Kollam or Quilon, is an old seaport and city on the Laccadive Sea coast in Kerala, India on the Ashtamudi Lake banks. Kollam, once called Desinganadu, had a sustained commercial reputation from the days of the Phoenicians and the Romans. Fed by the Chinese trade, it was regarded by Ibn Battuta as one of the five ports which he had seen in the course of his travels during twenty-four years, in the 14th century.
Once known as Quilon, Kollam has a host of other attractions. Kollam is historically remembered as being one of the most important ports which were part of the legendary Spice Trade.
Kollam prides in a rich socio-cultural history from ancient times. It had been a hub of royal administration while being the capital of the ancient Venad province during 9th to 12th centuries C.E. Its proximity to the sea and the presence of the natural harbour at Neendakara had occasioned commercial transactions with foreigners from ancient times.
Kollam references can be found in Roman and Phoenecian accounts from the first century C.E. In later times, it finds mention in the travel writings of the Chinese, Arabs and Europeans like Muhammad Ibn Battuta, Sulaiman Al- Tajir and Marco Polo dating from 9th century onwards. Over a third of its surface is covered by the great Ashtamudi Lake, the entrance of the renowned backwaters of Kerala.
The Kollam district is situated in the state and heart of gods own country, Kerala. It occupies almost 2491 Sq.Km of the area.
How to reach Kollam?
Although, the nearest airport is the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport which is 51 kms from Kollam. Many airlines are available from the Trivandrum Airport, which is located 70 kms from Kollam.
Kollam has its own railway station. The Kollam Junction (QLN) with regular trains which makes tourists and local accessible one district to another, easily.
Kollam is connected with a large network of roads with regular buses to transport one to any part of the city.
Main Bus Station: Kollam City Junction.
When to visit Kollam?
The gods own country Kerala, can be visited any day from 365, although the best time to visit Kollam is August to March when there are cultural events and festivities going on.
During this time, the weather has its cool breezes and is chilly, unlike summer when it get too humid.
The official language of Kerala is Malayalam. However, a small minority of people also speak languages like Tulu, Konkani, Marathi and Kannada.
- Summer Season: March to May
- Average Temperature: 32°C to 36°C. The warmest month is May with an average maximum temperature of 32 degree Celsius.
- Winter Season: June to September
- Average Temperature: 19°C to 30°C. A lot of rain falls in the month of May, June, July, August, September, October and November.
- Monsoon Season: October to February
- Average Temperature: 18°C to 29°C. The coldest month is December with an average maximum temperature of 29 degree Celsius.
Fair & Festivals of Kollam
The annual craft festival, organised by the Kollam District Tourism Promotion Council (KDTPC) in association with the State and Central Governments, is held during the month of December-January. This festival features the work of craftsmen from all over the country. Apart from the display and sale of a variety of arts and crafts items, there were folk and tribal art performances which enthralled visitors.
The mock sword-fight Oachirakkali is one of the most important festivals of Kollam. Oachira has been famous for long as one of the sacred places of Kerala. This festival is celebrated in June every year in the Oachira temple. . On this occasion, the young and the old, drawn from the two Karas lying east and west of Oachira, from themselves into two groups, reach the Padanilam and conduct the age-old fencing exercise under the leadership of the elder Kalari asan.
For local transportation, there is a wide range of choices available for tourists such as-
- Buses: The green and brown coloured bus can be easily seen on the roads of Chennai which offers cheap and affordable services.
- Cycles/Bikes: Tourists who really wish to see the authenticity of Chennai and feel the each and every moment of their stay can choose cycle or bikes available at agencies. Available for few hours, or for full day.
- Taxi: Sharing as well as personal taxies can be hired for visiting the city. Packages of different ranges are available to choose.
- Ferry boats: the option of ferry boats is also available throughout Kerala to connect from one district to another.
Top places to visit in Kollam
Kollam’s main beach, which is 2 kms south of town, is absolutely worth an evening stroll for its sunsets and the colourful local fish market at the harbour to its north.
The term Palaruvi translates to “milky streams”. It is a stunning waterfall located on the Kollam-Shencottah Road, which falls from almost 300 feet. It is the 32nd highest waterfall in India, it is also known to have Ayurveda properties and many healing properties too.
Ashtamudi literally means ‘Eight Coned’ in Malayalam. The Lush green waterways lined with palm and coconut trees, makes it a no better place than to start exploring Kollam that is considered to be one of the best Kollam tourist places. A houseboat trip to this lake is one of the most popular things to do in Kollam.
Paravur Lake is one of the top places to visit in Kollam. It is one of the stunning lakes in Kerala, the glittering waters are a visual treat to the eyes.
Krishnapuram Palace Museum
Few kilometers south of Kayamkulam and 35km north of Kollam, is this restored mid-18th-century palace which is one of the finest remaining examples of royal Keralan architecture.
At the north end of the harbour, lies Thangassery which was once an important Portuguese, then Dutch and finally British trading post.The remains of the 1519 Portuguese-era Fort Thomas can still be seen from here.
In Red-and-white stripes is Kollam’s imposing 1902-built, 43m-tall barber-pole, lighthouse. The view from the light house in just exquisite.
The clock tower is a central kollam landwark and is almost 70 years old.
A hindu temple located in Kollam, which is a famous pligrimage and tourist spot and is one of the most ancient temples of Kerala. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and exudes a certain charm and positivity.
Rameshwara Temple: To Seek Blessings
An ancient temple in Kollam which dates back to the 12th Century. It is believed to be built in the Pandian style of architecture which is also dedicated to Lord Shiva. In fact, one fascinating feature of this temple is the sculpture of Vyala, the mythological monster.
This church is known for its spiritual serenity. Pullichira Church is as old as 16th century AD and is one of the popular tourist places in Kollam for its annual fest. The most appropriate time for visiting the church is around Christmas festival.
Kottukkal Cave Temple
Kottukkal cave temple, located in the Kotthukkal village, is one of the many places to see in Kollam. The temple is also known as Kaltrikkovil in Malayalam language and is a beautiful rock-cut temple.
Cuisines to taste in Kollam
Being a place of tradition and heritage, Kollam serves the traditional Keralite cuisine that consists of Puttu, Dosa, Idli, Rice, seafood etc. in addition with some typical food items of Kollam such as Arikkadukka and Stuffed Mussels which are to be found anywhere in Kollam. However, cuisine such as Chinese, Mughlai and continental can be easily available in any restaurant.
Activities to do in Kollam
Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary
The best place for Wildlife Enthusiasts is this sanctuary. It is a part of Agasthyamalai biosphere reserve and is home to several species of flora and fauna
Kollam Adventure Park
This is an urban park that is located beside the backwaters of Ashtamudi and is a regular spot for locals to come out and enjoy a picnic with their loved ones and to enjoy the adventure activities. It is considered as the best tourist places in Kollam for a fun day out.
Asramam Adventure Park
Located in the core of the city, it is a fun adventure park for children. You can even experience backwater cruises from here to Alleppey.
Jatayu’s Earth Centre
This is a recent construction and is a rock-themed park. The adventure park has 6D theatre an audio-visual digital room, cable car and much more. It is built to promote mythology and adventure tourism.
Souvenirs to buy in Kollam
In Kollam, the market sells different kinds of cashew nuts and coir, which are produced in great abundance.
Throughout Kerala, including Kollam, shell are very famous. The locals make ornaments and decorative show pieces using different shapes and sizes of shells which are worth buying.
Kollam is very famous for its handicrafts, handloom and traditional clothes and jewellery. In fact, handicrafts are also one of the most attractive things to look forward in Kollam.