Kottayam has a special place in the cultural map of Kerala. In Kottayam the community that is found in majority is the Syrian Christians and has influenced the culture of Kottayam. It can be seen in the special cuisines with the use of coconut and spices, and non vegetarian foods like Beef, Pork etc.
The main dance forms of this place are Margamkali and Arjuna Nirtham. Margamkali is a group dance performed by both men and women and the martial arts Parichamuttukali is common among the Syrian Christians. Earlier it was usually performed during the wedding ceremony of the Syrian Christians. The themes of the songs for the dance are obtained from the life of St. Thomas. Arjuna Nirtham which is also named as Mayilpeeli Thookkam is a dance performed by men especially during night.
The festivals of Kottayam give a clear view of the culture of this place. Some of the main festivals of Kottayam are Sabarimala Thiruvabharana Ghoshayathra, Erumeli- Petta Kuttu, Pakil Sree Dharmasastha Kshethram- Ulsavan, Sabarimala Makaravilakku Maholsavam etc.
The major publishing houses in Kottayam are Malayala Manorama, Bhashaposhini and Deepika and they have made great contributions towards the literary and cultural growth of the city. Several books are published from here and it is estimated that around 70% of the State`s book publication is from Kottayam.