The name 'Pathanamthitta' is a combination of two
words ‘pathanam’ and ‘thitta,’ meaning ‘an array of houses on the river bank.’ Pathanamthitta is bordered by the
in the east, Kollam District
in the south, Alappuzha District
in the west and Kottayam District
and Idukki District
in the north. It is famous for its scenic beauty, fairs and festivals, and has vast unending stretches of forests, rivers and rural landscapes.
Pathanamthitta, covering an area of 2,642 sq km, has a population of more than 1.2 million. The forest area is 1,390 sq km. Timber is the most important forest produce. The Pampa, Achankovil and Manimala are the major rivers.
Agriculture is the main occupation of the people and about 80% of the people depend on it directly or indirectly. The main crops are paddy,
tapioca, rubber, sugarcane, pepper and banana. There are also extensive rubber plantations.
The Sastha temple at
Sabarimala, surrounded by hazardous hills such as Karimala and
Neelimala, is one of the major pilgrim centers in South India. People from all over India and abroad throng this famous shrine of Lord Ayyappa. The waterfall at Perumthenaruvi (on the
Pampa River) attracts thousands of people. The Uthrittathy Boat Race, on the Pamba River near Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple, is an annual cultural feat.
Pathanamthitta is well connected by road to the cities of Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, and Kochi.
Chengannur are the important rail and road depots.