Kollam (Quilon), an old sea port town on the Arabian coast , stands on the Ashtamudi lake. Kollam , the erstwhile Desinganadu, had a sustained commercial reputation from the days of the Phoenicians and the Romans. Fed by the Chinese trade, it was regarded by Ibn Batuta, as one of the five ports , which he had seen in the course of his travels during a period of twenty four years, in the 14th century.
The history of the district as an administrative unit can be traced back to 1835, when the Travancore state consisted of two revenue divisions with head quarters at Kollam and Kottayam. At the time of integration of Travancore and Cochin in 1949, Kollam was one of the three revenue divisions in the state. These three revenue divisions were converted in to district. Shencottah taluk was merged with Madras state consequent on the implementation of the State Reorganisation act of 1956.
When Alappuzha district was formed in 1957, Cherthala, Ambalapuzha, Mavelikara, Karthikapalli, Chengannur and Thiruvalla taluks of Kollam district were united to form the new district. When Pathanamthitta district was formed on 1st July 1983, the entire Pathanamthitta taluk and nine villages of KunnathurKunnathur taluk were also removed. Now the district has a single revenue division with headquarters at Kollam. Pathanpuram, Kunnathur, Kottarakkara, Karunagappally and Kollam are the five taluks in the district. The district is divided into 13 development blocks. Kollam, Paravoor and Punalur are the three municipal towns.
The district situated on the south west coast of India. It extends latitude 9o28' and longitude 76o17' north. The district is bounded on the north by the Alappuzha district, north east by the Pattanamthitta district, east by Thirunelveli district of Tamilnadu, south by Thiruvananthapuram district and west by the Arabian sea. The area of district is 2491 sq kms and in area the district ranks seventh in the state.
Achencoil: Situated about 80 kms. from Punalur, Achencoil is an important pilgrim centre. The Sastha temple here, is situated amidst dense forests. The idol of Sastha is supposed to have been installed several centuries before the Christian Era. The two important festivals of this temple are Mandala Pooja (December-January) and the festival held at 'Ravathi' (January-February). The two notable features of the festival are the Therotam (Chariot festival) and Pushpabhishekam (offering of flowers). In no other temple of South India are flowers offered to the deity so lavishly as at Achencoil.
Anchal: Situated 13 kms. south of Punalur, Anchal is known for its cattle market twice a month. The Mudi festival of the Bhagavathy temple here, conducted once every 12 years, attract huge gatherings.
Aryankavu: Situated about 73 kms. east of Kollam, Aryankavu is one of the important pilgrim centres of the district. From every early days, it was an important trade route for merchants from either sides of the Western Ghats. The chief attraction of Aryankavu is the Shrine dedicated to Lord Sastha. The temple has some fine sculptures and mural paintings. Thousands of pilgrims flock to this temple during the mandala pooja and Thrikalyanam festivals in December. All trains towards Shencottah have a stop at Aryankavu. Buses plying between Kollam & Shencottah, also pass through this place. About 5 kms. away from Aryankavu there is a big waterfall known as palaruvi meaning river of milk. It is one of the well-known waterfalls in south India, falling from a height of 300 feet. It is sittuated 66 kms. from Kollam on Kollam-Shancottah road. The scenic beauty, with the hills, valleys and cascades, covered with dense tropical forests, is breath taking. Season to visit the place is June-January.
Chavara: Chavara is situated 14 kms. north of Kollam om the Kollam-Alappuzha road. Thousands of tonnes of mineral sand are exported from Chavara to various countries. The Koilthottam port is situated within the limits of Chavara panchayat. Four major industrial establishments - Indian Rare Earths, The Kerala Premopipe factory, Kerala Minerals and Metals and the Titanium complex - are at Chavara. The Thalappoli Mahotsavom- offerings of lighted lamps in decorated small pans - in the Kottamkulangara temple here is very famous. It falls in March - April. The interesting features of the festival is that men dress themselves as women and carry lamps. This is a time-honoured custom.
Karunagappally: Karunagappally is situated 27 kms. north of Kollam. It is linked with Kollam by rail and road. There is a mini civil station at Karunagappally. Padayanarkulangara, which forms part of the town, was once the military station of the Kayamkulam Rajas. An idol of Buddha, recovered from a local tank here, is now preserved in the Krishnapuram Palace, situated north of Oachira. The town has a temple dedicated to Lord Siva, two old mosques and a Mar Thoma Church.
Kottarakkara: Kottarakkara is the headquarters of Kottarakkara Taluk. It is linked with Kollam, both by road and rail, a distance of 27 kms. It was once the capital of Elayadathu Swarupam, a principality ruled by a branch of the Travancore Royal Family. The internationally famous dance drama Kathakali had its small beginning in this town and it flourished under the patronage of Raja of Kottarakkara who lived in the first half of the 19th century. Kottarakkara has a very old temple dedicated to Lord Ganapathy and a church belonging to Mar Thomas. This church is 700 years old.
Kulathuppuzha: Kulathuppuzha is situated on the Thiruvananthapuram_Shancottah road and is 10 kms. south of Thenmala Railway Station. Kulathuppuzha is an importane forest range, well known for its elephants. Reed, an essential raw material for paper manufacture at Punalur Paper Mill, is partly supplied from Kulathuppuzha Valley. One of the renowned shrines dedicated to Lord Sastha, is found here and large crowds of pilgrims come for worship during festival seasons. The Vishnu Mahotsava in April-May is the most important festival here. Besides this shrine, there are also three mosques.
Kundara: Kundara is linked with Kollam by rail and road; a distance of 14 kms. Large deposits of China Clay discovered here, helped in the establishment of the Government Ceramics concerns. The Aluminium Industries (ALIND) is one of the leading Indian firms manufacturing aluminium cables. Kundara is famous in history, for, it was from here that Veluthampi Dalawa issued the famous Kundara Vilambaram in 1809.
Kunnicode: The main attraction of Kunnicode, situated 10 kms. west of Punalur, is Pachilakunnu is small where a Muslim saint is said to have breathed his last.
Mayyanad: Mayyanad, 10 kms south of Kollam, is noted for its Shrines and temples. The most important temple is the one at Unayanalloor, dedicated to Lord Subramoniya. The shrine is said to have been consecrated by Shri. Snakaracharya of Kaladi. Besides the temples, there are three churches and a mosque. Cotton weaving and oil pressing are the main occupations in the village. Mayyanad is the birth place of C.V. Kunjuraman, one of the leading literary, social and political figures of modern Kerala.
Neendakara: Situated about 8 kms. north of Kollam, Neendakara is the headquarters of the Indo-Norweigian Fisheries Community Project, which was established in 1953. The important institutions under this project are the boat building yard at Sakthikulangara, the Fisherman's Training Institute, the ice factory and the refrigeration plant. Improvements have been made to Neendakara Port, which has been thrown open to traffic.
Oachira: Situated32 kms. north of Kollam-Alappuzha National Highway and on the boundary of Kollam district, Oachira is a unique pilgrim centre. The peculiarity of the template here is that there is no temple building as such nor is there any idol. All classes of people worship the presiding deity the Parabrahmam. Oachira drawns thousands of pilgrims for Oachirakkali, a festival held annualy in June. Another festival held here is Panthrandu Vilakku in November-December, which lasts for 12 days. The festival is also followed by a fair which attracts thousands of pilgrims from all walk of life. Oachira is also an important handicraft centre where fancy articles of screwpine mats are manufactured. Known also as Dekshina Kasi, buses passing through N.H. 47 stop at Oachira. Passenger trains stop at Oachira Railway Station.
Paravur: Paravur is an important fishing and coir production centre. It is situated 13 kms. South of Kollam and is connected with Kollam town by road and rail. It is the birthplace of K.C. Kesava Pillai (1865-1913) and Kesava Asan (1869-1917), two leading literary men of eminence.
Pathanapuram: An important trading centre on the banks of the Kallada river, Pathanapuram is 13 kms. away from Punalur. The Chandanakkudam mahotsava of the mosque there, celebrated every year in February-March, attracts thousands of devotees.
Pattazhi: Pattazhi is the seat of an ancient temple, dedicated to Bhagavathy. The Mudi is the major festival of this temple.
Punalur: Punalur is one of the important industrial centres of Kerala. It is 45 kms. from Kollam on the Kollam-Shencotta railway line and is also linked with Kollam by road. The Punalur Paper Mills, started as early as 1885, is one of the main factories. The suspension bridge across the Kallada river, erected in 1877, is the only one of its kind in south India and it is 400 ft. long. A concrete bridge has been constructed nearby and now the suspension bridge is only of arachaeological interest. The temple here, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, Lord Krishna, Lord Siva and Goddess Bhagavathy, attract huge gatherings during festival season. There are two Roman Catholic Churches too, at Punalur. The chief commodities of export here are the hill produces, pine-apple, pepper products, plywood and timber, Punalur is the head quarters of Pathanapuram taluk. click to view the images of the bridge
Kollam Town: Kollam town, the headquarters of Kollam district and Kollam taluk, has a hoary past. It was a international emporium of trade and even now it is a prosperous commercial centre. It is situated about 71 kms. north of Thiruvananthapuram and is linked by rail, road and backwater transport. The town edges with the famous Astamudi lake. Many a foreign traveller has visited Kollam in the early midieval period. It was one of the early centres of Christian activity in Kerala.It is said that the present town of Kollam was built by the Syrian Merchant; Sapir Iso, in the 9th Century A.D. The popularity of Kollam has been established by the time honoured proverb once you see Kollam, you will not need your home any more. Kollam is an important commercial, industrial and trading centre. It is also the headquarters of the Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation.
The 144 ft. Thangassery Light house, built in 1902, is a centre of attraction. The Ananda Valleeswaram Temple here, attracts people on almost all days. There are several Churches and Mosques is not around Kollam. The Pullichira Church was established in 1700 A.D. One of the oldest and most important Mosques in the town is the Chinnakkada Palli. The Thangal Kunju Musaliar College of Engineering, the first of its king in the state, is at Kilikolloor, about 7 kms. east of Kollam town.
Mahatma Gandhi beach & park at Kochupilamoodu, Thirumullavaram beach and Ashramam picnic village, are some of the important sopts of local sight seeing. Mahatma Gandhi beach lies just 2 kms. from the town. It is facinating place for an evening. Thirumullavaram Beach is 5 kms. from the town. The sea here is ideal for swimming and bathing. Ashramam picnic village is located in the 48 acre Guest House Complex. This is the centre of various tourism development activities of the district. The setting up of a picnic village here, is progressing under the supervision of the District Tourism Promotion Council. The Government Guest House here, is 200 years old.
It stands along Ashtamudi lake and is a major attraction for its elegance and architectural beauty. Tourists can stay here at economical rates. The children's Traffic & Entertainment Park, designed by NATPAC, is also located in this Village. It is the largest traffic park in Kerala. The Adventure Park, located in the village along the shores of the Astamudi backwaters, is a novel experiment in the country. Different types fo boats, including luxury cruise boats, power boats and motor boats, are available on hire from the boat jetty near to the Adventure Park. A budget hotel for tourists. Yatrinivas, run by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation is also located in this village. The village is just 2 kms. away from the town.
Sasthamcottah: Sasthamcottah is an attractive village situated about 19 kms. from Kollam town. It is a beauty spot, a health resort and a centre of pilgrimage. The extensive fresh water lake here, is said to be the biggest of its kind in Kerala. Water supply to the Kollam town is met by purifying the water from this lake. Buses are freqently operated to Sasthamcottah, which can truely be called as Queen of Lakes.
Sasthamcottah has found a place on the eco-tourism map of Kerala. The Forest department will adopt and develop the village in to an eco-tourism destination. A major scheme for the purpose is being prepared by the forest department. The eco-tourism office at Sasthamcottah was today inaugurated by the water Resources Minister, Thiruvanchoor Radakrishnan. The Minster said that efforts to protect the Sasthamcottah fresh water lake would be implemented through the full support of the people.
Thangassery: Thangassery is a place of historical importance situated 5kms. away from Kollam town. The churches here are pretty old, having been established in the 18th century. The chief attraction of the place is the light house, built in 1902. The 144 ft. light house stands as a sentinal, warning seamen of the treachrous reefs of Thangassery. The construction of a fishin harbour is in progress. Thangassery was an enclave of the Portuguese, Dutch and British in succession. The remants of the Portugese and Dutch forts still exist.
Thazhava: Thazhava in Oachira Block, is an important centre of screw-pine mat industry. An image of the Buddha, discovered from a tank known as Pallikkulam near Maruthookulangara, is one of the interesting archaeological, associated with Kollam district.
Thenmala: Thenmala is the meeting point of Kollam-Shencottah road and Thiruvananthapuram-Shencottah road, surrounded by dense forests, 66 kms. east of Kollam. There are a large number of rubber and tea plantations in Thenmala. Timber of all varieties are exported from here to all parts of the country. Thenmala dam site is open for tourists. All buses passing through Kollam-Shencottah road, stop at Thenmala. There is also a Railway Station here. Click to view images of the dam and other details
Jetaya Para: Jetayu Para, a huge rock, is another attraction in Kollam district. The huge rock is in the Chandayamangalam village on the M.C. road. The name comes from the epic Ramayana. It is believed that Jatayu, the giant bird in the epic, fell after failing in its attemt to stop Ravana from taking Sita away. The rock is ideal for trekking by the lover of adventure. The rock can be seen from the Chadayamangalam Jn. itself.
Coutalam falls: Though the famous waterfall at Courtalam is situated in Tamilnadu state, it shares the boundary of Kollam also. Season to visit the place is from June to January. A guest house and a number of medium range hotels are available.