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District of Kerala :: Pathanamthitta

How to get there

Air: The nearest airport is at Cochin, 152 km away. The Trivandrum airport is 236 km to the south via Kottayam.

Road: motorable roads to other towns in Kerala link Pathanamthitta. Kottayam, for instance, is 76 km away.

Forest and pilgrimage centers

Carved out of Quilon district, more than half of the area of Pathanamthitta district is forestland. The river Pamba flows through the district, which is bounded on the east by the Western Ghats. A large part of the district, then the eastern part of Quilon district, had been set apart for those who were evicted from the Idukki Hydroelectric Project area as well as for educated unemployed, ex-servicemen, Harijans and hill tribes. It was to provide these people with better amenities that the area was sought to be developed economically and socially. Thus was born, in November 1982, Pathanamthitta district.

Perhaps the best-known pilgrimage destination in Kerala is Sabarimala, high up in the Sahyadri Mountains. The holy shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa (Dharma Sastha) attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over, especially from other parts of South India. The main pilgrimage season is November - January. The shrine is located 914 m. above sea level amidst dense forests. Vehicular traffic cannot go beyond Pamba and the last five kms, to the shrine can be reached only by trekking. But remember, tourists and foreigners, as well as women between the ages of 14 and 40, are not allowed entry.

Aranmula, a small town on the banks of the river Pamba, 10 km from Chengannur on the Trivandrum-Kottayam route, is famed from its expensive hand-made mirrors of polished metal called the ‘Aranmula Kannadi’ or Aranmula Mirror. During Onam (August/ September), the Aranmula Boat Race takes place amidst celebrations and festivities.

In February, devotees of the Marthoma Christian faith as well as other believers converge on Maramon near Kozhencherry, 13 km from Pathanamthitta, for the annual Maramon Convention. Held on the riverbed of the Pamba, this is said to be Asia’s largest gathering of Christians. At Niranam is the oldest Christian church, believed to have been built by the Apostle St. Thomas in 52 A. D.

Those interested in culture and the arts would not want to miss the Vijana Kala Vedi Cultural Centre. Founded by Louba Schild, a French scholar under the Indo-French Cultural Exchange Programme, this center was started with UNESCO support. The center offers residential training courses in Kerala’s traditional arts and crafts like kathakali, mohiniattam, bharata natyam, kalaripayattu, music, wood caving etc.

At Kaviyoor, 5 km east of Tiruvalla, on the banks of the Manimala river, atop a hill is a Hanuman temple in the characteristic Kerala style. Not far away is another temple of archaeological significance. This rock- cut temple has been dated to the 18th century and is close to the Pallava style. Inscriptions on the central shrine are believed to belong to the Kali era.

The valiant ruler of Travancore Velu Thampi Dalawa spent his last days at Mannadi, 13 km from Adoor and 45 km from Quilon. The ancient Bhagwati temple here also houses the Kerala Institute of Folkore and Folk Arts, which has a museum of tapes and a library.

The Perunthenaruvi waterfall, which flows down a rocky path into a ravine 100 feet deep, is accessible by bus from Quilon.

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