Tiruvalla

Tiruvalla is a town and a Taluk headquarters located in Pathanamthitta district in Kerala, spread over an area of 27.94 sq km. It is the biggest commercial center in the district of Pathanamthitta. The town has a tropical climate with a temperatures ranging from highs of 34.4 C in the summer to a low of 18.5 C in the winter, with a healthy rainfall of 3040 mm. Tiruvalla became a municipality in 1919.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the area had been inhabited since 500 BCE, although an organized settlement was only founded around 800 CE. It is one of the 64 ancient brahmana graamams. The present day areas of Niranam, and Kadapra on the western part of Tiruvalla were submerged under the sea before then.

Sree is the wife of lord Vishnu. "Sree Vallabhan" means Husband of Lakshmi Devi. Sree Vallabhan is the presiding deity of the Tiruvalla Temple. Hence Thiruvallabha Puram (Land of Vallabhan) became Tiruvalla. Also, it is interesting to note that the name Tiruvalla comes from the word "Thiru Valla Vaay", named after the river Manimala which was known as Valla puzha, suggesting that Tiruvalla was the mouth of river Manimala and hence was known as Valla vai(vai in old Malayalam means mouth of river).[citation needed] Because of this, the Sri Vallabha temple was called "Thiru Vallavayappan", which later reformed as "Sri Vallabhan" Thiru Vallabha temple, considering that the deity is the god Vishnu. This temple is one among the one hundred and eight vaishnava thirupathis in India.

On the western part of Tiruvalla, the rivers Pampa, Manimala and Achen Kovil join for a panoramic view. As in many other places in India, the culture and heritage of Tiruvalla are tied to its temples. Historical evidence such as copper plates and proclamations point to Tiruvalla as a flourishing and major center of spiritual and educational prominence in 1100 CE. The Sree Vallaba Temple governed a Vedic School with one thousand students and one hundred teachers. The temple also maintained a hospital in the service for the public at large. Women were only allowed to enter the template once a year until the late 1960s.

The rulers of Tiruvalla belonged to the Thekkumkoor Dynasty, which had one of its headquarters at Idathil near Kaavil Temple. Idathil was the family name of Thekkumkoor kings. Today's Paliakara Palace is a branch of Lakshmipuram Palace of Changanacherry, which is a branch of Alikottu Kovilakam of Pazhancherry in Malabar. Similarly, Nedumpuram Palace is a branch of Mavelikkara Palace is an heir to the Kolathiri tradition of Udayamangalam. The Thekkumkoor kings lost their control in the course of time and Vilakkili Nampoothiris were rulers in 1752-53 when Anizham Thirunaal Marthanda Varma, the king of Travancore, seized it in a bloody battle in which the ruler was killed, though some dispute it, saying the surrender was peaceful as the Namboothiris were not naive to challenge the mighty army of Ramayyan, the shrewd and sadistic Dalava - head of administration and advisor - of Travancore. Ruins of Vilakkili illam can be seen on the side of Kavmbhagom-Muthoor road.

The Kaavil market, which is no longer in existence, was once one of the most famous markets of Kerala, where there were even foreign trade links. Even now, the houses in this street are known as "Kaavil" among residents, and the houses in the area which is now Pushpagiri-Tholassery are known as "Malayil" because they are in an elevated area compared to Kaavil. The Kaavil market was actually situated in the street starting from Erankavu Temple to the Kaavil temple in the present Kavumbhagom. It was also the first settlement area of the early Christians in Tiruvalla. The renowned Poem "Unnuneeli Sandesham" discusses this then famous street and its people. This was the heartland of Tiruvalla up to the 19th century. (East to MC road was forest area. Dens were found in the KSRTC garage area, which are now buried.) The first school in Tiruvalla started sometime in mid 19th century in Kaavil market, along the road to Pallippalam. Still, all major religious processions are required to pass through this way, even though new roads have been constructed in parallel.

Tiruvalla Christians were part of the autonomous Indian Syrian Church, which was not affected by the schism which occurred in the 17th century due to the intervention of Portuguese colonists (Introduction of Catholicism in India). By 19th century, inspired by the work of the British missionaries, a reformation movement happened which eventually resulted in a schism, leading to the formation of Marthoma Church.

Tiruvalla was never under direct British rule, and before India's independence from Britain, it was governed by the Travancore dynasty. The Tiruvalla municipality started functioning in 1919, with Shri M.K. Kesavan Nair as the first Chairman of the Municipal Council. The constitution was officially approved on 8 October 1920. The municipal office has established several public health facilities, libraries and sports facilities.

Nowadays, almost every leading bank in India, including the high-profile private ones, has a branch here.