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Meenachil is the north-eastern region of Kottayam district in Kerala, south India. The name originates from Meenakshi, the Hindu Goddess. Pala is the main city in Meenachil. The arterial river of the district is also named Meenachil.
The Meenachil River, also known as Kavanar, Gauna, Valanjar originates at vagamon in the Western Ghats of Kerala, flows westward through Erattupetta, Palai, Kidangoor, Ettumanoor and Kottayam. Its length is about 87 kilometers. Near Kottayam it splits into a number of distributaries before emptying into the Vembanad Lake. Kumarakom, the bird sanctuary and tourist resort is on one such branch.[ citation needed ]
The current Meenachil taluk was a principality under the local chieftains, the Meenachil Karthas (also known as Njavakkat Karthas) before Marthanda Varma annexed it to Travancore in 1754. The name of the place comes from Goddess Meenakshi, the deity of the Karthas. Veera Kerala Damodara Simhar was a chieftain belonging to this family.The southern bank of the river was the kingdom of Thekkumkoor, the capital of which was Changanassery, and the northern bank, that of Vadakkumkoor, with its capital at Kaduthuruthy. The Poonjar royal family also held sway over significant areas of the district towards the east.
Though food crops like paddy and tapioca are cultivated, majority of the population depends on cash crops like rubber and black pepper for income. Turmeric,ginger,cardamom,aracanut, coconut, nutmeg,clove,karuva pattai, jackfruit, tamarind where cultivated here.Recently people had diversified into the cultivation of vanilla on account of the sudden spurt in prices. However, with rubber prices ruling high and vanilla prices nosediving, the original agricultural pattern is seen reemerging. Though there are families with considerable wealth, a large section of the population are farmers with small and medium agricultural holdings.[ citation needed ]
The Kerala Government has recently (2006) accorded high priority to the implementation of the Meenachil River Valley Project. The project aims at diverting excess water from the Moovattupuzha river into the Meenachil River basin by constructing a tunnel from Arakkulam to Melukavu. Once implemented the project will help in increasing the availability of water in the area.[ citation needed ]
Some of the important festivals celebrated in the region are:
1. Kumaranalloor Thrikarthika
2. The Katappattor temple festival (April)
3. Meenachil Kavu Festival (December)
4. Pala Jubilee thirunal (8 December)
5. The Cherpunkal Church festival(25 December – 2 January)
6. The festival of St. George's Church, Aruvithura
7. The Paika Church festival (19 December)
8. Pala Rakkuly thirunal - Epiphany (7 Jan)
9. Bharanganam Sr Alphonsa's feast (28 July)
10. Bharanganam Sreekrishna Swami temple festival (January–February)
11. Poovarany Mahadeva temple festival (January–February)
12. Ramapuram Church feast
13. Kidangoor Temple Festival
14. Edappady Subrahmanya Swamy Temple festival (January–February)
15. Edappady Vazhanekkavu Devi Temple festival (March)
16. Uzhavoor Church feast
17. Vilakkumadom St. Francis Church feast
18. The Arattu at Lalam Sree Mahadeva Temple. (January)
19. Prathista dinam at Puthuppallil Kottaram Bhagavathy Temple at Edamattom (23rd Thulam)
20. Meenachil Nadeethada Hindu Maha sangamam (Jannuvay 12-18)
21. Payappar sree dharama sastha temple (makaravilaku 14 January)
22. Payappar sree dharama sastha temple (makaravilaku 14 January)
23. Edanattukavu Bhagavathy Temple festival (December and March)
Traditionally, the region is the hotbed of various factions of the Kerala Congress. However mainstream parties like the Indian National Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) Bharatiya Janata Party also have significant following. The prices of rubber and other agricultural prices determine the agenda of many elections. It is alleged that the church influences the political agenda significantly.
Meenachil Taluk does not have rail connectivity. The nearest major railway stations are Kottayam, 28 km and Ernakulam junction, 64 km from palai. The nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery, 85 km from Palai.
The Ettumanoor - Poonjar State Highway (SH 32) traverses across the Taluk in the easterly direction connecting major centres like Kidangoor, Cherpunkal, Palai, Bharananganam and Erattupetta. In the north- south direction, the Main Eastern Highway (Muvattupuzha - Punalur- SH 8)passes through Kollappally, Palai and Paika. The Erattupetta - Peerumedu State Highway (SH 14) passes through Teekoy and Wagamon. The Sabarimala - Kodaikanal Highway passes through Erattupetta. The Main Central Road (SH 1) from Trivandrum to Angamaly passes through the western boundary of the Taluk.
Kottayam, is one of 14 districts in the Indian state of Kerala. Kottayam district comprises six municipal towns: Kottayam, Changanassery, Pala, Erattupetta, Ettumanoor, and Vaikom. It is the only district in Kerala that neither borders the Arabian Sea nor any other states.
Bharananganam, an important pilgrimage centre in South India, is located on the banks of the Meenachil River, four kilometres (2.5 mi) away from Pala and four kilometres (2.5 mi) from Plassanal, in Kottayam district in the state of Kerala. Bharananganam and surrounding places are hilly areas with a lot of vegetation. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people, who cultivate plantation crops such as rubber.
Perunilam is a small Village/hamlet in Meenachil Taluk in Kottayam district of Kerala State, India. It comes under Poonjar Panchayath. It belongs to South Kerala Division. It is located 44 km East from District headquarters Kottayam. 2.5 km from Erattupetta. 149 km from State capital Thiruvananthapuram. Main agricultural crop is rubber. The popular Christian Pilgrim Centre Bharananganam and St. George's Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, Aruvithura is near to Perunilam. Perunilam Kurishupally is located in Perunilam. Malayalam is the Local Language here. Kottayam Rail Way Station is major railway station 40 km near to Perunilam.
The MeenachilRiver or Meenachilaar, also known as Kavanar, Valanjar, is a river in Kerala. It is one of the most treacherous rivers in Kerala due to its flash floods, heavy undercurrents and woods and debris it carries from the mountains. It flows through the heart of Kottayam district, Kerala state in southern India. 78km long, originates in the Western Ghats main tributaries are Theekoy aaru from Vagamon hills, Poonjar Aaru and Chittar, flowing westward through the city of Kottayam and other towns like Poonjar, Teekoy, Erattupetta, Bharananganam, Pala, Mutholy, Cherpunkal, Kidangoor and Kumarakom before emptying into the Vembanad Lake on the shore of the Indian Ocean.
Paika is a small town 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Palai on the Pala-Ponkunnam road of Muvattupuzha - Punalur SH:08, in Kottayam district, Kerala, India. It is part of Meenachil Taluka, known as one of the most fertile agricultural regions of Travancore. The town is well connected to the plantation towns of Kanjirapally, Erattupetta and Ponkunnam. The majority of residents are Syrian Malabar Nasrani Catholic Christians continuing their traditions from the times of Saint Thomas, an apostle of Jesus Christ. This region is part of the mid-lands of south-eastern Kerala. The main income is from agriculture, mostly rubber plantations.
Poonjar is a small Indian town located on the eastern side of Kottayam district in Kerala state, India. Before the independence of India, Poonjar had been the part of Travancore princely state.Erattupetta, Teekoy, bharananganam, and vagamon are the nearest towns and villages of Poonjar.Taluk headquarters,pala is 18 kilometres away from poonjar and kanjirapally is 22.6 kilometres away from poonjar
Kunnonny is a village at the foothills of Western Ghats in the Kottayam district of Kerala state, India. It is about 50 km from Kottayam and about 3 km from Poonjar. Pala, Kanjirappally, Erattupetta and Poonjar are the nearest cities of Kunnonny. Kunnonny is primarily an agricultural village and most people plant Rubber. The population is about 2500. Most of them are farmers and daily wage workers. Recently a lot of people have left from here for work outside Kerala and India. The population consists of Hindus and Christians. A very old prominent Ayyappa temple and a church are there in Kunnonny. The St. Joseph's U P School is managed by the church.
Pattithanam is a village near Ettumanoor in the Kottayam District of Kerala, India. Pattithanam village is the point of highest altitude on Main Central Road. The early settlers in Pattithanam played a major role in establishing the educational and religious institutions in this area. During the early days, the nearest market was Athirampuzha and the agricultural produce was taken by bullock cart and head load from Pattithanm on market days. Pattithanam village is within Meenachil and Kottayam taluks of Kottayam District of Kerala.
Mallikassery is a small village near Paika, in Elikulam Panchayat of Kanjirappally Taluk in Kottayam district, in the state of Kerala, India.
Vayala is a village located in the Meenachil (Pala) Taluk of Kottayam district, Kerala, India. It is approximately 5 kilometers from the village Kuravilangad, about 11 kilometers from Pala municipality town and about 24 kilometers away from district capital Kottayam.
Yendayar is a village in Kottayam district, Kerala, India that is totally surrounded by hills. According to local tradition, Mr. J.J. Murphy named the place, which was to be his home until death in 1957, after his mother and the local river. Yendayar is a combination of 'yen' (my) 'thai' (mother) and 'ar' (river). Murphy had come in 1904 to the place which was a thick forest and had no name or people then. He had traveled a long way to reach there. There he established India's first successful rubber plantation. He brought workers from near and far – Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.
Pinnakkanadu is a small town located about 40 km East of Kottayam on Kanjirappally-Erattupetta Road, in Kottayam district of Kerala, India. It is 8 km North of Kanjirappally towards Erattupetta, 7 km East of Paika and 15 km West of Mundakkayam.
Kadanad is a Panchayat and Village in Meenachil Taluk of Kottayam district in the Indian state of Kerala.
Melukavu (Melukavumattom) is a village in the eastern part of Meenachil Taluk in Kottayam District of Kerala state, India.
Neeloor is an agriculture-oriented rural village in the Taluk of Meenachil, Kottayam district, Kerala. The village is situated on the hill sides of Noorumala, Ellumpuram and Perumkunnu which are hills on the borders of Kottayam district and the neighboring Idukki district. Earlier the place was known as "Kallidapootha".
Aruvithura Church is a Syro-Malabar Catholic church located at Erattupetta, Kottayam district in the Kerala State of India.Traditionally it is believed that the Syrian Catholic Church at Aruvithura was established in AD 151.
Kottayam district is a centre of education in Kerala state. The Orthodox Theological Seminary at Chungam was the first institution to teach English in South India. It was founded in 1815 by Colonel John Monroe. The C.M.S High School was founded by the British missionary, Benjamin Bailey. The first college in Kerala state and the second established under British rule in India was the C.M.S. College (1840). Mahatma Gandhi University is located in Kottayam district.
Parathanam is a Town at the base of Western Ghats mountain ranges in the Kottayam district, Kerala. It is 2,000 feet above sea level and is situated on the eastern border of Kottayam District, 60 km from Kottayam, 12 km away from Poonjar and around 8 km away from Mundakayam on the NH 220.