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Overview and History of Aryankavu
‘Kavu’ is generally a suffix given to areas that have temples in them in the state of Kerala. Aryankavu village is no different. This village that is surrounded by natural extravaganza all around is famous for its Sastha Shrine or the Ayyappa temple. The significance of this temple can be understood from the fact that it is one of five most sacred temples in Kerala dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. The Lord is depicted as a teenaged boy here and is worshipped as Thiru Aryan. This is why this temple got its name as Aryankavu. One can find this temple on the National Highway connecting Thiruvananthapuram and Tenkasi.
Located in Kollam district, the rules and regulations followed in this Aryankavu Sastha temple are almost similar to those followed in the revered Sabari Mala Ayyappa temple. Women aged between 10 and 50 are banned from entering the Aryankavu shrine. Here, Lord Ayyappa is seen with Goddess Devi on His left and Lord Shiva on His right. All festivals celebrated at the Sabari Mala temple are also observed here with great fervour. Thirukkalyanam, Kumbabhishekam and Pandiyan Mudippu are some of the most significant occasions at the Aryankavu temple.
Apart from this temple, Aryankavu also houses a couple of churches – both Catholic in nature. One is known as St. Mary’s Catholic Church Archdiocese of Changanassery and the other is known as St. George Malankara Catholic Church. Of these, the latter was established during the 1950s itself by Mr. KV Abraham Vaidyer, who was also a practising Ayurveda doctor in those days.
Aryankavu is located on the Thiruvananthapuram – Tenkasi National Highway. Situated in the district of Kollam, Aryankavu is on National Highway No. 744, close to the famous eco-tourist spot of Tenmala. It is located at the foothills of the mighty Western Ghats and is at 8.58 degrees towards North and 77.8 degrees towards East. Aryankavu is located at a distance of about 73km, 33km, 21km and 13km away from Kollam, Punalur, Tenkasi and Sengottai respectively.
How to reach and local transport
Air – Thiruvananthapuram Airport is the closet to this place.
Rail – Aryankavu railway station is the nearest to this village.
Road – Government and private sector buses ply frequently from major cities like Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Kollam and Madurai to Aryankavu every day.
Local transport – The village is best experienced when travelled on foot.
Tourist Attractions and things to do
Palaruvi Waterfalls, Sandal forest of Kadamanpara, Rose Mala, an eco-tourists port and Bourdilon’s Plot (teak stump plantation, first of its kind in the world), Ayyappa temple and the 2 Catholic churches are some of the famous sight-seeing places in and around Aryankavu. Trekking, bathing in the waterfalls and walking through the dense forests are few activities that tourists can indulge in when they come to Aryankavu.
Where to eat and local cuisine
KTDC Restaurant (near Palaruvi), Martin’s Estate (near Rose Mala) and Mani Iyer’s Hotel (near Sengottai) are some of the nearby restaurants near Aryankavu. Lip-smacking authentic Kerala cuisine using general dollops of coconut gravy in all the dishes is the local speciality of these restaurants.
Where to stay
The motels operated by KTDC are the best for students or big groups of people who visit Aryankavu. These are budget accommodations and have dormitory facilities too at affordable prices. There are no other hotels in close proximity to Aryankavu.
STD, PIN and Emergency Contact Numbers
The STD and PIN code of Aryankavu are 0475 and 691309 respectively. Police, Fire and Ambulance services are available throughout at 100, 101 and 108 respectively.
Banks, Hospitals and Tourist Office
Central Bank of India,
Close to St. Mary’s School, Kollam – Sengottai Road, Kollam district – 691316
Ph: 0475 2211549
St. Mary’s Hospital,
Aryankavu, Kollam district – 691316
Ph: Not available
District Tourism Promotion Council,
Close to Kerala State Road Transport Corporation’s Bus Stand
Kollam district. Ph: 0474 2745625