Tourist Places - Pathanamthitta - Kerala
Pathanamthitta is a land of temples, churches, rivers, wildlife, mountain ranges and so on. Almost 50 percent of the district is covered by forests. Pathanamthitta with the presence of the holy land of Lord Ayyappa named Sabarimala is the headquarters of pilgrim centers in Kerala. There is a huge inflow of visitors every year from India as well as abroad to witness the famous water fiestas like "Aranmula vallamkali" [Aranmula boat race] and visit religious shrines like Sabarimala, Niranam Church. Nature lovers may find Pathanamthitta one of their favorites, as the whole district is evergreen with lush vegetation all around.
The world famous pilgrim center Sabarimala is situated at Pandalam in Pathanamthitta district. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. Sabarimala is a part of Western Ghats and is at an altitude of 914 m above sea level. Millions of devotees visit this temple annually to have a glimpse of Ayyappa Vigraham [idol]. There are no restrictions based on caste or religion, however women between the age of 10 and 50 years are not allowed to enter the temple premises.
The pilgrim season starts by November and lasts till January. Sabarimala is 64 kms from Pathanamthitta and there are bus services available upto Pampa from Pathanamthitta Bus Stand. From Pampa visitors have to walk their way to the Sabarimala temple.
Niranam ChurchFounded in AD 54 by St. Thomas, one among the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ, the Niranam Church is a symbol of Christian faith in Kerala. It is 36 kms from Pathanamthitta town, likely a one a half hour drive along the Mavelikkare- Kozhencherry road and Thiruvalla- Kumbazha road.
AranmulaIf you have read about Kerala, you might have come across a world famous boat race named "Aranmula Vallamkali", which is held every year by the end of Onam festival [August- September]. Tens of thousands of people from India as well as abroad, visit Aranmula and gather around the Pampa River to witness this grand snake boat race. Another speciality of Aranmula is the Aranmula Kannadi [Mirrors] which are made of metals. It is found nowhere else in the world. There is a cultural center named Vijnana Kalavedi at Aranmula which imparts training in the traditional art forms like Kathakali, classical music, dance as well as the oldest martial art form in the world Kalaripayettu. You can stay here at the center and learn about the Kerala culture in depth. Aranmula is 15 kms from Pathanamthitta on the Thiruvalla- Kumbazha Highway.
Konni Elephant CampKonni Elephant Camp is developed jointly by Kerala Forest Department, Kerala Tourism Department and Konni-Achencoil Forest Development Agency under "Konni Eco tourism Project". It is situated in the Konni forest area which covers a part of the Mighty Western Ghats. Elephant viewing, elephant feeding, elephant ride, watching elephant bath and so on are the activities arranged for the visitors. There is also an elephant museum inside the camp to educate visitors about the complete natural history of elephant.
Gajamela at Adoor Parthasarathy TempleGajamela is an elephant pageant conducted annually at the famous Parthasarathy Temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is a feast for those fond of elephants and colorful gatherings. Gajamela is the highlight of the 10 days long annual festival at the temple when nine tuskers ornamented by their colorful ceremonial attire make their way onto the temple premises and entertain the crowd. It is accompanied by Chenda melams [drums] and trumphets, and is a magnificent show altogether. Though this festival is conducted on January month, the exact date of when this festival is conducted cannot be given, as in Kerala people follow Malayalam calendar to fix the festival dates and time. The temple is located 18 kms from Pathanamthitta and there are frequent buses available to Adoor.
Rock cut cave temple at KaviyoorThe rock cut cave temple at Kaviyoor is dedicated to Lord Shiva and resemble Pallava style of architecture. It dates back to the 8th century AD. It has some beautiful stone engravings and is of great archaeological significance. You can locate Kaviyoor 27 kms from Pathanamthitta.
Summer - Pathanamthitta experience summer during the months of March, April and May. The temperature ranges from 28°c to 36°c. It is not the best time to visit Pathanamthitta.
Monsoon - It rains heavily during the Monsoon. It starts by June and lasts till September. After September it does rain but occasionally till the end of October.
Winter - The best place to visit Pathanamthitta is during winter when the land is cool and misty inviting us to experience her naturalistic charm.
By Road - Pathanamthitta is well connected to all parts of the state by road. There are frequent buses to Pathanamthitta available from all the cities in Kerala. The neighboring cities are Alleppey [65kms], Kollam [57kms] and Kottayam [56kms].
By Air - Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is the nearest airport 108 kms away from the Pathanamthitta city, a 3 hour journey. There are flights from all the major cities in India as well as abroad connecting Thiruvananthapuram. After flying down, there are taxis and Kerala State Government bus services available from airport to any part of the city.
By Rail - There is no railway station named Pathanamthitta. You can book trains to Chengannur railway station or Tiruvalla railway station which are 26 kms ad 30 kms from Pathanamthitta. Trains from all major cities in India passed through Pathanamthitta.
Be a part of the thousands of spectators gathered by the side of Pampa River and witness the mesmerizing water carnival along with the energetic Snake Boat race at Aranmula when 100s of men row these snake boats on rhythmic movements of the "Vanchipattu" sung by them. Take home the unique Aranmula Kannadi [mirror] as a souvenir which is available only at Aranmula. Visit the world famous shrine of Lord Ayyappa. Admire the elegance of the colorful adorned elephants at the Adoor Gajamela. Pathanamthitta has everything for travel hungry personnels. Visit this holy land of Lord Ayyappa and experience yourself why Kerala is known as the "God's own country"?