Pathanamthitta has an important place in former Travancore state. This was the biggest taluk in the old Travancore state and the revenue collection from this taluk played a prominent role in filling the treasury of the state. The district headquarters is distinguished for its communal and cultural harmony. There are numerous churches, temples and mosques built in close proximity, which is a great instance of communal integration. The Chandanakudam festival that is celebrated at the mosque in the centre of the town is quite famous. Situated near the Western Ghats and bordered by the hills, Pathanamthitta district has a picturesque beauty with its vast unending stretches of forests, rivers and rural landscapes. This district is blessed by nature and is famous for its scenic beauty, fairs and festivals.
Aranmula is a little temple town situated in Pathanamthitta District. The district is surrounded by green hillocks and surrounded by the holy river Pampa. The temple here is dedicated to Lord Krishna.Aranmula is also famous for its metal mirrors made of bell metal that is known as 'Aranmula Kannadi'. This is a unique art only found in this district.
The town is also famous for the Aranmula Vallamkali or Boat Race, which is held on the annual memorial of the weeklong Onam festival. The exciting event begins in the afternoon, each snake boat is thirty feet long containing four helmsman, hundred rowers and twenty-five singers.
Vasthuvidya Gurukulam is a unique institution for ancient Indian architecture and mural paintings. It is a school constituted by the state Cultural Department is situated at Aranmula, which is located 16 km away from Pathanamthitta town. The preservation and promotion of vasthuvidya and mural paintings is the main objective of this gurukulam.
Sabarimala is situated 72 km from Pathanamthitta town, 191 km from Thiruvananthapuram and 210 km from Kochi. It is the 'Sacred Abode of Lord Ayyappa' and one of the most important Hindu pilgrim centres in the country.This is situated high up in the Sahyadri Mountains. Sabarimala Sri Dharmasastha Temple is the most famous and prominent among all the Sastha Temples.
Ayiroor Cherukolpuzha is a religious conference or gathering of the Hindus, which is held at Cherukole in Feb every year. It is organized on the banks of River Pamba. Usually this famous convention is attended by a large number of people and addressed by prominent religious scholars and cultural personalities.
The Kadamanitta Devi Temple is famous for the ten-day long Padayani performances held in connection with the annual festival in April-May. The temple is situated at the distance of 8 km from Pathanamthitta town.
Kodumon is also the birthplace of Sree Shakthi Bhadra, author of Ascharya Chudamani. There is a well, named Chilanthikinar placed within the premises of the temple whose water is believed to cure skin diseases. It is placed at 15 km away from pathanamthitta town. All people irrespective of caste and creed worship the Mahalakshmi of this temple.
Konni is a hill town and is famous for timber trade and wild elephant training centre. This is a charming town with lush meadows and hills stands on the bank of river Achakovil. It is surrounded by clove and pepper plantations. Elephants trapped from the forest area are also controlled and disciplined at this place.
This place is situated at 13 km. from Pathanamthitta. It is on the left bank of river Pamba and is a trading centre and flourishing market for agricultural goods.
This place is situated near Kozhencherry and is the venue of a mammoth religious convention of Christians from all over the world. Though people attend it from all communities. Religious thinkers and Christian scholars from all over the world address the convention that is usually held in February.
Mar Ignatius Elias III, the holy patriot of Anthiod died at this place while on a visit to India, in 1932. His mortal remains are preserved at Manjinikkara church. Later this place developed into a pilgrim centre. The annual festival of this place is known as ormaperunnal and is celebrated in February.
It is situated at 13 km away from Adoor. In this place Veluthampi Dalawa who was the renowned freedom fighter of Travancore spent his last days. The ancient Bhagavathy Temple situated here has some exquisite stone sculptures. The annual festival is held in February-March. Here at this place the Kerala Institute of Folklore and Folk Arts functions in full swing.
This is placed at 12 km from Pathanamthitta town. It is the memorial to Muloor S.Padmanabha Panicker dated 1869-1931, who was a renowned social reformer and poet. It is located at Elavumthitta. His home at this place is preserved as his monument by the Department of Culture of the State Government.
This is the main halting point on the way to Sabarimala. It is also known as Thriveni Sangamam. By this name it can be understood that this is the meeting point of three rivers.
Parumala is placed at 10 km away from Thiruvalla. The Ormaperunnal or commemoration day of Mar Gregorios Metropolitan, the declared saint of Malankara Orthodox Church. This is celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of November.
The presiding deity of Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa had his human stay here at this place as the son of the Raja of Pandalam. As a holy town, Pandalam can be regarded as next to Sabarimala. The Valiyakoikal Temple situated near the palace on the banks of river Achenkovil has been modeled on the Sabarimala shrine. Pilgrims usually stop here to worship before proceeding to Sabarimala. Three days prior to the Makaravilaku festival, the sacred ornaments of Sree Ayyappa are taken in a procession from Pandalam to Sabarimala, which is a very prestigious and religious festival.
Perunthenaruvi Water falls:
This spectacular waterfall plunge down into a gorge from a rocky height of 60-100 ft. This Perunthenaruvi Water falls is accessible by bus from Kollam.
This is the headquarters of the Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church. The Sree Vallabha temple in Thiruvalla is perhaps the only one in Kerala where Kathakali is performed as a ritual offering everyday.
This place is famous for the oldest church. It is believed to have been built by Saint Thomas the Apostle in 52 AD. The Paliakara Church that is located here has some exquisite mural paintings.
The Kaviyoor Mahadeva temple was constructed in the early years of the 10th century. It is one of the oldest of the Mahadeva temples in Kerala. The different gifts were offered to the temple and references are there in the Kaviyoor Shasanas of 950 A.D. But it is believed that the 'Darusilpas' seen around the temple belong to the 17th century.
Religious Centers: There are many religious centers in this Pathanamthitta district that is why this can be called as the spiritual capital of 'god's own country'. This place covers major pilgrim centers of the state.
Chandanakkudam Festival: This Chandanakkudam festival of Pathanamthitta attracts thousands of devotees every year in the month of February.
The Marthoma Maramon Convention is the biggest religious gathering of Christians in Asia. It is held on the banks of river Pamba, Maramon, near Kozhencherry. Since 1896 this religious gathering is celebrated every year in the month of February. Thousands of people from all over India assemble here at this great occasion irrespective of their caste and creed. The Maramon conference displays co-operation and union between different sections of Church in Kerala as it fosters universal outlook. It is also a source of spiritual inspiration and enlightenment for millions of people. Convention is normally scheduled for a 10 days stint, when the sand bed become dry to accommodate the sea of humanity.
The whole surrounding becomes full of activity and started enjoying a lot even before a week. A pandal wide enough to accommodate about 80000-100000 people is constructed out of bamboo poles. Huge crowds streamed across temporary bridges and sandbag walkways come to the Pandal for hearing the Word of God from all over India and abroad. Around 100,000 people gathered in hot and humid weather in a hot dry sand of the Pamba River to hear of Lord and to sing for Him every time.
All the people well attentively participate in the singing and listen to the religious reading and discussion. They usually sit under this temporary shelter of thatched coconut palm leaves. It is also a source of spiritual inspiration and enlightenment for thousands. Gathering on the sandbanks of the river Pampa attracts all walks of life. It happened irrespective of caste, creed and religion. The people in and around Maramon extend solidarity and hospitality to the people coming from far off places. Of the years Maramon has become a meeting place of culture and tradition and it became an important place of Indian Christianity.
Parumala Orthodox Church:
This is an outstanding building in which the tomb of celebrant Mar Gregorios metropolitan is present. He was a Saint of Malankara Orthodox Church. St. Gregorios Geevarghese popularly known as "Parumala Thirumeni" was born in the priestly family of "Pallithatta Thanagattu" in Mulunthuruthy near Cochin. Devotees from all over the state attended the special rites and prayers offered as part of the remembrance feast of the saint. The annual commemorative feast of the saint is celebrated with much pomp. There is also a ceremonial procession on the day of the feast, which is attended by a colorful people.
This festival or religious gathering is celebrated in the month of February. Ayiroor Cherukolpuzha religious convention is an important annual feature on the riverbed of Pamba. This convention is attended by a large number of people and addressed by prominent religious scholars and cultural personalities as well.
In 1932, Mar Ignatius Elias III, came to India. He was a holy patriot of Anthiod. He died at this place in that year. His mortal remains are preserved at Manjinikkara church. Later this place developed into a pilgrim centre. The annual festival or ormaperunnal is held in February.
This one is celebrated during August-September of the year. Aranmula Vallamkali or Boat race is a famous water festival and is held during Onam. In this festival a grand procession is organized. The snake boats assemble near the Sri Parthasarathy Temple before that. Each boat is 100 ft. long and accommodates 4 helmsmen, 100 oarsmen and 25 singers. The snake boats move in pairs to the rhythm of full-throated singing and shouting. The excited crowd watches this with full enthusiasm. The commencement of the event is marked by a snake-boat race in the afternoon. Early morning, the Snake Boats assemble near the temple, and take off in pairs. All these are an exciting event for the localites.
This festival is organized during the month of August-September. Anandapalli, a tiny village near Adoor in Pathanamthitta district is famous for its annual Maramadi festival. This is mainly an ox race carnival. This festival is usually celebrated in the villages of Kerala during the harvest season. The cattle race, which is known as Maramdi Mahotsav, is slowly regaining its lost charm as part of the ongoing trend of reviving the traditions. Maramdi has a history of about 200 years in Kerala and it is basically a rural sport connected with the harvest festival. Vast stretches of freshly ploughed paddy fields form the stadium for the race. The village crowd always makes their presence with more excitement and show full interest in the sport. They always stand around the stadium to cheer the participants.