Places to Visit in Kottayam
Kottayam is a city in Kerala covering an area of 55.40 square kilometres. The town had a population of 129,894 and was given a status of an Urban Area according to the census of 2011. During the British Raj, the place was known as ‘Cotym’ and ‘Cottayam’. One of the main centres of literature hence was called Akshara Nagari or land of letters. Also famous for the name ‘City of Murals’, it houses various missionaries, Christian churches, and other historical things. Kottayam is a major trading centre of natural rubber (Latex) in India.
Apart from all, culture, art, cuisine, tourism, etc. are some of the contributions that Kottayam holds. Here are few of the places that are worth a visit in Kottayam.
Flat granite rock formations scattered over around 30 acres of land offer fabulous views of coconut trees interspersed with rubber plantations below the valley. The numerous tributaries of the Meenachil River, originating from Illikkal Mala, shimmer in the distance.
Built in the year 1579, this is one of the few old churches that still looks somewhat in an original state. Extensive restoration work was carried over here and completed in 1993, but without affecting architectural details. The facade is European, whereas the granite pillars lining the porch, added later, resemble those found in temples.
Built by the Chetty community of Tamil Nadu, this 900-year-old structure is almost in ruins today, although the carvings and inscriptions on its pillars are still visible. Tamil inscriptions on walls and pillars tell the story of the Pattunool Shetty’s, the community known for textile weaving with the name of Kanjirapally Katcha.
Kayyoor is a Ghat region blanketed by lush, hilly vegetation. There is a small temple atop the hill near Bharananganam dedicated to the Pandavas, where only ghee is used to light the votive lamps.
This peaceful little town in the foothills of the Western Ghats is often referred to as the gateway to the High Ranges. Once a hub of trading activities, Kanjirapally has now slipped into comparative quietude. But the abundance of rubber plantations still gives the town a degree of commercial importance. Several charming bungalows built by rich planters bestow upon it an old-world charm.
St Dominic’s Cathedral
Built in 1826, St Dominic’s Cathedral is noted for its architectural beauty. Both the old and the new church remained the parish churches for 18 years until 1842, when they were unified. In 1919, the shrine was raised to the position of a forane church. Its reconstruction, begun in 1945, took nearly 16 years to complete. On March 17, 1977, it was elevated to the status of a cathedral.
St George Church
This 120-ft-high structure in Erattupetta town has a unique shape resembling a cross. The annual feast held in April draws hundreds of people.
St Mary’s Forane Church
Built in 345 AD, this church is one of the oldest in Kerala but has been rebuilt in 1960. Granite structure, 48 ft. in height, and carved out of a single stone, is an addition to its highlight. The statue of Virgin Mary on the main altar is a rare blend of Romano-Portuguese art. The three large church bells and the replica of the vessel used by Prophet Jonah are also must-sees.
The highlight of the shrine, built by a Thekkumkoor king, is the low-roofed stage or Koothambalam, one of the finest in the whole State. The carved wooden windows encircling the stage facilitate viewing of performances. Three festivals are celebrated here in October-November, June-July and March-April, of which the last is the most important. For the grand finale of Araatu, nine caparisoned elephants take part in a procession. Folk arts such as Mayilattam (peacock dance) and Velakali follow. A major attraction is the all-night Kathakali performance. A Hindu convention and an art festival also take place.