Kayamkulam is a city and a municipality in Alappuzha district of the Indian state of Kerala. It is an ancient maritime trading centre and is almost equidistant from Alappuzha town and Kollam. The city is well connected by rail and road with other cities in the region. There are two versions as to how Kayamkulam got its name. Some say that Kayamkulam gets its name from a portmanteau of two Malayalam words – kayam (sap of a spice tree) and kulam (pond)while a more reliable version is that Kayamkulam got its name from “kayal” (lake) and “kulam” (pond),since the Kayamkulam lake (Kayamkulam kayal) is as shallow as a pond (a bit exaggerated). Kayamkulam is well known for its coir, fishing and tourism industries. The town is an important township located on the backwaters of Kerala. One of the largest power plants in Kerala, run by the NTPC, is located in Kayamkulam. The climate is tropical wet, with heavy rain in the monsoon season.
Kingdom of Kayamkulam
Kayamkulam was a medieval feudal kingdom, known as odanadu, ruled by the Kayamkulam Rajas, with their royal palaces at Eruva and Krishnapuram. Maha raja Marthanda Varma (1706–58) conquered kayamkulam and annexed its territories to Travancore. It is said that the kingdom of Kayamkulam had a huge army led by a valiant commander Yeruvayil Achutha Warrier and therefore the large army of Travancore attempted three times before they succeeded in capturing Kayamkulam. The present day palace was built in its place by Marthanda Varma after he annexed Kayamkulam to Travancore.
Kayamkulam, Mavelikkara and Karunagappally were previously known as Onattukara.
Kayamkulam had slave markets in the 17th century.
Odanad also known as Onattukara, Onad, Kayamkulam, Kallikoilon and Chirava Svaroopam was a feudal state in late medieval Kerala. It was established in the 11th century, and disestablished in 1746 when it became part of Travancore after Venad King Marthanda Varma’s northern expedition. At the time of its dissolution, it was composed of the present-day taluks of Mavelikkara, Karthikapally, Chenganur in the Alappuzha district and Karunagapally in the Kollam district. In the 15th century, the capital of Odanad was moved from Kandiyoor-Muttom, Mavelikkara to Eruva and Krishnapuram, near Kayamkulam, which led to the state being called Kayamkulam. After this shift, Kayamkulam became the commercial centre of Odanad, while Mavelikkara remained its cultural centre. Odanad was controlled by Nair lords, among whom the ruler of Kayamkulam was the most prominent.
Today, the region is better known as Onattukara, the name used for one of the many revenue villages included in the Mavelikkara taluk. The Sri Krishna Swamy Temple in Eruva
, located two kilometres north of Kayamkulam, is one of the prominent establishments in Onattukara.
Kayamkulam had slave markets in the 17th century.
The Krishnapuram Palace, built in the 18th century, now functions as a museum. Constructed in typical Kerala-style architecture, it has the largest mural painting in Kerala. Also, this palace museum at Krishnapuram houses the famous Kayamkulam double-edged sword.
Cartoonist Sankar Memorial National Cartoon Museum and Art Gallery, is the first of its kind in the state and would be elevated to the ‘top cartoon study centre’ in the country.
Kayamkulam Lake is a part of the Kerala backwaters tourist map. The Kayamkulam Boat Race is held on the fourth Saturday of August every year. The famous Chinese fishing nets can be found on the banks of the lagoon.
Azhikkal Beach (Aayiram Tengu) and Valiya Azhikkal beach (Kochiyude Jetty) have gained popularity as tourist locations.
Kayamkulam is well connected by road and rail network. Besides this, Alappuzha-Kollam boat service runs via Kayamkulam.
NH66 passes through Kayamkulam, which conveniently connects it to the major cities Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Kollam, Palakkad and Coimbatore. The Kayamkulam-Punalur (KP) road is a major road connecting it to the eastern parts of the State. The KSRTC Bus Station[code KYLM] lies very near to the national highway and is one of the biggest bus stations of KSRTC in terms of total area. All the KSRTC buses have halt at Kayamkulam Bus station. The new Railway Terminal Bus Stand near Kayamkulam Railway Station is an interlink between railway and road transport.
Kayamkulam Junction railway station(Kayankulam Jn) [code KYJ] is a major railway junction situated 1.5 km from the town on the K.P. Road. Trains from the North from Ernakulam via Kottayam, and from Ernakulam via Alappuzha pass through Kayamkulam Junction and then proceed to Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram and further to Nagercoil and Kanyakumari.
As of 2001 India census, Kayamkulam has a population of 65,299. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Kayamkulam has an average literacy rate of 82%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 84%, and female literacy is 79%. In Kayamkulam, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Kayamkulam assembly constituency is part of Alappuzha (LokSabha constituency).
Educational and research institutes
The Central Coconut Research Station (CCRS) at Kayamkulam was established in 1948, as a field station of the erstwhile Agricultural Research Laboratory. Presently, it is a regional station of the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI).
The Rajiv Gandhi Combined Cycle Power Plant (also known as Rajiv Gandhi CCPP Kayamkulam or NTPC Kayamkulam) is a combined cycle power plant located at Kayamkulam, Alappuzha district, Kerala. The power plant is owned by NTPC Limited. The power plant is fueled by imported and indigenous naphtha. Source of the cooling water is Achankovil river. There is a plan to expand the plant by three units with capacity of 350 MW each. New units would be fueled by re-gasified liquefied natural gas.