Kottayam (കോട്ടയം)is a city in the Indian state of Kerala.[1] Kottayam literally means the interior of a fort—Kotta + Akam.[2] Flanked by the Western Ghats on the east and the Vembanad Lake and paddy fields of Kuttanad on the west, Kottayam is a place that is known for extraordinary qualities.[3] It is the district headquarters of Kottayam district, located in south-west Kerala. Kottayam is located in the basin of the Meenachil River at an average elevation of 3 metres (9.8 ft) above sea level, and has a moderate climate. It is located 150 kilometres (93 mi) north of the state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

Right to left, top to bottom: MC Mathew memorial at Thirunakkara, Aksharashilpam, Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral, Kodimatha Boat Jetty, Kottayam Government Medical College, CMS College Kottayam
Right to left, top to bottom: MC Mathew memorial at Thirunakkara, Aksharashilpam, Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral, Kodimatha Boat Jetty, Kottayam Government Medical College, CMS College Kottayam
Kottayam is located in Kerala
Location in Kerala, India
Kottayam is located in India
Kottayam (India)
Coordinates: 9°35′41″N 76°29′08″E / 9.5947087°N 76.4855729°E / 9.5947087; 76.4855729Coordinates: 9°35′41″N 76°29′08″E / 9.5947087°N 76.4855729°E / 9.5947087; 76.4855729
RegionCentral Travancore
Official LanguageMalayalam, English
Native LanguageMalayalam
 • TypeMunicipality
 • BodyKottayam Municipality
 • Municipal ChairpersonP. R. Sona (INC)
 • City77.8 km2 (30.0 sq mi)
 • Land134.51 km2 (51.93 sq mi)
 • Water3.09 km2 (1.19 sq mi)
 • Urban
157.6 km2 (60.8 sq mi)
 • Metro
200.83 km2 (77.54 sq mi)
Area rank5
3 m (10 ft)
 • City136,812
 • Density1,800/km2 (4,600/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density1,200/km2 (3,000/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density1,800/km2 (4,600/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
686 001
Telephone codeKottayam:0481
Vehicle registrationKL-05
Sex ratio1075 female(s)/1000 male(s)/ /
Literacy99.66 %
Websitekottayammunicipality.lsgkerala.gov.in kottayam.nic.in
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) photographed in Vembanad Lake, Kottayam

The city is known for its trade in natural rubber, and the national Rubber Board is headquartered in the city, as is the Plantation Corporation of Kerala. Kottayam Port is India's first multi-modal inland container depot. The headquarters of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, called the Catholicate Aramana (Catholicate palace), is situated at nearby Devalokam.[not verified in body]

Many of the first Malayalam daily newspapers, like Deepika, Malayala Manorama, and Mangalam, were started and are headquartered in Kottayam, as are a number of publishing houses.


The royal house of the Thekkumkur ruler was protected by a fort called Thaliyilkotta. It is believed that the name Kottayam is derived from a combination of the Malayalam words kotta which means "fort" (Thalitilkotta) and akam which means "inside". The combined form, Kottaykkakam (കോട്ടയ്ക്കകം), can be translated as "inside the fort".[4][5]


Thekkumkur rule (1100–1753 AD)Edit

From the beginning of the ninth century AD, the history of Thekkumkur and of Kottayam are virtually indistinguishable. Kottayam was then a part of Vempolinad, an area in the Kulashekara Empire (800–1102  AD). By about 1100, the Kingdom of Vempolinad had split into the Kingdoms of Thekkumkur and Vadakkumkur, and the latter became a vassal of Cochin.

The royal house had originally been situated in Vennimala in Kottayam. It was protected by a fort known as Thaliyilkotta and, as a result, the locality came to be known by the same name as the fort. Afterward, Thekkumkur kings shifted their capital to Nattassery near Kumaranallore at the outskirts of Kottayam town. It is believed that the Thekkumkur dynasty ruled Kottayam from Thazhathangadi. Rulers of Munjanad and Thekkumkur had their headquarters at Thazhathangadi in the present Kottayam town. Marthanda Varma of Travancore attacked Thekkumkur and destroyed the palace and the Thaliyil fort. The remnants of the palaces and forts are still seen here.

The Portuguese and the Dutch established trade relations with both of these kingdoms, dealing in black pepper and other spices. After the subjugation of the Dutch East India Company by the Kingdom of Travancore in 1742, military operations of Marthanda Varma progressed against the northern neighboring kingdoms, including Thekkumkur.

Though Thekkumkur allied with Chempakassery and Vadakkumkoor to protect the kingdom, all of them were finally annexed to Travancore.[6] Another source states that the ruler of Thekkumkur had sided first with the Kingdom of Kayamkulam and then with the principality of Ambalapuzha against Travancore. After the fall of Ambalapuzha, and as the ruler of Thekkumkur refused to come to terms with Travancore, his capital city was taken on 11 September 1750 by Ramayyan Dalawa, the general and prime minister of Marthanda Varma, and the state was annexed to Travancore in 1753.

During British rule in India, Kottayam remained a part of the Princely State of Travancore.

British ruleEdit

There existed no formal institution of higher learning in the princely state of Travancore before the 1800s. In 1817, the Church Missionary Society of England established CMS College as the first college in India. It was welcomed by the government to provide administrators for the public bureaucracy[7]

Kottayam has played its role in all the political agitations of modern times. The ‘Malayali Memorial ‘ agitation may be said to have had its origin in Kottayam. The Malayali Memorial sought to secure better representation for educated Travancoreans in the Travancore civil service against persons from outside. The Memorial, which was presented to the Maharaja Sri Moolam Thirunal (1891) was drafted at a public meeting held in the Kottayam Public Library. The event marked the beginning of the modern political movement in the State.[2]

It was here that the famous Vaikom Satyagraha (1924–25), an epic struggle for eradication of untouchability, took place. Scheduled castes and other backward classes in Travancore were denied not only entry into temples, but also access to temple roads. Vaikom, the seat of a celebrated Siva Temple, was the venue of the symbolic satyagraha.[8]


Kottayam became a revenue division of Travancore.[4] A fifth division, Devikulam, existed for a short period but was later added to Kottayam. At the time of the integration of the State of Travancore and Cochin in 1949, these revenue divisions were redesignated as districts and the Diwan Peshkars gave way to district collectors, with the Kottayam district established in July 1949.[9]


Kottayam has an average elevation of 3 metres (9.8 ft) above sea level.[10] It is situated in the basin of the Meenachil River and in the basin of the Vembanad backwaters, which are formed from several streams in the Western Ghats of the Idukki district. According to the division of places in Kerala based on altitudes, Kottayam is classified as a midland area. The general soil type is alluvial soil. The vegetation is mainly tropical evergreen and moist deciduous.


Under the Köppen climate classification, Kottayam has a Tropical monsoon climate (Am).

The climate in this district is moderate and pleasant. Kottayam's proximity to the equator results in little seasonal temperature variation, with moderate to high levels of humidity. Annual temperatures range between 20 and 35 °C (68 and 95 °F).[citation needed] From June through September, the south-west monsoon brings in heavy rains, as Kottayam lies on the windward side of the Western Ghats. From October to December, Kottayam receives light rain from the northeast monsoon. The average annual rainfall is around 3,000 millimetres (120 in).

Kottayam district is bordered by Pathanamthitta district on the south, Alappuzha district on the west, Ernakulam district on the north and Idukki district on the east.

Climate data for Kottayam (1981–2010, extremes 1970–2012)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36.6
Average high °C (°F) 32.9
Average low °C (°F) 22.2
Record low °C (°F) 16.9
Average rainfall mm (inches) 9.6
Average rainy days 0.9 1.4 3.0 8.3 10.9 22.3 22.3 17.3 12.8 14.3 9.7 2.7 125.8
Average relative humidity (%) (at 17:30 IST) 65 63 63 67 71 80 81 79 76 76 75 67 72
Source: India Meteorological Department[11][12]


Historical population


As of 2001 India census,[13] Kottayam Urban Agglomeration had a population of 172,878, while Kottayam district had a population of 1,974,551. The population of Kottayam municipality was 136,812. Males constituted 62% of the population and females 38%. Population growth in the district had a diminishing trend with a decadal population growth rate of 6.5% compared to 9.35% across the decade 1991–2000.[14] Population growth in the municipality is due to migration for employment. Kottayam District is ranked first in literacy, with 95.9% literacy compared to 90.92% for Kerala State and 65.38% for India (2001 census).[4] More recently,[when?] Kottayam town and district is ranked fourth in literacy in India with a literacy rate of 97.21%.[citation needed]

Caste and religionEdit

Religions in Kottayam (2011)[15]
Distribution of religions

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes constituted 6.73% and 0.31% of the total population in Kottayam.[16] 19,739 persons were engaged in work or business activity, including 14,282 males and 5,457 females. In the census survey, the worker is defined as a person who does business, job, service, cultivator or labour activity. Of total 19,739 working population, 90.17% were engaged in main work while 9.83% of total workers were engaged in marginal work.


Trade and industryEdit

Kottayam is known as a major trading centre of natural rubber in India. The Rubber Board, which was created by the government for the national development of the rubber industry, has its head office in Kottayam.[17] 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.

Kottayam is also a trading place for crops cultivated in the surrounding area, such as spices. The Plantation Corporation of Kerala has its headquarters at Kottayam.


Illikkal rock near Teekoy, a trekking destination in Kottayam

Tourism is a major contributor to the economy. The lakeside resort village of Kumarakom is located just 15 km (9.3 mi) from town, and draws thousands of domestic and international tourists annually. Houseboats and fresh water fish are the major attractions.[citation needed].



The cuisine of Kottayam is representative of Kerala cuisine, but with a distinct Syrian Christian influence seen in the use of coconut and spices, as well as beef and seafood. The local toddy shops serve spicy fish dishes along with toddy (alcohol fermented from the sap of coconut trees).[citation needed]

There are a multitude of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Rice is the staple food eaten twice or thrice a day. Lunch dishes are generally rice with curry. Most of the breakfast foods are made using either rice or wheat.[citation needed]

Dance and musicEdit

Margamkali and Arjuna Nritham are popular dance forms. Margamkali and martial arts such as Parichamuttukali are popular among the Syrian Christian community, performed separately by men and women. In the past, it was performed during Syrian Christian weddings. Arjuna Nritham, also known as Mayilpeeli Thookkam, is a popular dance form performed by men. In addition, other South Indian dance forms like Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattom, and Kuchipudi, and classical Carnatic music, are also practised by a large number of young people.


Chuvar Chitra Nagari or "City of Murals" was an initiative taken by the authorities of Kottayam and the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi to add to the city's distinctiveness and to preserve and promote this mural art culture of Kerala.


Unnuneeli Sandesam is supposed to have been written by one of the Rajas of Vadakkumkur. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Malayalam literature was enriched by the works of Christian missionaries. 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 in Kottayam in 1870. The first Malayalam Bible was also published from Kottayam.[citation needed]

Jnananikshepam was the first newspaper published by the natives of Kerala, published at CMS press at Kottayam in 1848.[18] Kottayam has produced many well-known writers, journalists and artists. Novelist Muttathu Varkey and poet Pala Narayanan Nair both have roots in Kottayam. Kottayam Pushpanath, a writer of crime thrillers lives in Kottayam. The Indian-English novelist Arundhati Roy is a native of Kottayam and her semi-autobiographical Booker Prize-winning novel, The God of Small Things, contains her childhood experiences in Aymanam, Kottayam. Unni R. a story writer and scriptwriter, is also from Kottayam. Kottayam Town is the first town in India to have achieved 100% literacy (a remarkable feat achieved as early as in 1989). English education in South India did actually start at the Old Seminary here at Kottayam in 1813.[19]


Road transportEdit

Kottayam lies on National Highway 183 (NH 183, old designation NH 220) connecting the cities of Kollam and Theni. The NH 183 connects Kottayam to Dindigul in the state of Tamil Nadu.

State highways include Kottaya's Main Central Road or (MC Road or SH1),[20] which connects north to Angamaly and south to Trivandrum via Changanasserry. SH9 (a.k.a. Kottayam Kozhenchery Road) connects to the Pathanamthitta district to the south.

Seematti Round is a busy traffic junction in the city, where six major roads intersect. Allotted in the 2017 municipal budget, a new four-lane road from Kodimatha to Puthuppally church along the banks of the Kodoor river is aimed at relieving traffic congestion for pilgrims at Sabarimala.

Public transport in Kottaya is largely dependent on buses, run by both private operators and the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). There are three bus stations serving Kottayam, two for private buses and one reserved for KSRTC buses.

Hired transport include metered taxis and auto-rickshaws.


Kottayam railway station (station code: KTYM) is located at Nagampadam which is 2.5 km (1.6 mi) outside Kottayam town. It is on the Thiruvananthapuram–Kollam–Ernakulam rail line, under the administration of the Southern Railway. The station has three platforms for handling long distance and passenger trains. It also has a railway goods shed, though most cargo moves through Chingavanom railway station to the south.


The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, 90 km (56 mi) to the north. Construction of an airport in Cheruvally Estate near Erumely has been proposed by the Kerala government, and would be the first airport in Kottayam district.


Kottayam Port and Container Terminal (KPCT) is India's first multi-modal inland container depot. It is situated at Nattakom near Kodimatha, on the banks of Kodoor river. Recently, barge services were launched between Cochin port and Kottayam.

Kerala State Water Transport Department (SWTD) operates ferry passenger services from different parts of Kottayam district.


Kottayam has long been at the forefront of literacy and education.[citation needed] In the 17th century, a Dutch school was started at Kottayam, which was short-lived. The first English school in Kerala, and the first college in India, was established in 1817 by the Church Missionary Society of England as CMS College.[21]

The Government Medical College, Kottayam, is one of the most prominent medical colleges in Kerala. Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, is based out of Kottayam. Kottayam boasts several other colleges and universities.

There are 14 engineering colleges. Government Engineering College, Rajiv Gandhi institute of technology is located in Pampady, east of Kottayam town. Indian institute of information technology, Kottayam is an institute of national importance is also located around 30 km (19 mi) from Kottayam town, near to Pala town.


In 1821, Benjamin Bailey, a British missionary, established C.M.S. Press, the first printing press in Kerala, in Kottayam. The town has been at the forefront of newspaper and book publishing in the state ever since.

Newspaper Malayala Manorama, published from Kottayam, is one of the largest circulating dailies in India.[citation needed] The Malayala Manorama Group, based in Kottayam, also owns Manorama Online, Manorama News Channel, The Week magazine and other publications. Other major Malayalam newspapers—Mathrubhoomi, Deshabhimani, Deepika, Madhyamam, and around thirty periodicals are published from Kottayam. Kottayam is also home to several Malayalam book publishers such as D. C. Books, Labour India Publications and Current Books. Almost 70 percent of books published in Kerala are from Kottayam.[22] In 1945, a group of writers set up Sahithya Pravarthaka Sahakarana Sangam (English: Literary Workers' Co-operative Society) in Malayalam.


A number of annual basketball tournaments including the Marian Trophy, Girideepam Trophy, Lourdes Trophy and Virginia Memorial Tournament are conducted. The main sports stadiums in Kottayam are Nehru Stadium and Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium, both located in Nagambadom.



Kottayam is one of the six municipalities in the district, formed after the implementation of the Kerala Municipalities Act in 1994. The members of the municipal council are elected from each of 52 wards every five years, held with the local government elections across the state. The chairperson is the executive authority of the municipality.

Kottayam town is the part of the Kottayam legislative assembly constituency and the Kottayam Lok Sabha constituency. The legislative assembly election is conducted every four years, last in May 2016.


Kottayam Collectorate

The collectorate of the Kottayam District is located in Kottayam town. The present collector is Smt.M Anjana IAS. Many administrative and district offices of Kottayam including the District Court is situated within the collectorate premises.


Five courts were established during the tenure of Colonel John Munro, as the Diwan of various states in India. One of these was established in Vaikom, in the northwest of Kottaya district.

The district court at Kottayam was established in 1910 during the period of Sree Moolam Thirunal Maharaja of Tranvancore. The court celebrated its centenary in 2010.

The District Headquarters of the judiciary is set up at Kottayam town with the Principal District Court as it Administrative Centre. The justice delivery system consists of eight Munsiff Courts, ten Judicial 1st Class Magistrate Courts, three Sub Courts, one Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, and three Additional District Courts. In addition to these regular courts, two Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals, one special court for Vigilance cases and two Family Courts also function in this district.


Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, The current member of legislative assembly (MLA) from Kottayam

The major political parties active in Kottayam are Indian National Congress (INC), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI[M]), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Kerala Congress. Trade union movements are also popular in Kottayam as Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS, Indian Workers' Union), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) affiliated workers engaged in the labor sector.

The current municipal chairperson is PR Sona. United Democratic Front (Kerala) (UDF[K]) is the ruling coalition of parties, holding a majority in the municipal council.

The current member of legislative assembly (MLA) from Kottayam is Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.[23] He has been of the member of legislative assembly of Kerala representing Kottayam town constituency since 2011.[24]


  1. ^ Municipal corporations in Kerala
  2. ^ a b "About Kottayam". Kottayam. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  3. ^ "About Kottayam". Government of Kerala. 4 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Kurien L (2010). "Structure and functioning of Gramsabhas" (PDF). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ "Structure and functioning of Gramsabhas". 2010. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ A. Sreedhara Menon (1987). Political History of Modern Kerala. D C Books. pp. 140–. ISBN 978-81-264-2156-5. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  7. ^ Cite error: The named reference cms was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ "Kottayam". Government of Kerala. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ "Station: Kottayam Climatological Table 1981–2010" (PDF). Climatological Normals 1981–2010. India Meteorological Department. January 2015. pp. 433–434. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Extremes of Temperature & Rainfall for Indian Stations (Up to 2012)" (PDF). India Meteorological Department. December 2016. p. M107. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  13. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 16 June 2004. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
  14. ^ Srikumar Chattopadhyay (2006). Striving for Sustainability: Environmental Stress and Democratic Initiatives in Kerala. Concept Publishing. p. 157. ISBN 9788180692949.
  15. ^ "Towns in Kottayam - Religion 2011". Indian Population Census 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  16. ^ http://www.census2011.co.in/data/town/803296-kottayam-kerala.html
  17. ^ [3]
  18. ^ "official website of Information and Public Relation Department". Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  19. ^ "About District". Government of Kerala. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  20. ^ https://kerala.gov.in/municipal-corparations
  21. ^ "Setting standards of excellence: UGC recognition has added to CMS College's list of merits". The Hindu. 4 January 2005. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
  22. ^ "Official website of the Kottayam District". Archived from the original on 2 October 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
  23. ^ "Assembly Constituencies - Corresponding Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies" (PDF). Kerala. Election Commission of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2008.
  24. ^ "Assembly Constituencies - Corresponding Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies" (PDF). Kerala. Election Commission of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2008.

External linksEdit