Kollam or Quilon, an old seaport town on the Arabian coast, stands on the Ashtamudi lake. Kollam, the erstwhile Desinganadu, had a sustained commercial reputation from the days of the Phoenicians and the Romans. Fed by the Chinese trade, it was regarded by Ibn Batuta, as one of the five ports, which he had seen in the course of his travels during a period of twenty-four years, in the 14th century.
Located 71 kms to the north of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam is the center of the country"s cashew trading and processing industry. One of the oldest ports on the Malabaar coast, Kollam was one the port of international spice trade. The eight-hour boat trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is the longest and most enchanting experience on the backwaters of Kerala. The district also has some interesting historic remnants and a number of temples built in the traditional ornate architectural style.
Kollam District which is a veritable Kerala in miniature is gifted with unique representative features - sea, lakes, plains, mountains, rivers, streams, backwaters, forest, vast green fields and tropical crop of every variety both food crop and cash crop, so called "The Gods Own Capital".
Area : 2579 sq. Kms
Population :2,398285 (1991 census)
Air : Nearest airport Thiruvananthapuram (71 km).
Rail : Kollam is an important railhead of the southern railways. Road : an excellent road network links Kollam to all major towns & cities.
Places of Interest
Kollam Town - Kollam town, the headquarters of Kollam district, has a hoary past. It was an international emporium of trade and even now it is a prosperous commercial centre. It is situated about 71 Kms. north of Thiruvananthapuram and is linked by rail, road and backwater transport. The town edges with the famous Ashtamudi Lake. Many a foreign traveler has visited Kollam in early medieval period. It was one of the early centres of Christian activity in Kerala. It is said that the present town of Kollam was built by the Syrian Merchant; Sapir Iso, in the 9th Century A.D. The popularity of Kollam has been established by the time honoured proverb once you see Kollam, you will not need home any more. Kollam is an important commercial, industrial and trading centre. It is also the headquarters of Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation.
The 144 ft. Thangassery Light House, built in 1902, is a centre of attraction.
The Ananda Valleswaram Temple here attracts people on almost all days.
There are several Churches and Mosques in and around Kollam. The Pullichira Church was established in 1700 A.D.
Mahatma Gandhi beach & park at Kochupilamoodu, Thirumullavaram beach and Ashramam picnic Village, are some of the important spots of local sight seeing, Mahatma Gandhi beach lies just 2 Kms. from the town. It is fascinating place for an evening.
Thirumullawaram Beach is 5 kms. from the town. The sea here is ideal for swimming and bathing. Asramam picnic village is located in the 48-acre Guest House Complex. This is the centre of various tourism development activities of the district.
The Government Guest House here is 200 years old. It stands along Ashtamudi Lake and is a major attraction for its elegance rates.
The adventure park, located in the shores of the Ashtamudi backwaters, is a novel experiment in the country. Different types of boats, including luxury cruise boats, powerboats and motor boats, are available on hire from the boat jetty near to the Adventure Park. A budget hotel for tourists, Yatri Nivas, run by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, is also located in this village. The village is just 2 kms. away from the town.
Achencoil - Situated about 80 kms from Punalur is an important pilgrim center. The Sastha temple here, situated amidst dense forest. The idol of Sastha is supposed to have been installed several centuries before the Christian Era. The two important festivals of this temple are Mandala Pooja (December-January) and the festival held at "Revathi"(January-February). The two notable features of the festival are the Therotam (chariot festival) and Pushpabhishekam (offering of flowers).
Alumkadavu - Alumkadavu is located 26 Kms from Kollam City and on the banks of Kollam-Alappuzha National Water Way.
Amritapuri - Amritapuri located at 110 kms from capital of Kerala is the worldwide headquarters of The Mata Amritanadamayi Ashram. Amritapuri is the realisation of the ancient Indian ideal "the whole world is one family" (vasudhaiva kutumbakam). By bus or train: Kayamkulam (12 km north of Amritapuri) and Karunagappally (10 km south) are the major cities to reach. By air and taxi: The two closest airports are in Thiruvanantahapuram (110 km south of Amritapuri) and in Kochi (140 km north).
Anchal - Situated 13 kms south of Punalur, Anchal is known for its cattle market held twice a month. The Mudi festival of the Bhagavathy temple here, conducted once every 12 years, attract huge gatherings.
Aryankavu - Situated about 73 kms east of Kollam is one of the important pilgrim centers of the district. From very early days, it was an important trade route for merchants from either sides of Western Ghats. The chief attraction of Aryankavu is the shrine dedication of Lord Sastha. The temple has some fine sculptures and mural paintings. Thousands of pilgrim’s flocks of this temple during the Mandala Pooja in December. All trains towards Shencottah have a stop at Aryankavu. About 5 kms away from Aryankavu there is a big waterfall known as Palaravi.
Chavara - Chavara is situated 14 kms north of Kollam on the Kollam-Allappuzha road. Thousands of tonnes of mineral sand are exported from Chavara to various countries.
Jetayu Para - Jetayu Para, a huge rock, is another attraction in Kollam district. This huge rock is in the Chadayamangalam village on the M.C road. The name comes from the epic Ramayana. It is believed that Jatayu, the giant bird in the epic, fell after failing in its attempt to prevent the demon Ravana from taking Sita (wife of Lord Ram, hero of the epic) away. The rock is ideal for trekking by lovers of adventure.
Karunagappally - Karunagappally is situated 27 kms north of Kollam. It is linked with Kollam by rail and road. There is a mini civil station at Karunagappally. Padanayarkulangara, which forms part of the town, was once the military station at Kayamkulam Rajas. An idol of Buddha, recovered from a local tank here, is now preserved in the Krishnapuram palace the headquarters of Kayamkulam Rajas situated north of Oachira. The town has a temple dedicated to Lord Siva, two old mosques and a mar Thomas Church.
Kottarakkara - Kottarakkara is the headquarters of Kottarakkara Taluk. It is linked by rail and road,. It was once the capital of Elayadathu Swarupam, a principality ruled by a branch of the Travancore Royal Family. The internationally famous dance drama-Kathakali had its small beginning in this town and it flourished under the patronage of Raja of Kottarakkara.
Kulathupuzha - Kulathupuzha is situated on the Thiruvannathapuram - Sencottah road and is 10 kms south of Tenmala railway station. It is an important forest range, well known for its elephants. Reed, an essential raw material for paper manufacture at the nearby Punalur Paper mill, is partly supplied from Kulathupuzha valley.
Kundara - Kundara is linked with Kollam by rail and road, a distance of 18 kms. Large deposit of china clay discovered here, helped in the establishment of the Government Ceramics factory.
Kunnicode - The main attraction of Kunnicode, situated 10 kms west pf Punalur, is Pachilakunnu a small hillock where a Muslim saint is said to have breathed his last.
Mayyanad - Mayyanadu, 10 kms south of Kollam is noted for its shrines and temples. The most important temple is the one at Umayanallor, dedicated to Lord Subramanian. The shrine is said to have been consecrated by Shri.Adi Sankaracharya of Kaladi. Besides the temples, there are three churches and a Mosque. Cotton weaving and oil pressing are the main occupation in the village.
Neendakara - Situated about 8 kms north of Kollam , Neendakara is the Headquarters of the Indo-Norwegian Fisheries Community project, which was established in 1953. The important institutions under this project are the boat building yard at Sakthikulangara the Fisherman"s Training Institute, the ice factory and the refrigeration Plant. Neendakara Port, the hub of fishing activities is here.
Oachira - Situated, 32 kms north of Kollam on the Kollam Alappuzha National Highway and on the boundary of Kollam district, Oachira is a unique pilgrim center. The peculiarity of the temple here is that there is no temple building as such nor is there any idol. All classes of people worship the presiding deity the Parabrahmam (the eternal soul). Oachira draws thousands of Pilgrims for Oachirakkali, a festival held annually in June. It is also an important handicraft center where fancy articles of screw pine mats are manufactured.
Palaruvi Water Falls - The famous waterfall in Kollam District is situated at Palaruvi near Aryankavu, Kollam - Sencottah NH 208. Season to visit the places is from June to January.
Paravur - Paravur is an important fishing and coir production center. It is situated 13 kms south of Kollam and is connected with Kollam town by rail and road. It is the birth place of K.C.Kesavan Pillai(1865-1913) and Kesava Asan(1869-1917) ,two leading literary men of eminence.
Pathanapuram - An important trading center on the banks of the Kallada River, Pathanapuram is 13 kms away from Punalur. The Chandanakkudam mahotsavam of the mosque celebrated every year in February-March attracts thousands of devotees.
Pattazhi - Pattazi is the seat of an ancient temple, dedicated to Bhagavathy. The Mudi is the major festival of this temple.
Punalur - Punalur is one of the important industrial centers of Kerala. It is 45 kms from Kollam on the Kollam-Shencotta railway line and is also linked with Kollam by road. The Suspension bridge accross the Kallada river erected in 1877,is the only one of its kind in south India and it is 400 ft long. A concrete bridge has been constructed near by and now the suspension bridge is only of archaeological interest. Punalur is the head Quarters of Pathanapuram Taluk.
Sasthamcotta - Sastham cottah is an attractive village situated about 19 kms. from Kollam Town. It is a beauty spot, a health resort and a centre of pilgrimage. The extensive freshwater lake here, is said to be the biggest of its kind in Kerala. Water supply to the Kollam town is met by purifying the water from this lake. Buses are frequently operated to Sasthamcottah, which can truly be called as Queen of Lakes.
Thangassery - Thangassery is a place of historical importance situated 5 kms. away from Kollam town. The churches here are pretty old, having been established in the 18th century. The chief attraction of the place is the lighthouse, built in 1902. The 144 ft lighthouse stands as a sentinel, warning seamen of the treacherous reefs of Thangassery. The construction of a fishing harbour is in progress. Thangassery was an enclave of the Portuguese, Dutch and British in succession. The remnants of the Portuguese and Dutch forts still exits.
Thazhava - Thazhava in Oachira block is an important center of screw pine mat industry. An Image of Buddha, discovered from a tank known as Pallikkulam near Maruthoorkulangra is one of the interesting archaeological relics, associated with Kollam district
Thenmala - Thenmala is the meeting point of Kollam-Shencottah road and Trivandrum-Shencottah road, surrounded by dense forest, 66 kms east of Kollam. There are a large number of rubber and tea plantations in Thenmala. Timber of all varieties are exported from here to all parts of the country. Themala Dam site is open for tourists. Eco tourists center is situated at Thenmala. All buses passing through Kollam-Shencottah road stop at Tenmala. There is also a Railway Station here.