Pathanamthitta District, the thirteenth revenue district of the State of Kerala, nestles its head on the slopes of the Western Ghats and stretches to the low-lying rice fields bordering Alappuzha District. It was formed with effect from the 1st November, 1982 vide G.O. (M.S) No.1026/82/RD dated 29.10.1982, with headquarters at Pathanamthitta. It is bounded on the North by Changanassery and Kanjirappally Taluks of Kottayam District and Peerumade Taluk of Idukki District, on the East by the State of Tamil Nadu, on the South by Kunnathur, Pathanapuram and Kottarakkara Taluks of Kollam District and on the West by Chengannur, Mavelikkara and Kuttanad Taluks of Alappuzha District. It abounds with natural splendours – undulating hills, dark mysterious forests, exotic wildlife and enchanting valleys. It is presumed that the regions presently under the district were formerly under the Pandalam reign which had connections with the Pandya kingdom. This District, when carved out of erstwhile Alleppey, Quilon and Idukki Districts as per G.O. (M.S) No.1026/82/R.D dated 29.10.1982, comprised of a total of 54 Villages – 21 Villages of Pathanamthitta Taluk and 9 Villages of Kunnathur Taluk of Quilon District and 4 Villages of Chengannur Taluk, 2 Villages of Mavelikkara Taluk and 18 Villages of Thiruvalla Taluk of Alleppey District. Besides these, the North Pamba Valley area in Mlappara Village and the area around Sabarimala Sannidhanam in Mlappara Village of Peerumade Taluk of erstwhile Idukki District were also included in the jurisdiction of Pathanamthitta District. Vide G.O(P) No.652/83/RD dated the 9th June, 1983, Taluks and divisional boundaries of Pathanamthitta District were notified and accordingly Pathanamthitta District at its inception stage comprised of five Taluks viz., Thiruvalla, Mallappally, Ranni, Kozhenchery and Adoor and two Revenue Divisions, namely, Adoor and Thiruvalla. Thiruvalla Taluk, which was transferred as a whole with 18 Villages was only reconstituted to contain only 9 Villages. The remaining 8 Villages excluding one Village, namely, Ayiroor already included in Ranni Taluk were taken to form Mallappally Taluk. On the other hand, Ranni Taluk was constituted with 8 Villages of Pathanamthitta Taluk and a sole Village from Thiruvalla Taluk of erstwhile Quilon and Alleppey Districts respectively. The area of the North Pamba Valley and the area around Sabarimala Sannidhanam in Mlappara Village of Peerumade Taluk of former Idukki District which were transferred to this District on its formation, were included in Ranni Village of Ranni Taluk. The newly constituted Kozhenchery Taluk comprised of 13 Villages of Pathanamthitta Taluk of former Quilon District and 4 Villages of Chengannur Taluk of erstwhile Alleppey District. The only Taluk of the District which has headquarters different from its Taluk name is Kozhenchery as its headquarters is located at Pathanamthitta. Adoor Taluk was comprised of 9 Villages of Kunnathur Taluk and 2 Villages of Mavelikkara Taluk of former Quilon and Alleppey Districts respectively. Pathanamthitta is a combination of two words – Pathanam and Thitta – which mean an array of houses on the river side. It is presumed that the regions presently under the District were formerly under the Pandalam reign which had connections with the Pandya Kingdom. The history of the District is sandwiched between the history of erstwhile Quilon and Alleppey Districts. The pre-historic period of the District is obscure. But some megalithic monuments such as the dolmens, found in the Ranni reserve forest and Enadimangalam Village of present Adoor Taluk, date back to the Neolithic period. Yet some old relics, reminiscent of pre-historic period, are found also in some areas of Thiruvalla and Kadapra. Some archaeological antiquities in the form of architecture, inscriptions, mural paintings, historical monuments, etc., found in the Temples, rock-cut caves, Churches, etc., show clear picture about the historic period. During the 1st Century A.D, almost all the portions of Quilon District formed a part of Ay Kingdom. The South- Eastern portions upto Thiruvalla of erstwhile Alleppey District were ruled by Ay kingdom with their headquarters at South Travancore. The Kaviyoor Cave Temple of Pallava style of architecture is some of the earliest specimen of stone sculpture supposed to be made in the 7th to the 9th Century A.D. The inscriptions engraved on the central shrine of Kaviyoor Temple depict details of the area in the Kali era of 4051 and 4052. There are some epigraphical records assigned to post-Portuguese period in the Orthodox Syrian Church at Niranam. It is significant to note that Pliny, the famous traveler of the 1st Century A.D., had described in his 16 famous book ‘Pereplus’ about Niranam (Neleynda), the river Pamba (Baris) and about the exporting pepper from Thiruvalla. Christianity had a strong foothold in the District from the middle of the 1st Century. In A.D. 52, St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, landed at Mallankara and founded seven Churches in Malabar Coast, one of which is located at Niranam. From the 9th to the 12th Century A.D., Thiruvalla Taluk of the then Alleppey District was a part of Nantuzhainad and later it was merged to Odanad and subsequently with Thekkumkur. In the early 19th Century, during the reign of Balarama Varma, Velu Thampi Dalava, who took keen interest in uplifting Quilon as an administrative as well as commercial centre, organized a rebellion at Quilon against the British force. As a result of Kundara Proclamation issued by the Dalava on the 16th January 1809, thousands of people marched under the banner of Velu Thampi Dalava. The British defeated the local force and captured the Fort of Udayagiri and Padmanahbapuram. The ruler of Travancore became helpless and ordered to capture the Dalava. Velu Thampi Dalava decided not to surrender alive and committed suicide at Mannadi in Kadampanadu Village of present Adoor Taluk. During the reign of Rani Parvathy Bai, Pandalam was annexed to Travancore in 1812 AD. The old principality here was known as Airur Swarupam. The palace of Pandalam Raja is closely associated with Sabarimala Temple. It is believed that Sree Ayyappan was brought up by the then ruling Raja of Pandalam. Even now the ornaments of Sabarimala Temple are kept in this palace. It is worth mentioning that in the 9th Century A.D, the District had flourished in the field of culture and literature. The famous Niranam poets who had made great contributions to Malayalam literature belonged to this District. Marthanda Varma Maharaja, the maker of modern Travancore, played a remarkable role in the history of the State. During the reign of Dharmaraja, a notable event was the invasion of Tippu Sultan and the alliance Travancore made with the East India Company. There was strong protest in Travancore against the British in connection with the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1921. In 1922, a student’s strike was held which installed a lot of spirit and enthusiasm among the freedom fighters. During the same period, Congress leaders like ponnara Sreedhar and K.Kumar, the participants from Kerala in the flag satyagraha at Nagapur were arrested and beaten up by the police. The contribution of Elanthoor K.Kumar, Thadiyal Raghavan Pillai, Pandalam KP and N.G.Chacko to the National Movement have much significance in the history of freedom struggle.
The district can be proud of its rich contribution to the struggle for freedom. When Mahatma Gandhi visited the restwhile Travencore in 1937, he asked his follower Khadar Das T.P.Gopala Pillai to spread the message of Khadi and Charka. Inspired by Gandhiji he founded the ‘Mahatma Khadi Ashram’ at Elanthoor in 1941. He launched a scheme for mobilizing funds for khadi activities known as ‘ek paise fund’ in order to ensure the participation of the whole people in the Khadi Movement. The District has prominent role in the freedom struggle of the Country. Shri.K.E. Maman and Shri.K.A.Mathew are among the well-known freedom fighters who hail from Thiruvalla which belongs to Pathanamthitta District. After India became independent, the popular ministry was installed in Travancore on the 24th March, 1948. On the 1st July, 1949, Travancore and Cochin States were integrated and the Maharaja of Travancore became Rajpramukh of Travancore-Cochin State and this position continued till the formation of Kerala State on the 1st November, 1956, as per the States Reorganization Act, 1956. The District came into existence as a separate administrative unit on the 1st November, 1982 as stated earlier.