Kottayam is being known for a large number of canals, streams, and lakes going through it. The famous Vembanad Lake makes Kottayam backwaters a famous tourist destination, drawing attention of several tourists year after year.
The local rulers of Munjanad and Thekkumkur used Kottayam as their headquarters. Maharaja Marthanda Varma of Travancore defeated the local rulers and captured Kottayam. Today Kottayam is known as the Land of Letters, Latex and Lakes , because of its several rubber plantations and the beautiful Vembanad Lake. The lake and its associated backwaters border Kottayam district on the West, hill ranges to the East and the Ernakulam district to the North.
Kottayam is an important center of Christianity in Kerala. There are many famous churches in Kottayam including the St Mary's church and the St Joseph's monastery. Some of the famous temples in Kottayam are the Ettumanoor Shiva Temple known for its paintings and sculptures and the Thirunakkara Mahadeva temple.