Kothamangalam

Kothamangalam

Kothamangalam may refer to:

Infobox Indian Jurisdiction

native_name = Kothamangalam | type = city | latd = 10| latm = 4 |lats = 48| longd = 76 | longm = 37| longs = 12
state_name = Kerala
district = Ernakulam
leader_title_1 = Member of Legislative Assembly
leader_name_1 = T.U Kuruvilla
leader_title_2 = Chairperson, Kothamangalam Municipality
leader_name_2 = Nimmy Nazar| leader_title_3 = President, Kothamangalam Block Panchayat
leader_name_3 = Anu Vijayanath
altitude =
population_as_of = 2001
population_total = 37,173| population_density = 948
area_magnitude= km²
area_total = 37.45
area_telephone = 91485
postal_code = 686691
vehicle_code_range = KL44
sex_ratio = 102.05
unlocode =
website =
footnotes =

Kothamangalam (Malayalam :കോതമംഗലം) is a small town located in eastern part of Ernakulam district in the Indian state of Kerala. It is located around 14 km north east to the town of Muvattupuzha. The town is situated in the foothills of the Western Ghats mountain ranges. It is also known as "The Gateway to the High Ranges".

The town serves as the headquarters of a taluk and a municipality of the same name. Kothamangalam is known as a trading center for spices and forest products. It is also famous for its ancient Christian churches.

History

According to the available historical evidence, Kothamangalam was a place of prominence during the rule of the First Chera Dynasty, the dynasty that ruled Kerala from around 300 BC to the first millennium. Cheras were also known as Kothai. The capital of Chera Kingdom was Karur. This has led some historians like Professor Joseph Mundasseri, Kanakasabha etc. to claim that Thrikkariyoor, a village 3 km north of Kothamangalam could have been the ancient Karur, the capital of Cheras. This claim has not found wide support. Several historians believe Karur (or 'Vanchi' or 'Muziris') was near the present day Kodungalloor.

However, it is evident from the Sangam literature of the period and the archeological finds from the area prove that the place had, indeed, been an important town during the rule of Chera kingdom. The description of some places mentioned in Chilappathikaram fits the description of places adjoining Kothamangalam. The Siva temple at Thrikkariyoor dates back to the early centuries of first millennium. Thrikkariyoor also has one of the earliest Brahmin settlements in Kerala. Chelamalai, near Bhoothathankettu in Kothamangalam is regarded by some as the Summer Palace of Cheras. Stone ruins are found there and Nanangadis (Burial urns) have been excavated from the place.

Egyptian coins of 7th and 8th century were recovered from places near Kothamangalam in 1962. The ancient trade route to Madhurai was also through Kothamangalam. The popularity of Kothamangalam during the past is evident from the old Malayalam saying, 'Ethappaa Kothamangalam?' which means 'Where is Kothamangalam?' used in dialogues to indicate that the person to whom this is said is so ignorant that he do not know where Kothamangalam is.

St. Thomas, the apostle of Jesus Christ, who introduced Christianity to India, is believed to have visited Kothamangalam and converted about 240 families to the Christian faith. The St Marys Church (popularly called 'Valiyapally') belonging to the Jacobite Syrian Church] is believed to have been established during 4th century AD by a few Syrian families in the area. The Marthoman Cheriya Pally was built during AD 1455 by some members(initiated by a priest from Chelattu family) of the St Mary's Church. This church is the resting place of Mor Baselios Yeldho, a saint of the Jacobite church. The church is a very popular Christian pilgrimage centre in Kerala.

Later, the importance of Kothamangalam dwindled. Kothamangalam was under the rule of some Karthavu families later Travancore kings until India became independent. Then it became a part of the Travancore-Cochin state and later, Kerala when the state was formed in 1957. Kothamangalam taluk was created on January 26, 1972; it included parts of the Muvattupuzha municipality. It was composed of Kothamangalam, Keerampara, Kottapady, Pindimana, Nellikuzhi,Pothanikad, Varappetty, Kadavoor and Pallarimanagalam villages. Later Neriamangalam and Thrikkariyoor were added to the taluk in 1981. Kothamangalam became a municipality in 1978. Later, T.M Jacob of Kerala Congress(Jacob) and T.U Kuruvilla of Kerala Congress(Joseph) who were the Members of Legislative Assembly representing Kothamangalam had become ministers in the state government.

Geography

Kothamangalam is situated in the eastern part of the Ernakulam district.Kothamangalam is known as the Gateway of Highrange. According to the division of the geographical regions of Kerala to High-lands, Mid-lands and Low-lands, Kothamangalam is located in a Mid-land region. [ [http://www.kerala.gov.in/statistical/panchayat_statistics2001/ekm_shis.htm Kerala Government Statistics] ] . The general topography is hilly. The Munnar hill station is located around 85 kilometers from Kothamangalam.

The river Periyar, the largest river in Kerala, flows through the taluk. The dams built across Periyar at Edamalayar, Lower Periyar (near Neriyamangalam) and Bhoothathankettu for hydroelectricity generation and irrigation purposes are located in the Kothamangalam taluk. Kothamangalamar, a small river which flows through the town goes to join Kaliyar and Thodupuzhayar to form the river Muvattupuzha which is the second largest river in Ernakulam district.

The taluk is rich in flora and fauna. Tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen and Moist deciduous forests are found in the region. Thattekkadu Bird Sanctuary located 13 km from the Kothamangalam town is the only bird sanctuary in Kerala. Several rare birds like Ceylon Frogmouth, Bourdillon’s Long eared Indian Nightjar, Peninsular Bay owl, Crimson throated barbet, Malabar hornbill are found here. The common animals found here include leopards, sloth bear, elephant, porcupine etc.

Laterite soil is the major soil type found in the taluk. Rubber and teak are extensively cultivated in plantations. The other crops include spices like pepper, coconut palms, tapioca, paddy, plantain and pulses. Allied agricultural activities like fishing, diary and poultry are also popular.

Climate

The climate of the region is tropical humid, with temperatures ranging from 20°C - 32°C. The hottest months are April-May and the coldest December-January. The region receives heavy annual rainfall of around 2500 - 3600 mm. The rainfall is mainly concentrated during the months from June to October. The best time to visit Kothamangalam is between October and March. The South-west monsoon and the North-east monsoon bring rains to the region. Neriamangalam the border of Ernakulam and one of the most place got more rain during a year located 15km away from Kothamangalam.

Demographics

Kothamangalam has a total population of 37,173 according to the 2001 census. [ [http://ernakulam.nic.in/mun_pop.asp Census-2001 Municipalities] ] , 18,938 males and 18,775 females. There are 8,136 households in the Kothamangalam municipality. 31,223 people are literate.

The town's population is predominantly Christian, along with sizable Hindu and Muslim populations. The language Malayalam is used widely as in the rest of Kerala.

Administration

The Kothamangalam Municipality was formed in the year 1978 and is the headquarters of the Kothamangalam Taluk. The Municipality has an area of 37.45 km² and is divided into 26 electoral wards. Elections to the local self bodies are held once every 5 years. From the elected Municipal Counsillers, a Chairman and Vice-Chairman is elected.

Kothamangalam is also a constituency in the Kerala Legislative Assembly. Currently, Kothamangalam is part of the Muvattupuzha Lok Sabha Constituency. However, according to the re-alignment of constituencies, from the next general election, it will be a part of Idukki Constituency.

Education and Healthcare

Educational institutions played a prominent role in the development of Kothamangalam. Mar Athanasius College of Engineering run by M.A College Association and aided by the Kerala Government is regarded as one of the five best engineering colleges in Kerala. It was established in 1961. Mar Athanasius College, which is an Arts and Science college is also a prominent educational institution.The other colleges include Mar Baselios Dental College, Nangelil Ayurveda College, MBMM School of Nursing, Dharmagiri School of Nursing and Indira Gandhi College. The taluk also has several schools under ICSE, CBSE and Kerala State Education Department.

The major hospitals in the taluk are St. Joseph's Dharmagiri Hospital, Mar Baselios Medical Mission Hospital and the Government Hospital. There are smaller dispensaries, Primary Health Centers and clinics also in various parts of the taluk.

HEALTH CARE

KOTHAMANGALAM PAIN AND PALIATIVE CARE SOCIETY organised recently to serve the bed-ridden patients. A group of volunteers serve the community. Rev. Thomas Paul Ramban, Dn. Thomas K Elias, Mr. Kuriakose Jacob (MACE), Ms. Molly Joseph are the leaders of this society. The office of this society functions at Orthodox Church Centre Kothamangalam.

Leaders and Celebrities

There are several great leaders from Kothamangalam and few such prominent personalities are Mr. M.P Varghese, the first MLA of Kothamangalam and Mr. T.M.Meethian, Ex. MLA, who was a well known mediator for settling disputes outside court.Mr. M.P varghese is a veteran in the education field of Kothamangalam. His vision was instrumental in making Kothamangalam excel in the field of education.

India's international Cricketer Sreesanth, was born in Kothamangalam.

RELIGIOUS LEADERS

Very Rev. Maracheril Thomas Paul Ramban - a member of Mar Thoma Cheriya Palli is serving as theology teacher in Ethiopia. He served the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Patriarch as one of His secretaries. He is the first expatriot who serve at the Ethiopian Patriarch's Private Secretariat.

How to reach

*Nearest Railway station - Alwaye 35 km / Ernakulam - 53 km.
*Nearest Airport - Nedumbassery (Kochi) - 34 km

Tourist Destinations

;Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary (Salim Ali Wild Life Sanctuary)Thattekkad, 14 km from Kothamangalam is home to the Thattekad bird sanctuary where one can find several rare species of birds. Exotic birds flock to this sanctuary and make this place a haven for any ornithologist.

;Bhoothathan Kettu
Bhoothathan Kettu is a good picnic spot, located 10 km from Kothamangalam. There is a barrage here, and in the adjoining reservoir, one can go for boating too. The legend says that the dam was built by a "Bhootham" "(A spirit)" using the rocks, which is which is how the name "Bhothathan Kettu" ("Made by spirit") came to be. Trekking through the forest to the old Bhoothathan Kettu is very interesting. The forest offers a wide variety of flora and fauna and is a botanist's delight.

Educational institutions

* [http://www.cheriapally.org/ Official Site of Kothamangalam Church Cheriyapally] SANTHWANAM SCHOOL FOR DIFFERENTLY ABLED CHILDREN- A specil school run by Malankara Orthodox Church Angamaly Diocese. Now 21 Mentally retarded children attend the class.

References


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