Kottayam History

Old palaces and dilapidated forts stand as remnants and witness to Kottayam history. The word Kottayam is a conjunction of two separate words 'Kotta' and Akam'. The literal meaning of these two words means the interiors of a fort. History of Kottayam is a tale of various battles fought and several unifications and reunifications. Kottayam is a silent witness to many political upheavals, which have shaped the social and political structure of Kottayam.

The ruins of the Thaliyil Fort and the Kottayam palace are an integral part of the Kottayam history. The present Kottayam town functioned as the headquarters of the rulers of Munjanad and Thekkumkur. It was a part of the old state of Travancore. For mere administrative purpose Kottayam was distinctly divided into two revenue divisions, namely the northern and the southern division. Each of these divisions were managed and headed by a 'Diwan Peshkar'. Two more divisions of Kollam and Kottyam were established in the year 1868. The fifth division of Devikulum was annexed to Kottayam. The year 1949 witnessed the unification of the State of Travancore and Cochin and these divisions were converted into districts, and were later on controlled by the respective District Collectors.

The Vaikom Satyagraha, a movement to oust the practice of untouchability is said to have started in Kottyam. The famed Siva Temple at Vaikom was the venue for this Satyagraha. The scheduled castes and the various downtrodden backward castes were prohibited from entering the holy temples in Travancore. Eminent national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Acharya Bhinoba Bhave and C Rajagopalachari actively participated in this political agitation to eradicate untouchability.

Historical facts about Kottayam also clearly point out that the political agitation of Malayali Memorial was started from Kottayam. The agitation started because people from outside were recruited into the Travancore Civil Service. Educated Travancoreans wanted a fair share of representation in the civil service sector.

The Nivarthana movement in the early thirties also drew a lot of support from the people of Kottayam. Non caste Hindus, Christians and Muslims demanded reservation of seat in the State Legislature. The powerful agitation led to the overthrow of Sir C.P. Ramaswami the Dewan of Travancore.

Socio political upheavals, and wars changed the course of history in Kottyam and were instrumental in shaping the social and cultural life in Kottayam.

Last Updated on 09/05/2013