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An ancient port dating back to the 9th c., Kollam has given its name to the Malayalam era Kollavarsham, which began in 825 AD, and is said to be calculated from the date of the founding of this town. In that year, Persian immigrants set up a township in Kollam and built a town here, having received a charter of privileges from the Raja of Venad (/vEnaad/). According to one historical view, in that year, King Udaya Marthanda Varma of Venad convened at Kollam a grand assembly of Kerala's learned men in order to introduce a new era which the assembly resolved would be adopted from the first Chingam (Malayalam month) of the year.

In Kollam, over the centuries, merchants from all over the world gathered and contributed to the city's reputation as a centre of a flourishing mercantile community. This is borne out by the testimonies of Arab, Chinese, Jewish, and European travellers (Marco Polo, among others). It was also in Kollam that in 1330 AD Friar Jordams was consecrated Bishop of the first Roman Catholic in India.

The town's commercial importance led the Portugese to set up a factory here in 1502. This passed into the hands of the Dutch in 1661 and later, in 1795, to the British. Today the red-tiled roofs that dot the low skyline of Kollam are a reminder of the architectural influences of the Dutch and British villas. Further, the Chinese fishing nets along the Ashtamudi Lake bear testimony to the trade links with China.

Today, this town, 71 km from Thiruvananthapuram, is fairly important for the state's trade and commerce and is the centre of the country's cashew trading and processing industry. It is also an important hub for the state's marine produce industry, with the port of Neendakara (/neeNdakara/) being the centre for trawlers and ice plants.

A particularly picturesque town standing on the banks of the Ashtamudi (/aShTamudi/) Lake, the lake with eight creeks, Kollam's primary reason for fame now is as the gateway to Kerala's exceedingly beautiful backwaters. The 8-hour-long boat cruise from Kollam to Alappuzha is the best and most comprehensive introduction tothe delights of Kerala's backwaters, as the journey meanders through lakes, canals, and waterbound villages. The famous `Cheena Vala' or Chinese fishing nets dot the waterway all along the trip.

As a typical southern Kerala town, Kollam offers a tranquil, rural atmosphere, punctuated by the bustle of trade and commerce in its many busy and crowded market streets and junctions. On the outskirts of the town are cashewnut processing factories. Next to the Government Guest House at Asramam (/aaShRamam), 3 km away from the Central Bus Stand, is an Adventure Park which delights children and adults alike. The Quilon District Tourism Promotion Council organises backwater cruises from here and during the tourist season conducts cruises to Alappuzha.

There is a beach with Mahatma Gandhi park at Kollam, popular as an evening retreat for locals.

On the route to Shenkottah, 70 km from Kollam, is Ariankavu, which holds a shrine devoted to Lord Sastha (/shaastha/, Ayyappan). The main festival of this temple is in December. Five km from Ariankavu is the waterfalls at Palaruvi (/paalaruvi/) with a height of 300 feet. There are frequent buses to Ariankavu and to Palaruvi. There is a PWD Inspection Bungalow where rooms are available.

On the same route, 64 km from Kollam, Kulathupuzha (/kuLathupuzha/) is in the forest range and is famous for a similar shrine. The most important temple festival is the Vishnu Mahotsava in April/May.

Mayyanad (/mayyanaad/), a small town about 10 km north of Kollam, is known for its nine temples, the most famous of which is the shrine of Lord Subramanyan, said to have been consecrated by Shankaracharya.

An important pilgrimage centre 34 km north of Kollam, Oachira (/OchiRa/) is famous for its `Oachira Kali (/kaLi/)' festival in mid-June.

Sasthamkotta (/shaasthaamkOTTa/) is 29 km from Kollam and on the right bank of the Kallada river. This is a small town with a temple dedicated to Lord Sastha. An hour's ride from Kollam, Sasthamkotta has a PWD Rest House where accomodation is available.

Five km and a 15-minute bus ride from Kollam town lies Thangassery. A historically important town, it contains ruins of a Portugese/Dutch fort as well as an 18th c. church. The 3-km-long beach has a lighthouse which is open to visitors between 3:30 and 5:30 pm.

Thirumullavaram, just 6 km north of the town centre and easily reachable by bus, is a beautiful and quiet little beach, ideal for swimming or just soaking up the sun.

The Quilon District Tourism Promotion Council, which functions from the Government Guest House at Asramam, arranges on request a one-day city tour by coach for a group of ten or more persons. For larger groups, the Council will arrange a backwater cruise to Alappuzha.

Fact Sheet

The nearest airport is the Trivandrum International Airport, 71 km away. From Thiruvananthapuram there are several KSRTC buses that go to Kollam and beyond. Kollam Junction is an important railway station in the Southern Railways network in Kerala and connects to almost all important centres in the rest of the country. Kochi is about 156 km north of Kollam and 3 to 4 hours by train. A Tourist Information Counter functions at the railway station.

Kollam is also an important transit point for buses on the NH 47 highway from Thiruvananthapuram to the northern towns of Kerala. Buses are frequent and fares reasonable. The trip to Thiruvananthapuram takes under two hours, and the trip to Kochi, about 4 hours. The boat jetty is adjacent to the KSRTC Bus Stand, about 3 km away from the Railway Station. There are daily ferry services through the scenic backwaters to Alappuzha (10:30 am departure for the eight-hour journey), and more frequent ones to nearer destinations such as Guhanandapuram (a one-hour journey) and Muthiraparambu (/muthirapaRamb~/, a two-and-a-half-hour journey). For local transport one can use private and KSRTC buses, tourist taxis, and autorickshaws.

District Area : 2498 sq km, 2579
Population : 2,398,285
Altitude : Sea level.
Climate : Tropical.
Temperature : Mean max Mean min
(in deg. Celsius) Minimum - 28 Maxium 34
Rainfall (ann.) : 278 cm.
Clothing : Tropical
Tourist season : = Nov 15 -- Feb-15

Bangalore : 657
Coimbatore : 364
Idukki : 239
Kanyakumari : 160
Kochi : 150
Kodaikanal : 331
Kottayam : 106
Kozhikode : 372
Madras : 663
Mysore : 574
Ootty : 449
Sabarimala : 177
Tvm. : 71

Things to do:

Cruise through the backwaters in a Kettuvallom house boat
Visit a cashew factory
Watch the intricacies of coir making
Laze away at the beach
The renowned Shivagiri Mutt is just forty kilometres away
The famed Mata Amrutananda Mayi Ashram is about half an hour's drive from the hotel

Hotel Sudarsan, Parameswar Nagar, Hospital Road, Kollam - 691 001. Tel: +91474-2744322 (8 Lines) e-mail: sudarsanhotel@gmail.com