Rediscover the history of Old Kottayam with Heritage Walk Trivandrum

Rediscover the history of Old Kottayam with Heritage Walk Trivandrum
Thazhathangadi Mosque
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It was in AD1749 December, Ramayyan Dalawa, Dewan of Travancore state, and Eustachius De Lannoy, French-born naval commander of the Dutch East India Company, led Travancore Army to attack Kottayam town. After 270 years, on December 22, 2019, a group of history enthusiasts from Thiruvananthapuram will 'take over' Kottayam!

Heritage Walk Trivandrum, an initiative that helps people discover a place through its history and rich heritage, will conduct a one-day heritage walk through Old Kottayam covering its major historic monuments, temples, and churches.

The walk organised by its founder Bina Thomas Tharakan along with 'Kottayam Naatukootam,' a community that studies the cultural heritage of Kottayam led by historian-writer Pallikkonam Rajeev will commence at 10 am in Kottayam. A 50-seater bus has been arranged from Thiruvananthapuram for the early birds. The trip would cost Rs 600 per person. Those interested can also join the group in Kottayam.

The two-phased trip will include a walk exploring Old Kottayam and a tour in the bus.

“A lot of academic studies on the history and heritage of Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kozhikode have already been done. But Kottayam, even after being historically rich has always been ignored. Only a few know the history of Old Kottayam. This heritage walk will help people understand more about the history, culture and heritage of this small town,” says Pallikkonam Rajeev.

Kottayam town has been a witness to an eventful history but some major landmarks have been wiped out leaving no trace. “One fine example is the fort at Thaliyil from where the kings of Thekkumkoor dynasty ruled the area,” says Rajeev. After the Thekkumkoor kingdom was annexed by Travancore, every single stone of the fort was dismantled, carted away, and used for other purposes.

The present town of Kottayam, in fact, took shape only around 270 years ago. Kottayam had originated as a trading outpost based at Thazhathangady on the banks of the Meenachil River. Over the years, a new settlement was formed with Thirunakkara at its centre.

meenachil-river-erattupetta
Meenachil River

Before the conquest by Travancore, a thriving and prosperous marketplace existed on the Kottayam-Kumarakom route beyond the present-day CMS College. The Heritage Walk will take a walk through these forgotten old settlements in the town which is yet to be recognised as 'Old Kottayam'.

The itinerary of Old Kottayam Heritage Walk

10-10:30 am: Kottayam Thaliyil Mahadeva temple

The walk will begin by understanding the history, intricate architecture, and mural art at Thekkumkoor royal temple and can also see the artefacts like mizhavu (a percussion instrument) played by Kunjan Nambiar at the temple. The Kokkarani pond, Cheruvally Bhagavathy nada are also some of the important highlights.

10:30-10:45 am: Proceed to Thazhathangadi

Thirumala Venkidachalapathi temple, site of Gowdasaraswathar, Kulappurakadavu (ancient Thazhathangadi), Meenachil river

10:45-11 am: Thazhathu house

A typical model of Thazhathangadi architectural style; the house of Thazhathu Tharakans

11 -11:15 am: Proceed to Alumoottil

Meenachil River, Ecumenical Angadi Cross, traditional houses.

Return walk.

11:40am - 12 noon

Thazhathangadi Juma Masjid, Nizhal Khadikaram, Ottakal haul (water tank carved from single stone), Mukkattisaksha, Melpura architecture, old meson stones

12-12:20 pm: Proceed to Valiangadi

Meenachil River, ancient houses of the Knanaya community, Edakkattu Forane church

12:20-12:50pm

Kottayam Valia palli (first Christian Church in Kottayam), Knanaya history, Madbha pictures, ancient Persian crosses, the tomb of Mar Xaverios

12:50-1:00pm

A walk through Valiangadi streets to see ancient Knanaya houses

1:00 – 1:30pm

Kottayam Cheriyapally (main church of Mar Thoma Christians in Kottayam) - As Madbha renovations are ongoing, it won't be possible to see the famous murals. The architectural beauty of the church, history, natakashala, prakaram (facade), aanapallamathil, Mar Gabriel’s picture, pallimeda, tempura pictures, vattezhuthu script are few highlights.

1:30-2:30pm: Lunch

Tour on the bus.

2:30- 2:45pm

Old Seminary; Kottayam College where English education in Kerala commenced, history of the diocese, Nalukettu chapel, tombs of bishops and bhavas.

3-3:20pm

Kottayam CMS Press - Malayalam script first printed in this missionary press; the history of Bailey and printing; press buildings; old printing tools.

CMS college
Kottayam CMS college

3:30-4 pm

CSI Holy Trinity Cathedral is the first Protestant church established by Bailey – The walk covers an understanding of the Anglican architectural style.

4:10-4:30pm

Kottayam CMS College

A continuation of Kottayam college - the first educational establishment for imparting learning in English.

The return journey to Trivandrum

Contact heritagewalktvm@gmail.com for payment and program details.

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