Kottayam is often called as the gateway to the highlands in central Kerala. It is bordered by the silvery Vembanad Lake on the west and the mighty Western Ghats on the east. It is famous for its beautifully layered rubber plantations and is also the centre of the rubber trade in Kerala. Kottayam has a hilly terrain due to which it enjoys a mix of tropical and equatorial climate. It is famous for its churches Cheriapally [small church] in 1579 AD and Valiapally [Big church] in 1570 AD. It is renowned for its 8th century Persian Cross which has Pahlavi inscription on it.
A paradise, some people say about this scenic backwater destination Kumarakom. Adorned by the silvery Vembanad Lake, which is the largest fresh water lake in Kerala, Kumarakom attracts people from all over the planet. It is also the first destination in India which implemented the “Responsible Tourism” practices for the development of the local community and to sustain eco- friendly tourism. The most sought after activity at Kumarakom is the Houseboat cruise in the Vembanad Lake. It is an unforgettable experience, cruising through the shiny Vembanad Lake and witnessing the pure charm of Kumarakom village. Other than houseboats, there are speed boats, motor boats, and Shikara boats available to enjoy the rippling backwaters. Shikara boats are unlike houseboats, small in size and with a capacity of maximum 4-6 people, which enables the visitors to explore the narrow inner canals in the Kumarakom village and watch the day to day life style of people residing there. The main income source of the people is fishing, coir, rubber and tourism. You can also have a village tour around on foot and see how things are different in Kumarakom. You can access Kumarakom from Kottayam, which is 16 kms away, a 30minutes drive. Government buses are also available from Kottayam throughout the day.
A 5 hectare area of former rubber plantation is now home for many rare species of migratory birds. October to February is the best time to spot some of the unique species of birds like Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Steppey Eagle and many others. A visit to the sanctuary is best enjoyed during the morning hours, when the sun is lighting up the sky. The timing for the entrance to the sanctuary is 6:30 am to 5:00 pm.
Ilaveezhapoonchira is an ideal trekking destination and an untouched hillstation in Kerala, 3200 m above sea level. It is named Ilaveezhapoonchira [valley where leaves do not fall] because there are no trees there which makes it a peculiar hillstation making some people curious to explore and see for themselves what makes this destination different. This place is referred in many epics like Ramayana and Mahabharatha. It is believed Lord Ram, Laxman and Sita Devi spent many months of their exile at this beautiful hillstation. The valley is surrounded by 3 hillocks namely Mankunnu, Kodayathoormal and Thonippara. Watching the sunrise from the top of the highest Kodayathoormal hill is a mesmerizing sight, which could keep us in a state of wonder. This lovely picnic destination is 55 kms away from Kottayam city near Kanjar [Thodupuzha]. A 2 hour drive will be enough to reach there. It is better to start in the early morning, so that you could spend some time exploring this virgin tourist spot and be back to Kottayam by sunset. The best time to visit is after the monsoon season, likely after September, and before March.
This is a famous Shiva temple, which is one of the most visited pilgrim centres in Kerala. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. A fascinating fact about this temple is that the Shiva Linga which is worshipped here is believed to be of the “Treta Yuga” which ended thousands and thousands of years before, which is why the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is the one among the oldest temples in Kerala. The architecture is brilliant. There are Gopuras on the compound walls protecting the temple from all the 4 sides. The story of Ramayana is sculptured on the inner roof of the temple, and the Sreekovil or the main inner yard is decorated with paintings of Indian Puranic stories. To visit Vaikom Temple, reach Kottayam city first, and from there a 45 minute drive [30 kms] and you will be at divine abode of the mighty Lord Shiva.
Another Shiva temple, Thirunakkara is more than 500 years old built by the “Thekkumkoor Maharaja” [King of Thekkumkoor]. Like the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple this is also built in traditional Kerala style architecture. There are exquisite pieces of art in the form of bright coloured mural paintings on the temple walls, and another striking feature of the temple is its Koothambalam, which is a theatre for traditional Kerala art performances. The temple is easily accessible as it is at the heart of Kottyam city.
A 1000 years old ancient mosque which is well maintained, is located at Thazhathanngadi just 4 kms away from the city. The architecture is ancient and inspiring as well.
The hilly terrain and high altitude influences the Kottayam climate. It has a blend of tropical and equatorial climate.
Summer - Summer is hot and humid in Kottayam with highest temperature recorded of 38.5°c. Summer Season at Kottayam is during March to May every year.
Monsoon - Season starts by June and ends by November. This is when the Monsoon hits cooling down the hot and humid land of Kottayam. This time is good to make a visit too, but sometimes heavy rainfall will be a problem in outing.
Winter - Winter starts by December and lasts till February. This is the best time to visit Kottayam, as the cool breeze will pass through us, and it not only cools down our body but also refresh our mind. The lowest temperature recorded during winter is 16°c.
By Road - Kottayam is well connected by the National Highways as well as the State Highways. The neighbouring cities are Alleppey, Kochi, and Pathanamthitta which are 48kms, 65kms, and 58kms away from Kottayam respectively. There are frequent buses available from these cities to Kottayam.
By Air - The nearest International airport is Kochi International Airport which is 90 kms from Kottayam city. Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is 160 kms from Kottayam city. From the Airport, there are taxi services and Government bus services available 24/7.
By Rail - Kottayam Railway Station is located within the city, and thereby reduces confusion among its visitors. There are trains available from and to Kottayam from all the cities in India.
Visit Kottayam and experience the breathtaking scenes of the scintillating Kumarakom Backwaters and the lush countryside floating on the lake. Walk around the village and see for yourself the routine lifestyle of the people living at Kottayam. Watch the sunrise at the calm and quiet hilltop at Ilaveezhapoonchira. Visit and praise the Vaikom temple and the Thirunakkara temple for the artistic brilliance visible in its architecture. Go for fishing at the Vembanad Lake. Taste some exclusive Kottayam dishes. There is a lot you can do at Kottayam and make your vacation one of the most precious memories.
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Chinese Fishing Net
St. Francis Church
St. Angelo Fort
Rock cut cave
Koratty Muthy Feast
Fort Kochi Beach
Chottanikkara Bhagavathi Temple
Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa
Sree Parasurama Swami
Ponmudi Hill Station
Munnar Hill Station
Vythiri Hill Station
Lakkidi Hill Station
Vagamon Hill Station