Practical info

Demographics

As of 2001 India census,[2] Kottayam municipality had a population of 60,725, while Kottayam district had a population of 19,52,901. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. It is one of the very few places which witnessed a negative population growth from 1991 to 2001.[citation needed]

Trading Place

Extensive cultivation of rubber trees in Kerala, especially in vast areas of Kottayam District, in small and large plantations as well as in small lots and even in many housesyards, has made Kottayam a major trading place of natural rubber in India. Quite fittingly, The Rubber Board, a body set up by the Indian government for the development of rubber industry is located at Kottayam. 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. Besides rubber, Kottayam is also a trading place of other commercial crops grown in the District and neighbouring areas. Being the headquarters of the district with lot of plantations, Plantation Corporation of Kerala also its headquarters in Kerala.

Shopping and Recreation Facilities

Kottayam is still one of the important centres of business in Kerala. Most of the shops are located around the stretch of KK(Kottayam-Kumily) road, that passes through the town. Baker Junction is also considered among the Business centres in the town. In recent years Kanjikuzhy has emerged as one of the upcoming commercial and residential hubs in the town. Kanjikuzhy is around 3 km from the city centre. Many Tourism related Businesses are also present in Kottayam. Kumarakom, one of the famous tourist destinations in Kerala, being only at around 14 km, from the town centre. Quite a few hotels and restaurants are present in and around the town. There is Municipal park in Sastri road, near city centre. Also there are around five movie halls in the town close to the city centre, showing mainly Malayalam, English, Tamil and Hindi movies. Kottayam is one among the initial release centres in the state for new movies. Kottayam district is traditionally known for a sport loving place and being the district headquarters there have been some eminent sports personalities from in and around the town also. The presence of the famous Nehru stadium at the entrance of the town stands as testimony for this. And many tournaments happen in the town in the course of the year. Basketball is very popular and Girideepam trophy(Girideepam school), Lourdes trophy(Lourdes School) and Virginia Memorial tournament(Mount Carmes school) are among the famous basketball tournaments. Tournaments conducted by Baselius college are also famous.

Publishing Centre

In 1821 Benjamin Baily, a British missionary, established C.M.S. Press, the first printing press in Kerala, in Kottayam. The town has been in the forefront of Newspaper and Book publishing in the state ever since. Malayala Manorama, the newspaper with the largest circulation of all dailies in Malayalam, was founded here in 1888. And Manorama is known by the sobriquet of "Granny Of News Papers"by the critiques from left circle. Deepika, another Malayalam newspaper, also started publishing from here in the same year. In 1945, a group of writers set up SPCA, (short for 'Literary Workers' Co-operative Society' in Malayalam), a unique co-operative of writers, which became a leading publisher in the State. Kottayam is home to several other books and periodical publishers in Malayalam languages such as D. C. Books, Labour India Publications and Manorajyam etc. Other newspapers which have their publishing offices in Kottayam include Mathrubhumi, Mangalam and Madhyamam.

Education

The Old Seminary of the Malankara Orthodox Church was the first institution to start English education in Southern India. C.M.S High School, (now Church Missionary Society College High School), was founded by the British missionary, Benjamin Bailey of the Church Mission Society of London. C.M.S College, the first college in Kerala was started in Kottayam in 1817 by the Church Missionary Society. The Baker Memorial Girls High School in Kottayam,founded by Amalia Dorothea Baker in 1820, is one of the oldest girls' schools in India.

The leading institution of higher education in Kottayam is the Mahatma Gandhi University, one of the six universities in Kerala. Medical College, Kottayam also includes a Dental College and a Nursing College. There are also a number of Arts & Science Colleges, including famous C.M.S. College, the first institution of higher education in the State & nation, where the former president of India had studied, Baselius college Kottayam, BCM College, couple of engineering and polytechnic colleges, and several nursing schools, located in and around the town.

There are many famous schools in and around the town, the oldest and most distinguished being Baker Memorial Girls High School, located on top of Baker Hill and in the centre of Kottayam town, the CMS College High School and the MT seminary High School, which have produced many very good doctors, engineers, teachers, scientists, lawyers and managers, working all over the world. Newer schools like Mount Carmel School, Corpus Christi school, Girideepam School, Marian School,Don Bosco etc. are also doing well.

Kottayam was known as an educational hub in the state, and still has niche for itself in the field of education. In 1989, Kottayam became the first fully literate Municipal town in India.

Media

Major Malayalam newspapers published in Kottayam include Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhumi, Deshabhimani, Deepika, Kerala Kaumudi etc.Some evening papers are also published from the town. Cable television is very popular. Telephony services are provided by various players like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, and state owned BSNL.

Third Sector

In the district, there are number of third sector organizations, dealing with rural development, social service delivery, poverty reduction, empowerment of women and marginalized sections, restoration of eco-system, training and research. Centre for rural management (CRM), is one of the leading autonomous research organizations under third sector, located at Kottayam

Temples, Churches, Mosques

Reflecting the religious make up of the population, Hindu temples and Christian churches dot the townscape. Notable among them are Thirunakkara Mahadeva temple and two churches known as Cheriya Palli and Valiya Palli and Thazhathangadi Muslim Palli(Juma Masjid).

Thazhathangady Juma Masjid situated in the banks of river Meenachil is one of the oldest Mosques in India and is more than 1000 years old. It is very famous for its architectural beauty, and the richness in wood carvings. This mosque was constructed by the followers of the Islamic prophet Muhammad during one of their first voyages to Kerala. The interior of the mosque is built using wood with marvelous craftings. The mosque is situated just 2&nbps;km from Kottayam town and is on the route to Kumarakom.

Thirunakkara Mahadeva temple, at the heart of the town, is a Shiva temple built in the Kerala style of temple architecture, and with interior murals depicting themes from the Hindu epics. It was built at the beginning of 16th century by the then Raja of Thekkumkur. The annual temple festival that culminates in a ceremony called the Aaraattu, attracts large number of devotees. Ettumanoor Mahadeva temple, Kaduthuruthy Mahadeva Temple, vaikom Mahadeva Temple and Thiruvayamkudy Mahadeva Temple are the other famous Shiva temples in this district.

Malankara Orthodox St. Mary's Church, also known as Cheriapally (Little Church); originally built in 1579Kottayam is a major center of Syrian Christians of Kerala. St. Mary's Church, the Valia Palli (the Big Church), built in 1550 by Knanaya Syrian Jacobite Christians who immigrated from West Asia is considered as the first Christian church in Kottayam. This building is noted for its Persian inscriptions and a Persian stone cross. Another St. Mary's Church known as Cheria Palli (the Little Church), belonging to the Malankara Orthodox Church was built in 1579 by the Raja of Thekkumkur for his Christian subjects. Similarly St Mary's Church of Kudamalloor built by Raja of Chempakassery. These churches features temple architectural influences. The interior murals, painted using vegetable dyes, depict Biblical themes. The St. Mary's Church at Manarcaud, owned by the Jacobite Syrian Church, situated at around 8 km from the town is a major pilgrim centre.

The Syro-Malabar rite of the Roman Catholic church has an Archeparchy based in Kottayam.[3][4]. Some of the important Catholic churches in Kottayam include Lourdes Forane church, Good Shepherd church, Vimalagiri cathedral, Christhuraja cathedral etc. Another famous Catholic church St: Mary's Church at Athirampuzha is around 10 km from the town. St. Mary's Church, Kuravilangad, is another famous church which is said to be constructed in 355 AD.