The city of Kollam also known as Quilon is the fourth largest city of Kerala. Kollams ancient name is Thondis and it is the headquarters of the Kollam District. It is situated 71 km from the capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, and lies on the shores of Ashtamudi Lake. This popular tourist destination is the capital of erstwhile Venad and forms the southern gateway of the Kerala backwaters.
The name of the city has been derived from the Sanskrit word Kollam that means pepper. The city has been a focal trading point since the Chera Monarchy in southern Kerala and today it is world renowned for the occupations of cashew processing and coir manufacturing. It is also a major business and commercial centre in the region of central Travancore, Kerala.
The Kollam Port also known as the Thankasseri Port, which is the second largest port of Kerala is situated here. Along with this, there are also two fishing harbours present in the city namely Neendakara and Shakthikulangara, out of which the Neendakara is one of the busiest fishing harbours of South Kerala.
Kollam is a major sea trading destination since ancient times due to the presence of the Kodungallur Seaport on the Malabar Coast. It obtained its reputation of a commercial hub since the days of the Phoenicians and Ancient Rome.
Pliny the Elder mentions that Greek ships imbedded at Muziris and Nelcynda. Along with these ports, a land route also led from the Western Ghats of the city that together with the ports was used for trading spices, pearls, diamonds and silk.
Kollam is also a centre of learning and culture and has been a home to several scholars from different parts of Sothern India. The famous literary works namely Leelathilakam and Unnuneeli Sandesam are a contribution of the literary work of Kollam, of the 14th century.
The Kathakali dance as well as its new version, the Ramanattam is also the creation of Kottarakkara Thampuran that has been translated from Sanskrit to Malayalam. The famous poet and playwright, K.C. Kesava Pillai also composed a musical play in Malayalam through his work Sadarma. In the present times, Kollam is linked to names of literary historians and poets like O.N.V. Kurup, Punalur Balan, and Lalithambika Antharjanam.
Sree Bhagavathi Temple situated at Parippalli hosts the famous Parippalli Gajamela celebrated once in a year. The ritual is a tribute to the presiding Bhadrakali Devi and celebrated with a colourful procession.
The boat rides through the backwaters of Kollam are the most popular attraction. The Ashtamudi Lake surrounds the Kollam town. Another popular attraction is the Thangassery Light House, which is 144 feet high and was built in 1902.
Ananda Valleswaram Temple, Mahatma Gandhi at Kochupilamoodu, Thirumullavaram Beach and Ashramam Picnic Village are other popular places. There are numerous churches and mosques in Kollam including Pullichira Church built in 1700 AD and Chinnakkada Palli.
Trivandrum International Airport at a distance of 71 km is the closest airport to Kollam. Tourists can avail taxi services to reach Kollam, which costs about Rs 7 per km. Kollam railway station is well connected to most of the cities in the state and cities in India.
Kollam is well connected by road with regular bus services from all major cities of Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Pondicherry, Thrissur & more.
There is a wide array of accommodation options in Kollam available for tourists depending on their needs and budget.