Complete India Travel Guide

"Know more about Kottayam during your trip to Kerala. Its past and present has much to keep you busy."
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Kottayam Essential Information

St Mary's Forane Church Kottayam,  Kerala
St Mary's Forane Church Kottayam - Kerala

Kottayam History

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.

Tourist Orientation

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 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.

Getting There

By Air

Nearest Airport from Kottayam is in Cochin which is around 91 km away. Pre paid taxis are available to transfer you to Kottayam.

By Rail

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.

By Road

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.


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