Kottayam is one of the 14 districts in the state of Kerala. Kottayam city has a big contribution to print media and literature and hence rightfully referred as “Akshara Nagari” meaning “city of letters”. Kottayam got its name from the word “Kottaya” which is a combination of the Malayalam words “kott” meaning “fort” and “akam” meaning “inside”; the literal meaning being “the interior of a fort”.
The old town of Kottayam is now called Kunnumpuram and is located on a hilltop. The fort from which the city got its name is Thaliyil Kotta which was founded by the Rajah of Thekkumcoor. A village developed within the walls of the fort and thus the city of Kottaym came into being. The enchanting Western Ghats borders Kottaym on the east and the mesmerising Vembanad Lake lies in the west of Kottayam. It is a magnificent place with breathtaking landscape. In any direction your eyes focus, you will see verdant lands, beautiful highlands, pristine hills and knolls that will take you breathe away.
Owing to its natural beauty and its rich cultural heritage, Kottayam has been a popular tourist destination. Thousands of tourists come to this city every year to relax and to experience the opulent cultural values of Kerala. The Poonjar Palace is an example of the rich culture of Kerala. Kottayam has many temple and shrines to be discovered by visitors. The Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple, Pallippurathu Kavu, Thiruverpu Temple and the Saraswathy Temple are some famous temples situated in proximity to Kottayam. The Subramanya Swami Temple of Kottayam is one of the few temple dedicated to Lord Subramanya in Kerala. The ancient Thazhathangady Juma Masjid and the old St. Mary’s Orthodox Church Kottathavalam attract many devotees every day.
The cave at Kottathavalam is another tourist hotspot. When you are in Kottayam, schedule a visit to the beautiful scenic villages of Nattakam and Panachikadu. These villages will relax your mind and soul. Moreover, do not miss a trip to the hill station of Elaveezhapoonchira. From Kottayam, you can also visit the nearby places of Munnar, Ernakulam, Peermade, Thekkady, Madurai, Vaikom, Sabarimala, Ettumanoor and many more. A sojourn at Kottayam will refresh you and add memories to cherish. It is a wonderful place for trekking and water activities such as boating, swimming and fishing and not to mention of photography.
The rubber plantations, the local legends and the high literacy rate and the captivating lakes have entitled Kottayam as the ‘Land of Letters, Legends, Latex and Lakes’. The city of Kottayam is also famous for its spices and cash crops especially rubber. Being the head quarter of Rubber Board, India gets most of the natural rubbers from this place. It is also the hub of print media of Kerala and numerous books and periodicals such as Malayala Manorama, Mangalam and Deepika are published from this city. Kottayam is the first place in India to achieve 100% literacy rate. It can also boast of being the first district to be free of tobacco in India. Kottayam is crowned as the first city in India to be transformed as an Eco City.
Vagamon is a hill station located in Kottayam-Idukki border of Kottayam district of Kerala, India. It has a cool climate with the temperature between 10 and 23 °C during a summer midday. It is situated 1,100 metres above sea level. Vagamon was discovered by the British who found the place ideal for tea plantations and they were followed by Christian missionaries who built their abode of service at Kurisumala in Vagamon. National Geographic Traveler has listed Vagamon on their directory of the ’50 most attractive places to visit in India.