Kottayam has a large network of waterways including rivers and backwaters. The main backwaters through this district include Kumarakom backwaters and a part of Vembanad Lake. There is an ialand here called the Pathiramanal Island which is very beautiful and attracts large tourists. The other natural attractions include Elaveezhapoonchira, Aruvikuzhi waterfalls, Kesari waterfalls, Maramala waterfalls, Ayyampara etc. A monument here is the Poonjar palace which is built in traditional architecture style. Some other attractions here include Kumarakom bird sanctuary, Vennimala, Kottathavalam, Ithipuzha etc. The main tourist attractions in Kottayam district are given below
One of the famous and a major backwater of Kerala lie in Kottayam and is called as the Kumarakom backwaters where many rivers and lakes flow into the Vembanad lake. Kumarakom is situated around 15 kms from the Kottayam town. Vembanad lake is situated in Kumarakom and its importance as a tourist destination is increasing at a fast pace. It is the largest lake in Kerala. Kumarakom is a group of islands which becomes a part of the Kuttanad area and some parts of Kumarakom lies below the sea level.
Elaveezhapoonchira is a beautiful valley that extends to over several acres and lies at a height of around 3200 ft above sea level. Here there are many mountain ranges having rocky cliffs. It lies between the three hills Mankunnu, Kudayathoormala and Thonippara. The huge hills found here are Vindhyanmedu, Hidumbanmedu, Mankallumudi, Kolanimudi and Mukalanthumudi. The word meaning of Elaveezhapoonchira is ‘the valley where the leaves do not fall’.
Poonjar palace is located in Kottayam district and it stands as a proof of the ambience of the rich past of this place. The Rajas of this palace are connected to the Travancore royal family. This palace which is around 600 years old is constructed mostly of wood. There is a museum within the palace and here there are many valuable antiques and furniture such as the palanquin, chandeliers, sculptures of dancing Shiva, rock cut lamps, droni which is a bed that is used for ayurvedic treatments, jewel boxes, etc.
Aruvikkuzhi waterfalls are located in Kottayam district around 2 kms from Kumarakom. It is a very beautiful picnic location. There are rubber plantations in this area which provides shade so that the tourists can take rest underneath the tree.
Kesari waterfall is also called as Valanjamkanam waterfalls. It lies in Kottayam district in between Kuttikanam and Murinjapuzha. Kuttikanam is an ideal place for trekking and is loved by the nature lovers. This waterfall is very calm and is surrounded by mountains.
Maramala waterfall is situated in Kottayam district. It lies at a distance of 7 kms from Teekoy rubber estate. In order to reach the waterfalls, one has to trek from Teekoy. This waterfall falls from a height of 60 m and then joins the Teekoy River after flowing for about 200 m.
Pathiramanal is an island that is situated in the border of Kottayam and Alappuzha districts. The word meaning of ‘Pathiramanal’ is ‘Sands of Night’. The total area of this island is estimated to be around 20 hectares. Until the early seventies, this island was under private ownership and later it came under the control of the government. At present it is a major tourist destination and is not inhabited by any.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Vembanad Lake. Hence it is also called as the Vembanad Bird Sanctuary. It covers an area of 14 acres. There are a large species of migratory bird found here. These migratory birds may be either from the Himalayas or may be even far from there. The flora found here includes mangrove and coconut trees, paddy fields etc.
Ayyampara is a well known scenic location which lies at a height of 2000 ft above sea level. The area is rocky and the vast plain looks like a natural granite stadium. The view of the town from here is very beautiful and the area is very calm and silent. The place is less crowded and one can enjoy the beauty of the sunset from here. This is also an ideal place for trekking and is soon to be a major tourist destination.
Vennimala is a beautiful hill top destination which is covered with green vegetation and rubber plantations. There are many fresh water ponds which are well preserved. The water here is very clear and is found even during summer season. A main attraction here is the temple of Lord SreeRama and Lakshmana. On the hill side lies a huge cave but it has been closed by the fallen rocks.
Kallara is a small village in Kottayam with scenic stretches of paddy fields. The people in this village are mainly engaged in making screw pine products which are popularly called as ‘tazha’. The screw pine plants are grown in plenty in this area. The processed shaft of the plant is taken and used to make beautiful items like mats, purse, mirrors etc. Kallara is soon to be a model tourism village. This will enable the tourists to watch the making of screw pine products and can also try making them.
Kudamaloor is an example of Kerala’s typical rural ambience. Here is the Valiyamadom Nalukettu which is inhabited by the Royal family. There are several old mansions and Naalukettu’s here. There are still remnants of the fort of the Kings and one can see the holes where canons were kept. Kudamaloor was the centre of art and architecture. There are many Kathakali artists from this village and even today there are many performers here. There are many temples and other religious pilgrim centers here.
A small village on the banks of the Vembanad Lake is Ithipuzha where tourism is being developed. There are houseboats but no resorts. As there are many distributaries for the Lake, several islands are created which is very beautiful.
A beautiful location on the way to Wagamon is called Kottathavalam. This place is surrounded by hills on the three sides and it appears like a fort. Hence the name Kottathavalam. There are many unexplored caves and vast reserved forest area.