Kottayam has some of the finest natural scenes sandwiched as it is between serene palm-fringed backwaters on the west and the Western ghats on the east.
Air : Nearest Airport is at Cochin, 76 km away. The Thiruvananthapuam International Airport is 152 km.
Rail : Kottayam Railway Station 2 kms. away from the Central Bus Station and is connected with major cities and tourist centres.
Road : There are two bus stands, one run by state transport and the other private. The buses to major centres operate from the KSRTC bus station.
Ferry : The Ferry Station is 3 km, away from the railway station. Services to Alleppey, Mannar, Chempakulam, Mankombu and Ambalapuzha.
Places of Interest :
Valiyapalli Church : The St. Mary's Church, built as early as 1550 AD and is situated 2 kms from Kottayam.
The church was built by the descendants of the Syrian Kanaya Christians who migrated to India in 345 A.D., from Jerusalem and near-by places under the leadership of Kana Thoma.
The Valliyapalli Church is famous for its two granite crosses known as Persian Crosses, engraved with ancient inscriptions, which were brought to their present location from a much older church near Crangannore, built by the forefathers of the builders of this church.
Bharananganam : Bharananganam is an important Christian Pilgrimage centre, located 5 km east of Palai on the Kottayam - Erattupett Road.
Associated with Sister Alphonsa, the blessed saint of the Catholics, the mortal remains of the saint are preserved in a chapel next to the St. Mary's Church. She lived from 1916 AD to 1946 AD.
The day of 28th July, the death anniversary of the saint is observed with much solemnity. This 100-year-old church features an attractive grotto of Virgin Mary.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary : Located on the banks of the Vembanand Lake, the Bird Sanctuary, is known for its varied avian population. Local varieties such as waterfowls, cuckoos and owls, as well as the migratory Siberian Cranes can be viewed here. Parrots, teal, larks, flycatchers, wood beetle, and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons.
Vaikom : Parasurama, the mythical founder of Kerala, is said to have built a temple here dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The twelve-day festival of the temple falls in November -December, and is celebrated with classical dance and music performances.
Also famous is the 'Kshetra Kalapeedhom', a school devoted to temple arts.
Ettumanoor Temple : Located 12 kms north of Kottayam town, at Ettumanoor is an ancient Shiva temple, which was built in the 16th century.
Ettumanoor temple is a marvelous example of the Kerala style of architecture, attracts many Hindu devotees from all over the state. The copper plated conical roof of the central shrine, is in itself a majestic structure.
The shrine is inlaid with beautiful carvings of scenes from the Ramayana, Bhagavatha and Krishna Leela. The temple is also endowed with an exquisite collection of Mural paintings and sculptures, depicting scenes from the Hindu mythology.
Vembanad Lake : Asia's largest fresh water lake is the Vembanad Lake, is 12km west from Kottayam. Kottayam is a vast network of rivers and canals, which empty into the great expanse of water called Vembanad Lake.
The lake, a mystical tourist spot and a fast developing Backwater Tourism destination, provides boating, fishing and sightseeing experiences that are truly exhilarating.
Vembanad, the beautiful reservoir stretches across the verdant lands of Kerala. Due to the lake the flora and fauna have flourished in this area.
Cheryapalli : Located near the Valia Palli, the smaller church of Cheria Palli, also dedicated to St. Mary, built in 1579, has some Murals and paintings of Biblical and other themes.
Good Shepard Church : Situated behind the civil station at Kottayam, this is the first church of Diocese of Vijayapuram. The construction of this church, which is completely in Italian style, was completed in 1882 and was renova Sted in 1964. The feast att.Sebastian is on 20th January and that of Good Shepherd, is from 10th to 12th April.
Ayyampara : 43 km from Kottayam, Ayyampara, a good base for trekking expeditions is a little-known scenic spot of rocky plains where a 100-acre area of flat rock makes a natural granite stadium to enjoy the sunset and the view of the town below.
Erumelli : 60 kms form Kottayam, its an important pilgrim centre of both the Muslims and Hindus. An ancient temple dedicated to Lord Ayappa and a mosque of Vavar, his Muslim ally, are both located here. The pilgrims to the holy shrine at Sabarimala also pay obeisance to Vavar, an enduring custom, which brilliantly exemplifies the communal harmony of the land and its people.
Thirunakkara : The Siva temple at Thirunakkara is in the heart of Kottayam town. The sanctum-sanctorum is covered with pictures from the epics.