Kottayam – A Place of Unique Characteristics in India

KOTTAYAM is a land of unique characteristics. Bordered by the lofty Western Ghats on the east and the Vembanad Lake and paddy fields of Kuttanand on the west, it is the only district in Kerala that neither shares a border with neighboring states nor with Arabian Sea. The city of Kottayam is called “Akshara Nagari” considering it’s contribution to print media and literature. It is also called the land of LATEX, LETTERS, LAKES & LEGENDS. Kottayam can claim many firsts to it’s credit.


1] Kottayam municipality is the first town in India to have achieved 100% literacy (in 1989), in 1991 kottayam district achieved 100% literacy

2] English education started first time in south India at old seminary, Kottayam as early as 1813

3] The first college in the Kerala State (CMS College) was also started at Kottayam in 1840. Vidyasamgraham, a publication of CMS College, is the first College Magazine in the State and was started in 1864.

4] The first English high school in Kerala was started by the missionaries of Church Mission Society (CMS), at Kottayam in 1821.

5] Baker Memorial Girls High School in Kottayam, founded by Amalia Dorothea Baker, is the oldest girls’ schools in Kerala.

6] The first printing press in Kerala was established (CMS Press) here in 1821 by Rev.Benjamin Baily.

7] Maiden printed English & Malayalam Dictionaries were published from Kottayam in 1846 & 1865 respectively.

8] The first travelogue in Malayalam, Varthamana Pusthakam (1778), written by Parammekkal Thoma Kathanar was published from Kottayam

9] The first autobiography in Malayalam by Vaikom Pachu Moothathu was published from Kottayam in 1870.

10] The first Malayalam Bible was also published from Kottayam.

11] The first and only Cooperative Society of writers, authors and publishers (SPCS), for publishing books and periodicals was set up in 1945 at Kottayam.

12] Deepika, the first daily newspaper in Malayalam & published from Kottayam, Started in 1887.

13] Kottayam is the home town of a vast number of books and periodicals and 70% of books in Kerala are being published from here. Popular publishing houses like Malayala Manorama publications, D.C.books, Labour India Publications Ltd, Mangalam Publications, Deepika, V Publishers, Vidhyarthimitram, Avanthi publications, National book stall (S.P.C.S).


1]. Sri K. R. NARAYANAN, the first keralite to become the President of India was born in Kottayam District.

2] Justice K.G.BALAKRISHNAN, who is the first keralite to become Chief Justice of India also hails from Kottayam district [Incidentally K. R. NARAYANAN & K.G.BALAKRISHNAN are the first Indians to be elevated to those positions from dalit community, which shows Kottayam’s achievement in providing education to all sections of society]

3] Kottayam also given birth to DR.E.C.G.SUDARSHANAN, who is the first malayali to win prestigious THIRD WORLD ACADEMY OF SCIENCE Award in Physics and he was nominated for NOBEL PRIZE 6 times.

4] Kottayam has given birth to MAMOOTY, The actor has won BHARATH award 3 times.

5] SISTER ALPHONSA who was born in Kottayam, is the first Indian, who was canonized as a Catholic saint

7] MISS. PARVATHI OMANAKUTTAN is the first malayali to become the runner up in world beauty contest also hails from Kottayam

8] MRS.ARUNDHATI ROY, Who is the first Indian citizen to win the prestigious booker prize was born in Kottayam.

9] Kottayam is the first town in India, selected to be transformed as an Eco City

10] Apart from KANNUR & ALEPPY, KOTTAYAM also given birth to two chief ministers of Kerala (P.K.VASUDEVAN NAIR & OOMEN CHANDY).

11] The legendary writers such as Ramapurathu Rama Warrier, Kottarathil Shakunni Menon & Vaikom Muhamed Basher are sons of Kottayam.Two of the Ashtavidya parmbara families (famous for ancient ayurveda treatment) outside Bharathapuzha basin hail from kottayam.

12]. Kottayam is also a gateway to the famous pilgrim centers like Sabrimala, Manarcadu church, Puthupally church, Aruvithara Pally, Bharanaganam alphonsa shrine, Panachikkadu temple, Vaikom temple, Ettumanoor temple,,Vennimala temple, Malliyoor temple & Erumeli Vavaru pally

13] Kottayam is also known as second Vatican owing to large number of Theological seminaries & bishop houses.


1] VEMBANAD LAKE, the largest lake in Kerala which covers an area of 1512 km2, is included in the list of wetlands of international importance, as defined by the Ramsar Convention lies in the west of Kottayam district. Five major rivers of south Kerala [Achenkovil, Pampa, Manimala, Meenachil & Muvattupuzha] flows in to this lake & Famous PATHIRAMANAL ISLAND situates in Vembanad Lake.

1] KUMARAKOM, Rated as one of the top 15 beautiful spots in the world by the National Geographic Magazine, is just 14 kms away from Kottayam town, lies on the eastern banks of Vembanad lake.


1] Kerala accounts for 70% of the Rubber production in India, major part of this being the contribution of Kottayam. Hence many major rubber based industries have established in Kottayam. The Indian Rubber Board, Plantation Corporation of Kerala,Oil pam india Ltd. & Kerala Forest Development Corporation have their headquarters at Kottayam. Kottayam is selected by IGNOU for starting a course in plantation management (First of its kind in Asia).

Tail piece:

Kottayam is also famous for 3 ‘K’s, i.e., KAPPA, KARIMEEN, KALLU (TODDY)

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