Kollam - Quilon
- Kollam - Explore the mystic charm of this erstwhile port city
Touted as the gateway to the backwaters of Kerala, the erstwhile port
city of Kollam holds the rare distinction of being the cashew trading
centre of Kerala. With an impressive coastline, Kollam is equally
famous for its fishing industries and processing units as well.
Though for most tourists, Kollam is just a short stopover on the way to the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram, the fact is that it has many leisure activities that remain unexplored. The largest fresh water lake of Kerala, Sasthamkotta and a leisurely boat cruise along the fabled Ashtamudi lake that forms part of the Kollam backwaters are very much on cards while you are in Kollam.
A boat trip between Kollam and Alleppey is the longest and most delightful experience in the backwater tourism in Kollam to explore and experience the charm of the unique yet complex backwaters of Kerala.
Set out on a houseboat trip along the Asthamudi Lake connected to innumerable waterways, to enjoy the serene charm of nature and the simple rustic beauty of the village life. There are many historic places of interest along the coast including many temples that are built in the traditional Kerala architectural style. Step back in time at the 200-year-old Government Guest House, which exudes the timeless charm of the yore or explore the Adventure Park and the Tourist Boat Club. Options are all yours when you are in Kollam, the erstwhile business hub of Kerala.
No trip to Kollam can be complete without a trip to Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram at Vallikkavu, near Kollam. Apart from being a spiritual abode, it carries out many entrepreneurial activities in various fields like housing, education and health care industries among others.
Thangasseri, a seaside hamlet would be of great interest for history lovers as it still has many well preserved remnants of the fort and church built by the Portuguese. Kollam beach is an ideal spot to soak up the intriguing charm of a perfect beach holiday. Laze out in the coasts, enjoy a fabulous sun set cruise in a ferry or catch up with the local fishermen who go about their daily business.
Kollam beach has many colonial relics around like the clock tower, which can be seen from all parts of the city square and the English church cemetery which has many tombstones of the Britishers.
You cannot miss out the Thevally Palace, which houses the army unit, is an imposing structure that adds up to the charm of the lake surroundings. The famous papanasam beach in Varkala, easily accessible from Kollam is well known for its cliff edges and the brilliantly colored sand beach, which is a popular haunt for fun seekers not only from India but also from outside.
The Palaruvi waterfalls, which cascades down from a staggering height of over 300 feet would be a perfect spot for a few snapshots that bear the stamp of the bewitching beauty of this popular tourist spot.
Kollam tourism indeed caters to all your needs and sight seeing priorities. From history to culture and nature and adventure, there is something special for everyone.
- Tourism Attractions
Kollam beaches :
Undoubtedly the white sand beaches take the prime spot in Kollams tourism map. The gorgeous Mahatma Gandhi beach lies at a distance of 2 km from the town at Kochupilamoodu. The beach and its adjacent park attract hoards of tourists. The sun-kissed golden sand beach at Thirumullavaram is yet another popular beach attraction here. The beach at Thirumullavaram is safe for swimming and to indulge in water sports.
This salad bowl of colonialism legacy is located at a distance of 5 km from Kollam town. The place offers a multi hued cultural mosaic of Portuguese, Dutch, British and Indian cultures. Thangassery is the seat of Quilon Diocese, the oldest diocese in the entire Indian subcontinent, established in the year 1329 A.D. Very few churches built by the Portuguese survive today with most destroyed when the Dutch took control of the region in 1661 A.D and followed by the British East India Company in 1795 A.D. The area still has some beautiful churches built in the 17th and 18th centuries. The imposing Thangassery lighthouse towering to a height of 144 ft. was built in 1902 by the British to save the maritime travelers from the treacherous reefs of Kollam. The ruins of Fort St. Thomas built by the Portuguese in 1519 A.D lie scattered along the stretch of the beach.
Ashramam picnic village :
Ashramam picnic village lies at a distance of 2 km from the town on a sprawling 48 acre lush foliage. The park is located along the banks of the scenic Ashtamudi Lake. The Government guesthouse, a 200 year old structure, is located inside the park premises. Yatri Nivas, a budget hotel accommodation run by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) is also within the park area. There is also an excellent childrens play area inside the park. Other facilities include boat rides for enjoying the scenic backwaters and avenues to enjoy water sports.
Matha Amritanandamayi Math, one of the most popular pilgrimage centers in the state is located at Vallickavu, at a short distance from Kollam. The huge temple and Math are constructed near the place of birth of Matha Amritanandamayi Devi or Amma (meaning mother) - as she is popularly referred to. Many throng to the Math to catch a glimpse or darshan of Amma and to seek blessings and consolation from her.
Palaruvi Waterfalls :
This beautiful waterfall is located amidst dense tropical forests at a distance of about 75 km from Kollam. When literally translated Palaruvi means a stream of milk. The milky white foam of the waterfall aptly justifies its name. The mist-clad rolling hills and stunning greenery creates a perfect setting to enjoy this magnificent waterfall.
The idyllic town of Shastamkotta is located at a distance of 29 km from Kollam town. The town boasts of the largest fresh water lake of Kerala, enclosed by lush hills on three sides. The beautiful inland waterways of Shastamkotta make it ideal for enjoying the surreal tropical charms of Kerala with a boat ride. The town is also acclaimed as a centre for pilgrimage and an upcoming hub for eco-tourism.
The tranquil town of Thenmala lies at a distance of 66 km from Kollam town, at the foot of the majestic Western Ghats. The town is surrounded by dense forests and a number of rubber and tea plantations. Thenmala Dam, a major eco-tourism destination, is located close to the town amidst dense tropical jungles. Boat rides through the dam is a popular way to catch a glimpse of the wildlife in the nearby Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary. Thenmala Ecotourism venture is the first of its kind to be envisioned in India. A lot of initiatives with local support has been undertaken to preserve the unique bio-diversity of the reserve.
Jetayu Para :
This rock attraction traces its popularity to the ancient Indian epic of Ramayana. This huge rock is supposed to be where the great bird Jetayu fell after being slayed by the demon king Ravana when he abducted Sita, the consort of Lord Rama. The rock is ideal for organizing trekking expeditions. It is located at Chadayamangalam village on M.C road.
Courtalam Falls :
This beautiful cascade is located in Tamilnadu State. It is a cluster of 8 dazzling waterfalls videlicet the Main Falls, Five Falls, Tiger Falls, Shenbaga Falls, Old Courtalam Falls, Honey Falls, Orchard Falls and Sitraruvi Falls. The water which comes high up from the mountains is said to have medicinal healing properties. Tourists can take baths in the elixir waters of the fall.
The scenic town of Punalur is located at a distance of 45 km from Kollam. The town has a 400 ft. long suspension bridge built in 1877 across the mighty Kallada River, which is acclaimed as the only one of its kind in South India. Punalur has many plantations surrounding the town. The famous Punalur Paper Mills which started operations way back in 1885 lies near the town. The town is a major center for trade in timber, pepper, tropical cash crops et cetera.
This small fishing hamlet is located at a distance of about 8 km north of Kollam. Neendakara is the hub of Indo-Norwegian Fisheries Project, established in 1953. Neendakara is widely known for its Fishing Harbor and has a Fisheries Training Institute, ice factories, refrigeration plants, and Chinese fishing nets dotting the area.
The quaint town of Kulathuppuzha is located at a distance of around 10 km from Thenmala. The area is surrounded by virgin forests, a well known safe haven for wild elephants. The area is a favored tourism destination for exploring the exotic tropical greenery and for catching a glimpse of wild animals. Kulathuppuzha has a famous temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.
Located at a distance of about 80 km from Punaloor, the petite town of Achencoil is a well known Hindu pilgrim centre in South India. The Sastha temple here is situated on Kandamala, a hillock where the Lord gave darshan to a devotee who did a strenuously long penance. Devotees from Kerala and Tamilnadu throng the temple seeking blessings from Lord Sastha.
The erstwhile capital of Elayadathu Swarupam, a branch of the Travancore Royal family, is located at a distance of 27 km from Kollam. It was here Keralas world-famous dance drama of Kathakali caught on and grew in popularity under the royal patronage in the 19th century. Kottarakkara has many ancient temples and churches.
The village of Mayyanad lies at a distance of 10 km south of Kollam along the coastline. The town is famous for the temple dedicated to Lord Subramanian at Umayanalloor, which is believed to have been consecrated by the great Hindu philosopher and reformer Sri. Sankaracharya of Kaladi.
The town of Oachira is located at a distance of 32 km north of Kollam. The place is a unique center for pilgrimage, with the temple here having neither a shrine nor an idol. Oachira lures thousands of pilgrims during the annual festival of Oachirakkali held during the month of June.
Thevally Palace :
This palace, located in Kollam town, is now open to tourists after renovations done in the recent times. Magnificent views of the beautiful Ashtamudi Lake could be enjoyed from the palace. This palace still holds a romantic charm, as it is the setting where a noble lady of the palace fell in love with a British officer who lived across the lake. It is said that the faithful dog of the Brit used to swim across the lake to deliver his masters letters to the lady. Today a crumbling pedestal stands as a memorial to the dogs loyalty.
- Things To Do
Boating and Fishing :
Enjoy a boat ride in the Ashtamudi Lake or Thenmala Dam to catch the surreal tropical beauty of Keralas backwaters. The dam also offers facilities for boating, the best way to explore the scenic beauty of the place and to catch glimpses of wildlife. There is also facility to enjoy boating and water spots at the Ashramam Picnic village.
Bicycle rides :
This is one of the best ways to enjoy the quaint towns and the countryside. You can explore the place at your own sweet pace and watch the charms of nature unfold before your very eyes.
Beach Activities :
Enjoy a refreshing swim in one of the gorgeous beaches in Kollam. The beaches here are safe, ideal for swimming and to enjoy sunbathing.
Trekking and Mountaineering :
Enjoy an exhilarating trekking expedition or mountaineering in one of the many ideal settings around Kollam without much hassle. Jetayu Para and Thenmala are some of the places where one can enjoy trekking. The opportunities are numerous and you are certain to enjoy trekking in the exotic wilderness of Western Ghats.
The best buys here are handicrafts and handlooms. Kollam is much
acclaimed as the land of cashews and coir. Do try out fresh roasted
cashew nuts from any of the local shops. You can shop for silks and
artifacts at the busy Chinnakada or Bishop Jerome Nagar, which are the
major shopping centers in Kollam town.
- Moving Around
Cabs could be availed to travel to different locations. Buses could be a
little tricky as they are usually jam packed. If you are traveling to
distant towns, the best way would be to either commute by train or rent a
cab. If you are traveling to Alleppey, do take the ferry ride, which is
super cheap and the best way to explore the beauty of Keralas emerald
- Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit the place is between October and April. Plan your itinerary to include the Kollam Pooram held during the month of April when the town comes alive with vibrant hues of traditional art forms.
- How to Reach
By Flight :
The nearest airport is the Trivandrum International Airport located at a distance of 71 km from Kollam town.
By Rail :
The Kollam Junction rail road station is located right at the center of Kollam town. The town is well connected to all major cities in India.
By Road :
Kollam is well connected by road to all major cities in the country. NH 47 passes right through the middle of the town.
By Water :
Kollam boat jetty is located right next to the Kerala State bus stand at a distance of about 3 km from the train station. There are regular ferry services to Alleppey town and to other smaller towns in the vicinity.