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.
Kollam District which is a veritable Kerala in miniature is gifted with unique representative features - sea, lakes, plains, mountains, rivers, streams, backwaters, forest, vast green fields and tropical crop of every variety both food crop and cash crop, so called 'The Gods Own Capital'.
Kollam District Map :
KOLLAM CITY – Situated on Ashtamudi Lake. Gateway to backwaters. Backwater boat tour route: Kollam – Alumkadavu – Alappuzha. Also has house boats & resorts.
Picnic Village at Ashramam – Situated on backwater. Main centre of recreational activities in Kollam. 200 year old government guest house, adventure park, children’s traffic park, tourist boat club, Yatri Nivas.
Mahatma Gandhi Beach & Park (2 km north) – Place for short outings and picnics.
Thangasseri (5 km) – Seaside village of historical importance. Ruins of Portuguese/Dutch fort and 18th century churches and colonial bungalows. 144 ft high century old light house on beach.
Thirumullavaram Beach (6 km north) – Beach fringed with coconut palms. A popular local picnic center.
THENMALA (66 km) – Newly developed eco-tourism centre with boating facility in Kallada dam reservoir, garden, musical fountain, trekking path, etc. Entry point to Shenduruny wildlife sanctuary.
SHENDURUNY Wildlife Sanctuary – Formed around the Kallada irrigation project. Shenduruny valley is one of the richest floral areas of Kerala. Also home for elephants, tigers, leopards, bears, lion tailed macaques.
PALARUVI Waterfalls (75 km) – Palaruvi means ‘milky stream’. The 300 ft waterfall down the rocks, gives the impression of flowing milk. The water falls into a shallow pool, suitable for bathing/swimming. Wooded picnic spot. KTDC motel. Smaller cascades nearby.
KULATHUPUZHA (64 km) – Sri Dharma Sastha temple in forest area near Thenmala, on the right bank of Kulathupuzha river. Forest range famous for elephants.
ARIANKAVU (70 km) – Sri Sastha temple, 5 km from Palaruvi. Attracts pilgrims during Mandalapooja in December. 2.5 km railway tunnel nearby.
Mayyanad (10 km) – Has nine temples. Most important is Subramanya temple at Umayanallur, said to be consecrated by Adi Sankaracharya.
SASTHAMKOTTA (29 km) – Has Kerala’s largest fresh water lake with scenic hills on three sides. Ancient Sastha temple on lake shore is an important pilgrim centre.
Ochira (34 km) – Parabrahma temple dedicated to universal consciousness. Unique feature is that there is no deity or idol. Known for Ochira Kali festival in mid-June – mock fight between groups of men dressed as warriors on the padanilam (battle field). They perform martial dance standing in knee-deep water, brandishing swords & shields and splashing water in all directions. Panthrandu Vilakku (twelve lamp festival) in Nov/Dec.
Matha Amrithanandamayi Ashram, Amrithapuri near Vallikkavu – Residence and headquarters of Matha Amrithanandamayi Devi. Accessible by road and boat.
PUNALUR (46 km) – Suspension bridge built in 1879 over Kallada river is star attraction. Lord Ayyappa temple at Sasthamkoram. Industrial town.