PATHANAMTHITTA

 

Situated near the western ghats and bordered by the hills, Pathanamthitta district is a treat to the eyes with its vast unending stretches of forests, rivers and rural landscapes. Blessed by nature, the district is famous for its scenic beauty, fairs and festivals.

Pathanamthiita, a true tropical diversity adorned with fertile agricultural land where plantations, Paddy, tapioca, varieties of vegetables and spices like cardamom, pepper etc. are extensively cultivated. The district known for it's extensive forest cover also abounds in rubber plantations.

It is presumed that the regions presently under the district were formerly under the reign of the Pandalam king which had connections with the Pandya kingdom. Pathanamthitta now includes portions of the erstwhile Kollam, Alappuzha and Idukki districts.
    Pathanamthitta is a combination of two words Pathanam and Thitta which means an array of houses on the river side. This district was formed on 1st November 1982 with a view to hastenng the process of development. The total area of the district is 2642 sq.kms; of this 1300.73 sq.kms come under forest.

   

Pathanamthitta Town:
    This is the district headquarters. The town is a land of religious and cultural harmony, where a number of churches, temples and mosques can be found close to each other.

 
Sabarimala

One of the most famous pilgrim centres in India, Sabarimala is situated on the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats at an altitude of 914 m above sea level and is accessible only by foot from Pamba (4 km). The temple is dedicated to Sree Ayyappa. Pilgrim season: November to mid January. Mandalapooja and Makaravilakku are the two main events of the pilgrim season. The temple stays closed during the rest of the year except for the first five days of every Malayalam month and during Vishu (April). Nearest railway station: Thiruvalla (102 km)

People of all castes and creeds are permitted into the temple. However, entry is not allowed to women between 10 and 50 years of age.

Sabarimala (65 km from Pathanamthitta town, 180 km from Thiruvananthapuram and 210 km from Kochi):

Pamba:
This is the main halting point on the way to Sabarimala. It is also known as Thriveni Sangamam - the meeting point of three rivers.

Distance from Pamba (km)

Pathanamthitta 65, Pandalam 80, Adoor 81, Chengannur 93,

Thiruvalla 102, Punalur 101, Ochira 116, Alappuzha (via MC Rd.) 137,

Kottayam (via Pathanamthitta - Kozhencherry, Thiruvalla) 130, Thiruvananthapuram (via Pathanamthitta - Adoor) 180,

Kottayam (via Manimala) 116, Kodungaloor - 275, Guruvayoor 288, Palakkad 330, Kozhikode 388, Kannur 486.

Nilackal (5 km from Plappally):
The old Siva Temple on the Pamba - Pathanamthitta Road is an important place of worship. The estate of the Farming Corporation and the Ecumenical centre of the Christians are located here.

Pandalam (Nearest railway station: Chengannur - 14 km) :
As a holy town, Pandalam is perhaps second only to Sabarimala. Sree Ayyappa, the presiding deity of Sabarimala had his human sojourn here as the son of the Raja of Pandalam. The Valiyakoikal Temple near the palace on the banks of River Achenkovil has been modelled on the Sabarimala shrine. Pilgrims usually stop here to worship before proceeding to Sabarimala. Three days prior to the Makaravilaku festival, the sacred ornaments of Sree Ayyappa are taken in a procession from Pandalam to Sabarimala.

Omallur (5 km from Pathanamthitta):
The Rakthakanta Swamy Temple and the annual cattle fair held in the Malayalam month of Meenam are the main attractions of Omallur. People from both within and outside the State participate in the fair.
 

Malayalapuzha (8 km from Pathanamthitta):
The goddess at the Bhagavathy Temple here is believed to grant boons to devotees and help them realise dreams. The temple has beautiful wall paintings and artistic stone carvings.
 

Kadamanitta (8 km from Pathanamthitta):


The Kadamanitta Devi Temple is famous for the ten day long Padayani performances held in connection with the annual festival in April/May.

 

Kodumon Chilanthiyambalam (15 km from Pathanamthitta town):
The water of the Chilanthikinar (well) in the premises of this temple is believed to cure skin diseases. Kodumon is also the birthplace of Sree Shakthi Bhadra, author of Ascharya Chudamani.

The Rock Cut Cave Temple:
The rock cut Siva Temple, half a kilometre away, is of great archaeological significance. Dating back to the 8th century AD, this temple bears close resemblance to the Pallava style of architecture. The stone engravings here are among the earliest specimens of stone sculpture in Kerala.

Parumala (10 km from Thiruvalla):

The Ormaperunnal (commemoration day) of Mar Gregorios Metropolitan, the declared saint of Malankara Orthodox Church, is celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of November.

 

Muloor Smarakam (12 km from Pathanamthitta):
The memorial to Muloor, a renowned social reformer and poet, is located at Elavumthitta.

Konni (11 km from Pathanamthitta):
An agricultural region, Konni is rich in cash crops like rubber, pepper, coffee, ginger etc. It used to be a centre for training elephants. Konni is also known for its elephant rides and the Anakoodu where elephants are tamed and trained for work.

Perunthenaruvi (36 km from Pathanamthitta via Vachoochira)
The Perunthenaruvi waterfalls on the banks of the Pamba River is a favourite picnic spot for both domestic and foreign tourists.

Aranmula Boat Race:

This famous water fiesta is held during Onam (August - September). The snake boats assemble near the Sri Parthasarathy Temple before the grand procession. Each boat is 100 ft. long and accommodates 4 helmsmen, 100 oarsmen and 25 singers. The snake boats move in pairs to the rhythm of full-throated singing and shouting, watched by an excited crowd.
  16th Sept. '08, 06th Sept. '09.

Charalkunnu:
This picturesque hill station offers a panoramic view of the nearby valleys. A camp house on the hill provides comfortable lodging.

Kakki Reservoir:
Tigers, elephants and monkeys can be sighted in the forest surrounding the reservoir.

Maniyar (20 km from Pathanamthitta):
This is a beautiful dam site. Seethathode: The Kerala State Electricity Board has a power generating station here. Moozhiyar (57 km from Pathanamthitta): This is an enchanting dam site.

Cherukolpuzha:
An important religious convention of the Hindus is held at Cherukol on the riverbed of the Pamba, usually in February every year.

Maramon:

Situated near Kozhencherry, Maramon is the venue of a mammoth religious convention of Christians from all over the world. It is attended by people from all communities. The convention which is usually held in February is addressed by religious thinkers and Christian scholars from across the world. This is perhaps the largest Christian convention in Asia.

Aranmula (Nearest railway station: Chengannur - 10 km):
The Parthasarathi Temple (dedicated to Sree Krishna) on the banks of the holy river Pamba attracts large crowds of devotees. The famed Aranmula boat race is held on the last day of the weeklong Onam festival. The Vijnana Kalavedi at Aranmula imparts training in the traditional arts like Kathakali, classical dances, classical music, as well as Kalaripayattu. Foreign tourists stay here for long periods to get a first hand knowledge of the culture of Kerala. The Parthasarathi Temple here has fine murals from the 18th century.

Aranmula Kannadi:

Aranmula is also famous for its metal mirrors, a unique craft which is not found anywhere else in the world.

 

Mannadi (13 km from Adoor):
This is where Veluthampi Dalawa, the renowned freedom fighter of Travancore, spent his last days. The ancient Bhagavathy Temple here has some exquisite stone sculptures. The annual festival is held in February/March. The Kerala Institute of Folklore and Folk Arts functions here.

Niranam (7 km from Thiruvalla):
The oldest Christian church in India, believed to be built by the apostle St. Thomas in AD 52, is situated at Niranam. This is also the birth place of the poets and social reformers popularly known as the Karnassa Kavikal. The St. Thomas art gallery here has been built by an Ecumenical body known as Niranam Thomathu Kadavu Smaraka Trust. Phone: 0469-2710137

Manjanikara Church:
Mar Ignatius Elias III, the holy patriot of Anthiod while on a visit to India, died at this place in 1932. His mortal remains are preserved at this church. Later this place developed into a pilgrim centre. The annual festival (Ormaperunnal) is held in February.

 

Events

Mandala Pooja at Sree Dharmasastha Temple, Sabarimala. The day marks the end of 41 day period of austerities and prayer (December)
Gajamela at Parthasarathy Temple, Adoor. Highlight: Grand elephant procession (January)
Thaipooya Mahotsavam at Sree Subramanya Swamy Temple. Highlights: Thaipooya kavadiyattam, Chuttuvilakku (January)
Utsavam at Sree Parthasarathy Temple, Aranmula.  Highlights: Kodiyettam, Ritual arts, Kathakali, Pallivetta, Arattu (January)
Utsavam at Poruvazhi Malandam Temple.  Highlights: Folk arts, Kettukazhcha procession with kaala (bul0l motif), kuthira vela (horse motif) and decorated temple chariot (March)

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Paper published in JIDA (The official publication of the Indian Dental Association).

Published in September 2003, Mansoon series.
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Dr. Samuel K. Ninan