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4.0 /5 37 votes


Best Time: Sep-Feb Read More

Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Nearest Airport: Kochi Check Flights

"Akshara Nagari (City of Letters) of Kerala "

Kottayam Tourism

An ancient town located on a hilltop bordered by the western ghats on the east and the thrilling Vembanad Lake on the west, Kottayam is a culturally rich and naturally enchanting destination. Apart from nature's bounty, the town has many laurels to its name. It is a proud town to achieve 100% literacy in India for the first time. Also being the land of several publishing houses and print media, Kottayam is also tagged as the 'Akshara Nagari' meaning 'City of letters'.

The city is also a significant commercial hub for spices and crops especially rubber. One will see acres of a well-kept plantation of rubber all across the town. Other than its commercial importance, Kottayam is also dotted with a plethora of ancient and fascinating shrines all narrating a story of their own. With mesmerizing landscape and verdant fields are sure to lure you back to this place.

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History of Kottayam

The city of Kottayam was a part of the ancient kingdom of Thekkumkur since the 9th century, who established trade relations with the Europeans in spices and other condiments. King Marthanda Varma of Travancore defeated the Thekkumkur rulers, and the state was then annexed as a part of the princely state of Travancore in 1750 and remained a part of it throughout the British rule period. Kottayam also played an instrumental role in several political agitations such as the Malayali Memorial agitation for better representation of Malayalis in their civil service and the Abstention Movement for representation of the Hindu lower castes in the legislature. In 1942, Mahatma Gandhi launched a satyagraha against untouchability in Vaikom, near Kottayam.


The name Kottayam has it roots from the Malayalam words Kotta which means fort and akam, meaning the inside - thus the interior of the fort, or Kottaykkakam. The ancient rulers of Kottayam, the Thekkumkurs, had a fort called Thaliyilkotta for their protection in the town, which is believed to have inspired the name.

Backwaters of Kottayam

The backwaters of Kottayam are a popular tourist attraction. A tour of the backwaters provides a breathtaking view of the 1500 acres of richly fertile land interspersed with coconut and paddy trees, which is used for agriculture by the local population. A unique feature of the Kottayam backwaters is that agriculture is practised below sea level here. The beautiful lakes of Vembanad and Punnamada in this region are famous tourist hotspots.

Restaurants and Local Food in Kottayam

People of Kottayam are extremely fond of their food and thus you will find restaurants and cafes almost everywhere in the town. However, make sure you stick to the traditional Kerala food which is quite delicious. South Indian vegetarian food is also available almost everywhere is obviously lip smacking. However, try and avoid North Indian, Chinese or Continental food as it may not favor your taste buds.
Also if you religion oriented make sure you specify the non-vegetarian dish you order as beef is quite commonly prevalent in Kottayam.
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One Day Itinerary

Kottayam can be explored in one day, but you'll have to rush, or you will miss out on some places. It is better if you stay for two full days.

Day 1: You can start your 1st day by visiting the Kumarakom bird sanctuary early in the morning. It is 13 km from the city, and you can opt for an early morning safari. From there you can come back to the city and watch the numerous temples that the town is dotted with, like the Thirunakkara Mahadev Temple and Vaikom Mahadev Temple. You can visit Elaveezhalpoonchira in the evening to experience a sunset that will remain with you forever. You can shop in the local markets for some beautiful sarees in the evening and also don't forget to try to local Kerala cuisine.

Day 2: On the next day, you can go for a backwater cruise in the morning and follow it up with a visit to the Marmala Waterfalls and Vembanad Lake. In the evening you can visit the Parel Syro Church and the Thazhathangady Juma Masjid.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Incredibly picturesque. Calm. Beautiful. Mesmerising. The Western Ghats on one side and Vembanad lake on the other. Panoramic backwaters. Very kind and welcoming people.

What's Not So Great?

Can be crowded during peak seasons. Hotel price surge during peak seasons.

For Whom?

Kottayam is an ideal destination for everybody, and everyone will be mesmerized by its beauty equally. It is a perfect place to sit back and relax and to avoid the daily chaos of life. Its greenery and beauty will live you spellbound.

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How To Reach Kottayam

Kottayam doesn't have an airport of its own, and the nearest airport is in Kochi which is only 90 km from Kottayam. Kottayam is well connected to the rest of Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka by frequent and reliable bus service. You can either opt for the bus service provided by the government or the private services. Kottayam has a railway station of its own, and it receives trains from a lot of major cities in India.

Ask a Question

Ask a question from the travellers who have experience.

Q. Good place for student tour?

Holidify 1 year ago
Kottayam may not be the best place for a student tour, but a trip to the neighbouring Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a very good idea for a student trip.

Kottayam Reviews

Your rating
Binu Kurian 1 year ago
Kottayam Town 4 KM Meenachil River Frontage Round Boat Traveling 400/- Per Person 100. Good River lots of fish, Keral food, Boating River Side
Shashwat Kant 1 year ago
- Make sure you carry a camera to capture the essence of charm oozing out of the city.
- Avoid travelling the city during summers owing to hot and dry weather and scorching heat.
- Take all the required precautions while indulging in any sport activity.
Sunny Mathew 1 year ago
Opening day of the museum is changed from Sunday to Tuesday. Time is not changed, ie, 2.00 P.M. to 7.00P.M. Visit the Museum on other days by getting appointment through Emali ([email protected]) or by phone..+91 81370 20185 or +91 93874 73424. Thanks, Sunny Mathew Kunnelpurayidom, Owner, Discs & Machines gramophone Museum
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