St Mary's Forane Church Kottayam - Kerala
The name Kottayam literally translates into the
interior of a fort. The place was initially a part of the Kulshekhra
Empire and was known as Vempolinad. However, later, the kingdom split
into two halves - Thekkumkur and Vadakkumkur. Still later, the two
disintegrated kingdoms were taken over by the Maharaja of Travancore,
Marthanda Varma along with two other small principalities of Poonjar
and Meenachil. This was during the period of 1748-54. Under the
patronage of Marthanda Varma, cardamom and pepper trade grew and the
Portugese and the Dutch came in large numbers. After him, Dharma Raja
also brought in Kottayam a lot of improvement.
In modern times, Kottayam has been a part of various social and political agitations like it had a distinctive role to play during the famous Malayali Memorial Agitation (aimed at gaining a good representation for educated Travancorean in the Travancore Civil Services). The Vaikom Satyagrah to remove the evil of untouchability also took place in Kottayam. Another agitation known as the Nivarthana was also quiet successful in the Kottayam district.
Prime shopping item in Kottayam consists of clothes and jewelleries. There are plenty of shops, especially on the KK Road and MG Road that sell these two items. The Travancore saris are extremely beautiful and you might not resist the temptation of buying them here.
The train station, boat jetty and KSRTC bus stand are all 2 km to 3 km from the centre. The Department of Tourism office is, at the Collectorate .tourist information office at the KSRTC.is helpful. The tourist police are also here. The telegraph office, open 24 hours for STD/ISD and faxes,. Email is available from the Base Station. You can cash travellers cheques and get Visa cash advances at the Canara Bank on KK Rd.
Nearest Airport from Kottayam is in Cochin which is around 91 km away. Pre paid taxis are available to transfer you to Kottayam.
Kottayam has express trains running between Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam - Kerala Express (connects New Delhi as well), Kanyakumari Express (connects Mumbai), Trivandrum Mail (connects Chennai) and another Kanyakumari Express (connects Bangalore). Other trains that run between Thiruvanantpuram and Ernakulam include Parasurama, Malabar, Venad and Vanchinad Express.
Kottayam has three bus stations.. Buses take about four
hours to Thekkady (Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary). Seven express buses
daily come through from Ernakulam and either terminate at Thekkady, or
continue to Madurai, three hours away.
The other two bus stations are private and mainly operate to local destinations within 10 km to 30 km - although you can get to Munnar and Kumily from the Nagambaram (new) bus station.