Kollam earlier known as Quilon is an old sea port town on the banks of Ashtamudi lake. In ancient times Phoenicians, Persians, Arabs, Greeks, Romans and Chinese traded with this port. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish a trading centre at Kollam followed by Dutch and the British. There are some historic remains and a number of temples built in the traditional ornate architecture that reflects its riches in the past. Kollam is the gateway point to the magnificent backwaters of Kerala.
¤¤ Facts and Figures
Area : 2579 sq. km
Altitude : Sea Level
Population : 2,398,285
Kollam, Karunagapalli, Kottarakkara, Pathanapuram, Kunnathur
Kollam, Punaloor, Paravoor
¤¤ Tourist Season
August to March
¤¤ Tourist Attractions
Thangasseri (5 km) is a seaside village of historic importance and has the ruins of an old Portuguese fort and churches built in the 18th century. The Thangasseri lighthouse which is 144 feet high, is open to visitors from 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm. There are buses at 15 minute intervals from Kollam town.
Thirumullavaram Beach (6 km) is a secluded beach and forms an ideal picnic centre and has frequent bus connections to the town. Mayyanad (10 km) is noted for its shrines and temples. The most important of the nine temples here is the Subramanya Temple at Umayanallor. There are frequent buses form Kollam to Mayyanad.
Sasthamkotta (29 km) is a vast fresh water lake surrounded by hills on three sides. It is the largest of its kind in Kerala. The ancient Sastha Temple is an important pilgrim centre. There are frequent bus services from Kollam. Accommodation is available at the PWD Rest House.
Ochira (34 km), to the north of Kollam town, is this unique famous pilgrim centre, with no idol or deity. The famous Parabrahma Temple is dedicated to the Universal Consciousness. Ochira Kali in mid June and the twelve day Panthrandu Vilakku (twelve lamp festival) in November/ December are the two main annual festivals. Ochira Kali is a mock fight enacted between groups of men dressed as warriors on the padanilam (battle field). They perform a martial dance standing in knee-deep water, brandishing swords and shields, and splashing water in every direction. There are frequent buses from Kollam and Alappuzha.
Kulathupuzha (64 km) is situated on a forest range on the Thiruvananthapuram - Shenkottai road. Known for the Sastha temple, Kulathupuzha celebrates the Vishu Mahotsavam in April/ May. There are frequent buses from Kollam to Kulathupuzha. The Thenmala railway station is just 10 km from here.
Thenmala (66 km east of Kollam): The area is covered by dense forest, rubber and tea plantations. An Eco Tourism Development Project is under implementation here. Thenmala is also a dam site.
Ariankavu (70 km) is situated on the Kollam Shenkottai road. Famous for the shrine dedicated to Sree Sastha, this place witnesses the festivals of Mandala Pooja and Trikalyanam celebrated in the month of December. There are frequent buses to Ariankavu from Kollam. Palaruvi waterfalls (75 km), meaning the stream of milk makes its way down the rocks, from a height of 300 feet. The Palauruvi woods forms a beautiful picnic spot. The PWD Inspection Bungalow and the KTDC Motel offer comfortable accommodation. The Rameshwara Temple portrays Pandyan influence in its design has inscriptions in Tamil, dating from the 12th to the 16th centuries. The Vyala monster sculptures in this temple give one the impression that the creatures are animated and actually climbing up the stairs with their outstretched paws.
Matha Amrithanandamayi Ashram, Vallikavu is the residence and headquarters of Matha Amrithanandamayi Devi, situated at Amrithapuri near Vallikavu. The ashram is accessible both by road and boat. Picnic Village, located at Ashramam, along the backwater front, is the main centre of recreational activities in Kollam. A 200 year old Government Guest House, and Adventure Park, a Tourist Boat Club, a Children's Traffic Park and a Yatri Nivas are all housed in this vast tourist complex.
Kottukal Rock Cut Cave Temple (11 km) is a magnificent temple, situated on the Thiruvananthapuram - Kottayam MC Road. Jatayupara is a huge rock at Chadayamangalam and takes its name form the mythical bird Jatayu in the epic Ramayana, who is believed to have collapsed on the rock after failing in his attempts to thwart Ravana's kidnapping of Sita. The crafts festival is held annually during December-January. It features the work of craftsmen from all over the country.