The Kottayam is vast network of rivers and canals which empty into the great expense of water called the Vembanad lake. There is a chain of temples, mosques and Christian churches bearing much historical and artistical importance in this district.
It is 16kms from Kottayam town. The Vembanad lake is an enchanting picnic spot and a fast developing back water tourism destination, providing boating, fishing and sight seeing experiences that are truly exhilarating. The Kumarakam tourist village offers house boat cruises and holiday packages.
Located on the banks of the Vembanad lake, the Kumarakam Bird Sanctuary, an ornithologist’s paradise, is a favorite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darker heron and teal. A cruise along the Vembanad lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary. Special house boat cruises are being arranged by KTDC.
The eastern part of the district is famous for its subtle and virgin serenity. Much has to be done to develop this part of the district as a picnic spot. The panoramic and kaleidoscopic view of Elaveezha Poonchira, Kannadippara, Illikkalmala, Ayyappara, Kurisumala, Kolahalamedu, Vagnamon are very much attractive.
Kottayam town is the gateway to the pilgrim centres of sabarimala, Mannanam, Vaikom , Ettumanoor, Bharanarganam, Erumeli, Manarcad, Aruvithara, and Athirampuzha and temples of Perunna, Vazhappalli and Thrikodithanam near Changanacherry. Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple is at the heart of Kottayam. Thalikota temple is an ancient temple was the place of worship of the Thekkumkoor royal family. The Kudamaloor temple is equally famous. The Siva Temple,Vaikom is located 40kms north of Kottayam. Associated with the legendary figure, Parasurama, this temple is a typical example of the Kerala style architecture.
12kms north of Kottayam is famous for its murals, especially the painting of Nataraja in the gopuram and ezhara ponnana (the 7 1/2 (seven and half) elephants finished in gold).
Festival-Ezharaponnana Utsavam (February/ March).
situated 18kms away from Kottayam is famous for Saraswathy Pooja in the month of Thulam (September/October).
Thiruvarpu Lord Krishna Temple– Kidangoor
Subramanya Swamy Temple -Perunna
Subramanya Temple -Adithyapuram
Also known as Anakkallu Palli is an important pilgrim centre in Kottayam district.The mortal remains of blessed sister Alphonsa who died on 28th July 1948, is kept there. Thousands of devotees come here on 28th July every year to pray on her death anniversary. Bharanarganam is 5kms from Pala.
Good Shepherd church, situated behind the Kottayam civil station, Aruvithara St.George church, Manarcaad St. Mary’s Church (famous for the Ettu Noyampu), Puthuppally St. Georges orthodox Church, Athirampuzha St.Mary’s church, Pala Valiyapally (festival- Rakkullithirunal), Mannanam Church where the mortal remains of blessed Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara is kept and Kottayam Vimala Giri church ( cathedral of the Diocese of Vijayapuram; the main steeple has a height of 172 feet which is considered as the highest church steeple in the state) are the other important Christian churches in the district.
At Erumeli, there is a famous mosque in the name of Vavar, a friend of Lord Ayyappa. The Chandanakkudam festival is celebrated here in January every year. This coincides with the Makaravilakku of Sabarimala. At night there is an attractive procession with caparisoned elephants and panchvadyam. This is an important festival which exudes the spirit of Hindu-Muslim unity. At Changanacherry there are 2 famous mosques-Pazhayapally and Puthuppally. The mosque at Erattupetta is famous. The mosque at Thazhathangadi is one of the ancient mosques in India. It is believed that Malik Dinar had built this mosque about 1000years ago.