Palai is a municipal town 32 km east of Kottayam in the Indian state of Kerala, spread over an area of 15.93 km2. Pala has the largest proportion of Syrian Malabar Nasrani community in Kerala. It is situated 173 km North from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, on the banks of the Meenachil River and is the headquarters of the Meenachil Taluk and the Pala Revenue Division. It is the one of the main gateways to the southern high ranges of Western Ghats.
There are various versions regarding the origin of the place name. According to one, Pala gets its name from Palazhi (Ksheera Sagara), the mythological Ocean of milk from which nectar was churned out. Another view is that the name was derived from Palathu Chettiyar families, the prominent early settlers of the region.