Kottayam is also known as "Aksharanagri". It is 157 km south of Kunnamkulam, the center of Kerala, and is located almost 30 km west of the center of the district. Kottayam was also known as ‘Cotym’ and ‘Cottayam’ during the British Raj. It was one of the main centers of literature and hence was called Akshara Nagari or Land of Letters. Many of the first Malayalam dailies like Deepika, Malayala Manorama, Mangalam were started and are headquartered in Kottayam. During the British period, various missionaries, the Christian churches, and St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara himself established many schools, colleges, and other educational institutions in and around the town. Kottayam town is also known as Chuvarchithra Nagari. Kottayam is also known as the city of Letters, Lakes, and Latex.