The magnificent beauty is often referred to as the Pilgrim capital of Kerala. One of the cities with an exquisite natural stunner, Pathanamthitta, has various differentiable cultural aspects seamlessly woven into the district, besides the ever prevalent, missionary and religious activities. Being one of the youngest districts in Kerala, it is the least polluted region with bountiful fresh and crisp air that revives and refills our spirit. It is one of the preferred tourism spots with its gaily laid out attractions.
The missionaries and the Nair community who settled in this district had one aim: to educate the people and aid them whenever necessary. Resultantly, the region accommodates numerous schools and colleges at each nook and corner. It also has the largest NRI hub in Kerala, not only from the Middle East but also for Europe, North America, and Australia, thereby giving way for the district to become one of the wealthiest foreign reserves in the state. One of the significant roles played by the missionaries was the introduction of rubber plantations into the region, which grew from there. Up to the present time, the cultivation is not practically on par with its neighbor, Kottayam. Churches, temples and numerous religious activities fascinate people of all ages, culture as well as religion.
The Sabarimala pilgrimage centre is among the Royal temples of Travancore, adorned with legends and back to the ancient times. The Vavar Masjid has a unique history with Lord Ayyappa, promoting to the focal point the communal harmony in Kerala. Pettathullal, a traditional dance, in memory of Lord Ayyappa’s victory over the demoness, Mahishi, is performed during the pilgrimage to Sabarimala, where the procession proceeds mosque, en route to Dharmasastha temple, and worships Vavaraswami, an emissary of Lord Ayyappa. The beautiful message proclaimed by this tradition is the same as many other traditions.
“Unity is the key to social transformation.”
One of Asia’s largest Christian Conventions, The Maramon Convention, takes place in Maramon, on the sand bed of the river Pamba and is held in February every year. It is a heartbreaking fact that the sand beds have decreased over time due to human actions. The convention created history and proved how accepting the people become, as years go by, with the opportunity given to Ms Selin Thomas and Sreekutty, part of the transgender community, to address thousands of people gathered at the convention. After plunging into the 21st century, it was urgent with all the discrimination that they suffer, even today.
The Maramon Convention
In education, the citizens are much more vigilant and enthusiastic about getting their children enrolled in schools and colleges, proactive and, therefore, introduced to many aspects of knowledge. It may be why many of the citizens indulge in reading, be it their mother tongue or foreign languages. The district maintains 33 schools, 16 arts and science colleges, six engineering colleges, four for the medical, nursing and management studies, five institutions for industrial training, a Central University, Law Campus, 11 teacher education institutes, and a few more. Astonishingly, the number of academic institutions are apt for the populace. Even with the sheer number of educational institutions in the district, initially established to bring about equality and a robust platform for women as well as the other sections of the society that were seen to be sheathed in darkness, it is not on par in comparison to the rest of the districts.
Kerala refers to as the land of rivers and backwaters. It is evident by the 44 rivers and 42 dams and reservoirs in the state, holding the leash trying to soothe the furious flow that can destroy land and lives. The three untamed rivers that portray an innocent face during the summers and instil fear in the minds of the people during the rainy season, endowed on the district are Manimala, Achankovil, and Pamba, primarily helping in meticulously maintaining the forest reserves in Konni, the Eco-Reach eco-friendly hubs as well as contributing to the community to come to be one of the highest rainfall receptors in Kerala.
Prime tourists attractions include the Eco Reach in Konni with its considerable variety of adventurous activities entailing the tourism program, Adavi and Gavi Eco-tourism programs, Elephant training centres in Konni, the notable folk performance, Sabarimala Pilgrimage centre, Charalkkunnu Pilgrimage centre, Padayani in Kadamanitta Devi Temple lasts for ten days…
Konni Elephant Training Centre
Padayani in Kadammanitta Devi Temple
Aranmula with its popular Aranmula Kannadi, a rare and unique art of producing mirrors, the pleasing roars of the Perunthenaruvi waterfalls, and many more. The lush grassy scenery, the fresh air, the gratifying sound of the sparkling water caused by majestic rivers, rain, and cascading waterfalls make the prominent place graciously inviting.
So next time, you plan to visit Kerala, these spots are not to be left out. Last but not least, one cannot forget the hearty embrace of the local people, who are ever-ready delicious meals, comfy homes, and a Colgate smile to welcome all those who wish to experience Kerala with its tradition, language trends and the mix of various cultures brought by the traders and the distinct colonists. Yet, the same, different yet together, in turn, we refer to it as the swirled hub.
Let me fold my hands and heartily wish you all, Namaskaram.
By Sherina Sara Joy
Sherina Sara Joy is a volunteer with Quillopia. The views expressed are the author’s own.