The port city of Kollam (or Quilon), a centre of cashew industry, lies on the banks of the picturesque Ashtamudi Lake. It is the southern part of the unique backwaters of Kerala, a network of lakes, canals, and estuaries opening into the sea.
The backwaters are a self supporting eco- system teeming with aquatic life. The canals connect the villages together and are still used for local transport. Traces of a once prosperous trade with China are still seen in the form of Chinese fishing nets, huge Chinese water pots, blue and white porcelain and sampan-like boats.
What to see
Adventure Park: Situated at Ashramom this is a children’s park.The Kollam District Tourist Promtion Council organises backwater cruises from here.
Backwaters: Backwaters of Kollam (Ashtamudi Lake) extend northwards from Kollam, the most delightful being the 8 hours trip from Kollam to Alappuzha.
Thangassery: Thangassery is historically important for the ruins of the Portuguese/ Dutch fort and a 18th century Church found here. It also has a 3 Km, long beach with a massive light house, which is open to visitors from 1530 hrs. to 1730 hrs.
Air: Thiruvananthapuram (71 Km.) is the nearest airport, connected with major cities.
Rail: Kollam is well connected by rail with major cities and towns.
Road: Motorable roads connected Kollarn with Alappuzha 87 Km, Guruvayur 258 Km, Kalady 187 Km, Kochi 150 Km, Kodaikanal 331 Km, Kottayam 106 Km, Munnar 282 Km, Nedumbassery 175 Km, Sabarimala 177 Km, Thekkady 220 Km, Thrissur 229 Km, Thiruvananthapuram 72 Km and Varkala 37 km.
Area: 16 Sq. Km.
Altitude : Sea Level. Temperature: Summer - Max: 35.0 Deg.C Min: 25.0 Deg.C Winter - Max: 33.5 Deg.C Min: 24.0 Deg.C Rainfall: 279 Cm.
Season: October to March. STD Code: 0474.
- Chavara (16 Km): Chavara is the site of an Indo-Norvegian fishery project.
- Mata Amrithanandarnayi Ashram (20 Km): The residence and headquarters of Sri Mata Amrithananndamayi Devi, one of the India’s Gurus is situated at Amrtithapuri near Vallikuva. The backwater tour from Alleppey to Kollam halts at this point. The Ashram can be reached by boat from Vailikkkavu and is accessible by road from Karunagapally (20 Km)
- Sasthamkatta (29 Km): A small town on the banks of the Ashtamudi Lake with the largest freshwater lake in Kerala and a temple dedicated to Lord Sastha or (Ayappa).
Ariankavu (70 Km.): A pilgrim centre with a temple dedicated to Lord Sastha (Ayyappa). 5 Km away, there is a waterfall at Palaruvi at a height of 300 ft.
Courtailam (111 Km.): A charming health resort, situated at an elevation of about 167 meters in Tiruneiveli district of Tamil Nadu. There are a total of 9 waterfalls in Courtallam. The waters of Courtallam are believed to have medicinal properties as they run through a forest of herbs.
Other places of interest include Kutralanadhar Temple, Chitra Sabha with frescoes adorning Its walls and Kumarar Temple. The best season to visit this place is from June to September. The nearest airport is Madurai(160 km) and rail head Thenkasi (6 Km) via Tirunelveli which in turn is directly, connected with Mumbai. Some important distances are Kanyakumari 137 km., Madurai 160 km., Thiruneiveli 59 kms, and Thiruvananthapuram 112 kms.