Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kollam Tourism, Tourist Places in Kollam, Tourism in Kollam, Tourist Attractions in Kollam, Tourist Destinations in Kollam, Kollam Tourist information, Kollam travel, Tours to Kollam, Kollam Kerala, Kollam attractions in Kerala, Kollam Beaches

Kollam also called Quilon is a district in south Kerala. The capital of the district is also known by the same name. Kollam is a mid sized coastal town located in the west of the district where it meets the Arabian Sea

Geographically Kollam represents a sample slice of what Kerala is. The west of Kollam is a long wide coastline facing the Arabian Sea. The eastern edge of Kollam district is hilly, and gradually merges into the fringes of Western Ghats. The plane midland lies between the western coastal strip and the hilly eastern region. On the planes is the  giant  Ashtamudi  Lake with numerous streams radiating out of it. 

History of Kollam is both old and significant. In the earlier days (8 century AD) , Kollam was called Desinganadu. In those days Kollam was the capital of a kingdom called Venad.

Roughly Venad comprised of the present day Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram and the Kanyakumari District now in Tamil Nadu. Again Venad was one of the 18 kingdoms that formed the south Indian empire called Cheran Empire. Many centuries ( read it as many battles ) later , Venad was expanded into a new kingdom called Travancore. Approximately Travencore comprised the south half of modern day Kerala from the borders of Cochin (kingdom) downwards, and also some areas that is now in the Tamilnadu state.

Then came the colonial era of India. Kollam was still ruled by the Travancore kings, but under the dominion of Madras Presidency, constituted by the British. In Kollam town the Post independence of India , in 1956 Kerala state was formed primary on linguistic basis. That is the Malabar ( north Kerala) , Cochin ( central Kerala) and the Travancore regions were merged into one state called Kerala.
Then came the Nestorian Christian merchants. They settled in Kollam. The history of Syrian Christianity of Kollam practically starts with their arrival. So is the Malayalam era calendar that is believed to be established by Nestorian Christian in 825 AD. The calendar is called Kollavarsham , literally Year of Kollam. Kollavarsham continues to be the traditional calendar of Kerala. Now, the word Kollam in Malayalam language is synonym to the word year.

The arrival of European traders in Kollam started with the Portuguese in 1502 AD, the Dutch in 1661 AD and finally the British. The European merchants were slightly different from the Chinese, Persian, Phoenician and the Roman merchants who already had long established trade base in Kollam many centuries before the arrival of European merchants.

Their trade interest gave way to power struggle. The rivalries between the local kings were exploited to the core to by the competing European traders to establish foothold. A place called Thangasseri in the northern fringe of Kollam town still has the remains of the Dutch fort. The British were more successful than the Portuguese and the Dutch. The British influence on the local rulers lasted till the end of colonial era in 1947.

Velu Thampi, the Dalava ( prime minister) of Travancore made famous proclamation in 1809 in urging people to fight the British. This proclamation had a profound effect in the series of revolts that ensued. The proclamation was made at a place called Kundara in Kollam. 

In the heart of the town, just across the lake is a giant mansion build during the early years of colonialism. This was used as the bungalow of Colonel John Munro, who was appointed by the then British Raj as the Resident. This 1810 built mansion is pleasant hybrid of the Kerala English style architectures. Post Raj , it works the government's guest house. However it is still known as Residency Bungalow, its original intent. 

Though its international importance faded in the past centuries, Kollam still remained as an important local trade center. It has significant production of cashew, coir, copra and tiles. Even today a tour to Kollam is never complete without a visit to the traditional tile factory and the coir making yards. The trade unionism of Kollam is as old and widespread as its factories. In the modern day Kerala, communism is as live and kicking as it was ever in the history. Kollam is no different. Its modern day politics is noisy and vibrant.The giant country  barges once used to move its industrial and agricultural cargo is now converted into House boats for tourists! Though the place is no more called Venad , an express train called Venad Express connects the erstwhile Venad with Malabar. In simple terms, Venad Express connects Trivandrum with Shornur. Of course this daily train passes via Kollam. 

Talking of trains, if you are interested in seeing how railway stations looked some 100 years back, head towards Kollam railway station. Though a modern looking buildings has replaced much of the old railway station , some parts still retains its legacy, especially the east end of the station. This older part of the building is now mostly used by the railways parcel and mail services.

The two storied red brick ‘chowk’, now located near the goods yard facing the town square still has that old era charm. You can see this building closely as the main flyover in the city pass between this building on one side and the landmark clock tower on the other side. For very long time, the railway station was having both meter gauge and broad gauge lines - one diesel powered and the other with steam engines - as if the modern day Kollam was refusing to leave its legendary past. 

So whatever you are seeing and experiencing in Kollam is not really disconnected from its eventful past.

Accessing Kollam (Quilon) is no great difficulty from anywhere in the country. A major rail link of the Indian Railways passes right through Quilon town. It is an important railway junction on the railway's map.So are the National Highways. National Highway 47 (NH 47) passes through Kollam. Two other national highways - NH208 and NH220 - start from Kollam. And there are numerous roads radiating out of Kollam connecting other towns and cities, both of Kerala and neighboring Tamilnadu state. The state owned KSRTC buses operate from the bus stand in the Heart of the town. All the long distance and local bus services of KSRTC operate from here. Also there are few private bus stands in the town center with frequent services to the nearby places.

Kollam has no airports. Trivandrum, about 65 km south of Kollam is the nearest airport for Kollam. Another option is  Cochin airport, which is about 175 km north of Kollam. Trivandrum and Cochin are international airports with plenty of domestic flights operation too.

For the curiosity's sake, Kollam do have some old airstrip, not much used for flying anymore though. The ground is now used by numerous driving schools as practice ground and of course cricket too is played on this erstwhile 'plane ground'.
Kollam is often described as the gateway to the backwaters in this part of Kerala. There is a boat jetty in Kollam with regular services to the designations in and around the district. The boat jetty is located right next to the KSRTC bus stand. 

Though Kollam is a port town, there are no ferry services by sea route from Kollam. The ports are mostly used for fisheries and cargo transport.


Aryankavu is one of the peaceful and Beautiful places in Kerala. Known as The Valley of Western Ghats Range (Sahya Parvatham) and one of the state border of Kerala Tamilnadu (Kottavasal). Aryankavu situated 73 KM away from Quilon (Kollam) and 80 KM away from Trivandrum. Palaruvi one of the famous water fall located just 4 KM away from Aryankavu JN. Also famous  Dharmasastha (Ayyappa) Temple this is on the way to Tamilnadu about 73 KM from town at Kollam Chenkottai road. This temple is known as Ayyappa Temple, Lord ‘Sastav’ Temple, Dharma Sastha Temple. The annual festival of this temple is on December is very famous and special.  Also biggest St: Mary’s Syro Malabar Church in Kollam district and St: George Malankara churches locating there.1 KM long rail Tunnel sharing Kerala and Tamilnadu. Near by tunnel (Kaimpinthottam-8Acre) also locate Poikayil House. PM Luko, Johnson and Jose are from this family. Kallada (Thenmala Dam) Irrigation project, Asia’s first Ecco Tourism is just 12 KM away from Aryankavu. Five falls and Tenkassi Kuttalam ( curttalam) is locating just 21 KM away. The way to Aryankavu, can watch look out and Pathimoonnu Kannara Palam (13 Arch Bridge) at Kazhuthurutti, is also a very beautiful sight in the Kollam district of Kerala.

The Thenmala mainly a forest area, having rubber and tea plantations. Thenamal Eco Tourism project is under way. This will be India’s first planned Eco-Tourism destination. An Eco Tourism Development society is the promoter of this project, they offer some battery powered buses for moving inside the forest. Kerala’s one of the biggest irrigation project ‘Kallada’ is near to Thenmala. At the Kallada power station there is music fountain during evening except Mondays.

Palaruvi Waterfalls
The palaruvi Water fall on the way to Chenkotta 75 KM East of Kollam town. The name 'Palaruvi' means strem of Milk, is one of the picturesque water fall of Kerala just like a stream of milk. It falling from a height of 300 feet. Visitors from all over India consider it as a picnic spot. To reach there one have to travel through thick dark rain forest. PWD rest house and KTDC motels are there for accommodation. The surrounding blue hills surrounded by mist and green valley from a wonderful backdrops of the 'Palaruvi' whose roar is the only sound other than the tranquility of the virgin forest. 

This is Thangassery is historically important place just 5 KM from Kollama Town. There is ruins of Portuguese Fort and 19th Century Church. The Thagassery beach has a light house of 150 feet toll and is open between 3.30 PM and 5 PM.

Thirumullavaram Beach
This is an idle beach for bathing and and swimming. This is quite and small beach just 6 KM from town.

Kulathupuzha is famous for 'Sree Dharama Sastha Temple' which is located at Thiruvananthapuram - Chenkotta root and is 60 KM from Kollam. The festival of this temple(Vishu Mahotsavam) is attracted by thousands of people and is during April. The Thenmala Railway station is Kollam - Chenkotta root is just 10 KM from here

This is a pilgrim center near Kayamakulam. Vallikkavu is best known for Matha Amrithananda Mayi Mutt and Matha Amrithananda Mayi Amma on of India's female Gurus.

This is the largest fresh water lake in Kerala surrounded by hills on three sides. The ancient 'Sastha' Temple gives the name to the place. This is an important pilgrim centre of Kollam

This is located 20Km from thenmala at Punalur - Chenkotta Road. This is a hilly area, the hill tribe called 'Malavettar' living here. The still following their traditional way of living. They have two settlement at both sides of the river. Achankovil are one of the important 'Sastha' temples of Kerala.

Karunagapilly is a small coastal town located 15 KM from Kollam Town. The area is famous for Travencore Titanium Company which is producing Titanium Sponge. It use Illuminate sand available at the coastal area as row material

 This is a historically important town located east of Kollam. In the 14th century the Travencore Roayal family was divided into two with area north of Thiruvananthapuram under the rule of 'Eleyedath Swaroopam' with the capital at Kottarakkara. Rani was the ruler of Kottrakkara who was offered protection from travencore by Dutch. And in the war between Travencore and Ilayidathu swaroopam on 1741 , the 'Marthnda Varma' defeated the joint army of Kottarakkara and Dutch

The mayyanad is known for its nine temples, and the famous one being the Lord Subrahmania Shrine believed to be consecrated by 'Sanakaracharya'

Neendakara is famous for its fishing harbor for sea going fisher mans. There is bridge which crosses the area where lake merge with sea. The Indo-Norwegian motorized fishing project is here

The Ochira is famous for 'Parabrahma' Temple and its famous annual festival. It is believed to be the army training center of Kayamkulam Dynasty

Punalur is famous for it News Paper Mills and Travencore Plywood Company. A span of 400 feet hanging bridge constructed in 1877 across Kallada river is still there.

Shendurg Wild Life Sanctury
This is one of the semi-evergreen forest of Kerala. You can see Elephants, tigers, leopards, bison, samba, wild boar, lion tailed macaques, languors, deer and most of the other wild animals at their natural inhibits. This is declared as wildlife sanctuary in 1984. According to some recent studies reviled, The Shenduruny was the cradle of one of the oldest river valley civilizations of India, which dated from 4400 BC to 3700 BC, unbelievable!!! older than Indus Valley Civilization.

Kalthurutty 13 arch Bridge,
13 Arch Bridge Kalthurutty, (Pathimoonnu Kannara Palam in Malayam (Thirteen Arch Bridge) at Kazhuthurutti, is a very beautiful sight in the Kollam district of Kerala
 चित्र:13Arch Bridge View 1.jpg
Pathimoonnu Kannara Palam (13 Arch Bridge) at Kazhuthurutti, is a very beautiful sight in the Kollam district of Kerala. This place is being the wayto Aryankavu from thenmala

The bridge which was constructed during the British regim using Surki construction. In this period there were no cement in use for constructions.
The bridge has 13 arches. Built on 13 arches, this bridge is a commemoration of colonial era. The bridge, sandwiched by the Kollam-Shenkottai National Highway at one side and the River Kazhuthurutti on the other, offers a visual fete at a length of 102.72 metres and 5.18 metres height. Even after 100 years of its construction, the bridge shows no signs of deterioration.

This bridge holds one of India's oldest mountain rails enroute to Thenmala-Chenkotta. This was once used as the major trade route between Quilon (Kollam) and Chennai. The train journey through this route was a very pleasant experience as the train pass through dense forests, long tunnels, steeps and slopes.

This Kollam-Shenkottai meter gauge railwayremains as a monument of British Engineering Technology. The route was built mainly for the transpiration of crops like Pepper, cloves, cardamom and other spices to Madras from Kollam.
Historic Punalur-Chenkotta metre gauge passenger train halts service from19 September 2010 Sunday by 18.05 departure from Punalur, for conversion to broad gauge. (Note:Railway has extended the service for one more day) Started service in 1904 June 01 as Kollam (formerly Quilon)- Chenkotta railway

13 kannara Palam ( 13 Arch Bridge)

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