It is a fairy newly-formed district, and the formation took place in 1982. Its neighbours are Kollam, Kottayam and Idukki. This place takes pride as it is the birth place of historic personalities like Muloor and Shri Shakti Bhadra. There are a number of temples and Sabarimala Temple is the most important. The district is said to get its name from ‘pathanam, and ‘thita’, meaning a row of houses on the riverside.
The areas under the district were earlier under the Pandalam reign. The district also includes parts of Kollam, Kottayam, Alappuzha and Idukki districts. Major cities are Pathanamthitta, Ranni, Adoor, Thiruvalla, Konni and Kozhencherry.
Pathanamthitta has more than 1,300sq.km of forest area. That’s about 50 per cent of the district! It can be categorised as evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forest. Timber is one of the most promising produces here. Teak, Jackfruit tree, Rosewood, Manjakadamu, Anjili, Pala are some of them. There are many wood-based industries in the district. Not to mention the tourism opportunities available when there is so much forest around. There are trekking and jungle safari to be taken up. Konni has a huge elephant training camp. It no longer functions as a training camp but people visit the place to watch elephants closely and to go on elephant rides and safaris.
The Aranmula Boat Race, held during Onam (August-September) is a superb event you shouldn’t miss. The place also shares its name with the Aranmula Kannadi, a special type of mirror polished from metal. It is made only in Aranmula. During the boat race, the snake boats line up near the Sri Parthasarathy Temple. Each boat is about 100f. long and carries up to four helmsmen, 100 oarsmen and 25 singers. The boats move in pairs to the rhythm of the singing.
Sabarimala, 70km from Pathanamthitta town, 190km from Thiruvananthapuram 200km from Kochi, is the sacred abode of Lord Ayyappa. This important Hindu pilgrimage centre is visited by crores of people annually. During festivals and important days, there can be stampedes, too.
The Kadamanitta Devi Temple is another famous landmark. It is known for its 10-day-long Padayani festival in April/May. The temple is just eight km from Pathanamthitta town.
The nearest railway stations are Thiruvalla and Kottayam. Both are less than 55km away. the nearest airport is in Cochin, 145km away. Buses are available to and from towns such as Kottayam, Thiruvalla, Trivandrum and Cochin.
Rivers of Pathanamthitta
Three important rivers flow through this district are Pampa, Achankovil and Manimala. The Pamba River, which originates from the hills in Idukki, merges with the two other rivers, and the place is called ‘Thriveni Sangaman’ (confluence of three rivers).
The tributaries of Pampa are Pambayar, Kakkadayar, Arthayar, Kakkar and Kallar. It enters Alappuzha after flowing through Pathanamthitta and empties into the Vembanad Lake. Achankovil is joined by streams from Rishimala, Pasukidamettu and Ramakkalteri.
This district produces one-third of the electricity produced in the state. The Sabarigiri Hydro-Electric Project at the Pamba basin is a major contributor. It is also used for irrigating paddy fields. The Kallada Irrigation project is situated in Pathanamthitta.
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