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A hilly terrain of pristine beauty, Pathanamthitta is popular as the headquarters of pilgrim worship in Kerala. Dotted with Temples, rivers, mountain ranges and coconut groves, more than 50% of the district is covered with forests. Its also home to the unique Aranmula Kannadi - metal mirrors that are painstakingly handcrafted.

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Places to Visit

Omallur:

(5 km from Pathanamthitta) The Rakthakanta Swamy Temple and the annual cattle fair held in lhe 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.

Konni:

(11 km from Pathanamthitta) An agricultural region, Konni is rich in cash crops like rubber, pepper, coffee, ginger ete. It is famous for its Aanakoodu or elephant training centre where you can feed, ride and interact with the elephants. Built in 1941, this elephant sanctuary is one of the oldest in India.

Muloor Smarakam:

(12 kmfrom Pathanamthitta) The memorial to Muloor, a renowned social reformer and poet, is located at Elavanumthitta.

Kodumon Chilanthiyambalam:

(15 hm from Pathanamthitta) The water of the Chilanthikinar (well) in the premises of this Durga Bhagavathi Temple is believed to cure skin diseases. Kodumon is also the birth place of Sree Shakthi Bhadra, author of the famous Sanskrit play Ascharya Chudamani.

Perunthenaruvi Falls:

(36 km from Pathanamthitta via Vacchoochira) The Perunthenaruvi Waterfall on the banks of the Pamba River about 10 km from
Erumely, is a natural fall down a rocky path into a ravine about 100 feet deep. Ideal for an outing, this place is a popular picnic spot.

Sabarimala:

(65 kmfrom Patbanamtoiua; 180 km from Thiruvananthapuram and 210 km from Kochi) 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 for the rest of the year except on 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 permuted into the temple. How ever, entry is not allowed to women between 10 and 50 years of age.

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 - Kozhencheny, Thiruvalla) - 130 • Thiruvananthapuram (via Pathanamthitta - Adoor) - 180 • Kottayam (via Manimala) - 116 • Kodungalloor - 275 • Guruvayoor - 288 • Palakkad- 330· Kozhikode - 388· Kannur - 486

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.

Aranmula:

(13 km frorn Pathanamthitta) The unique heritage village of Aranmula gets its name from the centuries-old Sree ParthasarathyTemple. Chengannur 10 km away is the nearest railway station.

Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple:

Dedicated to SreeKrishna, this temple on the banks of the holy River Pamba, attracts large crowds of devotees. It is said that the idol was brought here in a raft made with am (six) pieces of mula (bamboo) which gave the town its name, Aranmula.

Aranmula Boat Race:

This famed water fiesta is held on the last day of the week-long Onam festival (Aug/Sept) to commemorate the consecration of the idol at the Parthasarathy Temple, 700 years ago. One of the most popular boat races in Kerala, special boats called palliyodams assemble near the temple presenting an enchanting spectacle. Each boat is 100 ft long and accommodates 4 helmsmen, 100 oarsmen and 25 singers.

Aranmula Kannadi:

Aranmula is synonymous with its very own metal mirrors, a unique craft which is not found elsewhere in the world. An alloy of  copper and white lead is mixed in a particular ratio to make this non-refractive mirror, which is a closely guarded family secret.

Vijnana Kala Vedi:

(Tharayilmukku, Aranmula. Open 1000- 1600 hrs, except on weekends) Set in a 100- year-old building, the institute established by  a French lady Louba Schild, imparts training in traditional arts like Kathakali, classical dances, classical music, aswell asKalaripayattu. Foreign tourists stay here for long periods to get a first hand knowledge of the culture of Kerala and to study everything from singing to cooking, and community living to languages. Mural art, floor art and woodcarving can also be learnt here. Ph: 0468-2214483, 2310451 www.vijnanakaiavedi.org

Vaastu Vidya Gurukulam:

(Near Parthasarathy Temple. Open 0900 -1600 brs) A centre started to conserve and preserve the ancient art of traditional building and construction methods, the Gurukulam began functioning in 1993. The Indian science of eco-friendly construction and interior design is taught here and at the institute's art gallery situated across the road, one can watch the artist at work, demonstrating age-old techniques used to
create murals on the walls of the temples. Ph: 0468-2319740

Thiruvalla:

The largest town in Pathanamthitta District, Thiruvalla known as the land of the Non Resident Indians (NRIs), has a number of interesting sights in a 20-km radius. It is the headquarters of the Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church. The PaliakaraChurch here has some exquisite mural  paintings.

Sree Vallabha Temple, Thiruvalla:

(Open 0430 - 1130brs, 1700- 2000.hrs. Katbakali Puja 2200 _0100 hrs) The 400-year-old temple on the banks of the River Manimala has a beautiful 8 ft idol of Sree Vallabha within the sanctum sanctorum. The legendary architect Perunthachan, constructed the unique Garuda Sthambha, a 54ft flag mast made of a single block of granite. During the 10-day annual festival held in February-March, a whopping
12,000 bunches of padatti pazoam (a variety of bananas) are made as offerings on the first day. It is also perhaps the only temple in Kerala where Kathakali is performed as a ritual offering every night. Ph: 0469-2700191

St. John's Cathedral, Thiruvalla:

This new cathedral that looks like a temple and can accommodate 2,000 people has no pews.

Thekkekudi Cave Temple:

(9 km from Thiruvalla. Open 0500 -1100 brs, 1700- 1900brs) This 5 ft high SivaTemple dating back to the 8'hcentury AD is of great archaeological significance. Built in the Pallavastyle of architecture, the carvings in the temple are believed to be the earliest specimens of stone sculpture in Kerala. Ph: 0469-2619665

Mannadi:

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

Niranam:

(7 km from Thiruvalla. Open 1000-1800 brs) The church here is believed to - have been origll1ally built by the apostle St. Thomas in AD 52, making it one of the oldest shrines in India. The present building, supposedly the fourth, was constructed in 1912 and was reinforced during 2000. A St. Thomas art gallery is also located here. Ph: 0469-2611006. Web: www.niranamchurch.com. It is also the birth place of the poets and social reformers popularly known as the Karnassa Kavikal.

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:

(18 km south of Thiruvalla on the MC Road. Open 0530 - 1200hrs, 1730-1900hrs) 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 Pandalarn, The Valiya Koikkal Temple near the palace on the banks of the River Achankovil has been modelled on the Sabarimala shrine. Murals, restored and protected by glass, cover the  outer walls of the sreekovil. pilgrims usually stop here to worship before proceeding to Sabarimala. Three days prior to the Makaravilakku festival, the sacred ornaments of Sree Ayyappa are taken in it procession from Pandalam to Sabarimala. Nearest railway station: Chengannur -14 km

Parumala:

(10 km from Thiruvalla and 5km ahead of Niranam) The Ormaperunnal (commemoration day) of Mar Gregorios Metropolitan, the declared saint of Malankara Orthodox Church, is celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of November. Lakhs of pilgrims flock here to ask favours of the saint at this  2000 year old church believed to be one of the oldest in India.Ph: 04734-260127

Mahadeva Temple, Chengannur:

(5 km south cf Thiruvalla) Lord Siva and his wife Parvathy share the sanctum sanctorum of this temple. The Tbripootha Arattu Festival is celebrated here with great festivity.

Charalkunnu:

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

Cherukolpuzha:

An important religious convention of the Hindus is held at Cherukole on the river bed of the Pamba, usually in February every year.

Kakki Reservoir:

Tigers, elephants and monkeys can be sighted in the forest surrounding the reservoir. The magnificent artificial lake provides a lovely boating experience.

Kaviyoor:

(5 km east of Thiruvalla) Situated on the banks of the Manimala River, Kaviyoor is famous for its temples. The Hanuman Temple stands on a small hillock and is built in the gable style architecture singular to Kerala.

Manjanikara Church:

Mar Ignatius Elias III, the holy patriot of Anthiod while on a visit to India, died here 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.

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.

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.

Pathanamthitta Town:

This is the district headquarters.The town is a land of religious and cultural harmony, where anumber of churches temples and mosques can be found close to each other. The annual Chandanakudam festival at the mosque in the heart of the town is a major event.

Gavi:

(40 km from Kumily and 28 km from Vandiperiyar) The two-hour jeep ride to this quiet haven passess through tropical forests, sprawling  grasslands and cardamom plantations. The Bamboo Grove in the middle of Anavachal in Gavi has eco-lodges and a centre for experiential learning.  Trekking, bird watching and boating options are also made available. Forest Development Corporation provides tented accommodation and boating facilities. Ph: 0481-2581204