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Friday, June 1, 2018



Kattakada is a small town in the eastern part of Thiruvanathapram (Trivandrum) District. It is situated about 18 Kms east of Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. To its north is situated Nedumangad (18 KMs) and to its south,  Neyyattinkara (14 KMs). It is  a commercial centre and the second biggest market of hill products in the district, after Nedumangad. Neyyar Dam, a tourist spot and the core of Agasthyavanam Wildlife Sanctuary, is only 10 Kms away from Kattakada, towards the east. Thus, Kattakada is situated at the cetre of four important places in four directions; Trivandrum to the west, Neyyattinkara to the south, Neyyar Dam to the east and Nedumangad to the north.
  Kattakada is the entry point to the mountain ranges (Western Ghats) and the nerve centre of the eastern parts of the district. Also, it is a growing educational centre in the Trivandrum district, which fast emerges as the educational hub of Kerala. 
The present day Kattakada town lies in two village panchayts; Kattakada and Poovachal. Many important instituions like the Primary Health Centre, the public market, the post office, Christian College and C.S.I. Kattakada are situated in Poovachal Panchayat. The virtual population present in the semi-urban areas of the town is calculated to be between 15,000 and 20,000, while the combined population of both these panchayats is 70,000. 
Kattakada became an independent Taluk (Tehsil) on 11th February, 2014.  Kattakada is a constituency in the Legislative Assembly since 2011. Curiously enough, a considerable portion of the town which forms part of Poovachal Panchayat, is included in the neighbouring Aruvikara Assembly constituency.


Kattakada was a sleepy village till the beginning of the nineteenth century. Some small temples owned by private families were the only institutions in the village. A village market began to develop when merchants and vendors from present day Kanyakumari District and Tamil Nadu began to assemble under a banyan tree, situated in front of the Bhadra Kali Temple. Thus, the place began to be called 'Kattalkada', meaning the market of wild banyan tree. This name gradually got itself abbridged and became "Kattakada". Red chilli, onion and other spices formed items of merchandise in the initial stage. It may be interesting to know that these items were not native to our land; in fact, they were brought to India by the Europeans. 
Another version regarding the origin of the name says that the word "kada" means the bottom of the tree. The village assembly was used to meet under the banyan tree. Hence the place was also known as the "Kattalkada" or the "span of banyan tree". 
As demand for these items increased, the market was developed and the local populace, especially farmers, also began to sell their products. Small village paths leading to Kattakada were formed. Most of the poeple came to the market by foot. Mud roads were made to ply on bullock carts to and from Trivandrum and Neyyattinkara. Barter system was prevalent. But cash system began to develop, as merchants from the Tamil country began to insist on cash. Later, the market was evicted from the temple premises, as fish and meat were brought here for sale. Thus, it was shifted to its present location. 
 Invariably, the social condition situation was governed by caste considerations. The lower caste people were deemed to be "un-touchables". Local bullies known as "chattamby"s  ruled the land. The people obeyed their words out of fear. The words of the upper caste people were the law of the land. 
With the establishment of CSI Kattakada (then LMS), Christianity was introduced to the land. A large number of people became affiliated to this parish. As per the oral traditions, Rev. John Cox, the founder missionary of the parish decided to settle here because he saw people ploughing the fields with human beings tied to the yokes instead of oxen. The establishment of the parish brought about a revolutionary change in the social life of Kattakada.

The Kundaman Kadavu bridge was constructed with the aid of the British army towards the end of the 19th century (1898). This made the transportation to Trivandrum easier. Earlier, people used to go by walk through Vilappilasala and cross the river Karamana by country boats. By 1930s, transport buses were introduced.
The first school in the place was established in the CSI parish compound in 1910. As per the official records available with Poovachal Grama Panchayat, it was the first school established in present day Poovachal and Kattakada Panchayats. Inspired by this, Shri. P.R. William, a member of the parish started the first High School in Kattakada in 1935. It was a milestone in the history of Kattakada's growth as a town. Many students, eager to earn education, came from far off lands by taking a walk. Until 1982, it was the only high school in Kattakada, Poovachal and Kallikadu. The school had as many as 15 divisions in each standard.


Kulathummal Panchayat was formed in 1953. It became Kattakada Panchayat in 1979. The next epoch-making event in the history of Kattakada was the formation of the Christian College, Kattakada under the management of CSI South Kerala Diocese. It was the first arts & science college in the eastern parts of Trivandrum district. This announced the growth of Kattakada as a town.  The contribution of our parish through the above educational institutions for the overall progress of the town cannot be undermined by anybody in future. 
With the increase in transportation facilities, a large number of students began to undertake various courses in Trivandrum city. This also resulted in educational progress in a large scale and subsequent social transformation. 
A bus depot was inaugurated in Kattakada in 1981, and many bus services connecting even the remotest areas to the town were started. With the increase in the number of virtual population, many new business concerns and shops were set up. Thus, the town became a major commercial centre. 
Ponnara Sreedhar, a prominent freedom fighter and member of  Travancore-Cochin Legislative Assembly, was born in Kattakada. He later became the first Mayor of Trivandrum city. Other notable personalities born in Kattakada include the film actresses of yesteryear, Lalitha, Padmini, Ragini; together known as Travancore Sisters. In the present generation, lyricist Poovachal Khader, singer and Lalita Kala Academy Award winner (2000) Aamachal Ravi and the young poet Murugan Kattakada belong to this town.

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