Friday, 13 July 2012

14 Districts of Kerala

Thenmala Dam

For administrative purposes the State is divided into 14 revenue districts: Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanadu, Kannur and Kasaragod.

On the basis of geographical, historical and cultural similarities, the districts are generally grouped into North Kerala (Kasaragod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram) , Central Kerala (Palakkad, Thrissur, Eranakulam, Idukki) and South Kerala (Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam).The districts have the same name as the important town or city in the district, the exception being Wayanad district.

The 14 districts are further divided into 21 Revenue divisions, 63 Taluks and 1453 Revenue Villages. There are 14 District Panchayats, 152 Block Panchayats, 978 Grama Panchayats, 60 Municipalities, 5 Corporations and 1 Township.

Some of the districts and their towns were renamed in 1990 like Thiruvananthapuram (formerly known as Trivandrum), Kollam (Quilon), Alappuzha (Alleppey), Thrissur (Trichur or Thrishivaperur), Palakkad (Palghat), Kozhikode (Calicut) and Kannur (Cannanore).

A district is governed by a District Collector, who is an officer from Indian Administrative Service (IAS) of Kerala cadre and is appointed by the State Government of Kerala. Functionally the district administration is carried on through the various Departments of the State Government each of which has an office of its own in the district level. The District Collector is the executive leader of the district administration and the District Officers of the various Departments in the district render technical advice to him in the discharge of his duties.

The District Collector is a key functionary of Government having large powers and responsibilities. He/she has a dual role to both as the agent of the Government of the state and also as the representative of the people in the district. He/she is also responsible for the maintenance of the law and order of the district.

Thrissur District

Kole Padam in Thrissur
The cultural capital of Kerala,  Thrissur is the abbreviated anglicized form of the Malayalam word "Thrissivaperur" which means the town of the "Sacred Siva". The town is built on an elevated ground, at the apex of which is the famous "Vadakkumnathan" Temple. A place of great antiquity, Thrissur was also known as "Vrishabhadipuram"  in ancient days.

Thrissur district in the present form was formed on July 1, 1949, with the headquarters at Thrissur City. Thrissur is known as the cultural capital of Kerala, and the land of Poorams. The district is famous for its ancient temples, churches, and mosques. Thrissur Pooram is the most colourful and spectacular temple festival in Kerala.

Kollam District


Kollam, called Quilon by the Europeans, was an ancient port on the west coast. It flourished as a trading centre even in prechristian centuries as can be surmised from the numismatic evidences left by ancient Phoenicians and Romans. The present Kollam district was notable for economic activity from time immemorial. Kollam is thus the timeless city of Kerala. Chinese traveller Ibn Batuta visited Kollam in the 14th century and he recorded that Kollam was one of the five important ports he visited during his travel of twenty four years. A prosperous Chinese trading community settlement flourished in Kollam till the advent of Europeans. Probably traders of ancient nations rubbed shoulders for trade on the shores of Kollam.

Kollam was the original capital of Venad rulers and it developed into the most important port in South India over several centuries. The glory of Venad rulers of Kollam reached its height during the reign if Sangramadheera Ravi Varma Kulasekhara who crowned himself emperor of South India at Madurai and later Thanjavur after conquering the Pandya and Chola kingdoms in the first decade of 14th century. In 15th century Venad split into two branches – one at Padmanabhapuram and the other at Kollam.

Even after independence Kollam has remained a major trade centre with considerable export of marine products and cashew kernels. Neendakara, lying adjacent to Kollam is the largest fishing harbor on the west coast.

Kollam District which is a veritable Kerala  in miniature is gifted with unique representative features - sea, lakes, plains, mountains, rivers, streams, backwaters, forest, vast green fields and tropical crop of every variety both food crop and cash crop, so called 'The Gods Own Capital'.

Kollam district is located on the southwest coast of India, bordering Arabian Sea in the west, the state of Tamil Nadu in the east, Kerala district of Alappuzha in the north, Pathanamthitta in the northeast and Thiruvananthapuram in the south. It covers 2,492 square kilometres (962 sq mi), is the seventh-largest district in Kerala and is densely populated. Sasthamkotta Lake, the only freshwater lake in Kerala, is located in Kollam; this lake provides drinking water to the city of Kollam.

Two major rivers (the Kallada and the Ithikkara) drain the district. Ashtamudi Lake and Paravur Kayal are two important lakes in the district. Ashtamudi Lake covers 30 percent of total area of the district. Kollam is located on Ashtamudi Lake.  Edava and Nadayara Lakes are also partly located in Kollam district.

Thiruvananthapuram District

Kowdiar Palace
Kowdiar Palace

Thiruvananthapuram district  is considered as the most salubrious  segment of Kerala, the  ‘Gods Own Country.  Proximity of the high mountains on the east and the ocean and lakes on the west has  blessed the district with a temperate climate. This gift from nature is augmented   by illustrious human activity in history, culture and social reformation. Historically, the ‘Aye’ kingdom flourished  here and it lost prominence after its defeat in a naval battle with the navy of Rja Raja Chola, near vizhinjam, its capital, in the early centuries of the Christian era.  Later the powerful venad  Kingdom arose here with the decline of the Chera dynasty at Kondungalloor.  Venad left great imprints like the Padamanabhapuram Palace, Padmanabhaswami Temple, Kuthiramalika etc.

Thiruvananthapuram was the cradle of the great ideas of social revival and renaissance  heralded by great stalwarts like Sree Narayana Guru, Ayyankali, Dr. Palpu et al.  In recent times Thiruvananthapuram has become the springboard of India’s leap in the field of Space Science and   Technology with the headquarters of ISRO here.  Thiruvananthapuram is also a centre of higher learning and scientific research with the establishment IIST, ISER, etc.  Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Biotechnology, Tropical Botanical Garden, Institute of Dravidian Linquistics etc are some of the institutions engaged in important rerearch work.  Thiruvananthapuram city has the first international airport of Kerala, hardly six kilometers from the city  centre  with the state secretariat - a facility few cities within the  country or abroad can boast of.

Thiruvananthapuram is the first tourism  hotspot of Kerala with the opening of the internationally famous Kovalam beach resort, followed up later  by the equally fascinating beaches like Varkala – Papanasam, Poovar and Chowara.  Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, conjectured as the richest temple in the world with enormous  repositories of gold, precious gems and rare artifacts is at the centre of the city like the acropolis in Athens.  The city flaunts  some of the richest monuments the world over, such as the ‘Kuthira Malika ‘   built by the camposer - King, Maharaja Swathi Thirunal and kindred palaces built in the premises of the  Padmanabha Swamy temple as well as the Padmanabhapuram palace in  Kanyakumari district from where the capital of Venad was shifted  to Thiruvananthapuram in 1745 These are built in Kerala’s own ‘Vasthu style’ of architecture.

Thiruvananthapuram is located in the South of the state, bordered by Tirunelveli in the East, Kanyakumari in the South and Kollam district located in the North. The Sri PadmanabhaswamyTemple, one of the famous temples of India is in the heart of the city.  The city is a must on the itinerary of any visitor to the South India.
The district has an area of 2,192 square kilometres (846 sq mi) and a population of 3,307,284 (as per the 2011 census). It is divided into four taluks, Thiruvananthapuram, Chirayinkeezhu, Neyyattinkara and Nedumangadu. The urban bodies in the district are the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, Varkala, Neyyattinkara, Attingal and Nedumangad municipalities.

Thiruvananthapuram district is situated between north latitudes 8°17' and 8°54' and east longitudes 76°41' and 77°17'. The southern-most extremity, Kaliyikkavila, is 56 kilometres away from Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of the mainland. The district is 33.75% urbanised.

Pathanamthitta District

Pathanamthitta is the smallest district of Kerala. The name Pathanamthitta is derived from two Malayalam words Pathanam” and “thitta”, which together mean "array of ten "family" houses by the riverside". The life of the people of the district and their cultural activities were shaped and influenced by the river Pampa. The congregation of the followers of the Orthodox Church at Maramon and that of Hindus at Cherukolpuzha on the sandy bed of Pampa every year are turned into occasions for learning lessons of human emanicipation and brotherhood.

It is the pilgrim center of Kerala, renowned for the shrine of Lord Ayappa in the Sabari Hills, drawing millions of devotees from near and far off places. The story of life of Lord Ayyappa which has the imprint of the cultural and spiritual aspiration of the people of Pampa Valley is itself an epitome of the inter religious brotherhood a la the Lord's divine bond wirh Vavar. The Ayyappa pilgrimage creates an ethos not only for Kerala but the whole country.

The district also is known as a center for experiencing and learning some of the cultural as well as traditional practices of Kerala. Today Pathanamthitta district has emerged as an important hub of professional education in the State. Kollam, Kottayam and Alappuzha form the adjoining districts of Pathanamthitta.The district is frequented by visitors from India and abroad often for its water fiestas, religious shrines and the cultural training centre.

Kottayam District

The town of Kottayam is located in central Kerala and it is also the administrative capital of Kottayam district. Bordered by the lofty and mighty Western Ghats on the east and the Vembanad Lake and paddy fields of Kuttanad on the west, Kottayam is a land of unique characteristics. Panoramic backwater stretches, lush paddy fields, highlands, hills and hillocks, extensive rubber plantations, places associated with many legends and a totally literate people have given Kottayam District the enviable title: The land of letters, legends, latex and lakes.

The city is an important trading center of spices and commercial crops, especially rubber. Most of India's natural rubber originates from the acres of well-kept plantations of Kottayam, also home to the Rubber Board. Kottayam is also called as "Akshara Nagari" which means the "city of letters" considering its contribution to print media and literature.

Kottayam Town is the first town in India to have achieved 100% literacy (a remarkable feat achieved as early as in 1989). English education in South India did actually start at the Old Seminary here at Kottayam in 1813. The first printing press in Kerala was established (CMS Press) here in 1821 by Rev.Benjamin Baily. The first college in the State (CMS College) was also started here at Kottayam in 1840. Maiden printed Malayalam-English and English-Malayalam Dictionaries were published from Kottayam in 1846 and 1847 respectively.

The first and only co-operative society of writers, authors and publishers (SPCS), for publishing books and periodicals was set up here in 1945. Kottayam is the hometown of a vast number of books and periodicals and is the center of publishing business in the State. Kottayam is the first town in India selected by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India to be transformed as an Eco City. The Sri K R Narayanan, the former President of India hails from Kottayam District. Kottayam is the ideal take off point for visits to Peermade, Munnar, Thekkady, Ernakulam and the temple city, Madurai. It is also a gateway to the pilgrim centers of Sabarimala, Mannanam, Vaikom, Ettumanoor, Bharananganam, Erumeli, Manarcaud, and so on.

Ernakulam District


Ernakulam district is situated almost at the middle of Kerala State and on the coast of the Arabian
Sea. It has the credit of being the economic nerve center of the State. It is also the most industrially advanced and flourishing District of Kerala compared to the other districts.

This district was formed in 1958 by carving out regions from Thrissur and Kottayam district. The district is named after the erstwhile Ernakulam town, the name of which in turn is said to have been derived from the word Rishinagakulam, a tank in the famous Siva Temple in the town.

The District comprises areas of the erstwhile Travancore, Cochin and Malabar states. The headquarters is at Kakkanad. When Idukki District was formed on January 26, 1977, Thodupuzha Taluk was ceded to Idukki and Muvattupuzha Taluk separated to form Kothamangalam Taluk. The district is 47.56% urbanised.

Kochi (the new name for Cochin) is the port city and the commercial capital of Kerala State. The entire region covering Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, Wellington Island, mainland Ernakulam and its suburbia (including Vyttila, Vennala, Edapally) is generally referred to as Kochi (or Cochin) because all these areas were part of the erstwhile kingdom of Kochi in pre-independence India.

About 38 km. from north to south and 48 km. from east to west, the district is bounded by a 46.2 km.
coastline of the Arabian Sea on the west, Kottayam and Alappuzha districts on the south, Idukki on the east and Thrissur on the north.



Malappuram district is Kerala's Cultural Crucible.The classic medieval center of Vedic learning and politics, Thirunavaya, home of the traditional Ayurveda medicine, Kottakkal and the oldest centre of education of Islam, Ponnani are situated in Malappuram District along with economically booming towns like Manjeri (former capital of the Cholanaikkans), Perinthalmanna, Chemmad, Edappal, and Kottakkal. In 1921, present day Malappuram district witnessed a devastating revolts and massacres known as the Moplah rebellions, followed by decades of frozen economical, social, and political development. In the early years of the Communist rule in Kerala, Malappuram now part of the newly formed Kerala state, saw large land reforms under the Land Reform Ordinance.

 In early 1970s, huge oil reserves of Persian gulf were opened to commercial extraction, and thousands of unskilled people migrated to "the Gulf" seeking fortunes. They sent money home, propping up a sleepy rural economy, and by late 20th century, the region had achieved first-world health standards and near universal literacy.The present development, both economical and social, of the Malappuram District owes to the Kerala Gulf diaspora.

Malappuram district comprises a vast wildlife collection and a number of small hills, forests, little rivers and streams flowing to the west, backwaters and paddy, arecanut, cashew nut, pepper, ginger, pulses, coconut, banana, tapioca, and rubber plantations. Malappuram is one of two Muslim majority districts or Union Territories in south India other being Lakshadweep. The Hindu temples and Moplah mosques of the region are known for their colorful festivals. It is the most populous district in Kerala. The populations include Muslims, Hindus, Christians, various tribal religion believers, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and others.

Palakkad District


Palakkad is rightfully known as the Gateway of Kerala, giving the rest of India access to the State. For quite sometime the district was also called by its anglicised name Palghat. It's known to be rich in flora and fauna.

Palakkad is prime among Kerala's most picturesque districts, thanks to its distinctive palmyra trees and extensive green paddy fields. It commands  Palghat Gap, on its eastern border, a pass or natural depression through the Western Ghats ranges that run parallel to the west coast of India, and connects Kerala to the plains of the state of Tamil Nadu to the east. The Silent Valley National Park that  abruptly rises to the Nilgiris is an everlasting marvel to the tourists.

Palakkad is the repository of a rich folk culture and folk art forms like Kanniyar Kali and Porattu Natakam. It is also home to well-known percussion artists. Some of the greatest maestros of Carnatic music also hailed from the district. The abundant forest wealth,dams,wild life sanctuaries,rivers,rare birds and animals,historical monuments,traditional ayurvedic treatment centres  have given Palakkad an exquisite and outstanding touch.

This district has no coastal line. It opens the State to the rest of the country through the Palakkad gap. This 32 to 40 kms. wide natural gap in the 960 kms. long Western Ghats is perhaps the most influential factor for the unique characteristics of the district such as climate, commercial as well as cultural exchanges between the State and the rest of the country. Palakkad witnessed invasions of historical importance that have left indelible impressions on the history of Kerala. Bharathappuzha, the longest river in Kerala, originates from the highlands and flows through the entire district.

The district is one of the main granaries of Kerala and its economy is primarily agricultural. Agriculture engages more than 65 per cent of the workers and 88.9 per cent of the district's population is rural in nature. The proximity and easy approach to Tamil Nadu have caused the admixture of Malayalam and Tamil culture, here.

The district is perhaps the foremost in fostering Carnatic music. Great musicians like Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, Palakkad Mani Iyer, M D Ramanathan and K V Naryanaswami who have enriched Carnatic music by their contributions, hailed from this district. Forests, numerous streams, several dams and the gardens in them have made this district a tourist paradise.

The district accounts for about 11.5 per cent of the total land area of Kerala, with the share of population is 8.22 per cent. The district has got two types of climates. Ottappalam, Alathur and Mannarkkad Taluks are having a climate similar to that of other districts of Kerala, whereas Palakkad and Chittur are having Along with Kuttanadu, Palakkad is major paddy growing area of the state. .

Alappuzha District


Alappuzha is a veritable maze of bridges and canals, the presence of which has given it the appellation the "Venice of the East". The entire area of the district lies in the low land and the midland divisions, and is the only district in Kerala having no area under the high lands. Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala is in Alappuzha district and this is the only region in the state, lying below the sea level. Alappuzha is the most important centre in the State for coir industry.

Alappuzha, came into being as a district, in the political map of Kerala on the 27th of August, 1957. Before the formation of the district, a major part of this area was of Kollam district and the rest, of Kottayam district. Though Alappuzha, with its past glory has a historic tradition of its own, with its abundant trade activity. Alappuzha is famous for the first labour upsurge against autocratic regime which is known as Punnapra-Vayalar agitation.

Alappuzha town has earned for itself the fame of being styled as the Venice of the East. The port at this place owes its origin to the ingenuity and imagination of a great administrator of the erstwhile Travancore, Raja Kesavadas, the Dewan of His Highness the Maharaja Rama Varma. He constructed the two main canals, running parallel to each other through the heart of the town, linking the backwaters with the seashore. He brought here the Gujaratis, Kutchimemons and Parsis to start trade in hill-produce, copra and coconut oil.

The port was open for foreign trade in 1792 and it remained the commercial metropolis of Travancore for over a century. The lighthouse in the western coast was put up in 1862 under the supervision of a European engineer, Mr.Crawford. Alappuzha market was once the solitary supplier of coir yarn, mats and matting, coconuts, coconut oil, pepper, ginger, tea, rubber, cashew and cardamom to the world markets before the establishment of the Cochin Port.

The development of Cochin harbour during the second quarter of the century marks the beginning of the decline of Alappuzha market and port. The business community found better prospects in Kochi and a large number of them moved to Kochi. But in the last two decades of the last century Alappuzha has reinvented herself as the hub of backwater tourism in the state. The district is lying upfront to the vast streches of Vembanad lake, marked by moving house boats and pleasure cruisers. Corporates like the Tata have now come around the place with flourishing tourism projects. But the challenge before Alappuzha district is to keep its environment clean to further improve prospects of tourism and other economic activities.

 The name Alappuzha is derived from the geographical position and physical features of the place. It means the land between the sea and network of rivers flowing into it. The district is bounded on the north by Kochi and Kanayannur taluks of Ernakulam district, on the east by Vaikom, Kottayam and Changanassery taluks of Kottayam district and Thiruvalla, Kozhencherry and Adoor taluks of Pathanamthitta district, on the South by Kunnathur and Karunagappally taluks of Kollam district and on the west by Lakshadweep sea.

Idukki District

Idukki Dam
Idukki Dam
Idukki means a place with a deep gorge. River Periyar flowed through a canyon between two rocky mountains named Kurava mala and Kurathy mala. The legend folk story from generation of the ancient Adivasi Muthuvan tribe tella that Sita, during her forest sojourn with Rama (the eldest brother of Panja Pandavas), bathed in this canyon river, and on seeing an Adivasi couple - Kuravan and Kurathy watching her naked beauty, she cursed them into became two rocky mountains. Modern technology has bridged these two mountain at the gorge to form the marvellous of Idukki arch dam, the first of its kind in Asia.

When a new district was carved out, it shared the place name of the famous arch dam of Kerala. This beautiful high range district of Kerala is geographically known for its mountainous hills and dense forests. For the people of Kerala, Idukki is always associated with power generation. About 66% of the State's Power needs come from the Hydroelectric Power Projects in Idukki annd associated with several dams. Idukki accounts for 12.9 percent of the area of Kerala and only 3.7 percent of the population of Kerala. Idukki holds the key to solve the Kerala's energy problem. Incesant wind at Ramakalmedu and neighbouring places is estimated to yield above a 1000 MW, more than what the arch dam could yield. It is only waiting to be tapped.

Idukki district was formed on 26 January 1972.The district consists of Devikulam, Udumbanchola and Peermedu taluks of the erstwhile Kottayam district and Thodupuzha taluk (excluding two villages Manjallore and Kalloorkadu) of the erstwhile Ernakulam district. At the time of formation the district headquarters started functioning at Kottayam and from there it was shifted to Painavu in Thodupuzha taluk in June 1976.

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