Kottayam is a city in south-west Kerala covering an area of 55.40 square kilometres It was also known as ‘Cotym’ and ‘Cottayam’ during the British Raj. It is one of the main centres of literature and hence was called Akshara Nagari or Land of Letters. Today, seven major Malayalam newspapers like Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhoomi, Deshabhimani, Deepika, Madhyamam, Thejus and Mangalam – and around thirty periodicals are published from Kottayam. It is also home to several book publishers in Malayalam such as D. C. Books, Labour India Publications and Current Books thus accounting to about 70 percent of books published in Kerala
Kottayam is always in the forefront in literacy and education and is the first town in India to attain 100% adult literacy.The first English school in Kerala was started by the Missionaries of the Church Mission Society (C.M.S) at Kottayam, in the beginning of the 19th century. Unnuneeli Sandesam is supposed to have been written by one of the Rajas of Vadakkumkur. In 1821, Benjamin Bailey, a British missionary, established here the C.M.S. Press, the first printing press in Kerala.. The town has been in the forefront of newspaper and book publishing in the state ever since.
Varthamana Pusthakam (1778), written by Parammekkal Thoma Kathanar on a visit to Rome, is the first travelogue in Malayalam. The first Malayalam English dictionary and Malayalam dictionary were published in Kottayam in the years 1846 and 1865 respectively. The first autobiography in Malayalam by Vaikom Pachu Moothathu was published here in 1870. The first Malayalam Bible was also published in Kottayam. The Government Medical College, Kottayam is one of the most prominent medical colleges in Kerala located in Arpookara, about 8 km from Kottayam town.
Kottayam town is also known as Chuvarchithra Nagari (City of Murals).During the British period, various missionaries, the Christian churches and St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara himself established many schools, colleges and other educational institutions in and around the town. The Headquarters of the Indian Orthodox Church is the Catholicate Palace located at Devalokam, Kottayam. It is the official headquarters of the Malankara Metropolitan and the Catholicos Of The East who reigns on the Supreme Throne of St.Thomas the Apostle.
One of the three L's of Kottayam City is Latex. It is a major trading centre of natural rubber in India. The Rubber Board, a body set up by the Government of India for the development of the rubber industry, has administrative office and headquarters located at Kottayam. A number of small and medium-sized enterprises in and around the town are engaged in the processing of rubber latex and manufacturing of rubber products. Besides rubber, Kottayam is a trading place of other commercial crops like spices cultivated widely in the surrounding areas.
Kumarakom is the first destination in India to Implement Responsible Tourism practices. Kerala Tourism was awarded for its path-breaking 'Responsible Tourism' project in Kumarakom, which has successfully linked the local community with the hospitality industry and government departments, thereby creating a model for empowerment and development of the people in the area while sustaining eco-friendly tourism.Tourism in Kumarakom largely revolves -around the backwaters of the Vembanad Lake. Several luxury and budget resorts lined up on the shores of the lake provide tourists with facilities for boating, yachting and fishing, with panoramic views of the lake. The other major attraction is the Bird Sanctuary, which is open from 6 am to 6 pm .
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary Overview
A paradise for bird watchers, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary or Vembanad Bird Sanctuary is situated on the banks of Lake Vembanad in kavanar River basin. The place is spread across a huge area of 14 acres providing a natural habitat to about 91 species of local birds and 50 species of migratory birds.Considered one of the largest bird sanctuaries in India, one can spot the local exotic variety from June to August while migratory bird visit the area from November to February. Apart from that, the sanctuary abodes various water bodies. One can access Kumarakom by many means:
By road: KSRTC(16 kilometres) Buses and taxis are easily available at all times of the day from Kottayam.
By air: via Cochin International Airport approximately 80 kilometres.
By rail: via Kottayam
By boat: From Muhamma (near Alappuzha) to Kumarakom Jetty.