Athirampuzha

(Collected and compiled by TriadeBuilders, Kottayam)

Ø      Overview

Ø      Athirampuzha Market

Ø      St. Mary's Forane Church

o        Altar of Valiya Pally

o        The Three Big Bells

o        Church History

o        Chruch Festival (Athirampuzha Thirunnal)

o        Cheriya Pally

Ø      Varthamanapusthakam

Ø      Charis Bhavan Retreat Centre

Ø      Christ The King Church, Ettumanoor

Ø      St. Mary's Church, Kudamaloor

Ø      The Mahadeva Temple, Ettumanoor

Ø      Ettumanoor Shri Agnibhairav Nagayakshi Devasthanam

Ø      Kumaranalloor Bhagavathy Temple

Ø      Kudamaloor Vasudevapuram Temple

Ø      Mosques

Ø      Educational Institutions

Ø      Ettumanoor CVN Kalari Marma-Panchakarma Research Center

Ø      Tourism Potential of the Athirampuzha Panchayat

Ø      Neighboring Mannanam, Kottayam

 

 

 

Overview

  

 

Athirampuzha town is situated 10 km north of Kottayam town located very close to Ettumanoor. It is one of the oldest trading centers in Central Kerala. The place is believed to have trade relations with Middle East from centuries ago. Athirampuzha St Mary's Church is the major point of attraction. The grand feast, Athirampuzha Nercha, celebrated here attracts thousands of devotees. The famous Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple and Ettumanoor Sree Agnibhairav Nagayakshi Devasthanam are easily accessible

 

It is believed that Athirampuzha was a well-established developed village and settlements were there even at BC 1200. The famous traveler Marco Polo's travel descriptions, "The description of the world", have some references about Athirampuzha. While he was traveling through Kerala he reached a port town called 'Athiramkari'. The description of this place closely matches to Athirampuzha. According to Marco Polo Athiramkari was a trade center famous for Pottery, Cattle’s, vegetable market (still exists) and clothes.

 

Mahatma Gandhi University is located in Athirampuzha, so as St  Aloysius High School, St Mary's Boys High School, St Mary's Girls High School, St. Sebastian Institute of information science and technology etc.

K.E. College Mannanam, B.K. College Amalagiri, Ettumanoor I.T.I., St. Ephraim’s School Mannanam, K.E. School Mannanam, St.Gregorious U.P.School Mannarkunnu etc. are located in Athirampuzha Panchayat.

 

Ettumanoor Town is only two Kilometers from Athirampuzha. Ettumanoor Rail way Station and Ettumanoor Industrial Estate (the only industrial estate in Kerala under the Ministry of Labor, Govt. of India) is really located in Athirampuzha.

 

Athirampuzha Market

 

Athirampuzha is an ancient trade center. It had both water transport and road transport facilities and this helped it become a much-frequented marketplace. The Market was established in1042 AD during the reign of Ayillum Thirunal Maharaja . From various parts of the coastal plains, a labyrinth of canals that branched out like the centre nervous system of the vast paddy fields, widened to a large rectangular pool known as 'Chantha Kulam’ in Athirampuzha which was the center of trade where boats could dock. It docked about 40 to 50 country carrier boats in motion. Around this lively water-body and beyond, the market in Athirampuzha teemed with men in motion, buying, selling, transporting or merely jostling in the crowd.

Mondays was the main market days in Athirampuzha. In the early hours of the morning, the bells of bullock carts woke people in the area up and the sea of activities will occur on otherwise peaceful road. Never ending chains of bullock carts moved along, in a slow jerky motion, laden with vegetables, spices, fish, coir or rice. The beasts wearily stamped their worn-out shoes on the black surface and created painful patterns, while cart-men lashed their merciless whips and pushed them forward. Men pulled handcarts faster than animals, with huge piles of banana bunches on them, as streams of sweat ran profusely from their bare necks and muscles and disappeared into the tightly wrapped dhotis. Groups of men and women walked happily home with provisions, balanced in cane baskets, for their homes. (Thanks to blogger George Andrews for this paragraph)

Athirampuzha remained as a famous port town till mid 1900s. Later more roads where developed which reduced the importance of backwater trade routs. The old boat shed (renovated later) still exists near the Chantha Kulam. Sāyujya is situated less then 500 meters from Chantha Kulam.

St. Mary's Forane Church, Athirampuzha

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St. Mary's Forane Church also known as valiya paLLy is situated in the heart of Athirampuzha. It is an ancient church under Archdiocese of Changanacherry. The Church was consecrated on 15th August in 835 A.D. on a land donated by the Brahmin family of ettaNassEri as thanksgiving for a male heir born to the family by praying to Virgin Mary. There ancient stones with engravings and Thaliyollas in 'Nanam Moonam' (language prior to Malayalam) alphabet kept in the church states that the church was renovated in 1680 A.D.

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The present church, a beautiful and grand structure, was constructed during the reign of Fr. Joseph Ithiparambil .The renovation began in 1962 and was consecrated by Mar Mathew Kavukattu, the Archbishop of Changanachery on 1966. The church brilliantly shows off western architecture and is 180 feet tall and 55 feet wide and the bell tower measures a height of 85 feet. The three bells hanging here were brought from Germany in the year 1905. The big cross in front of Valiya pally was built from a mono block of stone. The present presbytery is magnificent, spacious and grand in appearance.

 

Though the church is dedicated to Mother Mary, the fame of the church is associated with the annual feast celebrated in honor of St. Sebastian in the month of January lasts for 8 days from 19th to 26th with great pomp and splendor as people from all walks of life, religion, cast and creed pour into the church to offer their love and prayer to the saint and seek blessings from him. The feast, known as 'Athirampuzha Nercha' attracts a large crowd.

 

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It is believed that the statue of St.Sebastian at Athirampuzha church was brought along with the statue of Arthunkal veLuTHaCHan and Kanjoor church by the Portuguese navigator Leonar Gonsalves D'cruz from Portugal in 1687. The above-mentioned churches bought the bigger statues and the third statue remained unclaimed due to its small stature. The Athirampuzha church bought the small statue. This is renowned as 'Adiyelpicha Roopam' featuring St. Sebastian having been through the flagellation by the persecutors. The statue of St. Sebastian in Athirampuzha is unique as it is the only statue of the Saint without any wounds and is very attractive.

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Altar of Valiya pally

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The Three big bells

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Peediakal Mathew Ouseph Malpanachan was the Vicar of the church continuously for 24 years from 1873 to 1897 and was behind the construction of the Altar and the 'Roopakkoodu', that are unique and extremely beautiful. The extraordinary filigree work on the rusty fold altar in Portuguese style with engraved wood is truly an exceptional example of artistic talents and imagination.

The Madbaha (Altar) depicts the Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the queen of heaven, the Holy trinity and the trumpeting Angels.

The three big bells hung in the tower of Valliapally were brought in the year 1905 for Rs 2000/- during the stewardship of Rev.Fr.  Horappasius Moopachan. The names carved on the bells are in honor of St. Mary, St. Michael and St. Sebastian. These are renowned for its resonant chiming. The bell tower measures a height of 85 feet.

Cheriya pally (The little/small church)

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The present 'Cheriya pally' is situated 200 meters away from the Valiya pally in the location where the first church was established and blessed in A. D 835. It was renovated many times .The latest renovation of 'Cheriya pally' was led by Fr. Thomas Olakkapady. It was blessed by his grace Bishop Kurialacherry Mar Thomas on January 22nd, 1919 is now known in the name of St.Sebastian.

Cheriya pally is built in the gothic style and is known for its architectural splendor.

Church History

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The church has a very interesting history. The Brahmin of ettaNassEry Illam, the chieftain of the local kingdom had all the comforts and fortune of life, but he was very unhappy and distressed since he was childless. He went on several pilgrimages in vain. Then pEroor thAzhe mAppiLa, a staunch Catholic, and a regular visitor of the Illam, suggested the Brahmin to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary and after much persuasion he agreed to do so. The Brahmin offered to give land for the construction of a church in the name of 'Blessed Virgin Mary' if a child is born to him. As a result of the devotion and prayer the andharjanam (wife of Brahmin) gave birth to a boy. As offered and as a mark of gratitude, they gifted land for the construction of the church. They discussed the matter of the construction with the then famous families like idam, thadam, thekkEdam, vadakkEdam and maNNArkunn~. At first a 'kurisuppally' was built under the authority of the Church at Kuravilangad. The church was blessed in the year 835 AD, on August 15th on which day the feast of the assumption of the blessed Mary to heaven is celebrated. Initially, the priests from Kuravilangad church came and offered Holy Mass and performed holy rituals. In the course of time it became an independent church.

 

The church had witnessed many historical events. One of them was the All India Eucharistic congress celebration, the first and the last of its kind in Kerala, a conducted from 8th May 1929 to 15th. In memory of this great event, a big statue of the sacred heart with the raised hands blessing the parish was erected in 1934 near the grotto in front of the convent donated by Mr. Joseph Kurian Kuttiyil.

 

Athirampuzha church is also associated with the activities of Blessed Rev. Fr. Chavara Kuriakose Elias. At the time of the construction of the Mannanm C.M.I monastery, Fr. Chavara used to stay in Athirampuzha Church.

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The Chruch Festival (Athirampuzha Thirunnal)

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As per the record, the first time the feast of St. Sebastian was celebrated at Athirampuzha church was in the year 1647. Now, the feast is celebrated from19th to 26th of January every year. Athiarmpuzha and the surrounding places usually are in an excited festive mood during these days. Special Holy Mass and Novena for nine days are offered during the feast. The annual eight-day feast begins with the flag hoisting ceremony on 19th and attracts a large number of devotees from all over South India. The dazzling display of fire works in connection with the festival is a sight to behold. The procession is a spiritual experience for the devotees. Band set including school-bands, flags, gold-brass-silver wooden crosses, aalavattom, veNchAmaram, thAzhika kuda and beaded ornate umbrellas etc. makes the procession very attractive and regal.

 

Though the feast of St. Sebastian is universally celebrated on January 20th, according to the understanding with the mother church at Kuravilangad in the year 1728 the same is celebrated at Athirampuzha on January 25th.

On the 20th the statue of St. Sebastian, which is kept on the Altar of the Valiya pally is taken as part of the procession to Cheriya pally-St.Sebastian church. It is kept there till 24th evening.

People believe that the arrow struck into the body of the saint had miraculous healing power and power to ward off evil spirit. To commemorate this, 'kazhunnu' (miniature arrows) are the main offerings during the feast. It is said that once Athirampuzha and suburbs were under serious attack of small pox, the people collectively prayed through the intercession of St. Sebastian for the healing of the calamity. As a result of this, the calamity miraculously subsidized. In commemoration of this, it was decided to have processions during the festival evenings through the streets of Athirampuzha.


From 19th to 23rd "Kazhunnu" processions are taken place from different parts of Athirampuzha and nearby places to the church. A huge crowd of devotees participate in each of these processions holding "Kazhunnu" in their palms. The processions begin usually at 4:00.p.m. and reach the church by 8:00 p.m. Cultural programs by various famous troops are performed after the processions. Votive offerings of gold and silver Kazhunnu (arrows) set this event apart from other festivals.

On 24th and 25th the splendid processions are being held. Famous Bandsets, Nagaswarams, Chendamelam, Panchavadyam, Theevetty, Venchamaram, Alavattom etc add hue and color to the processions. On the 24th the first procession start from the Valiya pally at 5:00 p.m. and goes around the decorated and illuminated streets of Athirampuzha town reaching the Cheriya pally after about three hours. Then the second procession from Valiapally joints the first one and the combined procession circumambulates Cheriapally. The statue of St. Sebastian is taken along with the procession back to the Valiya pally. The dazzling fireworks that follow are renowned all over Kerala. The church grounds and the top of the nearby buildings are crowded with people far and near places. They reach ecstatic heights as the fireworks go on late into the in the wee hours of the morning.

The prime day of the festival falls on the 25th. Special Masses and prayers offered from 6am onwards keep the devotees in a prayerful mood. The great procession in the afternoon is the central event of the day. It begins from Valiya pally at 4:00 P.M. and the procession goes around the Cheriya pally and returns to the Valiya pally.

The 26th is the festival day specially meant for the parishners. Special Masses and prayers are offered on that day too. The festival comes to a close at 9pm with the statue of St. Sebastian being ceremonially backed on the Alter of Valiya pally.

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Contact : St. Mary's Forane Church, Phone : 0481-2535559, 2530742

Varthamana Pusthakam

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The historic journey of Kariattil Ouseph (Joseph) Malpan (Malpan means Professor) and Paremakkal Thoma Kathanar (Kathanar means priest), to Rome to represent the grievances of Kerala Syrian Catholics started from Athirampuzha boat jetty (chantha kuLam) in 1778. Athirampuzha Parish rendered great service to make this perilous journey possible.


The breath taking description of this historic journey is recorded in 1785 by Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar in his famous book "Varthamana Pusthakam". It is acclaimed to be the first travelogue among all Indian languages; It is an impressive travelogue of an eight-year journey to Rome and back in order to gain freedom for Syrian Christians from ‘Latin’ Bishops, written in 562 pages of lucid prose. Including few western idioms, it also argues strongly for the independence of Indians from foreign domination. "Varthamana Pusthakam" was first printed in 1936 at St.Mary's Press Athirampuzha as a result of the tireless efforts of Plathottathil Mr. Lukka Mathai of Athirampuzha. The press was founded by Fr. Sebastian Kulamkuthiyil, the then vicar of the Athirampuzha church, who was also a relative of Mr. Lukka Mathai.


The country-boat by which Mar Kariyattil and Thoma Kathanar traveled from Athirampuzha to Kayalakulam is kept as a sacred relic in the house of Mr. C. M. Lukose, Chemmachee in Neendoor near Athirampuzha. Mr. C.M Lukose is the successor of Poothathil family. The Knanaya Catholics of Kaipuzha and Kurumulloor were part of Athirampuzha parish fraternity till the establishment of Kaipuzha St. George church in the year 1813.

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Charis Bhavan Retreat Centre

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Charis Bhavan is a charismatic retreat center situated in the heart of Athirampuzha. The Centre, took shape in the mind of Fr. James Manjackal, the founding father, and it took concrete form on November 25, 1989 with the generous donation of land by Fr. Devasia Kuzhupil.  The Centre is a haven for all those seeking God Almighty's presence and is also a channel of peace, joy and love to mankind irrespective of caste, creed, religion and nationality. Charis Bhavan participates in various charitable activities such housing, marriage, education and medical assistance.

The Centre is being guided and marshaled by the congregation of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales (MSFS). The center has been doing commendable work, for the past on decade, among people of all walks of life, attracting them to a blissful relationship with God.

Charis Bhavan School of Evangelization (CBSE) is functioning under the authority of Charis Bhavan. It conducts 30 days residential course in two batches (January to June and July to December), which offers laity spirituality and evangelization. Charis Bhavan publishes a monthly journal named Charis Jyothi, which focuses on Christian renewal and growth in discipleship.

Charis Niketan is a Home for the Senior Citizens and Retired Missionaries, religious and diocesans, from all over the world and it is an offshoot of the life and activities of Charis Bhavan. It is situated in the campus of Charis Bhavan.

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Christ The King Church, Ettumanoor

 

 

Catholics in Ettumanoor did not even have a church of their own prior to 1960 and had to go to their parish Church at Athirampuzha. The Catholics had to first come up with the land to build the church. In 1959, Mr. C.L Sebastian (Devasiachan) of Chirayil Family freely offered a plot of land (The Vattathundam Property) right at the heart of Ettumanoor town which is worth millions of rupees. The Church was built in around 1960 and was named “Christ The King Church” and is popularly known as 'Chirel Palli

'. The church was under the Athirampuzha Parish and was subsequently given independent parish status.

 

It was a custom in vogue that on the festival of Christ the King, a gorgeous procession was led to Ettumanoor chapel (Kurisupalli) from the St. Mary’s church in Athirampuzha and the adjoining churches. It was a very festive occasion, and the S.M.S company spectacularly decorated the ‘Chirakavala’ and the suburbs. Those processions and the beautiful decorations are still remembered by the older people of Ettumanoor.

 

St. Mary's Church, Kudamaloor

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This church was built by Chempakasseri Maharajah in AD 1125. It is dedicated to Blessed Virgin Mary and is popularly known as "mukthiamma" here. It is one of the ancient churches of the Syro-Malabar Rite and a famous Marian pilgrim center, is situated 7 kms north of Kottayam Town. The church is more famous for its Rites in the Holy Week. People flock in large numbers to participate in the holy rites and in the special offerings such as neenthu nErcha, kari nErcha, thamukku nErcha, kanji nErcha etc.

The place itself is holy as it is the birthplace of Blessed Sister Alphonsa. Mannanam, a pilgrim center, where the tomb of Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara situates, is also under this parish.

The Mahadeva Temple, Ettumanoor
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Mahadeva Temple located at Ettumanoor. Roudra (fierce) and Vatsalya (love) are the two moods of the presiding deity, Lord Mahadeva (Lord Siva) at the Ettumanoor temple. At the entrance of the temple is a kedavilakku (ever burning lamp) believed to have been lighted over 450 years back and ever since fed by the devotees with oil. This Siva temple here is famous for its murals, especially the paintings of Nataraja in the Gopuram and the golden elephants- EzharaponnAna ( seven large elephants and a small one), are well known. Though actually eight in number, these are only considered as seven and a half representing the eight dik paalakas or the guardians of the cardinal directions. These were presented to the Lord by Sri Karthika Thirunal, Maharaja of Travancore. The Ezharaponnana Ezhunnallathu festival here is in Kumbhom (Februvary- March). On the eighth day of the festival, the golden elephants are taken out of the temple in a procession, which attracts thousands of devotees. The walls of the sanctum is painted with scenes from the epics along with an imaginative scene of a music concert by the gods, goddesses and celestials are depicted in this temple.

Mahadeva Temple is located 12 km north of Kottayam. It is an ancient Shiva temple, which was built in the 16th century. The shrine is constructed in typical Kerala style of architecture, inlaid with beautiful carvings of scenes from the Ramayana, Bhagavata and Krishna Leela.. There are shrines devoted to Shasta, Ganapati and Dakshinamurthy in the temple.

One of the legends associated with the temple is that Khara, a demon, worshipped Shiva at Chidambaram and obtained from him three shivlings. He journeyed, holding one shivling in each hand, and one in his mouth. At Vaikom, he set one shivling on the ground when he halted there, and to his dismay realized that it had got rooted to the ground. Khara therefore installed the other two shivlings at Ettumanoor and Kaduthuruthy. The spots at which the three shivlings were installed developed into famous temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that visiting this triad of temples in a single day is very auspicious.

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Ettumanoor Sree Agnibhairav Nagayakshi Devasthanam

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The GSB temple

The Agnibhairav Nagayakshi temple is the family temple of the Madathil Parambu family who settled in Etttumanoor in the early 18th century, is located in a picturesque place in Ettumanoor. The prathishta is Agnibhairav and Nagayakshmi installed side by side (Nagayakshi on the left side of Bhairav), in the same Srikovil. The idols are made in granite. Bhairav and Nagayakshi are believed to be installed here in husband and wife concept. This temple is referred by the local family members as Devlikede.

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The temple is located near the Ettumanoor junction about 150 meters off the main road. The approach from the main road is a narrow lane just about 1 meter wide.

Kumaranalloor Bhagavathy Temple
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The Bhagavathy Temple at Kumaranalloor also known as Arthiyayani Devi Temple is situated 6 km from Kottayam. The idol of the Goddess Bhagavathy is in standing position and is about 3 feet high. The annual thrikArthika festival is celebrated in the month of vrischikam (November-December). The major highlight of this nine day long festival is the kArthika viLakk~ (lamp).

The temple has been identified by Sree Adi Sankaracharya as one of the five important centers in India for Durga ArAdhana. Legend says that this temple was originally built to house a shrine to Subramanya. The architecture of the temple is notable for the unique structure of the nalambalam and sreekovil both of which have been built in the sreechakra style (ring like object with a handle, which is placed in the right hand of the devi). This kind of architecture is rarely found in temple architecture. It is also renowned for its gOpurams (the temple towers) constructed in Tamil Nadu architectural style, the temple structure is round in shape with attractive mural paintings and wood carvings. Mural paintings in Kumaranalloor temple are precious and rare. The outer walls of the sreekOvil are decorated with paintings showing the different styles of gods, goddesses, and incidents from great epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Kumaranalloor Devi Temple is one of the most important devi temples among the 108 durgAlayAs (devi temples) in Kerala. This temple attracts devotees from all over the world keeping its sacredness.

Kudamaloor Vasudevapuram Temple

Kudamaloor Vasudevapuram Temple is an ancient shrine situated at Kudamaloor in Kottayam District. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Krishna, widely known here as Lord Jagannath. Tradition recounts that this temple was built specially for the ladies of Kudamaloor Chempakassery Madom. At present a large number of devotees visit the temple daily.

Eraveeswaram Shiva Temple , Kudamaloor

Subramanya Swami Temple, Arpookara

Mangattukuzhy Temple, 700 years old ancient temple in Neendoor, Kottayam, Kerala State, India.

Mosques

·         Athirampuzha Mosque

·         Baithanoor Juma Masjid, Ettumanoor

·         The Juma masjid at Thazhathangadi, on the banks of the Meenachil River is one of the oldest mosques in India. It is believed that Malik Dinar had built this mosque about 1000 years ago. It is famous for its richness of architecture, wood carvings and the beauty. The artistic value of this mosque is of special interest to the tourists.

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Educational Institutions

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St. Mary's High School


St Aloysius H S School


St. Mary's LP School

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1. St. Aloysius L.P. School (1878)
2. St. Mary’s L.P. School (1898)
3. St. Mary’s G.H.S. (1929)-One of the first schools in Central Travancore
4. St. Aloysius H.S.S. (1954)
5. St. Sebastian Institute of information science and technology
6. Madonna Spinning and Weaving centre
7. Reshmi Tailoring institute and production unit

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Mahatma Gandhi University is located in Athirampuzha. Mannanam K.E. College, Amalagiri B.K. College, Ettumanoor I.T.I., St Alosious High School, St Mary's Boys High School, St Mary's Girls High School

St. Ephraims School Mannanam, K.E. School Mannanam, St.Gregorious U.P.School Mannarkunnu etc. are located in Athirampuzha Panchayat.

Ettumanoorappan College - Ettumanoorappan College is a self-financing co-educational College affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University

Ettumanoor Rail way Station and Industrial Estate (the only industrial estate in Kerala under the Ministry of Labor, Govt. of India) is in fact located in Athirampuzha. Ettumanoor, Kumaranalloor, Arpookara, Kudamaloor, Mudiyoorkara, Aymanam, Kumarakom, Kaipuzha, Neendoor, Onamthuruth, Kurumulloor, Kanakkary, Pattithanam are the neighbouring places of Athirampuzha. Kottayam Medical College is situated very near to Athirampuzha. Athirampuzha is having many post offices like amalagiri, Priyadarshini Hills, Sreekandamangalam, Kottackupuram etc.

Ettumanoor CVN Kalari Marma-Panchakarma Research Center

Ettumanoor CVN Kalari Marma-Panchakarma Research Center imparts professional training in Kalaripayattu and related martial arts. Established in 1970, it is located at Ettumanoor. The center also features yoga and kalari treatments for rheumatism, paralysis, spinal injuries, vital injuries, joint dislocations and low-back pain. Apart, the Ettumanoor CVN Kalari Marma-Panchakarma Research Centre offers ayurvedic treatments such as uzhichil, pizhichil, njavarakizhi, dhara, nasyam, herbal steam bath, sirodhara, kalari massage, sukha thirummu, katcha thirummu and raksha thirummu. Kalaripayattu demonstration is organized for groups.


Tourism Potential of the Athirampuzha Panchayat (taken from http://www.holycrossjustice.org/pdf/Asia/Integral%20Liberation/September2005/Eco-RuralTourismandSustainableDevelopment.pdf)

There are no tourist centers in the panchayat, but plenty of opportunities to develop tourism exist. The International Tourism Centre Kumarakom is near and is connected to Athirampuzha by the backwaters leading to Pennar thodu. Pilgrim Centres like the Mannanam Church, Athirampuzha Church and Vedagiri temple, and the Mahatma Gandhi University Headquarters attract many people.

Roads can be constructed on the banks of the Pennar thodu to Kumarakom. The canal which was once used for river transport to Mannanam ends at the centre of Athirampuzha, and is called Chantha Kulam. Though once famous trade centres, the banks are now dilapidated. During the festival season of the Athirampuzha Church, the area is decorated and the procession starts from there. Chanthakulam can be easily beautified. Since this water body is in the town, it should be conserved, beautified and connected to Kumarakom. The backwater traffic is much admired by foreigners. Rural tourism (with river and backwater tourism!) can therefore be easily developed in the panchayat

Neighboring Mannanam, Kottayam

Mannanam is a famous Syrian Christian pilgrim center located 8 km north-west of Kottayam in Kerala. The St Joseph’s Monastery here, associated with the saintly figure of Fr Kuriakose Elias of Chavara (1805-71), is frequented by Christian pilgrims from all over the state.

This little town has many ‘firsts’ to its credit. It is home to the first indigenous seminary of the Malabar Church (1833), the first catholic Sanskrit School in Kerala (1846) and the first catholic English School in Kerala (1874). St Joseph’s Press, the oldest of its kind in Kerala, is also situated here. Established in 1944, this press was instrumental in bringing out Nasrani Deepika, one of Kerala’s oldest newspapers.

Geography
Mannanam is situated in the district of Kottayam. This Gramapanchayath under Athirampuzha Panchayath is surrounded by Ammancherry, Kaipuzha, Arpookkaraand Athirampuzha. M. G. University is just 1.5 km. from Mannanam. It is also a pilgrim place, for the founder of CMI congregation, Kuriakose Elias Chavara.

Transportation
Mannanam is well linked with the other places with road, water transporting facilities. You can arrive at Mannanam either from Kottayam, via Medical College or from Ettumannoor, via M. G. University or from Vaikom via Neendoor, Kaipuzha. There is a good boat service also from Mannanam, to Alappey. The famous market of Athirampuzha was reached by thousands of people through the river that flows through Mannanam.

Education and Institutions
St. Joseph''s LP School, St. Ephrem''s High School, Kuriakose Elias Eng. Med. School, K. E. College, St. Joseph''s Teachers Training College, Premiere ITC etc. makes Mannanam a Village really worthy to be in Kottayam, the first district in India to achieve complete literacy. There are also Computer training Centres, Private Colleges, Nursery Schools and many other institutions at Mannanam. There is also St. Joseph’s Press, one of the oldest presses in Kerala here. There are a lot of Book stalls and other printing presses here. St. Ephrems High School is also one of the oldest Schools in Kerala.

Medical facilities
The Kottayam Medical College is just 4 kms from Mannanam. Caritas(Diocese of Kottayam), one of the leading Hospitals with the new Cancer Care Centre also about 4 kms away. There are also many ayurvedic centers.

Religion
There are Two churches here, namely, St. Joseph''s Church (Ashramadevalayam), of the
CMI congregation and St. Stephen'’s Church, of the Diocese of Kottayam. There are two temples also situated at Mannanam. There lives people of Christian, Hindu  and Islamic faiths here in peace and love.


Standard of living
Many are of the middle class working people. A number of people abroad also add to the economy of the village. The presence of the M. G. University, many schools and colleges and of the medical institutions also offers good opportunity of work.

Main feasts
January 3, Kuriakose Elias Chavara (CMI Church, Mannanam)
May 19, St. Joseph’s Feast               (CMI Church, Mannanam)
26 December St. Stephen                 (St. Stephen’s Church, Mannanam)