Kollam, formerly known as Quilon, in the earlier times had been a trading sea port for Portuguese, Dutch and English for the export of its spices, coir and a few others. However, it has also been quite popular for its abundant natural beauty. Kollam backwaters are extremely popular amidst the tourists who visit Kerala on a vacation. A beautiful destination, Kollam has a number of backwater routes, wherein Kollam to Alleppey-an eight-hour houseboat cruise is the probably the best one. Treat your eyes to the natural beauty, scenic locations, local villages, flying birds, tourist attractions and much more.
During your visit to Kollam, you must get your hands on excellent quality cashew, fresh dates as well as coir products. There are several local street shops that sell cashews and fresh dates under various qualities. Cashew is available in four different forms - cashew vita, which is an energy drink, cashew powder that is used in cooking, cashew soup and cashew bits. As far as coir products are concerned, you can shop for decorated mats and floor furnishings. Good quality coir products are available at the local Coir showrooms.
If you have not stayed in Kollam tree houses, you have actually missed something. These accommodation options are a modernized version of Erumadam, made by the tribal people to save themselves from animal attack. Made of eco-friendly raw materials, a Kollam tree house is well-fitted with all kinds of modern facilities such as attached bathrooms with washbasin, flushable toilets, telephone, light from solar energy, sumptuous food made from organic products and more. Treat your eyes to the surrounding beauty while being in the lap of nature.
Visiting Kollam during the monsoon season can actually be quite a thrilling thing. The Kollam-Alleppey backwater cruise route becomes all the more beautiful and offers something extra special to its visitors. The rainfall enhances the lush beauty of the region and the place extremely beautiful. The temperature of Kollam is generally humid but during the monsoon season, the temperatures decrease and the weather becomes very pleasant, an added bonus. Cruising along the backwaters seems all the more interesting.
Ashtamudi Lake and Backwaters
Ashtamudi Lake, an octopus-shaped lake with eight branches or channels, is the second largest Lake of Kerala. A popular tourist attraction for the visitors, several palm trees and coconut groves on the lakeside and backwater channels form beautiful scenery and are a treat to watch. The popular Chinese Fishing nets lowered on its waters are other attractions. Home to Munroe Island, a tourist attraction, it is one of the prime backwater cruising spots as well.
Ashramam Picnic Village
Located in the 200-yr old Guest House Complex, Ashramam picnic village is a popular tourist village, offering its visitors a mesmerizing view of the backwaters. Once the residence of Lord Monroe, this place is a perfect picnic spot with a number of recreational facilities including a children's park, a boat club, an adventure park, Yatri Niwas and more. Managed by KTDC, it also houses the Paramparya Museum that displays the collection of various paintings.
Matha Amrithanandamayi Ashram, Vallikavu
Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram, also known as Mata Amritanandamayi Math, is located at Amritapuri in Vallikavu, a small fishing village, around 30 km from Kollam. Residence of Mata Amrithanandamayi, it was set by the followers of Amma or Ammichi in the year 1979. Erected on the site of her birthplace, this ashram is home to over 2500 householders and disciples. A popular international pilgrim center, this ashram is visited by thousands of devotes from all across the world to get Amma’s Darshan.
Situated around 5 km from the town of Kollan, Thangasseri in the earlier times was a much loved settlement of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English. This seaside village, spreading in an area of over 99 acres, it houses the remains of an old Portuguese fort built in 1517 and churches, which were erected sometime in the 18th century. The Lighthouse at the beach is another famous attraction. Built in 1902, this 144 feet lighthouse is open to the tourist between 3.30 pm and 5.30 pm.
Kollam Beach and Thirumullavaram Beach
Kollam beach and Thirumullavaram beach are extremely popular as points to view a spectacular sunset. These secluded beaches are ideal for those who do not wish to get into the hustle and bustle of the regular tourist activity. They are also just the right places for organizing a picnic with your loved ones. As the waves at Kollam beach are big, swimming is not allowed here but at the Thirumullavaram beach, you can indulge in swimming.
Located on the meeting point of Ashtamudi Lake and Kallada River, Munroe Island got its name from Colonel Munroe, a British Resident of Travancore state. He is popular for making additions in various backwater regions by digging several canals. This small beautiful island village became famous stone-age tools and megaliths were discovered here. The place has been gifted by criss-crossing canals and water channels. During your visit, you can also spot a number of colorful migratory birds. The village is also popular for Indian spice plantation and coir products.
Puthenkulam Elephant Village
A part of Bhoothakulam panchayat in Kollam district, Puthenkulam elephant village is popular for housing the largest number of captive elephants in Kerala, around 45 in number. Located at a distance of 25 km from Kollam, this village is visited by thousands of tourists every year. In an area spread in 3.5 acres, one can indulge in a number of activities here such as elephant ride between 9 am to 5 pm every day. You can also partake in elephant feeding, elephant trekking and elephant bathing. You can also see the collection of the ornaments of elephants that are used during festivals. The collection includes necklace, umbrellas, gold plated caparisons, venchamaram, alavattom and more.
Located around 29 km from Kollam, Sasthamkotta Lake is popular known as the ‘Queen of Lake’. One of its kind in Kerala, this freshwater lake expands itself in an area of 375 hectares. As this lake does not gets dry in the summer season and nor does it freezes during the winters, it provides clean drinking water to locals all round the year, living nearby. Along with offering beautiful scenery, this lake also has an ancient Sastha temple on its shore, an important temple amongst the Keralite pilgrims, the followers of the Dharma Sastha, the ruling deity.
The Hanging Bridge at Punalur
The hanging or suspension bridge at Punalur is one of its kind in South India. Built across the Kallada River, this 400ft long suspension bridge was commissioned by Albert Henry in 1877. Suspended by 3 spans, it was originally used for vehicular movement. The bridge took 6 years to get completed. However, now this bridge is only a tourist attraction. This bridge is connected to 4 wells, around 100 feet deep.
Thenmala, located in the foothills of Western Ghats, is a beautiful village, with forest area in abundance. This village houses Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary, Thenmala’s eco-tourism resource, spread in 100 square kilometer. Meaning ‘Honey Hills’ in English, Thenmaka is around 72 km from Thiruvananthapuram, the state’s capital. This is a perfect place to explore culture and adventure avenues.
Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary
Shendurney wildlife sanctuary, an eco-tourism zone of Kollam, it is one of the semi-evergreen forests of Kerala. Formed during the year 1984, this wildlife reserve is a perfect place to explore the exotic flora and fauna of the region. Along with lion-tailed macaques, an endangered species, during your wildlife safari, you can spot various animal species including elephants, tigers, leopards, sambhar, wild boar, langurs, deer, bison, and more. Spread in an area 171 sq km, this wildlife sanctuary is home to 34 mammal species, 245 avifauna species, 36 species of reptiles, 22 amphibian species and 42 species of fishes.
Palaruvi waterfalls, translated as stream of milk, are located at a distance of 75 km from the town of Kollam. Falling from a height of 300 feet, it is an amazing picnic spot. The path leading to the waterfalls is a very beautiful one, filled with lush greenery. Once at the waterfalls, admire the scenic beauty sprinkled all around.
Jatayapara is a huge, rocky hillock at Chadayamangalam, located around 30 km from Kollam. This rock has a mythological importance with reference to Jatayau, the huge bird in Ramayana. On the top, there is a small temple, accessible by steep steps. One can indulge in hand gliding at this spot. Apart from this rock, this place is popular for a Crafts Fair as well, that witnesses the assembling of craftsmen from all around India.
Ochira (34 km north of kollam town)
Ochira or Oachira, around 32 kms from Kollaam, is one of the popular sacred places in the southern Indian state of Kerala. The place is home to Parabrahma temple that has no idol or deity figure, but the temple is dedicated to universal consciousness. The temple becomes the venue of two yearly festivals Ochira kali in Mid -June and the 12th day Panthrandu Vilakku in November/December. Situated on the borders of Alappuzha and Kollam districts, this place attracts a good number of devotes every year.
Rameshwara temple has an architecture that has influences from Pandyan influence in its designing. It has inscriptions in Tamil from the 12th to the 16th century. The sculptures of Vyala monster give an impression of animation creatures.