The town stands on the Ashtamudi Lake, with its belt of palm trees and picturesque promontories. It is an old port city on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake. It lies 63km north of Trivandrum. There is evidence that Desinganadu, as Kollam was earlier known as, and China exchanged trade ties in the past. As a Chinese designate, Marco Polo visited Kollam and was astonished by its beauty. But among the Europeans, the Portuguese were the first settlers in Kollam. They came to trade in 1502. The Dutch and the British followed.
Velu Thampi Dalawa of Travancore is said to be behind the improvement and modernisation of the district. New markets were set up. Traders and settlers were invited from neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Kollam lost some of its taluks and villages when Alleppey and Pathanamthitta districts were formed. Shencottah taluk was also given to the Madras state. It is now part of Tamil Nadu.
Quilon offers a unique means of seeing Kerala’s backwaters, via the nine-hour ferry ride from here to Alleppey. The boat leaves at 10 every morning and spends the day chugging through the lakes and canals, stopping at water-bound villages along the way. The traveling companions will be constantly changing as farmers, traders, children, grandmothers and businessmen hop on and off the boat at various stops. A complete backwater experience is provided by this trip. Narrow canals widen up to become lakes, the Chinese fishing nets, churches, and range of scenery and human activities win the travelers.
Kollam is an important marine district in the state of Kerala with a coastal line of 37.3km. The light house constructed in 1902, at Thangassery is 144.33ft high is also a place of tourist interest. This place used to be in possession of the Portuguese, Dutch and British consecutively. You can see the ruins of forts used by the Dutch and the Portuguese. The Thirumullavaram Beach is a semi-secluded beach, apt for swimming and relaxing. And it is only five km from Kollam town.
The Government Guest House built by C.I. Munroe, the Divan of erstwhile Travancore State in 1812, is a major attraction. It is a 48-acre complex on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake and is filled with a variety of rare trees and shrubs. The Children’s Traffic Park, designed by the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) is situated within the complex and is the largest traffic park in Kerala. An Adventure Park is also located here.
Kollam goes beyond the coast. There are waterfalls, hilly regions, sanctuaries and monuments to watch put for. At Aryankavu, about 70km away, near the Tamil Nadu border, you can find a temple dedicated to Lord Sastha. Palaruvi, which means ‘River of Milk’, is one of the best waterfalls in south India. It is surrounded by tropical forests where one can trek. Also, visit the Sasthamkotta Lake, 30km from Kollam town.
Kollam can be reached by road, rail and by boat! Frequent buses and taxis from other towns are common. It is only 60km from Trivandrum airport. Also, it lies on the main rail route connecting both ends of the state.
- “I’ve tasted some of the best fish preparations in my life! The cheerful people and the calm surroundings make for an ideal getaway for a family vacation.”Umaid Khan
- “Cruising on a houseboat, rowing a country boat and learning to make coir yarns... I did all that and much more at Kollam.”Rangan Yantham
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