The district of Pathanamthitta is recognized for its renowned pilgrim places of worship, mainly for the hill shrine of Sabarimala surrounded by dense jungle which draws devotees from far and near. Set amidst greenery and surrounded by scenic landscape, tourists and vacationers staying at homestays in the district can get a feel of the warmth and hospitality of the local hosts and engage in traditional activities like farming, basket-weaving etc.
Pathanamthitta is famous for celebrating a variety of religious and social fairs and festivals. The district offers travelers and visitors a wonderful chance to view nature at its scenic best. The vast stretches of forests with winding ghat roads and silvery waterfalls, the meandering rivers and the rural topography of the land combine to create an irresistible charm.
Pathanamthitta was formerly under the rule of a Pandalam king who had links with the ancient Pandya kingdom belonging to Tamil Nadu. It derives its name from two words - Pathanam and Thitta meaning a cluster of houses by the riverside. A large variety of vegetables and spices are cultivated on the fertile lands of this land-locked district. There are a large number of rubber plantations as well.
The district is recognized as the headquarters of pilgrimage tourism in the state of Kerala. The Cultural Tourism Programme, a joint initiative of the Union Ministry of Tourism and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has included Pathanamthitta in its scheme of developmental activities.
Pathanamthitta district is endowed with numerous places of historical and tourist interest. River Pamba, the main halting point on the way to Sabarimala, the famous pilgrim center, is also known as Thriveni Sangamam, the meeting point of three rivers. There is the Kakki reservoir surrounded by a jungle full of roaming tigers, elephants, and monkeys. The picturesque Charalkunnu hill station offers a panoramic view of the nearby valleys and has a camp house with comfortable lodging facilities. Perumthenaruvi waterfall is another tourist hotspot.
Sabarimala is situated on the mountain ranges of the western ghats, at an altitude of 914 m above sea level. The holy shrine, to be accessed by foot from Pamba, is visited by lakhs of devotees every year. The Aranmula Parthasarathy temple located on the banks of the river Pamba is dedicated to Sree Krishna and similarly attracts large crowds of devotees especially for the annual boat race festival held in the premises during Onam season. The temple is also famous for its fine murals of the 18th century. Besides, the Vijnana Kala Vedi Cultural Centre at Aranmula imparts residential training courses in the traditional arts and crafts of Kerala. The place is also popular for its handmade, polished metal mirror called ‘Aranmula Kannadi’ the making of which is an ancient and unique art not found anywhere else in the world.
The Kerala Institute of Folklore and Folk Arts at Mannadi, the agricultural region of Konni which also houses an elephant training camp, Pandalam, the birthplace of Lord Ayyappa, and Maramon, the venue of an annual Convention attended by pilgrims from all over the world are the other tourist attractions.
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Accommodation in Pathanamthitta