Kottayam, an ancient city of Kerala, is one of the districts of Kerala. The city has a big contribution to print media and literature and hence rightfully referred as 'Akshara Nagari' meaning 'city of letters'. The fort from which the city got its name is Thaliyil Kotta. A village developed within the walls of the fort and thus the city of Kottaym came into being. The enchanting Western Ghats borders Kottaym on the east and the mesmerising Vembanad Lake lies in the west of Kottayam. It is a magnificent place with breathtaking landscape. In any direction your eyes focus, you will see verdant lands, beautiful highlands, pristine hills and knolls that will take you breathe away. Here are a few places one should visit when they come to Kottayam.
How to Reach
The Cochin International Airport which lies 90 km north is the nearest airport to Kottayam. You can hop into a bus or a train to reach Kottayam from the airport. Kottayam Railway Station provides train services to the nearby towns and cities of Kerala. It is also connected with other major cities. Kottayam is well connected by roads. KSRTC buses and many buses of private sector operate in Kottayam. Hence it is connected to the major cities of Kerala and neighbouring states.
Photo Courtesy: Navaneeth KN
Elaveezhapoonchira is famous among visitors as a scenic picnic spot. This place is a favourite among the trekkers. Photographers like coming here to capture the view of the rising sun and the setting sun from this verdant hill station. The place has no trees and 'Elaveezhapoonchira' literally means 'valley where leaves do not fall'.
Erumely is on the Kanjirappally - Pathanamthitta route. It is a religous place as devotees going to Sabarimala visit here first. There are two temples in this town and the famous Petta Thullal is done in November, December & January months. Erumely Nainar Masjid is situated opposite to Erumely Cheriya Ambalam. Ayyaapan devotes visits Vavar Swamy at Nainar Masjid before visiting Ayyappa Swami Temple.
Photo Courtesy: Avsnarayan
Panachikadu village is around 11 km away Kottayam. The village is famous for the Saraswathy Temple it houses. This temple is referred as Dakshina Mookambi. The characteristic of this temple is that it offers pooja throughout the year. The village is a tourist favourite for its panoramic landscape. Panachikadu is often visited by people who come here to unwind in the lap of nature.
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One can see the Poonjar Palace enroute to Pala-Erattupetta from Kottayam. This palace is an evidence of the rich heritage of Kerala. The palace houses a wide array of royal antiques, beautiful sculptures and lamps engraved from rocks.
St. Mary's Orthodox Church
St. Mary's Orthodox Church is just 2 km away from Kottayam. The church exhibits an exquisite fusion of Kerala style of architecture and Portugese style. The walls of the church are decorated with wonderful murals which are painted in oriental as well as western styles. The theme of these murals are both biblical and non-biblical.
Thazhathangady Juma Masjid
Thazhathangady Juma Masjid is listed as one of the Heritage Zones and is located in a small town near Kottayam. This masjid or the mosque is an ancient one; existing for more than a millennium. The mosque is eminent for its opulent architectural design and its intricate wood carvings. It is a must visit place when you are holidaying in Kottayam.
Photo Courtesy: Aryaabraham
Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple
The Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple is situated in the main city of Kottayam and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The walls of this Shiva temple are decorated with Murals that narrate stories from epics. The temple draws lots of devotees and tourists who come to see it's beauty. 'Phalguna Utsavam' is the annual festival of the temple celebrated in the Hindu month of Meenam during the months of March and April.
It is a beautiful lake located in the city. One can stroll on it's banks or take a boat ride here. It is a picnic spot as well. Nature lovers would love this place as the lake also houses various varieties of birds.
Photo Courtesy: Kaippally