A very great city – Thus mentioned Duarte Barbossa the 16th century Portuguese writer about Kollam earlier called Quilon by the British. Extolled by travelers like Plini, Marco Polo and Ibn Batuta, Kollam was an ancient urban maritime trade center from the beginning of the Christian era. Frequented by travelers and traders from the days of Roman empire who came seeking the famed spices of the coast, Kollam has since 19th century been home for the cashew industry. Surrounded on three sides by the breathtaking Ashtamudi lake, Kollam has everything the intelligent traveler looks for History, culture, landscape, backwaters, hills.
The state’s only Eco tourism project in Thenmala hills is the pride of Kollam. Today Kollam is famed for its much-exported cashew nuts – introduced by Portuguese and known in Malayalam as Parankiyandi or Portuguese nut and its processing factories. A half an hour drive past the cashew factories takes one to the Monroe Island located amongst a criss-cross of canals and lagoons. Kollam is also famed as the hub of the state’s flourishing marine food industry and the mouth-watering dishes made of Karimeen(pearl spot fish) caught from backwaters here top the state’s ethnic culinary delights.
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- Alumkadavu, (26 km from Kollam). Scenic place, with blue green stretches back water, coconut palms, back water cruise, house boats, Ayurvedic treatment centers.
- Amritapuri Asramam. A Hindu pilgrim center for worshipers of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi.
- Aryankavu, (73 km east of Kollam). Pilgrim center, old trade route for merchants from either sides of western Ghats, famous for shrine of Lord Sastha, fine sculptures and mural paintings.
- Chavara, (14 km north of Kollam on NH47). Famous for the mineral sand and place of Catholic saint Sister Alphonsa.
- Karunagappally, (27 km north of Kollam in NH47). Old military station of Kayamkulam Rajas.
- Kottarakkara, (27 km northeast of Kollam). Erstwhile capital of Elayadathu Swarupam, a ruling family. Famous for Kath Kali (a dance drama).
- Kundara. A prominent place in Kollam famous for industries.
- Mayyanad, (10 km south of Kollam). Famous for its shrines and temples.
- Mannadi, (24 km east of Kollam). Famous as the place where Veluthampi Dalawa laid down his life.
- Neendakara (Long Shore), (8 km north of Kollam). Famous for its fisheries industries.
- Oachira, (32 km north of Kollam in NH47). Famous temple, a unique pilgrim center and handicraft center.
- Paravur, (13 km south of Kollam). Famous for coir production center and fishing.
- Sasthamcotta, (19 km from Kollam). Biggest freshwater lake in Kerala.
- Thangassery, (5 km away from Kollam). Place of historical importance, with old 18th century churches, light house and remnants of Portuguese and Dutch forts.
- Thenmala, 66 km east of Kollam (on the way to Shencottah, it is also reachable from Trivandrum). Dam site with dense forest is famous for eco tourism.
- Kalayapuram, (34 km from Kollam, on the way to Kottayam from Kottarakara). It is believed that old Kalayan royal family were ruled from this place, hence the name Kalayapuram.
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