Kottayam is bordered by Pathanamthitta district on south, Alappuzha district on west, Ernakulam district on north and Idukki district on east. Kottayam lies on the basin of the Meenachil River which was formed by joining of the streams from the western ghats and flows through Kottayam district to join Vembanad lake. Since Kottayam has alluvial soil, The vegetation is mainly tropical, evergreen and moist deciduous type.
Kottayam Rajas ruled the independent little kingdom of Thekkumkoor, from Thazhathangadi which is at present in the Kottayam area in the 18th Century. At about that time Marthanda Varma, the king of Travancore, annexed Thekkumkor and other surrounding areas to the Kingdom of Travancore. Even during the British rule Kottayam was under the Travancore kingdom or Princely state of Travanore as it was called.
Public transport in the city is largely dependent on buses, run by both private operators and Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). The city is well connected to all the major cities and towns in kerala. The nearest airport is in Kochi. All the trains going from Trivandrum to Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, new Delhi etc pass through Kottayam Railway station. This district has 49 kilometers of Railway lines passing through Changanassery, Kottayam and Vaikom taluks. Some of the railway stations in this district are - Changanassery, Chingavanam, Kottayam, Ettumanoor, Kuruppanthara, Vaikom Road and Piravom Road.
Kottayam is a major trading center of natural rubber in India. Rubber trees are extensively cultivated in central Kerala, especially in vast areas of Kottayam District, in plantations, both large and small. The Rubber Board, a body set up by the Government of India for the development of rubber industry, is also located at Kottayam. A number of small and medium sized enterprises in and around the town are engaged in the processing of rubber latex and manufacturing of rubber products.
The mortal remains of Saint Alphonsa are kept in a chapel next to St. Mary's Church Bharananganam, which is in the district. Pilgrims from different parts of South India, especially Kerala and Tamilnadu, visit the tomb for blessings. Thousands of devotees have been visiting this holy shrine, next to the church, to pray and seek her blessings, and their number grew even more as she was elevated to sainthood in 2008, October 12.
Kottayam district consists of two Revenue di-visions - Kottayam and Pala - each under the control of a Revenue Divisional Of-ficer. There are five taluks -Kottayam, Changanassery, Vaikom, Meenachil and Kanjirappally.
The Headquarters of the Rubber Board, Rubber Research Institute of India, Plantation Corporation of India and Oil Palm India are situated in this district. Besides rubber, Kottayam is a trading place of other commercial crops like spices cultivated widely in the surrounding areas.