Athirampuzha

Summary

Athirampuzha
University junction, Athirampuzha
University junction, Athirampuzha
Coordinates: 9°39′34″N 76°31′36″E / 9.6594900°N 76.5266600°E / 9.6594900; 76.5266600Coordinates: 9°39′34″N 76°31′36″E / 9.6594900°N 76.5266600°E / 9.6594900; 76.5266600
Country India
StateKerala
DistrictKottayam
Languages
 • OfficialMalayalam, English
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Vehicle registrationKL-05
Nearest cityKottayam

Athirampuzha is a town in Kottayam district of Kerala state, South India. It is famous as the Mahatma Gandhi University is situated here. Athirampuzha is situated 10 km north of Kottayam town, 3 km from Ettumanoor and from Main Central Road S.H.1 of Kerala. St. Mary’s forane church (Roman Catholic) is well known for the feast of St. Sebastian every year on Jan. 24 and 25. Along with the church, there is a school with classes up to 12th standard for girls and boys separately - St. Aloysius school for boys and St. Mary's School for girls.

History

It is believed that Athirampuzha was a well-established developed village and settlements were there even in 1200 AD. The famous traveler Marco Polo's travel descriptions, "The description of the world", have some references about അതിരമ്പുഴ. While he was traveling through Kerala he reached a port town called 'athiramkari'. The description of this place closely matches to അതിരമ്പുഴ. According to Marco Polo Athiramkari was a trade center famous for Pottery, Cattle's, vegetable market (ചന്ത) (still exists) and clothes. 'Chantha Kulam (ചന്തകുളം)' was the center of trade where boats could dock. It is believed that mappilas (Christians) and Hindus (nairs) were settled in Athirampuzha during that period. Athirampuzha remained as a famous port town till the mid 1900s. Later more roads were developed which reduced the importance of backwater trade routes. The old boat shed (renovated later) still exists near the Chantha kulam.

The nearest rail head is Ettumanoor Railway Station just 1.5 km from Athirampuzha. Luka Mathai Plathottam (1888–1968) introduced homeopathy to Athirampuzha. He published many books including Varthamanappusthakam in 1936. (This entitles as the first travelogue in any Indian language). He was the Managing Director Plathottathil PVT LTD.(a company which was registered according to the norms of East India Company, used to pay income tax to British government and dealt with cotton handlooms in a large scale) .Justice K.K. Mathew Kuttyil, Post Master General of India and First Malayalee Postal board member C J Mathew Chackalackal, Deepika Daily Chief Editor K.M. Joseph Karivelil,K.M Joseph Kalarickal formal Central Fisheries commissioner, Dr. TJ Sebastian were some of the prominent people from Athirampuzha.

Economy

It is one of the oldest trading centers in Travancore. The place is believed to have trade relations with Middle East from centuries ago. Mahatma Gandhi University is located in Athirampuzha. Kuriakose Elias College, Mannanam, Amalagiri B.K. College, Ettumanoor I.T.I., SNV L.P School Mannanam, St. Aloysious School, St. Marys School, St. Ephrems Higher Secondary School Mannanam, K.E. School Mannanam, St. Gregorious U.P.School Mannarkunnu, Government L.P. School Sreekandamangalam, etc. are located in Athirampuzha Panchayat.

Religion

Christianity is the predominant religion in the Athirampuzha region, followed by Hinduism and Islam. The St. Mary's Forane Church at Athirampuzha is one of the oldest in Kerala. The Venmanatoor Sri Krishna Swami Temple (തൃക്കേൽ) is situated in Athirampuzha. The famous Vedhagiri hill is a Hindu pilgrim center located in the ward 1 of Athirampuzha panchayath. It is believed that the pandavas (Mahābhārata) visited the vyasa during their exile life. Remnants of the monastery are seen on the top of a small hill called Vedhagirimala. Hindus often visit the place and pray for their forefathers at the temple (Sri Dharma Shastha Kshethram) and have a snanam{Sanskrit} (holy bath) at the pond near the temple. Charis Bhavan, a well-known MSFS charismatic retreat center also located in Athirampuzha. The Ettumanoor Mahadevar Temple is situated near Athirampuzha. Also, there are multiple small Hindu temples and mosques in different parts of Athirampuzha.

St. Mary's Forane Church

St. Mary's Forane Church of Athirampuzha, altar

The Forane Church of Athirampuzha, a world-renowned pilgrim centre of St.Sebastian is dedicated to Blessed Virgin Mary. This church about 10 km from Kottayam has been the hub of Christian life in and around central Kerala from early 9th century. This is one of the biggest parishes of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Archeparchy of Changanassery. It consists of almost 2500 families and the total number of the faithful exceeds 10000.

History

Athirampuzha church must trace back her history to the Ettonnussery Illam which was the power centre of the local kingdom. It is said that the Namboodiri of this Illam donated the land to build a church in the name of blessed virgin Mary as a token of gratitude on the Miraculous birth of his son. The Church was blessed on 15 August 835 AD. Gradually it became an independent church and later was elevated to the status of a forane in 1929. The church also witnessed many historical events like the historic journey of Mar Abraham Karivatti and paremakkal Thoma Kathanar to Rome, the All India Eucharistic congress-the first and the last of its kind in Kerala conducted from 8 to 15 May 1929.

Ancient monuments

The Church is an exemplary specimen of ancient architecture. There were ancient stones with engravings and Thaliyollas in 'Nanam Moonam' alphabet kept in the church. Here there is a good collection of objects of historic, artistic, archival, archaeological and anthropological interest in granite, wood, metal, ivory, including Granite cross, Altar, Bells, Articles used in holy Qurbana ...etc.

Valiapally

The present church was constructed during the time of Fr. Joseph Ithiparambil. The renovation began in 1962 and was consecrated by Mar Mathew Kavukattu, the Archbishop of Changanachery in 1966. The church, brilliantly enshrining the western architecture, in 180 feet tall and 55 feet wide. The 'madbaha and Roopakoodu' were built in Portuguese style. The intricate altar engraving, the awesome gothic structure, the three huge glockenspiels in the belfry, the well known Kalkurish (Granite Cross) and the renowned feast of St.Sebastian with all its traditional ethos and the magnificent pyrotechnics- all these adorn the church and its elegance.

Altar

The Crowning of Mary as the Queen of the three worlds is etched on the altar and it is brightened with golden leaves. The splendid and large altar with oil paintings is the greatest attraction of Athirampuzha church.

Bells

The three massive bells hanging on the 85 feet tall bell fry was imported from Germany. Rev. Fr. Bonifus bought it from Germany in 1905. The words 'Arch Angel- St.Michael' are inscribed on the biggest of the three bells, 'San Sebastian-St.Sebastian ‘ on the second and 'santa Maria- St.Mary' on the smaller of the bells. It is written in the records that these bells had cost 2157 rupees 25 Chakram and 4 Kasu in those days.

Granite Cross

The cross is erected in front of the church is made of a single piece of granite and is 200 years old. The huge cross made of granite is 30 feet tall is standing on a 2.5 feet high platform in 8 'pattam' with stone steps on all sides in front of the church. Three granite lamps attached on stone pillars erected in the middle of the platform. The Cross was erected in the early decades of 18 th century.

Cheriapally

The Cheriapally (little or small church) is situated in the location where the first church was built and blessed in AD 835. It was renovated to the present form by Fr. Thomas Olakkapady and was blessed by his Excellency Kurialacherry Mar Thoma on 22 January 1919. Cheriapally is situated 200 meters away from the Valiapally. The Church is known in the name of St.Sebastian. Meeting the demands of the time, recently the church was renovated by very Rev. Dr. Mani puthiyidom.

Location

Ettumanoor Rail way Station and Industrial Estate is really located in Athirampuzha. Ettumanoor, Kumaranalloor, Arpookara, Kudamaloor, Mudiyoorkara, Aymanam, Kumarakom, Kaipuzha, Neendoor, Onamthuruth, Kurumulloor, Kanakkary, Pattithanam are the neighbouring places of Athirampuzha. Government Medical College, Kottayam, Caritas Hospital, Matha Hospital in Thellakom are situated very near to Athirampuzha. Athirampuzha is having many post offices like Amalagiri, Priyadarshini Hills, Sreekandamangalam, Kottackupuram etc.

Transportation

Athirampuzha was once a major inland waterway terminal town. Freight boats from Alappuzha called at Athirampuzha. From Athirampuzha bullock carts transported the goods to Pala and beyond. Passenger ferry services were available from Athirampuzha to Alappuzha and Muhamma. In the 1960s after road transportation gained prominence, Ettumanoor by virtue of its location gained popularity and the slow decline of Athirampuzha started. The passenger ferry services were curtailed till Mannanam after a newly constructed bridge over the navigable canal sank. The service to Mannanam is now curtailed till Maniaparambu. Newly declared National Waterway 9 starts from Athirampuzha Market and extends till Alappuzha via Kottayam. This waterway passes through Maniaparambu; from where passenger ferry services are operated to Muhamma, Kannankara and Cheepunkal. Major express trains like Venad Express and Parasuram Express stop at Ettumanur railway station. During the festive season, some long-distance trains have a temporary halt here. The contact phone number of the station is 0481-2535531.

References

External links

  • http://www.answers.com/topic/athirampuzha
  • http://www.keralaplaces.com/Kottayam.html
  • http://www.charisbhavan.org
  • https://web.archive.org/web/20071017111733/http://tourtoindia.com/kerala/tourist-attractions/churches-of-kerala.html
  • http://www.mapsofindia.com/maps/kerala/kottayam.htm
  • For more pictures - https://web.archive.org/web/20130317010412/http://www.windiaw.com/2013/02/athirampuzha-fast-developing-area-in.html