"Once you have seen Kollam, you would no more need your illam (Home)" !!
Kollam is another major trade and commercial centre of Kerala. Kollam or Quilon is an old sea port town located on the Ashtamudi lake, 71 km. from Thiruvananthapuram. More than 30% of Kollam is occupied by the Ashtamudi lake, therefore the city is a great backwater spot too. Tourists visit this place for refreshing holidays and enjoy boat cruising. The coastline of the Arabian Sea, thick greens and calm backwaters enable Kollam to be a pleasant destination for nature lovers.
Kollam has been a reputed commercial centre since the times of Romans & Phoenicians. The credit for development goes to the Travancore kingdom. The East & West coats of Kollam were used to export spices, pearls, diamonds and silk to Egypt and Rome. Kollam also had trade relations with China. Today you can see Chinese fishing nets, huge Chinese water pots, blue and white porcelain and sampan-like boats in Kollam, which is the result of this international trade.
The very first trading centre in Kollam was established in 1502 by the Portuguese, which was later handled by the Dutch (1662). In 1795, the British took charge over Kollam's trade. Kollam's business flourished under several kingdoms, and even today it is one of the leading players in cashew nuts, coir products and spices.
Kollam/Quilon is a marvelous old port city situated along the Ashtamudi lake. Kollam, famous as the land of cashews, is a hot tourist destination because of its wide range of beaches. Kollam provides beautiful scenery surrounded by coconut palms and other thick greens. The beaches are safe for swimming. They are well known for activities like boat cruising, surfing, fishing etc. Kollam beaches are perfect for sports like beach volleyball, football etc.
Thirumullavaram is the most popular beach spot of Kollam. It is a beautiful picnic centre and is just 5 km. away. Tourists visit this spot for a relaxing beach holiday. The atmosphere here is perfect for sun bathing. Though it becomes a bit humid in summers, the cool sea breeze keeps the environment pleasant.
You can also visit the Thangasseri Beach. This beach has a great historical value. It has remnants of Portuguese and Dutch forts and some beautiful 18th century churches. This beach is also popular because of Thangasseri Lighthouse. The lighthouse is 144 feet high and was built in 1902.
Kollam's backwaters are among the major attractions of Kerala. If you are an adventure loving person, you must try a boat cruise from Kollam to alleppey, which takes roughly eight hours. And it is surely the best way to explore the natural beauty and exotic flora & fauna closely.
Thangassery is an important place situated 5 km. from Kollam town. This place has great historical value. It was a territory of the Portuguese, which was taken over by the Dutch and later by the British. The remnants of their forts still can be seen here. Another major attraction of this place is an old lighthouse called Thangassery Light House. The lighthouse is 144 feet high and was built in 1902. Besides, you can also see a few churches here that were constructed in the 18th century.
The Ashtamudi lake, which covers more than 30 percent area of Kollam, is another marvelous attraction. It provides you a unique scenic beauty, houseboat cruises, ayurvedic centers and much more. You can also enjoy a backwater trip from Kollam to Alappuzha (takes around 8 hours) through the waterways of Kollam.
Tourists from all over the world visit Kollam to see Oachira. It is a unique pilgrim centre, situated 32 km. from Kollam (on the Kollam Alappuzha National Highway). The temple is devoted to Param-brahmam. Oachira is famous for Oachirakkali. This is a festival, celebrated in June every year. Oachira is popular among tourists for handicrafts, fancy articles of screw pine mats etc.
Besides, you can also visit Kottarakara Sree Mahaganapathy Kshethram. This temple is situated at Kottarakara (about 30 km from Kollam). This temple is dedicated to Lord Vighneswara (Ganapathy).
During your vacations at Kollam, you should not miss Jetayu Para. This is a huge rock in Chadayamangalam village. As the name suggests, it is linked with the epic Ramayana. People believe that Jatayu, the giant bird, died here after a war with Asur King Ravana. This rock is a perfect spot for trekking. It is admired by all tourists who love adventure.
Another centre of attraction is Mayyanadu. This spot is famous for shrines and temples. Umayanallor temple, devoted to Lord Subramaniam, is considered the most important temple. The shrine, situated 10 km. from Kollam, is believed to be consecrated by Sri Shankaracharya of Kaladi. Here there are also three churches & a mosque too. This village is well known for cotton weaving and oil pressing.
Buying typical south Indian textiles and jewellery from Kollam is actually worth. Besides, you can also purchase several handlooms and handicraft items. Kollam's specialty lies in cashews, spices and coir products.
Climate & Best Time To Go
Although Kollam witnesses tropical coastal climate, the weather is pleasant throughout the year. The vast greens keep the heat in control. Summers (March-May) are pleasant here and temperature varies between 25 to 32 degree Celsius. The monsoons (June-September) is good for backwater tourism. Kollam enjoys winters from December to February and temperature ranges from 18 to 25 degrees. The place can be visited throughout the year.
How To Reach
Thiruvananathapuram International Airport is the nearest airport which is 70 km. (approximately). Kollam has its own rail head which is well connected to Mumbai, Kanyakumari and many other parts of the nation. Kollam lies in between three national highways, out of which NH47 is the primary one. Options are available for local transport as well. You can avail facilities by KSRTC, or can hire yellow-topped tourist taxis or auto rickshaws.