Located 71 kms to the north of Trivandrum, Kollam is the centre of the country's cashew trading and processing industry. One of the oldest ports on the Malabar coast, Kollam or Quilon was one the port of international spice trade. Kollam district has a number of pilgrim centres. Kollam is also an important hub for the state's marine products industry, with the port of Neendakara being the centre for trawlers and ice plants.
Thirty percent of this historic town is covered by the well known Asthamudi Lake, making it the gateway to refreshing backwaters of Kerala. The eight hour boat ride between Kollam and Alleppey is the longest and most enthralling experience on the backwaters of Kerala. The regions also has many interesting historic remains and a number of temples built in the traditional architectural style, all of which will spellbind you.
Thangasseri (5 km from Kollam town): This seaside village of historic importance has the ruins of an old Portuguese fort and churches built in the 18th century. The Thangasseri Lighthouse is open to visitors from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm. There are buses at 15 minute intervals from Kollam town.
Rameshwara Temple: This temple which shows Pandyan influence in its design has inscriptions in Tamil, dating from the 12th to the 16th century. The Vyala monster sculptures in this temple are carvings which give one the impression that the creatures are animate and are actually climbing upstairs with their outstretched paws.
Ochira (34 km north of Kollam town): The unique feature of this famous pilgrim centre is that there is no deity or idol at the famous Parabrahma temple dedicated to universal consciousness. Ochira Kali in mid June and the twelve day Panthrandu Vilakku 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 (fighting spot). 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.
Sasthamkotta (29 km from Kollam town): The vast fresh water lake here is the largest of its kind in Kerala. The ancient Sastha temple which lends its name to the town, is an important pilgrim centre. There are frequent bus services from Kollam. Accommodation is available at the PWD Rest House.
Kulathupuzha (64 km from Kollam town): Situated on a forest range on the Thiruvananthapuram - Shenkottai road, Kulathupuzha is known for the Sastha temple. The Vishu Mahotsavam in April/May is the most important festival. There are frequent buses from Kollam to Kulathupuzha. The Thenmala railway station is just 10 km from here.
Ariankavu (70 km from Kollam town): Situated on the Kollam - Shenkottai road, Ariankavu is famous for the shrine dedicated to Lord Sastha. Mandala Pooja and Trikalyanam celebrated in the month of December are the main festivals here.
Attractions and Places to Visit in Kollam
Thangasseri: This seaside village of historic importance has the ruins of an old Portuguese fort and churches built in the 18 century. The Thangasseri Lighthouse which is 144 ft high, is a must visit place here.
About 6 kms north of Kollam, Thirumullavaram beach is secluded beach and a perfect place for the picnickers.
Mayyand: Located 10 kms south of Kollam Mayyand is known for its shrines and temples. The most important of the nine temples here is the Subramanya Temple at Umayanallor.
How to Reach Kollam
Air : nearest airport Thiruvananthapuram (71 km).
Rail : kollam is an important railhead of the southern railways.
Road : an excellent roat network links Kollam to all major towns & cities.