Located 71 km to the centre of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam is the centre of country’s cashew trading and processing industry. One of the oldest ports of the Malabar coast, Kollam was once the port of international spice trade. Thirty per cent of this historic town is covered by the renowned Ashtamudi Lake, making it the gateway to the magnificent backwaters of Kerala.The eight hour boat trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is the longest and most enchanting experience on the backwater of Kerala.
Places to Visit:
Thangasseri :(5km from Kollam town) this seaside village of historic importance has the ruins of an Old Portuguese fort and churches built in the 18th century. The Thangasseri light house which is 144 feet high is open to visitors from 1530 – 1730 hrs. There are buses at 15 minute intervals from Kollam town.
Thirumullavaram Beach :(6km north of Kollam town) This secluded beach is a beautiful picnic centre and has frequent bus connections to the town.
Matha Anrithanandamayi Ashram,Vallikavu : Built up on the very property where Amma was born, Amritapuri is now the headquarters of Amma’s worldwide mission and the spiritual home for Amma’s monastic disciples and hundreds of householder devotees. All the residents have dedicated their lives for realising God and serving the world. Everyday, Amma’s children from across India and abroad flock here to have Amma’s darshan. She sees each and every one, listens to their worries, consoles, encourages, provides new direction to their lives.
Mayyanad : (10 km south of Kollam town) Mayyanad is noted for its shrines and temple. The most important of the nine temples here is the Subramanya Temple at Umayanallor. The Shrine is said to have been consecrated by the great Hindu philosopher Sree Sankaracharya .There are frequent buses from kollam to Mayyanad.
Sathamkotta: This vast fresh water lake surrounded by hills on these sides is the largest of its kind in Kerala .The ancient Sastha Temple which lends its name to the town, is an important pilgrim centre .There are frequent bus service from Kollam.
Ochira : (34 km north of Kollam town) The unique feature of this famous pilgrim centre is that there is no deity or idol at the famous Para Brahma Temple dedicated to the Universal Consciousness. Ochira Kali in mid June and the twelve days Panthrandu Vilakku (twelve lamp festival) in November / December are the two main annual festivals. Ochira Kali is a mock fight enacted between groups of men dressed as warriors on the padanilam (battle field)
Kulathupuzha: (64km from Kollam town) Situated on a forest range on the Thiruvananthapuram – Shekottai road, Kualathupuzha is known for the Sastha Temple. The Vishu Mahatsavan in April/ May is the most important festival .There are frequent buses from Kollam to Kulathupuzha.The Thenmala railway station is just 10km from here.
Ariankavu : (70km from Kollam town): Situated on the Kollam Shenkottai road, Ariankavu is famous for the shrine dedicated to Sree Sastha. Mandala Pooj and Trikalyanam celebrated in the month of December are the main festivals here. There are frequent buses to Ariankavu from Kollam.
Palaruvi Waterfalls (75 km from kollam town): Palaruvi which means stream of milk makes its way down the rocks, from a height of 300 feet. The Palaruvi woods are a beautiful picnic spot. The PWD Inspection Bunglow and the KTDC Motel offer comfortable.
Picnic Village: This village located at Ashramam, along the backwater front, is the main centre of recreational activities in Kollam. A 200 year old Government Guest House, an Adventure Park, a Tourist Boat Club, a Children’s Traffic Park and a Yatri Nivas are all housed in this vast tourist complex.