Kottayam is one of the 14 districts (pop. 166,552:1991) in the state of Kerala, India. Kottayam is called the land of letters, lakes and latex. The district has its headquarters at Kottayam town. Kottayam town was the first town in India to achieve 100% literacy. Other important towns in the district are Palai, Changanassery, Vaikom and Kanjirappally.
Kumarakom is a tourist centre and bird sanctuary close to Kottayam town. You could also reach Thekkady (Periyar Tiger Reserve) from Kottayam travelling approximately 2 to 3 hrs by public transportation. Kottayam town is linked by rails to other prominent cities in Kerala and also linked to the waterways for scenic travel.
Kottayam is one of the major producers of cash crops in the state of Kerala. Rubber (latex) is one of main cash crops produced in Kottayam district. Rubber Board, a central government research institution is located at Kottayam.
Kottayam is home to numerous news papers published in the local language Malayalam and also to DC Books,a prominent publisher in Malayalam. A number of major newspapers like Manorama and Mangalam are based in Kottayam town.
Kottayam is the last rail stop for pilgrims heading to the Hindu holy site of Sabarimala. During December and January of each year pilgrims from all over India head to Kottayam and its vicinities to start their final journey to the Sabarimala Temple. The temple is located around 40 kms from Kottayam, in the district of Pathanamthitta.
Kottayam is a major center of education. Mahatma Gandhi University, one of the three big universities in Kerala is located here. Other prominent educational institutions located in Kottayam include C.M.S College, Baselius College, B.C.M College and K.E College. Medical College, Kottayam one of the government medical colleges, is located at Gandhinagar close to Kottayam. There are also a number of engineering colleges situated in the district.