Carved out of Quilon district, more than half of the area of Pathanamthitta district is forest land. The river Pamba flows through the district, which is bounded on the east by the Western Ghats. A large part of the district, then the eastern part of Quilon district, had been set apart for those who were evicted from the Idukki Hydroelectric Project area as well as for educated unemployed, ex-servicemen, Harijans and hill tribes. It was to provide these people with better amenities that the area was sought to be developed economically and socially. Thus was born, in November 1982, Pathanamthitta district.
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). November to mid January is the season which is called as "Mandalakalam". Mandalapooja & Makara Vilakku 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 is 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. Pilgrims will go with their "Erimudikettu" which contains ghee filled coconuts. "Neyyabhishekam" is the main offering.
This is where Veluthampi Dalawa, the renowned freedom fighter of Travancore, spend 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.
As a holy town, Pandalam is perhaps second only to Sabarimala. Sree Ayyappa the presiding deity of Sabarimala had his human solourn here as the son of the Raja of Pandalam. The Valiyakoikal temple near the palace on the banks of river Achankovil was modeled on the Sabarimala Shrine. Pilgrims usually stop here to worship before proceeding to Sabarimala. Three days prior to the Makara Vilakku festival, the sacred ornaments of Sree Ayyappa are taken in a procession from Pandalam to Sabarimala.
The Rock Cut Cave Temple:
The Rock Cut Siva temple, is of great archeological
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.
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 all over the world. This is perhaps the largest Christian convention in Asia.
The goddess at the Bhagavathy Temple here is believed to grant boons to devotees and help and realise dreams. The temple has beautiful wall paintings and artistic stone carvings.
An agricultural region, Konni is rich in cash crops like rubber, pepper, coffee, ginger etc. It is 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.
The Perunthenaruvi waterfalls on the banks of the Pamba River is a favourite picnic spot for both domestic and foreign tourist.
This is the main halting point on the way to Sabarimala. It is also known as Thriveni Sangamam - the meeting point of three rivers.
The Parthasarathi temple (dedicated to Load Krishna as the charioteer of Arjuna in Pandava - Kourava war) 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 week long 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 Vishnu Temple here has fine murals from the 18th century. Aranmula is fast emerging as an important summer resort. Aranmula is also famous for its metal mirrors, which make good souvenirs.
Aranmula Boat Race:
The famous water fiesta which is held during Onam (August - September). The snake boats assemble near Sri. Parthasarathi Temple before the grand procession. Each boat is 30 ft long and accommodates 4 helmsmen, 100 rowers and 25 singers. The snake boats move in pairs to the rhythm of full-throated singing and shouting, watched by excited crowd.
Vijana Kala Vedi:
Vijana Kala Vedi Cultural Centre founded by Louba Schild, a French scholar, under the Indo French Cultural Exchange Programme, was started with the support of UNESCO. Those interested in culture and arts would not like to miss it. The centre offers residential training courses in Kerala's traditional arts and crafts like Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam, Kalaripayattu, Music, Wood Carving, etc.
An important religious convention of the Hindus is held at Cherukole on the river bed of the Pamba, usually in February every year.
Tigers, elephants and monkeys can be sighted in the forest surrounding the reservoir.
This is beautiful dam site.
The Kerala State Electricity Board has apower generating station here.
This is an enchanting dam site.