their way through the benign landscape and the gushing waters cascade down the mountains with relentless fury and fall with a majestic roar from a height of 100 ft. The enormous rubber plantations provide shade for Sun-beaten tourists at this place.
: The glorious Manimala River embellishes the elegant spot named Kariambukayam. This place is situated in Meloram in between the panchayat jurisdictions of the town known for its plantations Kanjirapalli and the pilgrim spot Erumeli. This is enriched with rich natural features. The place has quite a few reservoirs on which aqua banquets are organized at occasions. The natural reservoirs and waterfalls at Melaruvithodu on the Ernakulam-Thekkady road play a substantial part in glorifying Kottayam.
: `Unity in Diversity` is one of India`s hallmarks can be experienced in true sense at this place. This is as because, in this place thousand upon thousands of Hindu pilgrims fasting and observing strict austerity for a specific number of days. They traditionally worship and offer prayers at a Mosque in Vavarambalam, on their way to Sabarimala which is another pilgrim spot. The mosque is dedicated to `Vavar`, wo is a thick crony of Lord Sree Ayyappa. Lord Sree Ayyappa is the presiding deity of Sabarimala.
Erumeli is actually the village with a natural bliss. This is situated at the distance of 60 km South-east of Kottayam.
: This is the tenacious mountains characterized by wild plants and trees, shrubs and bushes, exotic flowers prudently part at places giving rise to astounding valleys of natural splendour. The higher the mountains soar the deeper the valleys dive.
: This is the ghat region with its own aspects of natural charms. It is blanketed by lush green hilly vegetation and this is the pride of the Bharanganam panchayat in Kayyoor. A temple dedicated to the Pandava brothers i.e. 5 sons of the couple King Pandu and Kunthi in the legendary epic `The Mahabharatha` is also found here. The temple lamps are lit only with ghee as in the temple at Sabarimala. Women are not allowed inside the temple as well.
St. Mary`s Church
: This church is situated at Bharananganam. This church is dedicated to St. Mary entombs. The mortal remains of the benedicted Alphonsa and is now a popular pilgrim centre where multitude of devotees throng during the festival called the `Feast of the Blessed Alphonsa` which is held in the month of July every year.