Kottarakara served as a place of residence for the King. Thus, it is named 'Kottarakara', or "the land of the palace". (Kottaram means Palace and Kara means Land)The 'Elayidath Swaroopam' was the last ruling family of the area. The last queen of the dynasty voluntarily surrendered to King Marthanda Varma of Travancore in the 18th century.
Kottarakkara is a town located in the district of Kollam, formerly known as Quilon, in the Kerala state of India. It is 72 km to the north of the State Capital, Thiruvananthapuram, on the Main Central Road, a State Highway and 25 km to the east of Kollam on the National Highway.
The region is primarily agrarian. It has grown in population as well as economically. There are lots of educational institutions including the 'St. Gregorious College' and the 'IHRD Engineering College'. The place is well-connected, with a good network of roads and frequent bus services to all places. The Kollam - Chennai railway passes through Kottarakara and there is a railway station here.
Kottarakara, like other parts of India, is governed by different levels of government such as the three tiers of 'Panchayatraj', namely Village, Block and Jilla and, of course, the state and central governments. The revenue and land administration has the village as the basic unit. The Kottarakara Taluk consists of a number of villages. The Taluk is part of the Kollam Revenue Sub-Division, which is coterminous with the Kollam District.
The 'State Institute of Rural Development' is at Kottarakara. One of the three Extension Training Centres in the State is also here. Important Government institutions include the Irrigation Chief Engineer's (Kallada) office, Electricity Superintending Engineer's office, Transport Corporation's District office, Taluk Office and Taluk Hospital.
The Kottarakara Assemby seat has been held by the Kerala Congress leader 'R. Balakrishna Pillai' for decades. He holds the record for the highest margin of victory for any candidate to the Kerala Assembly. He has been responsible for most of the developmental activities here. However he lost the elections in May 2006. Other prominent political leaders from the area are 'E. Chandrasekharan Nair' and the late 'D. Damodaran Potti'.
Kottarakara is the place where the classical art form of Kathakali was conceived. It was developed by Kottarakkara Thampuran (the King of Kottarakkara) in competition with Krishnanattom which had its origin in Kozhikode.
Malayalam novelists Lalithambika Antharjanam and Kakkanadan hail from here.
The late Kottarakara Sreedharan Nair was one of India's best actors. His son 'Saikumar' and daughter 'Sobha' are Malayalam film actors. Veteran actor 'Bharat' Murali hails from Odanavattom near Kottarakara. 'Ganesh Kumar', MLA and former Minister, son of' R. Balakrishna Pillai' is also a renowned actor. 'K.P. Kottarakara' was a leading Malayalam film producer in the seventies.
Kottarakkara is a famous pilgrim centre for the Hindus as the seat of the famous Ganapati Temple. It is believed that the idol was sculptured by Perumthachan from the root of the jack tree.This temple is famous for its 'Unniappom'. There are lots of churches in the area, mostly of the 'Malankara Orthodox Church 'and the 'Marthomma Church'. Kottarakara also has a good number of Muslims with their mosque at market junction.
A number of smaller towns/villages surround the main town of Kottarakkara, such as Thrikkannamangal, Perumkulam, Pallickal, Mylom, Kulakada, Melila, Vettikavala, Poovattoor, Puthur, Oommannur, Valakom, Plappally, Panavely, Sadanandapuram, Odanavattom,Chengamanad and Thalavoor.