Area: 2579 sq. km. Population: 2,379,285 Altitude: sea level
Located 71 Km to the north of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam is the centre of the country’s cashew trading and processing industry. One of the oldest ports of the Malabar coast. Kollam was once the port of international trade. Thirty percent 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 of the backwaters of Kerala. The district also has some interesting historic remnants and a number of temples built in the traditional ornate architectural style.
This seaside village of historic importance has the ruins of an old Portuguese fort and churches built in the 18th century. The Thangasseri lighthouse which is 144 feet high, is open to visitors from 15:30 – 17:30 hrs. There are buses at 15 minutes intervals from Kollam town.
This secluded beach is beautiful picnic centre and has frequent bus connections to the town.
It is noted for its shrines and temples. The most important of the nine temples here is the Subramanya Temple at Umayanallor. This shrine is said to have been consecrated by the great Hindu Philosopher Sree Sankaracharaya. There are frequent buses from Kollam to mayyanad.
This vast fresh water lake surrounded by hills on three 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 services from Kollam. Accommodation is available at the PWD Rest House.
The unique feature of this famous pilgrim centre is that there is no deity or idol at the famous Para Brahma temple dedicated to universal consciousness. Ochira Kali in mid June and the twelve day ‘Panthrandu Vilakku’ in November/December are the two main annual festivals. Ochira Kali is a mock fight enacted between groups of men dressed as warriors an the padanilam (fighting spot). They perform a martial dance standing in knee-deep water, brandishing swords and shields, and splashing water every direction. There are frequent buses from Kollam and Alappuzha.
Situated on a forest range on the Thiruvananthapuram-Shenkottai road, Kulathupuzha is known for Sastha temple. The Vishu Mahotsavam in April/May is the most important festival. There are frequent buses from Kollam to Kulathupuzha. The Thenmala railway station is just 10 Km from here.
The area is covered by dense forest, rubber and tea plantations. An Eco Tourism Development Project is under implementation here. Thenmala is also a dam site.
Palaruvi Waterfalls :
Palaruvi which means “milky stream” makes its “milky way” down the rocks, falling from a height of 300 feet. The Palaruvi woods is a beautiful picnic spot. There are frequent buses to Ariankavu from Kollam. The PWD Inspection Bungalow and the KTDC Motel offer comfortable accommodation.
Matha Amrithanandamayi Ashram, Vallikavu :
The residence and headquarters of Matha Amrithanandamayi Devi, is situated at Amrithapuri near Vallikavu. The Ashram is accessible both by road and boat.
A huge rock at Chadayamangalam takes its name from the mythical bird ‘Jatayu’ in the epic Ramayana, who is believed to have collapsed on the rock after failing in his attempts to thwart Ravana’s kidnapping of Sita.
This beautiful beach, filled with coconut palms is ideal for an early morning walk as one can see fishermen gliding into the sea for the day’s catch. The beach is also has good bathing facilities.
This picturesque evergreen valley is an important forest range famous for its elephants. There is also an ancient Sastha Temple on the right bank of the Kolattupuzha river.
Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary:
Formed around the Kallada Irrigation Project, the Shenduruny valley is one of the richest floral areas of Kerala. Elephant, tiger, leopard, bear and the lion-tailed macaque can be found here. Closeby is Tenmalai, the headquarters of this forest division. A large number of tea and rubber estates can be found here.