Situated near the western ghats and bordered 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.
Pathanamthiita 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 district.Pathanamthitta, Adoor, Ranny, Konni and Kozhencherry are some of the important 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 1st November 1982 in the interest of the hastening process of development. The total area of district is 2642 sq.kms., of this 1300.73 sq.kms 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 center, down to these lowland and coconut gardens on the western borders of Alappuzha district. The topography of the district is highly undulating., It starts from the tall hill slopes covered with thick forests on the East along the mountains down to the valleys and small hills to the flat land of coconut trees in the West.
The district has more or less the same climatic 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 20’0 to 39’0c.
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 district 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, Manjakadamu, Anjili, Pala etc. are some of the important for rayon, newsprint, plywood etc., these forests are source for a number of useful minor products like bamboo, reeds, honey, medicinal plants and herbs.
Three important rivers flow through this district. They are Pampa, Achankovil and Manimala rivers. The Pampa rivers is formed by the confluence of Pambayar, Arthayar, Kakkadayar, Kakkar and Kallar. It descends from Sabrimala, flows through various parts of Ranny taluk enters Alappuzha district itself into the Vembanad lake. The river Achankovil is formed by the confluence of several small steams 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 utilized for irrigation purpose through the Kallada Irrigation Project and the Pampa Irrigation Project.
The district has the highest concentration of commercial banks in the State. For every 6000 people, there is a bank. There are 200 branches of commercial banks in the district with a deposits of Rs. 2000 crores. The per capita deposits is Rs.16700/- which is the highest in the State and the C.D. ratio of 14%, the lowest.
Major banks in the district are State Bank of Travancore (50 branches), Federal Bank(37 branches), Indian Overseas Bank (21 branches) and Catholic Syrian Bank (18 branches). The State Bank of India has 8 branches.
The Patthanamthitta District Co-operative Bank started functioning on 1st July 1985, taking over seas branches each of the Kollam and Alappuzha District Co-operative Banks. Now it has 31 branches.