Sandwiched between the Western Ghats and the backwaters, Kottayam is more renowned for being Kerala’s centre of the spice and rubber trade than for its aesthetic appeal. It’s a good place to make a connection between these two regions, or to pop into the pretty backwater village of Kumarakom.
Kottayam is a bookish town: the first Malayalam-language printing press was established here in 1820 and it was the first district in India to achieve 100% literacy. Today it’s home to the newspaper Malayala Manorama (with the second-largest circulation in India) and is the headquarters of DC Books, Kerala’s excellent bookshop chain. A place of churches and seminaries, Kottayam was a refuge for the Orthodox church when the Portuguese began forcing Keralan Christians to switch to Catholicism in the 16th century.
The Thirunakkara Utsavam Festival is held in March at the Thirunakkara Shiva Temple.