Othakkalmandam, is one of the oldest habitation in Kongu Njadu, being situated on the ancient Trade route from the Western ea-ports of Musiri, Thondi, Mandai from the time of the Roman Empire, especially of Emperor Augustus. (44 BC, to 14 A.D) to he interior Tamil nadu, Mysore, Andhra etc. The name Othakkal tvlandapam (litterally ‘othaone+kal Pillar + Mandapam Rest- house) as it is now popularly known, was the point from where the different routes to the north, east and the south branched off, and hence, after a tiresome journey from the western ports, especially through the thickly frested Paighat pass, the Caravau of traders (they would have travelled together for the fear of way side robbers) and what is more natural then to rest at a place from where each one w-ould proceed in his own direction! There must have been a large stone pillar, to which they could tie their camels for rest and a Chavadi (Mandap ant-inn) where they could rest! This is one of the usual interpretation of the name. Bishop Visuvasam, who was a well-read person, interested in history ças the many books from his hbrary, which had become a part of the Diocesan Library (thank God!) clearly bear testimony, with carefully written comments, underlining ete) had his own version: The name really would have been Otaka Camel + Mandapam. As Arabian Traders, they would have utilized the camels transporting their merchandise! So it was a place of rest for the camels of the caravan!
It was because of his particular interest in history he xvas greatly attracted to the past history of this region, consisting o the quadrangle area of Pollaehi-Kinathukadavu- Palladam-Vellalore (near Coimbatore) for their Trade-connections, he often visited these areas, facinated by their hory past! But at the same time, it greatly pained him, that the 40 KM. stretch of the Southern high way from Coimbatore to Pollachi, and also the eastern road through Palladam, to Cholamandalam, was bereft of any sign of Christianity! Infact Kurichi had a small chapel, which was not easily visible in his time. So after leaving the cathedral, practically there were no signs of Christianity, till one reaches Pollachi, from Pollachi to Udumalpet etc; Kinathukadavu had some C.S.l. followers but their presence was not evident! Hence his almost “fanatical” effort of purchasing lands for future Catholic institutions so that atleast the cross will be seen on the main road. A small plot of land on the main rord, opposite to the Premier Mills was bought and he got the Diocesan Council Catholic Women (D.C.C.W) to be interested to put up a social service centre there which was also to be used as a chapel on 16-3-1975. But it was too small for his gigantic dreams. After scouting around, a large and suitable plot for a church was finally purchased, and even larger plots of land for his future dreams of a Seminary (the present site of Christ the King Poly-technic) and yet another larger plot for a future Major Seminary (St. Antony’s farm, as it was called), where the Inter-diocesan Major Semianry named the Good Shepherd College came to existence during the time of his Successor.
Though not many catholic families were living, he placed the Carmelites of Podanur, in charge of this new area, and thus the church of St. Therasa of Child Jesus (a Carmelite saint!) came into being. The foundation for the church was blessed by Bishop Visuvasam, and laid on 20-06-1973, and the church was blessed by him on 16-03-1 975. Till its construction was over, Sunday Mass was celebrated in a private house here from 19-12-1972 and at Kinathukadavu in the Lutheran School from 29-12-1972. He separated this part from Carmel Nagar parish and estbalished it as a new parish on 18-06-1976 and it was made an independent station, and a priest from the Bishop’s House was put in charge. A new and more spacious church was built by Fr. Alexandes Selvanayagam and blessed by Bishop Ambrose on 25-02-1990, fox which the foundation was laid in 1988.
Ofcourse, Othakal Mandapam is now become an important centre, because of the Christ the King Poly-technic Institute anc the Good Shephered Major Seminary at Myleripalayam close by on the land partly bought by Bishop Visuvasam. Recently a Catholic of Variety Hall Road, Coimbatore a lay-man Mr. Thomas (owner of St.Thomas Furniture Mart) has, on his own, started a home for the Aged called “Karrunalayam”, close by with a chapal. Thougl: now a Parish Priest is appointed, he resides at Bishop’s House and comes from there for Sunday Masses.
Distance from the Cathedral Church : 16 K.Ms.
Total No. of Catholic Families in the Main Station : 130
No. of Catholics in the Main station : 400
Sundays : Only on Sundays at 8.30 a.m
1. Good Shepherd Major Seminary 0422 - 2610277, 2610796
2. St. Thomas Karunalayam :Home for the Aged
(Run by St. Thomas Furniture, Coimbatore)
1. Christ The King Polytechnic 0422 - 2610177, 2610366
2. Darling’s of Jesus