S ituated near the Western Ghats and boarded by the hills, Pathanamthitta district is a treat to eyes with its vast unending stretches of forests, rivers and rural landscapes. Blessed by nature, the district is famous for its scenic beauty, fairs and festivals.
Pathanamthitta is a true tropical diversity adorned with fertile agricultural land, plantations and forest. Paddy, tapioca, varieties of vegetables and spices like cardamom, pepper etc. are extensively cultivated. The district also abounds in extensive rubber plantations.
It is presumed that the regions presently under the district were formerly under the Pandalam reign which had connections with the Pandya Kingdom. Pathanamthitta now includes portions of the erstwhile Kollam, Alappuzha and Idukki Districts. Pathanamthitta, Adoor, Ranny, Konni and Kozhencherry are some of the important places taken from Kollam District, where as Thiruvalla and Mallappally are the major places taken from Alappuzha District.
Pathanamthitta is a combination of two words Pathanam and Thitta which mean an array of houses on the river side. This district was formed on Ist November 1982 in the interest of the hastening process of development. The total area of the district is 2642 sq. km., of this 1390.73 sq.km., come under forest.
The district consists of three natural divisions, viz., the lowland, the midland and the highland. The highland stretches through the western ghats and descends to the midland in the centre, down to the lowland and coconut gardens on the western borders of Alappuzha district. The topography of the district is highly undulating. It starts from the tall hillslopes covered with thick forests on the East along the mountains down to the valleys and small hills to the flat and of coconut trees in the West.
The district has more or less the same climate conditions as prevalent elsewhere in the State, viz., dry seasons from December to February and hot seasons from March to May. The south west monsoon from June to September and the north west monsoon from October to November provide fairly good rain. The south west monsoon is usually very heavy and about 75% of the annual rain is received during this season. The climate is generally moderate, the temperature rising from 20 to 39 degree Celsius.
Forest covers an area of 1390.73 sq.kms. in the district. This is more than 50% of the total area of the district, while the optimum area fixed by experts is only 33%. The total cropped area in Pathanamthitta district is 1086.53 sq.kms. The forests in the districts can broadly be classified as evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forest.
Timber is the most important forest produce in the district. In fact, forest is the main source of raw materials for wood based industrial units. Teak, rosewood, jack tree, manjakadambu, anjili, pala etc. are some of the important varieties of timber available. Apart from providing raw materials for rayon, newsprint, plywood etc., these forests are a source for a number of useful minor product like bamboo, reeds, honey, medicinal plants and herbs.
Three important rivers flow through this district. They are Pampa, Achankovil and Manimala Rivers. The Pampa river is formed by the confluence of Pambayar, Aruthayar, Kakkadayar, Kakkar and Kallar. It descends from Sabarimala, flows through various parts of Ranny taluk, enters Alappuzha district after joining with river Manimala and river Achankovil and empties itself into the Vembanad lake. The river Achankovil is formed by the confluence of several small streams originating from Rishimala, Pasukidamettu and Ramakkalteri and joins the Pamba at Veeyapuram in Alappuzha district.
One third of the electricity produced by the State comes from this district. Power is generated from the Sabarigiri Hydro-electric Project situated at the Pamba basin in the district.
The abundant water resource in the district is also utilised for irrigation purposes through the Kallada Irrigation Project and the Pamba Irrigation Project.
The district has a total population of 1231577 as per 2001 census. The female population is 643542 and male population is 588035.
The district has two revenue divisions, viz., Thiruvalla and Adoor. The district consists of five taluks, viz., Ranni, Kozhencherry, Adoor, Thiruvalla and Mallappally. There are sixty eight villages in the district.
The headquarters of the District Panchayat is at Pathanamthitta. There are nine block panchayats. They are Parakode, Pandalam, Kulanada, Elanthoor, Konni, Mallappally, Ranni, Koipuram and Pulikkeezhu. The number of Grama Panchayats in the district are 53. Adoor, Thiruvalla and Pathanamthitta are the municipalities.
Pathanamthitta district does not have any full-fledged Parliament constituency in its purview. Its eight Assembly constituencies are segmented and made parts of different Parliamentary constituencies. Adoor and Konni are made part of Adoor Parliamentary constituency. Thiruvalla, Kalloopara, Aranmula and parts of Pandalam Assembly constituencies belong to Mavelikkara Parliamentary constituency and Ranni and Pathanamthitta come under Idukki Parliamentary constituency. Thus, Pathanamthitta is not yet unified in terms of Parliamentary constituencies.
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