Kottayam is a district in Kerala, with absolutely mesmerizing views of the hills and exciting things to do. Visitors to Kerala ideally visit the place to enjoy viewing the many marvels of the city and the places surrounding it.
Here are some of those marvels – a mix of cultural delights, lovely religious places, mesmerizing waterfalls, a touch of history and more!
1. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Image by Anand2202 via Wikimedia
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is one of the major highlights of Kottayam. Bird lovers and ornithologists frequent the destination to watch the aviator species in motion. The best time to visit this place would be during the breeding season of the resident wetland birds and that would be during June to August.
If you are visiting between October and February, you can easily spot the following birds – White Ibis, numerous species of kingfisher, egrets and herons, waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, wood beetles, fly catchers, parrots and larks. The sanctuary offers boating facilities too.
2. Marmala Waterfalls
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Falling from 60 meters, the cascading Marmala waterfalls is a feast for the eyes when it merges with Meenachail River. The path to the waterfalls could be a bit tedious, but is definitely worth the effort. The jeep would take you to the waterfalls and at the end of it, you can enjoy the bliss of hearing a beautiful melody of the falls.
3. Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple
Thirunakkara Mahadeva is Lord Shiva, and this temple is one of the oldest in Kottayam. The ambiance is great and the wall of the temple has beautiful paintings depicting stories from the Hindu epics.
4. Kumaranelloor Bhagavathy Temple
This Bhagavathy Temple is famous among Hindus, and has frequent tourists marveling at the magnificent architecture, wood carvings and attractive mural paintings. According to Sri Adi Sankaracharya, the temple is one of the most important centers in the county to worship Goddess Durga.
5. Mary Orthodox Church
Image by Sheffin Mathew via Wikimedia
Mary Orthodox Church at Cheriyapalli is one of the must visit places in Kottayam. It is one of the oldest churches in Kerala; the architecture of the building is amazing and well-preserved. It marks the arrival of traders from the Western coast (mainly Persia) to the Eastern coast, and when Christianity started to spread its roots in the country. The church also has some noteworthy murals portraying both biblical and non-biblical themes.
Elaveezhapoonchira is a hill station in Kottayam, and the perfect weekend getaway for people coming in from Kochi and Trivandrum. Elaveezha means “leaves that do not fall” and poonchira means “valley”, so basically it is a valley where the leaves do not fall. Standing atop the hill station, you can see good portions of the following districts – Idukki, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Thrissur.
You can drive up to the hill station if you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, or you can hire a jeep. Either way, it is a must visit place in Kottayam as it’s almost paradisal and the landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful.
7. Poonjar Palace
Poonjar Palace, built in the Meenachil taluk is a stunning heritage site worth a visit. It is just 30 kilometers from Kottayam railway station, and sports a temple that is a true replica of the Madurai Meenakshi Temple. The palace is famous for its rich collection of antiques, chandeliers, jewel boxes, grain measure, weaponry, palm leaf engravings, statues, sculptures of Nataraja and palanquin.
8. Illikkal Kallu
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Lying in Moonnilavu and Thalanadu village of Meenachil taluk, Illikkal Kallu is a rock situated 6000 feet above sea level. You can reach this pristine location by maneuvering the hairpin bends and narrow, zig zag roads, but it’s definitely worth the effort. The panoramic view up the hill is one of the best in Kerala.
9. Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple
Image by Ranjithsiji via Wikimedia
The Siva temple at Ettumanoor, about 12 kilometers from Kottayam, was built in the ancient times. Legend has it that the Pandavas and sage Vyasa worshiped at the temple. The idol of Shiva as the cosmic dancer, the huge oil lamp and the ornate grand entrance at the front are the major attractions.
Image by Ajith via Flickr
Vaikom is also a major attraction not to be missed when visiting Kottayam; you can see many temples here. This place went down in history during the Vaikom Sathyagraham in 1924 (a movement against the untouchability system since the people of lower cast were not allowed to enter temples).
The satyagraha spearheaded by Mahatma Gandhi himself was a huge success and the people of the lower cast were allowed to visit temples.
Image by Jaseem Hamza via Wikimedia
Nadukani is a trekker’s paradise. You can trek up 3000 feet of thick wooded hills and dense forests, and once you are atop, you will be treated to magnificent views of Muvattupuzha River, Malankara Lake and Malankara Dam. This place is about 68 kilometers from Kottayam, but an effort you would truly relish.
12. Thazhathangady Juma Masjid
Image by Aryaabraham via Wikimedia
Taj Juma Masjid, as this mosque is also known, is built on the banks of Meenachil River. The mosque is noted for its magnificent wood carvings and spectacular pillars. Built by the Muslim settlers of Kerala, the mosque is located at a distance of about 5 kilometers from Baker’s Junction, one of the another famous landmarks of Kerala.
You can visit Kottayam any time of the year – summer, winter or monsoon, and you may need a day at least to visit all of these sights. If you wish to visit them at leisure, you can set aside a couple of days, and then head back to Kochi (66 kilometers) or travel down to Trivandrum (199 kilometers).
If you have more time in Kottayam, you can visit these places as well – Thirunakkara Sri Krishna Temple, St.George Orthodox Church,St. Mary’s Forane Church, Kurishumala, Thalikotta Siva Temple, Sri Dharma Shashta Temple and Valanjaganam waterfalls.
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