Kottayam is a city of singular attributes. Its lush backwaters, its green stretches of paddy fields, its association with famous legendary men, women and myths, its 100% literacy, it being the first tobacco free town as far back as 2008 and its pre-eminence in rubber cultivation in India has rightly made it a land of letters, lakes, latex and legends. It has a rich legacy of culture.
Dance Forms of Kottayam
Koodiyatam is the cultural legacy of Kerala. This dance form is primarily a temple art performance. UNESCO has recognised it as a 2000-year-old heritage. The main dances of Kottayam take their inspiration from ancient Sanskrit traditions and its old Syrian Christian legacy. Some popular dance forms are Margamkali and Arjuna Nritham. The former is practised by the Syrian community. Men and women perform separately. Arjuna Nritham is known as Meyilpeeli Thookkam and also as the peacock dance of Kottayam. It is watched by millions of people especially during the Sabrimala festive season. It is held at Thirunakkara Mahadevar temple during the Utsav periods in March. This Peacock dance presents the major tourist attraction at Kottayam in the Utsav.
Festivals in Kottayam
March is the period of ‘Utsav’ in Kottayam. Hundreds of thousands of Keralites congregate in this period at Kottayam. The main festivals are Sabrimala Dharmasastha Kshethram, Pakil Sree Dharmasastha Kshethram Ulsavan, Sabrimala Makaravilakku Mahotsavam, Sabrimala Thuruabharana Ghoshayathra, and Erumelipetta Kuttu et al.
Litterateurs and Artistes in Kottayam
Kottayam has a tradition of producing highly versatile artistes. It prides itself on a long line of artistes and litterateurs. Novelists, poets, crime thriller writers, journalists of international fame, publishers, and dance maestros of high repute have enriched the creative ambience of Kottayam. Some of the famous names include Arundhati Rai of the Booker Prize fame, Pushpanath the crime thriller writer, Pala Narayanan the poet, Padambhushan D.C.Kizhakemuri are but a few worthies of Kottayam. It has been the seat of Great Kathakali artists like Kudamaloor Karunakaran Nair, Vasudevam Nampoothiry, Mathoor Govindankytty, Kuroor Cherya to name just a few. Kottayam is the home to the famous flautist Kudamaloor Janardhanan.
Religion in Kottayam
All the three major religions of the world have their followers in Kottayam where Christians, Hindus and Muslims live in great harmony. Kottayam is where the great pilgrimage of Sabrimala, Perunna, Vazhapalli and Thrikkodithanam begins. These temples hold a special place in the heart of its devotees. Thazhathangady Juma Masjid of Kottayam is a 1000-year-old mosque dedicated to Vavar, a consort of lord Ayyappa. Thus, it is a grand institution and a place boasting the composite Hindu-Muslim culture of the area. Kottayam is the centre of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the headquarters of the Diocese of Madhya Kerala. The famous CSI Cathedral was built more than 175 years ago by the British.