Tiruvalla (alternately spelled Thiruvalla) is a town and a Taluk headquarters located in Pathanamthitta district in the State of Kerala in South India. Spread over an area of 27.94 km2, it is the biggest commercial centre in the district of Pathanamthitta. The town has a tropical climate with a temperatures ranging from highs of 34.4 °C in the summer to a low of 18.5 °C in the winter, with a healthy rainfall of 3040 mm. Tiruvalla became a municipality in 1919. The nedumparam palace is in Thiruvalla near kavumbhagom.
The city spans a geographic area of 27.94 km² with a population of 56,828 as of 2001. Males constitute 48% of the population and females 52%. In Tiruvalla, 10% of the population is under 6 years of age. Tiruvalla has a large Non-Resident Indian Community.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the area had been inhabited since 500 BCE, although an organized settlement was only founded around 800 CE. The present day areas of Niranam, and Kadapra on the western part of Tiruvalla were submerged under the sea before then.
Old tradition tells that the name Tiruvalla comes from the word "Thiru Valla Vaay", named after the river Manimala which was known as Vallayar. Tiruvalla was the mouth of river Manimala and hence was known as Valla vai(vai in old Malayalam means mouth of river). Because of this, the deity of Sri Vallabha temple was called "Thiru Vallavayappan", which later reformed as "Sri Vallabhan" Thiru Vallabha temple, considering that the deity is the god Vishnu.
Hindu version tells that Sree or Lakshmi is the wife of lord Vishnu. "Sree Vallabhan" means Husband of Lakshmi Devi. Sree Vallabhan is the presiding deity of the Tiruvalla Temple. Hence Thiruvallabha Puram (Land of Vallabhan) became Tiruvalla.It is one of the 64 ancient brahmana graamams (ബ്രാഹ്മണഗ്രാമം).
On the western part of Tiruvalla, the rivers Pampa, Manimala and Achen Kovil join for a panoramic view. As in many other places in India, the culture and heritage of Tiruvalla are tied to its temples. Historical evidence such as copper plates and proclamations point to Tiruvalla as a flourishing and major center of spiritual and educational prominence in 1100 CE. The Sree Vallaba Temple governed a Vedic School with one thousand students and one hundred teachers. The temple also maintained a hospital in the service for the public at large. Women were only allowed to enter the template once a year until the late 1960s.
The rulers of Tiruvalla belonged to the Thekkumkoor Dynasty, which had one of its headquarters at Idathil near Kaavil Temple. Idathil (Vempolinadu Edathil Karthavu) was the family name of the Thekkumkoor kings. Today's Paliakara Palace is a branch of Lakshmipuram Palace of Changanacherry, which is a branch of Alikottu Kovilakam of Pazhancherry in Malabar. Similarly, Nedumpuram Palace is a branch of Mavelikkara Palace is an heir to the Kolathiri tradition of Udayamangalam. The Thekkumkoor kings lost their control in the course of time and Vilakkili (വിലക്കിലി) Nampoothiris were rulers in 1752-53 when Anizham Thirunaal Marthanda Varma, the king of Travancore, seized it in a bloody battle in which the ruler was killed, though some dispute it, saying the surrender was peaceful as the Namboothiris were not naive to challenge the mighty army of Ramayyan, the shrewd and sadistic Dalava (ദളവ)- head of administration and advisor - of Travancore. Ruins of Vilakkili illam can be seen on the side of Kavmbhagom-Muthoor road.
The Kaavil market (കാവിൽ കമ്പോളം), which is no longer in existence, was once one of the most famous markets of Kerala, where there were even foreign trade links. Even now, the houses in this street are known as "Kaavil" among residents, and the houses in the area which is now Pushpagiri-Thukalassery are known as "Malayil" because they are in an elevated area compared to Kaavil. The Kaavil market was actually situated in the street starting from Erankavu Temple to the Kaavil temple in the present Kavumbhagom. It was also the first settlement area of the early Christians in Tiruvalla. The renowned Poem "Unnuneeli Sandesham" discusses this then famous street and its people. This was the heartland of Tiruvalla up to the 19th century. (East to MC road was forest area. Dens were found in the KSRTC garage area, which are now buried.) The first school in Tiruvalla started sometime in mid 19th century in Kaavil market, along the road to Pallippalam. Still, all major religious processions are required to pass through this way, even though new roads have been constructed in parallel.
Tiruvalla Christians were part of the autonomous Indian Syrian Church, which was not affected by the schism which occurred in the 17th century due to the intervention of Portuguese colonists (Introduction of Catholicism in India). By 19th century, inspired by the work of the British missionaries, a reformation movement happened which eventually resulted in a schism, leading to the formation of Marthoma Church.
Tiruvalla was never under direct British rule, and before India's independence from Britain, it was governed by the Travancore dynasty. The Tiruvalla municipality started functioning in 1919, with Shri M.K. Kesavan Nair as the first Chairman of the Municipal Council. The constitution was officially approved on 8 October 1920. The municipal office has established several public health facilities, libraries and sports facilities.
The pilgrimage center of Sabarimala is only about 100 km from Tiruvalla and Parumala Church, Paliyekara Church a major Christian pilgrimage center, is about 10 km from the town. The spiritual conventions at Kalloopara, Maramon, Kumbanad and Ayroor-Cherukolpuzha are all located east of Tiruvalla.
The city's Sreevallabha Temple is one of the famous Vishnu Mahakshetras of India. There is also a Sree Chakkulathukavu Devi temple located west of Thiruvalla thaluk. The Mar Thoma Church, the Believers Church, the St. Thomas Evangelical Church, the Indian Pentecostal Church of God (IPC) and the Sharon Fellowship Church have their headquarters in and around Tiruvalla. The headquarters of the Niranam diocese of Malankara Orthodox Church, Marthoma Church and Malankara Catholic Tiruvalla Diocese are also in Tiruvalla. The Niranam, Parumala, Paliakkara, and Kallooppara churches are also common tourist destinations.
Tiruvalla is headquarters for two Malayalam satellite channels which cater to Christian Devotional content, Power Vision and Athmeeya Yathra.
Radio Macfast 90.4 is an FM Station managed by the Mar Athanasios College for Advanced Studies, in Tiruvalla. This FM station is the first on-campus community radio in Kerala.
Tiruvalla also has one of the first high-definition sound recording studios (the Department of Sacred Music and Communications), which caters primarily to the christian community internationally, though secular recordings also take place.
Shri Vallabha Maha Kshetram (alternatively called the Tiruvalla Temple), one of the 108 divine Vishnu deshas in India. The Flagpost of the Thiru Vallabha Temple was carved out from a single rock with a Garudan at the top, created by the legendary "Perumthachan". The one and only one temple at which "KATHAKALI" is played every day.
Kaviyoor Thrikkalkudi (തൃക്കല്ക്കുടി) Cave Temple. The Cave Temple is one of the rare cave temples of Kerala. It is assumed that this temple is constructed in the Pallava architectural style and was built in the 8th century.
Paliakkara Church: First church of Tiruvalla. It attracts many tourists because of the marvellous murals on the eastern wall of its altar, and thousands, regardless of religion, come and pray for the intercession of St. George here.
"Kadalimagalam Padayani", one of the great folk-performing-art centers, with all traditional forms of art conducted in the Kadalimangalam Devi Temple during March and April every year. The ten-day-long festival is conducted by the people of two local karas, namely Eruvellipara and Venupala. The rare and great Padayani Koolam, namely 'KALAYAKSHI', is performed here. It is the right of two families, namely Mukkanjirathu and Pullenplavil of the two karas, to perform this 'KALAYAKSHI KOOLAM'.
St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Kallooppara, situated on the banks of the river Manimala, is one of the oldest and renowned churches of Malankara Sabha. The church has a legacy of around seven centuries, keeping its tradition and culture intact without compromising on its religious values.