One of the leading trade capitals of the Old World, Kollam is the centre of the country’s cashew trading and processing industry. Extolled by Marco Polo and Ibn Batuta in glowing terms, this was once a famous port of international spice trade. Thirty percent of this historic town is covered by the renowned Ashtamudi Lake, making it the gateway to the magnificent backwaters of Kerala.
The eight-hour boat trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is the longest and most enchanting experience on the backwaters of Kerala. The momentous decision to introduce a new Malayalam era was convened at Kollam and hence the Malayam calendar came to be known as kollavarsham.
Located 71 km to the north of Thiruvananthapuram, old name of Kollam was Quilon. The district has some interesting historic remnants and a number of temples built in the traditional ornate architectural style.
The major tourist attractions in Kollam are the Ashtamudi Backwaters, Thenmala Ecotourism Centre, Palaruvi Waterfall, Jatayupara and Alumkadavu. Those who wanted to explore beaches in Kollam then they have the Kollam, Thirumullavaram and Thangasseri beaches.
Ashtamudi Lake So called because of its 8 arms or channels, Ashtamudi Lake is the gateway to the backwaters. This 16 km long lake is the second largest in Kerala, finding its way into the sea through the Neendakara estuary. The District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) Kollam provides boat rides as well as houseboat cruises. The trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is one of the most popular and longest backwater cruises in Kerala. The eight-hour journey will give you an intimate experience of the famed waterways. Catch a glimpse of one of the many splendours of Ashtamudi backwaters. As the boatman gently dips his paddle, without disturbing the prevailing calm, the ripples spread out gently in the shimmering golden hue of the sun.
Thenmala Ecotourism It is India’s first planned eco-tourism destination, which is gaining popularity due to its unique vistas, bio-diversity and functioning. Situated about 72kms from Thiruvananthapuram, in the District of Kollam, the Thenmala Eco-Tourism shares its resources with the famous Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary at the foothills of the Western Ghats.
Palaruvi Waterfall Palaruvi – literally, stream of milk – is one of Kerala’s most picturesque waterfalls, cascading down a height of 300 feet. It is a favourite picnic spot for visitors from all over south India. The journey to Palaruvi through the dense tropical forest is a spellbinding experience. Palaruvi which means stream of milk makes its way down the rocks, from a height of 300 feet. It is a beautiful picnic spot. The PWD Inspection Bungalow and the KTDC Motel here offer comfortable accommodation. The surrounding mist-clad blue hills and green valleys form a stunning backdrop to the milk-white burst of foam whose muffled roar resounds through the otherwise tranquil virgin forest.
Thirumullavaram Beach is located 6 km north of Kollam in the state of Kerala. It is a secluded beach and a beautiful picnic centre. About one and a half kilometre into the sea is the Nyarazhcha Para, literally Sunday Rock, that can be seen from the shore at low tide. And near the beach is a Mahavishnu Temple.