Pathanamthitta is a district bordered by the Western Ghats. The land is endowed with its vast forest lands and quaint villages. Many famous religious centers like Sabarimala Temple, Manjinikkara Mor Ignatius Dayara Church, and Pandalam Valiya Koyikkal Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, and so on make the place a holy land. Thus Pathanamthitta is known as the Headquarters of Pilgrimage Tourism in Kerala. The district is one of the most visited pilgrimage places in Kerala.

The scenic beauty of the place is incomparable. Replete with rivers and hills, the land is evenly covered in a green thicket. Nature lovers will have a great time in the eco-tourism spots in Pathanamthitta. The misty hills of Gavi, the elephant taming center of Konni, and Adavi are a few of the many famous attractions in the district. The temple town of Aranmula, famous for Aranmula Vallamkali, exciting boat races, and Aranmula Kannadi, mirrors made by polishing bell metal, is worth a visit.

Tourist Places in Pathanamthitta

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    Gavi is a fast-growing tourist destination in Kerala. Its cool climate, tropical forest, placid lake, spectacular hills, and green valleys lure tourists. There are some charming cascades here that accentuate the beauty of the jungle. Adventure lovers can have a great time here involving in activities like trekking, safari, boating, and so on. Many varieties of animals like Tiger, Leopard, Bear, Lion-tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, Malabar Giant Squirrel, and seen in Gavi. It is exciting to spend the night in a treehouse. Camping enthusiasts can pitch a tent in the camping site here. The plethora of possibilities of Gavi attracts tourists visiting Kerala.

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    Pandalam is considered a holy town as it is where Lord Ayyappa was brought up. The legend says that he was adopted by the King of Pandalam. The famous Valiyakoyikkal temple here is a stopover for the Sabarimala pilgrims. Another great attraction is the Pandalam palace, an awe-inspiring structure constructed in the traditional Kerala architecture. The charming river of Achankovil adorns the town like a silver ornament. The historical and religious importance of the place attracts visitors touring Kerala.

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    Sabarimala Temple

    Attracting over 40 to 50 million devotees annually, the Sabarimala Dharmasasta temple is the most prominent pilgrim center in Kerala. It is situated atop a hill amid dense forest under the Periyar Tiger Reserve. It is believed that the divine incarnation Ayyappa meditated here. Lord Parasurama, the sixth avatar of Vishnu, found a shrine in the hill later. The temple architecture is enthralling. Made out of Panchaloham—an alloy of five precious metals — the 18 steps lead to the main part of the temple. The sanctum sanctorum has a gold plated roof and four golden finials. It also houses the idol of Lord Ayyappa made of Panchaloham. The traditional rituals, ancient architecture, and exquisite sights make the place one of the most visited places in Kerala.

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    Konni Elephant Training Center

    Konni attracts tourists visiting Kerala with its famous training center for elephants. The place has a history of elephant capturing dating back to almost two centuries. It is one of the oldest training centers for elephants. Since the government banned the capturing of wild animals in 1977, the center focuses on caring, nurturing and treatment of estranged elephants. Visitors can closely observe the life and activities of these huge mammals. It is curious to watch the baby elephants running around throwing a tantrum. The size of the cages made of Kambakam wood used to house the animals is astounding.

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    A global heritage site enlisted by the United Nations, Aranmula is the best place to visit in Kerala. The town that developed around the famous Parthasarathi Temple has the river Pampa feeding its population. Aranmula Vallamkali or snake boat race is an exhilarating event attended by thousands of spectators. The land is also famous for its acclaimed metal-alloy mirrors, known as Aranmula Kannadi. The exact metallurgical processes used to achieve the perfect reflective surface is maintained as a secret. Aranmula is also famous for its enchanting wetlands called Puncha encompassing rich biodiversity.

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    Mannadi is a great place to visit in Kerala because of its historic significance. The small town holds the legend of the valiant Veluthambi Dalawa, the prime minister of the kingdom of Travancore from 1802 to 1809. He was a warrior brave enough to question the British rule. This made the colonialists angry. The Bhagavathy temple here was his final refuge. A statue of Veluthambi Dalawa is erected here to immortalize his memory. Other attractions in Mannadi include the Kerala Institute of Folklore and Folk Arts, an open-air theater, and a museum. Anyone with an interest in the art and history of Kerala has to visit Mannadi.

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    Literally ‘the river of honey’, Perunthenaruvi is a cascade located in the forest region of Sabarimala. The charming area is the best place to enjoy the tranquility that nature offers. The rejuvenating rhythm and exceptional charisma of the flowing stream enchant everyone. Located downstream, the falls with its breathtaking beauty, allure nature lovers to the region. Visitors love to take a bath in the cool water and have a great time. The trek through the forest to reach the area is quite exciting.

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    Nestled in between the hills covered with greenery, the Kakki reservoir is a unique beauty in the Pathanamthitta district. Built as part of the Sabarigiri Hydroelectric project in 1966, the dam and the artificial lake became a tourist attraction. The view of the mist-covered Western Ghats at a distance and the lush greenery covering the whole landscape make it a great location for sightseeing. Boating through the expansive lake is relaxing. Tourists love the experience as it gives insight into the otherwise inaccessible reserve forest. Many wild animals are visible during the boat ride. This makes Kakki an exciting place to visit in Kerala.

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    A quaint village in Pathanamthitta, Kaviyur is a great location to experience the culture, beauty, and history of Kerala. Historically it was one of the 64 Brahmin settlements in the state. The ancient rock-cut temple of Thrikkakkudy constructed by the Pallava dynasty is a major attraction. The wooden sculptures in the centuries-old Mahadevar temple are awe-inspiring. Many temples and churches in the area are also worth visiting. Polachira lake, with its mesmerizing beauty, is another tourist attraction in Kaviyur. A riverside tourism project — Manackachira Puzhayoram project— with two suspension bridges and park benches is planned in the region. It will add to the tourism prospects for the land.

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    Manjinikkara Church

    One of the most significant pilgrim centers of Syrian Christians, the Manjinikkara church is located in the Pathanamthitta. It is well known for the tomb of the Patriarch Mar Ignatius Elias III. holy father who headed the Orthodox church traveled to Kerala in 1931 and died here in 1932. The Patriarch is considered to be a saint and many believers from different parts of Kerala walk to the church in procession on the day of his remembrance.

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    Muloor Memorial

    Muloor Smarakam or Muloor memorial is a monument dedicated to the social reformer and poet Muloor S Padmanabha Panicker. Known for his humourous poems, the great pre-independence era reformer strived to educate and uplift the marginalized poor in the society. The memorial, located in Elavumthitta, 12 kilometers away from Pathanamthitta town, was the house where the poet lived. It has a collection of his works and the details of his life. Anyone interested in the cultural and social conditions of Kerala before independence will find the place worth visiting.

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    Niranam Church

    Niranam St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church is one of the oldest churches in India. Established in 54 AD by St.Thomas, the apostle of Jesus Christ, the church testifies to the cultural and religious plurality of the land even before 2 millennia. The 5 altars in the church is an uncommon construction. History aficionados will be thrilled by the ancient inscriptions and palm leaves preserved in the church. The granite cross on the entrance is believed to be established during the mid 13th century. The base of the famed cross has curious carvings resembling a Hindu temple.

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    Located near to Pathanamthitta town, Chuttippara is a great location for sightseeing. As the name indicates in the local dialect, it is a rock cluster. Standing tall at a height of 200 feet, Chuttippara provides a panoramic view of the Pathanamthitta town and nearby places. The Western Ghats is visible from the point as distant green mountain ranges. A view of the crimson sunset from Chuttippara is breathtakingly beautiful. Because of the exquisite sights, it is a great place for photography enthusiasts. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva on top of the hill. There are very few places in Kerala close to the town giving such a great view. So, even though the climb to the top is quite exhausting, tourists endure it as it is worth it.

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    Kadamanitta Devi Temple

    As with many temples in Kerala, Kadamanitta Devi temple is the cultural, spiritual, and historic hub of the land. The old temple is a tranquil location that soothes the soul. The famous attraction of the place is Patayani — an exuberant ritual art. With flamboyant costumes, masks, and body paintings the art form captures the ancient Dravidian culture of the land. The performer blends music, dance, satire, and theatre as a form of worship to Bhadrakali Devi. Those who yearn to know the culture of Kerala can visit the Kadamanitta Devi temple during summer when the ritual is performed.