Pilgrimage | Backwaters | Nature

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About Kottayam

Country: India | State: Kerala

Ideal Trip Duration: 2-3 Days

Nearest City to Kottayam: Kochi (63 Kms)

Best Time to Visit Kottayam: September to April

Peak Season: September & December to January

At a distance of 48 km from Alleppey, 63 km from Kochi, 142 km from Munnar, 155 km from Trivandrum, and 240 km from Coimbatore, Kottayam is a city located in central Kerala and is also the administrative capital of Kottayam district. It is one of the well known places to visit as part of Kerala Tour Packages. The city is an important trading center of spices and commercial crops, especially rubber.

Kottayam is bounded by the Western Ghats on the east and the Vembanad Lake on the west. Kottayam is well known as a beautiful Kerala backwaters destination with stunning landscape and beauty. Kumarakom, the most famous backwater destination of Kerala is situated very close to Kottayam (13 km). It is also a gateway to the pilgrim centers of Sabarimala, Mannanam, Vaikom, Ettumanoor, Bharananganam, Erumeli, Manarcaud.

Kottayam is the first town to have attained 100 percent literacy in India. It had the first college in Kerala & the first Malayalam Printing Press. Major Kerala print media such as Malayala Manorama group and Deepika are headquartered in the city.

Kottayam was ruled by the Kulasekhara Empire (1090 - 1102 AD). It was later split into the Thekkumkoor kingdom and Vadakkumkoor kingdom. The Portuguese and the Dutch had trade contacts with both Thekkumkoor and Vadakkumkoor Kingdoms. Both these kingdoms were occupied by Marthanda Varma of Travancore in mid 18th century and remained under the Princely State of Travancore.

Being a mountainous region with scenic landscapes, backwaters, bird sanctuaries, temples, and churches make this place an attractive tourist destination. The Poonjar Palace is an example of the rich culture of Kerala. The Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple, Pallippurathu Kavu, Thiruverpu Temple, and the Saraswathy Temple are some famous temples situated in Kottayam.

Kottayam is the main Christian center in Kerala, renowned for its churches and houses built in colonial style. St Mary's Knanaya Church, Valiyapalli, St Mary Church (Cheriyapally), St Mary's Forane Church, Good Shepherd Church, and Vimalagiri Church are the must include places in Kottayam tour packages. The ancient Thazhathangady Juma Masjid and the old St. Mary's Orthodox Church Kottathavalam attract many devotees every day. Kottayam hosts an annual Flower Show and Food Festival in the third week of January.

Kottayam is well connected by bus, train, and air. Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport (88 km from Kottayam). Kottayam Railway Station is well connected with major cities like Chennai, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Mumbai, Mangalore, Kanyakumari, Kochi, etc. KSRTC bus service connects Kottayam to all cities in Kerala. Private buses are also available from Chennai, Mangalore, Bangalore, and Trivandrum. Kottayam is also popular for its water transport facilities that include ferries and boats. There are two ferry stations in Kottayam - Town Jetty (operates in monsoon) & Kodimatha Jetty (operates in summer).

The best time to visit Kottayam is from Oct-Mar, while the peak seasons are Sep & Nov to Feb. It usually takes 2-3 full days to explore this area.

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Other Info
Internet Availability: Good
STD Code: 0481
Languages Spoken: Malayalam, Hindi & English
Major Festivals: Erumeli Petta Thullal (Jan),
Vaikom Ashtami (Nov),
Ettumanoor Festival (Feb),
Kottayam boat race / Thazhathangady boat race (Sep)

How to Reach Kottayam

By Air

Nearest Airport: Kochi - Cochin International Airport (83 Kms)

By Train

Nearest Train Station: Kottayam Railway Station (0 Kms)

By Bus

Nearest Bus Station: Kottayam KSRTC Bus Station (2 Kms)

Top 10 Places to Visit in Kottayam


#1 of 44 Places to Visit in Kottayam

At a distance of 1 Kms from Kottayam Railway Station, Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is one of the oldest and best temples in Kottayam.

Built in early 16th century, this temple is located in heart of the Kottayam town and is famous for its rich architecture. Constructed by Thekkumkoor Maharaja, this temple showcases the typical South Indian architecture. The walls of the temples are decorated with beautiful paintings of different scenes from the Hindu epics. The innermost sanctum of the temple is adorned with impressive images of epic characters from the Hindu mythology.

The annual festival is celebrated for 10 days in the month of March. Nine well decorated elephants participate in this procession. The major attraction of the festival is the all-night Kathakali presentation on third and fourth days of the festival.

Timings: 5 AM to 12 PM & 5 PM to 8 PM.

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#2 of 44 Places to Visit in Kottayam

At a distance of 5 Kms from Kottayam Railway Station, Bhagavathy Temple at Kumaranalloor is one of the most important Devi temples in Kerala.

The idol of the Goddess is in standing position and is about 3 feet high. The temple has been identified by Sri Adi Sankaracharya as one of the five important centers in India to worship Durga. The temple was built in sreechakra style and known for its unique architecture. It is also renowned for its temple towers constructed in Tamil Nadu style of architecture. The temple has many attractive mural paintings and wood carvings.

The annual festival of the temple is celebrated in the month of November / December.

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#3 of 44 Places to Visit in Kottayam

At a distance of 11 Kms from Kottayam Railway Station, Mahadeva Temple located in Ettumanoor is one of the most celebrated Siva temples in Kerala. This is one of the popular tourist & pilgrimage sites to visit near Kottayam & Kochi.

This temple is known for its exceptional murals and woodcarvings made in 16th century. The themes of these murals are stills from the Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata and the and Puranas.The oil lamp at the entrance of the temple is believed to have been lighted for more than 450 years and it is fed with oil by the devotees everyday. There are 14 decorative gopuras in the temple built in 16th century.

Another attraction of the temple is Ezhara Punnana (golden elephants) donated to the temple by Maharaja of Travancore. The golden elephants are kept on display during the temple annual festival celebrated in the month of February / March. Only Hindus are allowed into this temple.

Ezharaponnaana Ezhunallathu is the main festival celebrated .....

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#4 of 44 Places to Visit in Kottayam

At a distance of 3 Kms from Kottayam Railway Station, Cheriapally Church dedicated to mother Mary is the first church built in Kottayam.

Constructed by the Portuguese in 1579, it is one of the oldest churches in Kerala. It is also believed that Thekkumkur Maharaja has built this holy place. The architecture of the church is a blend of European architecture along with Hindu temple architecture. The Hindu influence is seen in the large brick walls outside, suspended lamps of the halls and granite pillars while the Portuguese impressions manifest themselves in the dye paintings on the walls and ceilings, depicting the life of Christ.

The main festival of the church is celebrated on January 15th.

Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM.

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#5 of 44 Places to Visit in Kottayam

At a distance of 29 Kms from Kottayam, 35 Kms from Alappuzha & 33 kms from Pathanamthitta, Sri Vallabha Temple is located near Thiruvalla town (4 Kms) in Pathanamthitta district.

This ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is one among the 108 Diva Kshetrams in India. This temple is built in typical Kerala style of temple architecture with fine carvings and murals. The inner sanctum of the temple houses a 6 feet tall idol of Maha Vishnu. The flag staff of the temple is made out of granite and it is about 50 feet tall. A 3 feet idol of Garuda (the eagle vehicle of Lord Vishnu) is installed on top of the flagstaff.

This temple is famous for the traditional Kathakali performances almost every night and it is perhaps the only temple in Kerala where Kathakali is regularly performed as a ritual offering to a deity, after the evening Pooja

The annual festival of the temple is celebrated in Feb / Mar and the Utharaseeveli festival is celebrated for one day on Mar / Apr.

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#6 of 44 Places to Visit in Kottayam

At a distance of 16 km from Kottayam, 36 km from Alleppey, 56 km from Kochi, 135 km from Munnar & 164 km from Trivandrum, Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala. Also known as the Queen of Vembanad, Kumarakom is the most famous Kerala backwaters destination for traditional houseboat ride and among the most visited Kerala tourist places.

The name Kumarakom was derived from the deity of an old temple Kumaran. Kumarakom is also one of the ideal weekend getaways from Kochi, and among the must include places in your Kerala tour packages.

Arundhati Roy, the author of the 1997 Booker Prize-winning The God of Small Things, was raised in the nearby Aymanam village. In order to protect the ecology of the place, the Kerala government has declared Kumarakom as .....

Distance (From Kottayam Railway Station): 13 Kms
Trip Duration (From Kottayam Railway Station - Including Travel): Full Day

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#7 of 44 Places to Visit in Kottayam

At a distance of 10 Kms from Kottayam Railway Station, St. Mary's Cathedral, also known as Marthamariam is located in Manarcad, about 3.5 Kms from NH220 towards Thekkady/Periyar. This 10th century Cathedral is one of the most important churches of the Jacobite Syrian Christians.

The main annual festival is 'Feast of Virgin Mary's Birth' celebrated for 8 days between September 1st & 8th of every year. It is also called as Ettunompu, where devotees take fasting for 8 days. During this festival, hundreds of thousands of devotees from all over the world reach Manarcad to seek the blessings of Virgin Mary.

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#8 of 44 Places to Visit in Kottayam

At a distance of 10 Kms from Kottayam Railway Station, St George Orthodox Church is located in Puthupally. This is one of the prominent churches of Malankara Orthodox Church.

The church was consecrated about 400 years ago by the Malankara Metropolitan Mar Dianasiyous. This Church is famous for the powerful intercession of St.George. It is believed that saint protects those who take refuge, from serpents, ailments, and all kinds of dangers and troubles. The Church is famous for its rich traditions as well as wealth. The main sanctum has beautiful wall paintings and ornamental decorations. The unique Golden Cross weighing around 450 sovereigns is taken out during the annual festival.

The annual festival is celebrated on 7th or 8th of May. Hundreds of thousand of devotees of various religions participate in the celebrations.

Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM.

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Backwaters | Pilgrimage

#9 of 44 Places to Visit in Kottayam

At a distance of 35 km from Kottayam and 18 km from Kumarakom, Vaikom, situated on the eastern side of Vembanad lake is the oldest township in Kottayam district. Vaikom is famous as a temple town and a popular getaway to experience beautiful backwaters in kerala.

Vaikom is well known for the the ancient Mahadeva temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and believed to be built by Parasurama, the founder of Kerala. The temple has a huge courtyard spanning over to 8 acres of land and four towers on each side of the temple. Other major attractions of the Mahadeva Temple includes the Garbagriha, a golden Stupa surmounting Garbagriha, 19.5m tall golden staff, etc. The exterior walls of the Garbagriha exhibit several pieces of artwork.

This is the place which had made a significance in Indian history with the Vaikom Sathyagraham in 1924, i.e the movement against untouchability in Hindu society. Leader of the Indian Freedom Movement Mahatma .....

Distance (From Kottayam): 38 Kms
Trip Duration (From Kottayam - Including Travel): 3-4 Hours

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Hill Station | Nature

#10 of 44 Places to Visit in Kottayam

At a distance of 36 Kms from Idukki, 72 kms from Kumarakom, 48 kms from kottayam, 20 Kms from Thodupuzha, Ilaveezha Poonchira is a beautiful valley spread across thousands of acres at the foot of three hillocks - Mankunnu, Kudayathur Hill and Thonippara near Kanjar. Ilaveezha Poonchira (meaning - the valley where leaves don't fall) has no trees, and is literally a place where leaves do not fall. It is one of the best places to visit in Idukki, among the popular Kerala tourist places.

Surrounded by hillocks raised above 3000 feet from sea level, Ilaveezha Poonchira is an ideal place for trekking. This is one of the best places to watch Sunrise and Sunset. The wonderful views of Malankara Dam can be viewed from this place. Malankara Dam (7 Kms), Thommankuthu Waterfalls (30 Kms) & Vagamon (35 Kms) are near by places of interest.

Buses are available from Palai (25 Kms) and Erattupetta (30 Kms) .....

Distance (From Kottayam): 48 Kms
Trip Duration (From Kottayam - Including Travel): 3-4 Hours

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Top 3 Kottayam Tour Packages

Package Duration Starting Price Details
Kottayam & Kumarakom in 2 Days 2D/1N ₹ 5150 View Details
Alleppey & Kottayam in 2 Days 2D/1N ₹ 5300 View Details
Alleppey, Kottayam with Kumarakom in 3 Days 3D/2N ₹ 8000 View Details