Kanam (Kerala)


Location in Kerala, India

Coordinates: 9°31′00″N 76°42′36″E / 9.5166667°N 76.71°E / 9.5166667; 76.71Coordinates: 9°31′00″N 76°42′36″E / 9.5166667°N 76.71°E / 9.5166667; 76.71
Country  India
State Kerala
District Kottayam
  Total 7 km2 (3 sq mi)
Elevation 81 m (266 ft)
Population (2001)
  Total 3,400
  Density 490/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
  Official Malayalam, English
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 686515
Telephone code 91 481
Vehicle registration KL

Kanam is a small place in Kottayam district of Kerala. It is approximately 25 km from Kottayam Town on the way to Kumily road, 2 km from Kodungoor Junction (Vazhoor).


As of 2001 India census,[1] Kanam had a population of 3400. Males constitute 47% of the population and females 53%. Kanam has an average literacy rate of 77%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 80%, and female literacy is 75%. In Kanam, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Story of Kanam

Originally Kanam kara of Kangazha muri, Vazhoor village of Changanacherry taluk in Kottayam Dist, Kerala, belonged to Edappally Swaroopam. There was a Bhagavathy (Mother goddess) temple in Kanam. Edappally Thampuran had a consort in the Parapallil Kaimal’s family and when Thampuran died, she returned to Kanam with the documents relating to the properties. Therefore, the Edappally Swaroopam, the family of the Thampuran, never cared to look after the Bhagavathy temple and the properties. The temple was in a dilapidated condition. The ruins of the temple were removed by the newly came Christians and they settled in the Southern parts of Kanam. The temple tank, known as “Amrutham Chira”, which was used to irrigate the nearby paddy fields was filled up and converted into paddy field. The northern and western parts of Kanam were bought from the Kutaluvally Namboothiri by the aristocratic Vellala family of Thundathil. The name of this place was derived from the Sanskrit word ‘kananam,’ which means forest.

CSI Church and CMS School

The church was founded by Rev. Henry Baker, Junior, an Anglican missionary who came to Travancore. Though the formal establishment was in 1862, church service for the people who lived in this place was held at the Perumprathazha (Payikad) house. Later, this service was shifted to a place called Thekkadathu Parambu and a small thatched shed was made for worshipping. Again, this service was shifted to a thatched shed at the place of the present church, but the shed was destroyed by wildfire. Later, a small church building with a tiled roof was constructed. Mr. Chacko Varghese Wicharippukar of the Payikad family was the person who very kindly donated the necessary plot for constructing that church building. The site of St. Thomas Orthodox Church at Kangazha were too donated by himself. Though this place was backward in every sense, Church Mission Society has made a positive impact in the socio-economic life of this area by giving lasting contributions for the all-around development of the place. The CMS started the Primary School near the CSI church about 150 years ago and converted many of the tribal people as well as members from high class families to Christianity. The Christians that colonized the Southern parts of Kanam started rubber plantations. Later, Payikad Varghese Varghese, Son of Mr. Chacko Varghese Wicharippukar, popularly known as Kunjoojukutty Mapilla, was the biggest planter and it was he who built a two storey building in Kanam, popularly known as “Malikayil” close to CMS School which is now the 95(1920) year old heritage house, which the villagers advertise as a tourist attraction and the St. George Orthodox Church at kanam.

For more information about CSI church and the CMS school visit

For more information about St. Thomas Orthodox Church Kangazha visit

Kanam Balabhavan

The Children's Emergency Relief was founded in 1959 by Christians in Duisburg, with the aim to help needy Indian children. Karl Borman, a very ordinary man in West Germany was the founder of the organization. He was influenced by the speech of Newmuller who escaped from Hitler`s jail, about the need of helping suffering people. In October 1959, a small international group with the leadership of Mr. Karl Bornman started Kinternothilfe(KNH). With the help of a Basel mission missionary at the end of 1959, KNH started the first Project in South India at Paraperi under CSI North Kerala Diocese. Slowly many projects started.

In 1966 Kanam Balabhavan started at Kanam under CSI Madhya Kerala Diocese. At that time 40 boys who came from needy situations were admitted irrespective of caste or creed. The CSI church set apart one acre of land for these need. From the very beginning till 2011, Late Mr. K E George was the manager and backbone of Balabhavan. Hundreds and hundreds of children attained good position after their education. Children are getting ample opportunities to develop their talents apart from their academic studies. Cow rearing, Rabbit rearing, Bee keeping,agriculture, gardening etc. were some of the work experience programmes in the earlier times. Currently around 50 children below 13 years are staying here and studying in the CMS High School. After secondary school they are guided to choose higher or technical studies according to their aptitude. These children are supported by foster parents in Germany as well as in India.

Website: Kanam Balabhavan

Shanmukhavilasom Schools

Admissions to the CMS Primary School were given in a preferential manner to Christians and to those who were likely to be converted to Christianity. Nairs and Vellalas were admitted only as exception. As a consequence Shanmughavilasom Arumugham Pillai of Thundathil family, started Shnamugha Vilasom Primary School. With the support of late N.S Raman Pillai, Peshkar of Kottayam. Many of the members of Thundathil family like Cherukappallil Chellamma, Kalappurayidathil Sankara Pillai and Krishna Pillai and Shanmugha Vilasom Ammini Amma were teachers of this school. CMSLPS grew up into Middle and later High School in course of time. These three temples of learning started by CMS produced many doctors, engineers, teachers, Government officers and defense personnel from Kanam.


There was no road to reach this place long ago. From Kottayam, Bishop Hodges came here to visit the CSI church on horseback. The present Kanjiraparra-Kanam road came into existence because of the church existed at the central place of this area. Kodungoor-Kappukadu-Kanam road was built by Shanmughavilasom Arumugham Pillai. Ummini Kartha of Anickadu donated 4 acres (16,000 m2) of land for the road. At the starting point there was an athani hence the junction got the name Elappunkal.. There was a wayside inn near the junction and the Karthas were distributing free buttermilk to travellers during summer.


An attempt was made to train weavers in the Weaving school founded and headed by late Mr. Abraham (Parappallythazhe Avarachen) in Athumpanakuzhy, which had a premature death during World War II.. Small scale industries like hand loom weaving, cotton dyeing and printing were all attempted in Kanam but were turned out to be casualties of the war. Shanmughavilasom Arumugham Pillai started weaving factory near Kotchukanjirappara in Naithusala parambu, headed by Mr. Gopalan Nair of Nedumkunnam.

Place of worship

When the Bhagavathy temple was rebuilt in the Poduvakunnu (Elamkavil), in Kangazha North, Kanam was the only village in the neighborhood, without a temple. The only place of worship left was the Nallanikuzhy Kavu near Kotchukanjirappara Pallikkodam where annual offerings (“Vellamkudi”) was offered during Onam and Vishu by the pulayas of Eattikal. But with the Pulayas embracing Christianity nobody came for annual offerings after the late Oman Pulayan. Now the place has been converted into an Ayyappa Temple with monthly poojas.But nowadays the villagers gathering their worship places according to their belief, faith, ..etc. Hebron Christian Brothren assembly in kanam, I P C prayer hall kanjirappara, TPM paathippalam,Church Of Christ pidisheerimala, st:Thomas marthoma church,st:Mary's Orthdox church, paathippalam Muslim masjid ..etc. are some of worship centers in kanam.

Community Life

All the Senior citizens of that time used to meet at Kotchukalappurayidam alias Prevathicar Veedu and play cards, read newspapers and hold discussions. Mrs. Govinda Pillai (Ittooli Kutty Amma was the only lady who took part in playing cards along with men.) Younger generation took to native bale, kilithattu, chadukudu etc. Onam, Vishu and Thiruvathira were celebrated with pomp by Hindus while Christmas and Easter were observed by Christians. The common celebration was held to observe the annual Thirunal (Birthday of Maha Raja). The Anniversary of the Primary Schools were observed not only by the staff and students, but also by the general public. School hall was full and at many times people had to stand outside to hear speeches and songs and witness dramas, one act plays, fancy dress etc. Public sports was the salient feature for the occasion, when non student youth also took part.


The national movement had very little impact in Kanam, but with the banning of Malayala Manorama paper and liquidation of National Quilon Bank ( where many farmers had deposits) feeling of antagonism toward Dewan gradually grew. The State Congress movement has spread rapidly among the Christians but spread slowly among Hindus. Students were the first to raise the banner of revolt. It may seem strange that it was among the Hindus that the Communist ideology began to spread down, even though they were reluctant to absorb the anti Dewan sentiments of the State Congress. With the advent of freedom, Mahtma Gandhi, who used to be the ideal worship by the student population began to be adored by all. Two libraries named after Gandhiji sprang up. Mahathma library under the leadership of TK .Krishnan Nair, KK.Prabhakaran Nair, KC. Sivan Pillai etc. and Bapuji library near CMS Anglican Church under the leadership of Kanam EJ, Thottaparmbil Baby Perumprathazhe Vavachan,Venattu Kochu etc. Both had their natural death when the workers, who were students took to job or went away for higher studies, for want of second line workers.

Communist Party

It was the Mahathma library which sowed the seed of the Communist movement in Kanam. “The Life of Karl Marx” written by Swadesabhimani Ramakrishna Pillai, “Pattabhakki” and other dramas by K. Damodharan and similar books lead to a consciousness of the evils of inequality. The second general election to the State Assembly when Mr. Kangazha Baskaran Nair stood as a candidate with Socialist party ticket, was utilized by the young students to educate the common people in socialist ideologies. Mr. TK.Krishnan Nair was the first to become a party member and later when he returned after graduation, a group was organized with Kanam Sivan Pillai, KK,Prabhakaran Nair, KK.Raghavan Nair etc. The “Janathiapathya Munnani” under the leadership of Kadayanikadu Purushothaman Pillai had its propaganda machinery working in Kanam, along with Kangazha, Kadayanikadu, Mundathanam, Nedumkunnam and neighboring villages. The “Rationkada Samaram” which brought out people to the street against the unauthorized price hike by ration dealers by way of service charge, rounding off bill etc. During the Panchayat election, a candidate-Perumal Pillai, was put against Mr. PV.Varghese,(Later became the first Kangazha Panchayat President) the Congress candidate, but failed to get representation to Kangazha Panchayat.

By the time the CMS Primary School was upgraded to Middle School, Vidyadhiraja Swamikal stated the SVRV School at Theerthapadapuram, Vazhoor.:after CMS UPS was upgraded to High School and st. Pauls UPS at Pulickalkavala was also upgraded. Education spread and every boy and girl had the facility to get general education. Till then only a few fortunate had the facility for higher education, because of its exorbitant cost. Hostel charges which accounted for the 85% of the cost of education, were rendered unnecessary, with the establishment of several High Schools and Colleges in vicinity. With the advent of higher education, facility for political consciousness began to grow and Kanam was able to offer two candidates in the Vazhoor constituency for assembly elections. Adv. Kanam Sivan Pillai(CPM) and Kanam Rajendran(CPI) .The latter won the seat twice. Now the CPM and CPI have strong hold over the village. The communists of early years are leading their retired lives and some of them had died. The names of Pampady Balan, Anickadu PK.Sankara Pillai -“Stalin” Sankara Pillai is now “Ganapthy” Sankara Pillai Elakkadu purushan, Kadayanickadu Purushothaman Pillai Ex. MLA and Kottayam Bhasi and Johny Syriac are also associated with the spread of communist ideology in Kanam. Kanam Rajendran (CPI)is one of a leading political leader from the village.

Co-Operative movement in Kanam

The Co-operative movement of the Vazhoor Village also had its roots in Kanam. It was Sri.. MN.Sankara Pillai, HM SVLPS and Payattukala (Vellakallumkal) Chacko who took steps for the Vazhoor Farmer’s Bank.

Lyrics of Kanam EJ

Nearby Places

Kangazha is a beautiful place, having a serene atmosphere in Changanacherry Taluk south to Pampady. Famous for the Mgdm hospital one of the oldest multispeciality community referral hospitals in Kerala. The first Self Finance Nursing College in private sector in Kerala, Theophilis College of Nursing is also situated at Kangazha. Other educational institutions at kangazha are PGM college of arts and Science, P Geevarghese School of Nursing, School of Laboratory Technology-MGDM Hospital, Baselios Higher Secondary School, St. Thomas School Kangazha etc.


  1. "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
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