Engrossed in the hilly terrain of Kerala, Pathanamthitta can rightly be called the head quarters of Pilgrimage tourism in the State. With more than fifty per cent of the land area covered with thick forests the district has a prominent place in the supply of hill produces in the State.
The Sastha temple at Sabarimala, 80 kms. from the District Head quarters, is one of the major pilgrim centres in South India. Irrespective of religious beliefs, people from all over India and abroad throng to this famous shrine of Lord Ayyappa which is surrounded by hazardous hills like Karimala and Neelimala. The devotees known as Ayyappas negotiate the hills to reach the shrine after undergoing 41 days of 'Vrutha' i.e., self imposed devotional penance. The pilgrimage season, involving Mandala Pooja and Makaravilakku comes between the latter half of November and the former half of January every year. Ablution in River Pamba is considered as holy 'Ganga Snanam'.
The confluence of Hindu and Muslim deities in the form of Lord Ayyappa, his lieutenant Vavar makes this esteemed pilgrim centre a model for communal harmony and castelessnes.
The water falls in the Pamba river at Perumthenaruvi attract thousands of people from inside and outside the district. This is a beautiful natural waterfall and an ideal place of transit attraction. t is only 10 kms. from Erumeli. This is a favourite picnic spot for both domestic and foreign tourists.
The River Pamba again plays host to a famous annual religious convention on its golden sands at Maramon. This mammoth religious convention of the Christians attend by people belonging to all communities is the largest of its kind in the world. It takes place in February every year and is addressed by speakers of international repute. The convention lasts for seven days.
Ayiroor Cherukolpuzha religious convention is another important annual feature on the river bed of Pamba. This famous Hindu religious convention is attended by a large number of people and addressed by prominent religious scholars and cultural personalities.
Chandanakkudam Festival of the Jama - Al Mosque at Pathanamthitta also attracts thousands of devotees. It is held in February every year. The festivals at Kattur Mosque in Cherukos and Kalamala mosque near Adoor are also famous.
The religious conventions and festivals in Pathanamthitta district are admirable examples of religious amity and communal harmony.
Uthrittathi Boat Race
The Uthrittathi Boat Race on the River Pamba near the Parta Sarathy Temple at Aranmula is annual cultural feat to the tourists and the people of Kerala. Uthrittathi which comes after every Thiruvonam in August - September is the day of this prominent cultural event. The boat race commemorates the crossing of River Pamba by the Lord Partha Sarathy. All the snake boats in Kerala participate in the colourful ritual which really is a treat to the eyes.
The famous metallic mirror of Aranmula is universally noted for its excellence in craft. Bell metal is tamed, tempered and polished to give a mirror like reflection. This noted handiwork stands out as a symbol of excellence in traditional metallic craft in Kerala.
Pathanamthitta is home to a number of popular travel places in Kerala, including the famous Sabarimala temple.