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 or Quilon is located in South Kerala about 71 km north of the capital city of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram. Kollam has a long, stunning coastline on the western side stretching over a distance of 37.5 km with many beautiful beaches. The place shares its borders with the districts of Alleppey and Pathanamthitta and also with the state of Tamil Nadu. Kollam experiences a typical tropical climate with plentiful rainfall and hot summers. March to May is considered the hottest period with temperatures soaring to 35-36 degree centigrade. 
Fact File  
  
Area (in Sq.km) -                          2,491 
Population                                     25, 85,208 
Males                                             12, 49,621 
Females                                         13, 35,587 
Sex ratio: Females/1000                 1,069 
Density of Population                    1,038 
Per Capita Income (in Rs)             25,646 
Literacy rate –                               91.18%; Male 94.43%; Female 88.18% 
Coastal line in km –                      37 Km 

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION 
The district is bound on the north by Alappuzha district, north east by the Pathanamthitta district, east by Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, south by Thiruvananthapuram district and on the west by the Arabian Sea. The district covers an area of 2,492 km² and ranks seventh in the State with respect to area. 

Kallada and Ithikkara are the two rivers that flow through this district. Shasthamkotta Lake is the only major fresh water lake in the State. Two other major lakes are the Ashtamudi Lake and the Paravur Kayal. Edava and Nadayara lakes lie partly in this district.The summer season, from March to May, is followed by the south west monsoon from June to September. The Soil of the District may be classified as sandy loams, laterite and forest soil. The costal belt has sandy loams and the forest soil is found in the eastern forest belt. The rest of the district is laterite soil. Kollam District has a large area under forest. Pathanapuram, Anchal, Kottarakkara and Chadayamangalam are blocks having large areas of forest. The forest divisions are at Thenmala and Punalur. 

For all its natural gifts of wide rivers, dominant hills and forest, lakes and plains, there is the throb of a vibrant industrial activity that combines with equanimity the wonders of the modern age with the traces of a bygone era. 

Kollam Town

Kollam town, the headquarters of Kollam district and Kollam taluk, has a hoary past. It was an international emporium of trade and even now it is a prosperous commercial centre. It is situated about 71 Kms. north of Thiruvavanathapuram and is linked by rail, road and backwater transport. 

The town edges with the famous Ashtamudi lake. Many a foreign traveler has visited Kollam in early medieval period. It was one of the early centres of Christian activity in Kerala. It is said that the present town of Kollam was built by the Syrian Merchant; Sapir Iso, in the 9th Century A.D. The popularity of Kollam has been established by the time honoured proverb once you see Kollam, you will not need home any more. Kollam is an important commercial, industrial and trading centre. It is also the headquarters of Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation.

HISTORY 
Kollam in the state of Kerala, an old sea port town on the Arabian coast, stands on the Ashtamudi Lake.
In the ancient times, Kollam had a sustained commercial reputation around the world. Kollam, the gateway to Kerala’s beautiful backwaters is blessed with unique representative features like sea, lakes, plains, mountains, rivers, streams, backwaters, forests, vast green fields and tropical crop of every variety. Kollam is the headquarters of the Kollam district and is one of the most scenic cities in Kerala. The town is well known for cashew processing and coir manufacturing. It is the southern gateway to the backwaters of Kerala, and thus, a prominent tourist destination. 
The city of Kollam is known by many different names that frequently changed with time. It was associated with names like Desinganadu, Kollam, and Quilon. 
From the days of the Phoenicians and the Romans this seaport town has continued to have a commercial reputation. Ibn Batuta regarded Kollam as one of the five main ports dealing in Chinese trade. Since ages rulers of Kollam and China have exchanged embassies and this led the town to flourish as a Chinese settlement. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish a trading center at Kollam in 1502. Then came the Dutch followed by the British in 1795. A British garrison was stationed at Kollam in pursuance of a treaty between Travancore and the British. 
During the rule of Velu Thampi Dalawa of Travancore the town experienced many changes, new bazaars were built and that invited merchants from Madras and Thirunelveli to settle here. Later on Kollam became the capital of the enlightened and liberal rulers of Desinganad. 
As an administrative unit the town flourished in the year 1835, when the Travancore state consisted of two revenue divisions with headquarters at Kollam and Kottayam. In the year 1949 when Travancore and Cochin were desegregated, Kollam was one of the three revenue divisions in the state. Later on these three revenue divisions were converted into districts. 
Kollam or Quilon, an old sea port town on the Arabian coast, stands on the Ashtamudi Lake. Kollam, the erstwhile 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 Batuta, as one of the five ports, which he had seen in the course of his travels during a period of twenty four years, in the 14th century 
The rulers of Kollam (Desinganadu) and China, exchange embassies and there was flourishing Chinese settlement at Kollam. Merchant Sulaiman of Siraf in Persia (9th Century) found Kollam to be the only port in India, touched by the huge Chinese junks, on his way from Carton of Persian Gulf. Marco Polo, the great Venician traveler, who was in Chinese service under Kublahan in 1275, visited Kollam and other towns on the west coast, in his capacity as a Chinese mandarin. 
Velu Thampi Dalawa of Travancore did much for the improvement of the Kollam town. He made new bazaars and invited merchants from Madras and Thirunelveli to settle here. Kollam later became the capital of the enlightened and liberal rulers of Desinganad. Once a city of palaces, Kollam has been known to the outside world, by the time honored proverb, “Once you have seen Kollam you would no more need your illam (Home)” The later history of Kollam is interwoven with the Portuguese, Dutch and English rivalry for control of the Indian Ocean trade routes and commodities nearby. The Malayalam era is calculated from the founding of Kollam in the 9th century. In 1329 A.D Pope John XXII through his decree “Romanus Pontifix” erected Quilon as the first diocese in the whole of the Indies. The French Dominican friar Jordanus Catalani of Serverac was appointed the first Bishop of Quilon with territories extending across the whole of Indies. 
The ancient seaport city of Kollam is aggrandized with many clich├ęs and proverbs, aptly epitomizing its glory and splendor. Kollam, with its vibrant history and natural wealth, is sure to hold even the most jaded travelers in its captivating hold. Kollam is also one of the ancient cradles of Christianity in India, with the town said to have been founded by a wealthy Syrian merchant Sapir Isho in 9th century A.D. The founding of Kollam paved way to the beginning of a new era in Kerala, called the “Kolla Varsham” or the Malayalam era, calculated from the founding of Kollam in the 9th century 
 The very word Kollam is now synonymous with dazzling white beaches, lush forests, colonial remnants, tranquil backwaters, and thriving coir and cashew industries. The town was a major hub for international trade with ancient Rome and Greece. Kollam has served as a strategic stronghold for the erstwhile Venad kings and later to all colonial invaders- the Portuguese, Dutch and finally the British. Today, Kollam is a major tourist attraction luring domestic and international tourists. 
CULTURE 
The culture here is also a composite and cosmopolitan culture to which several people and races have made their significant contributions. Kerala’s population comprises of a large number of people from the Dravidians race, who also inhibit most of the southern part of India. Hinduism is the principal religion with considerable percentages of Muslims and Christians 
FESTIVALS AND RITUALS 
 
OachirakaliThe mock swork-fight Oachirakkali is one of the most important of such festivals. Oachira has been famous for long as one of the sacred places of Kerala. Historically too this place is very famous, for, it was on the plains of Oachira that the much famed battle in the history of Travancore, the battle of Kayamkulam, was fought between Marthandavarma, the Maharaja of Travancore and the Raja of Kayamkulam.
In commemoration of this historic battle Ochirakkali is conducted on the first and second of Mithunam (June-July) every year. 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 (the place for fighting) and conduct the age-old fencing exercise under the leadership of the elder kalari asan. 
Kollam Pooram
Kollam Pooram is one of the most colorful festivals of Kerala. Kollam Pooram attracts large number of people from all parts of the State. The Kollam Pooram, organized in connection with the annual festival of the Asramam Sri Krishnaswamy Temple, will be held at the Asramam Maidanam in the month of April. Kollam Pooram has now assumed the status of a national festival attracting tourists in large numbers. For the `kudamattom’, 30 tuskers split into two groups of 15 each representing the Thamarakulam Sri Mahaganapathy Temple team and the Puthiyakavu Bhagawathy Temple team. The `kudamattom’ was held to the beats of a traditional `melam’. The pooram was followed by a spectacular show of fireworks 
Kottamkulangara Temple Vilakkeduppu   
In Kottamkulangara Temple in Chavara, there is a peculiar custom of men dressing up as women and carry lighted lamps (Thalappoli). The Uriyadi is a typical festival associated with Krishna Temple. The annual Uriyadi festival held at Vadayattukotta temple in connection with Ashtami Rohini deserves mention. The Kettukazhcha (exhibition of effigies) festival held at Mahadevar Temple, Thrikkadavur in February-March every year is one of the colorful festivals of the district. There are similar festivals in the temples of Sasthamcotta, Velinallur, Chathannur, Chirakkara etc. 
Ashtami Rohini
Vadayattukotta Temple celebrates 5 day Ashtami Rohini festival. There are various amusements and festivities which are held in connection with festivals in temples. 
Kallada Boat Race 
kallada boat race 
This annual boat race is one of the most famous boat races held in Kerala. The race held in the Muthaparambu – Karuvathrakadavu stretch of Kallada River attracts hoards of tourists and spectators. The best place to view this spectacular race is from the Munro Island, which is at a distance of 28 km from Kollam Railway Station.
Kollam Pooram: The Kollam Pooram is one of the most colorful festivals held in South India, attracting a large number of viewers from all over Kerala. The Pooram is organized in the month of April on the Asramam Maidanam in connection with the annual festival of the Sri Krishnaswamy Temple. The dazzling ‘Kudamattom’ features 30 caparisoned tuskers accompanied with ‘Panjavadyam’ – the traditional temple music. A spectacular fireworks display concludes the 10 day long celebrations 
Thiruvathira festival 
Kadakkal in Kollam is known for Kadakkal Devi Kshetram Kadakkaldevi temple comes alive during Thiruvathira festival held in March, and is one of the prime festivals of the region. The temple festivities attract large crowds from various parts of the state. Kadakkal amma or goddess is considered as a very powerful deity. 
Crafts Festival
The craft festival is held annually during December-January. This festival features the work of craftsmen from all over the country. 
EDUCATION 
Kollam has several privately-owned and state-owned educational institutions. St. Joseph’s convent school, Kollam is the school without Government Aid & having maximum students in the world (over 12,000 students). The state-run school is the Govt. Model Higher Secondary School for Boys which is the oldest school in the city. Schools like Trinity Lyceum School, Kollam, Mount Carmel Convent Anglo-Indian Girls High School, Sree Narayana Public School, Infant Jesus Anglo Indian School are affiliated with the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), Accel IT academy, the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) or the Kerala State Education Board. Divine Public School, Puthoor (CBSE Senior Secondary School, affiliated to the CBSE, Delhi, offers admission from Play Class to Plus Two.).  After students have completed their 10+2 years of schooling, they can enroll in higher education institutions for professional degree/diploma courses. The professional colleges of the district include Sree Narayana Poly technique college, Kottiyam, Fatima Mata National College (FMNC), SN College, SN Women’s College, TKM College of Engineering (Karikode), TKM Institute of Technology), Amritha Institute of Technology, Travancore Engineering College (Oyoor), Prasanth Computers, Kadappakada and The V Institute of Wireless and Telegraphy. Arafa Medical Mission Hospital and School of Nursing in Kadakkal contribute prominently into the field of nursing education. 
INDUSTRIES 
Two central government undertakings, the Indian Rare Earths Chavara and Parvathi Mills Ltd., are among the industries in Kollam. Kerala Ceramics Ltd, Kundara, Kerala Electrical and Allied Engineering Company, Kundara, Kerala Premo Pipe factory, Chavara, Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited, Chavara, United Electrical Industries-Kollam and the Kerala Agro-Fruit Products Punalur are state government-owned companies. Other major industries in the private sector are Thomas Stephen & Co., Kollam, Floorco Paravur, Cooperative Spinning Mill, Chathannur and Punalur Paper Mills, Punalur. 1963 SSI units have been registered in the district. 
The Travancore Plywood Industries at Punalur and Aluminium Industries Ltd. at Kundara have been notified as being sick units and have consequently been closed down. 
The traditional cashew industry is centralized in this District. Kollam is approved by the central government as a “centre of cashew industry”. Most of the workers in this industry are women and among them a majority comes from the weaker sections of the society. There are several cashew processing units working in the district. The Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation Ltd, a government of Kerala undertaking, has its headquarters in Kollam. It serves as a model agency for the cashew processing industry. The corporation has 30 cashew factories and employs more than 20,000 workers. Another government organization in this field is CAPEX, which is in the cooperative sector and has 10 cashew factories. Interested persons can visit the website of the Corporation to understand more details of the Cashew Industry. Coir production, handloom industry, clay and wood-based industries contribute to the industrial advancement of the region 
PLACES TO VISIT 
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 dog’s loyalty. 
Oachira 
 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. 
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.  

Shastamkotta 
sasthamkottai lake 
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. 
Ashramam picnic village 
kollamashram 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 children’s play area inside the park. Other facilities include boat rides for enjoying the scenic backwaters and avenues to enjoy water sports.  
Amritapuri 
AmritapuriAshram
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.   
Thirumullavaram beach 
Kollam-ThirumullavaramBeach
The Thirumullavaram Beach in Kerala is situated at a distance of around 6 kilometers to north of Kollam. Unexplored and untouched by time, the beach offers unadulterated tranquility and peace of mind. In case you are looking for an ideal way to spend a peaceful and quiet day, far away from the bustling life, in Kollam, Thirumullavaram beach is the place for you. Just lie down on the soft sands while soaking up the sun and relaxing quietly in the lap of nature. 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. 
Punalur 
punalur-suspension-bridge
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 etc
ARYANKAVU
One of the peaceful and Beautiful place 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, St: Mary’s Syro Malabar Church 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 including this family. Kallada (Thenmala Dam) Irrigation project, Asia’s first Ecco Tourism is just 12 KM away from Aryankavu. Five falls and Tenkassi Kuttalam 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.

Palaruvi Water Falls
The famous waterfall in Kollam District is situated at Palaruvi near Aryankavu, Kollam - Sencottah NH 208. Season to visit the places is from June to January.

Kulathuppuzha 
KulathupuzhaShastaTemple

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.
Achencoil 
Achenkovil
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.  
Kottarakkara 
kottarakkara-ganapathy-temple
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 Kerala’s 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.   
Shendurni Wildlife Sanctuary 
ShendurniWildlifeSanctury 
Shendurni Wildlife Sanctuary located 70 kms from Kollam, on the Kollam-Shencotta road, is a green valley of splendid forests, situated on the banks of the Shendurny River.Steep and rugged peaks surround the sanctuary, which is dotted by several breathtaking ravines. The park is rich in flora and fauna and is a haven to a variety of animals such as Elephants, Gaurs, Barking Deers, Cobra, Viper, Python and the Indian Porcupine
 
Mayyanad 
mayyanad 
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.
Thenmala 
Thenmala
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. 

Palaruvi Waterfalls 
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. 

Courtalam Falls 
Courtallamwaterfalls
This beautiful cascade is located in Tamilnadu State Just 21 km away from Kerala boarder Aryankavu kottavasal. 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.  
Kollam beaches 
Kollam-beach
Undoubtedly the white sand beaches take the prime spot in Kollam’s 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.
Neendakara 
neendakara
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. 
Thangassery 
thangasseri-fort
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. 
Thangasserylighthouse
 The ruins of Fort St. Thomas built by the Portuguese in 1519 A.D lie scattered along the stretch of the beach. 
 
FOOD 
Kollam has a large number of eateries serving all sorts of mouthwatering delights. We recommend that you try some delectable seafood delights here. ‘Meen Pollichathu’, which is fish cooked in banana leaves seasoned with exotic spices is a must try here. If you want to savor the real taste of Kollam, you can try any of the local shacks selling fresh seafood. It is said that the best spicy seafood could be had from any of the local toddy shops, but this is recommended only for the adventurous sort. All dishes are heavy on coconut and curry leaves. Meats such as beef and pork, and fish dominate the menus. Do try the Prawn Biryani at one of the eateries. 
HOW TO REACH
By Air
Located at a distance of 70 kilometers is the Trivandrum airport, which is the nearest airport from where Kollam can be reached.
By Rail
Kollam is an important railway station and is connected to the rest of Kerala and India through a wide network of railways.
By Road
Kollam is also connected through a well laid out network of roads making it accessible from anywhere in Kerala. 

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