The Southern Gateway of Kerala
Located 71 kilometers to the north of Thiruvananthapuram, with an area of 2579 sq kms, Kollam is the centre of the country's cashew trading and processing industry. One of the oldest ports on the Malabar Coast, Kollam was once the port of international spice trade. The renowned Ashtamudi Lake, making it the Gateway to the magnificent backwaters of Kerala, covers Thirty per cent of this historic town. The eight hour boat trip between Kollam and Allapuzha is the longest and the most enchanting experience on the backwaters of Kerala. The district also has some interesting historic remnants and a number of temples built in the traditional ornate architectural style
The Ashtamudi Lake
The Ashtamudi lake, surrounded by red cliffs and swaying coconut palms, still bears traces of its former links with China. Here, graceful Chinese fishing nets hang over the lake, as covered country boats ply the backwaters. The 9 hour boat ride from Kollam to Alappuzha along these backwaters can be an unforgettable experience.
Tangasseri Light House
The 44 metre light house here has a power light which is visible at a distance of about 29Km out in the Arabian Sea. Tangasseri is also a place of historical importance as ruined fortifications and ancient churches built in the 18th Century can also be found here. A beautiful beaches nearby has the Light House of 144 feet high.
Thirumullavaram Beach is a secluded beach and forms an ideal picnic centre and has frequent bus connections to the town. Mayyanad (10 km) is noted for its shrines and temples. The most important of the nine temples here is the Subramanya Temple at Umayanallor. There are frequent buses form Kollam to Mayyanad.
(29 km) is a vast fresh water lake surrounded by hills on three sides. It is the largest of its kind in Kerala. The ancient Sastha Temple is an important pilgrim centre.
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 also has good bathing facilities.
23 kms. from Kollam. Gliding along the calm and serene backwaters flanked by green leaves and palms, seeing a rural Kerala preserved through the ages and completely hidden from the road is an enchanting experience to any visitor, more so while sailing a slow-moving, spacious Kettuvallam. Alumkadavu, a quiet spot in the town of Karunagapally, has become a hot point of Kettuvallam building, with more than a hundred people involved.
These huge, long and tapering barges were traditionally used to move tones of goods across kingdoms, with a portion covered with bamboo and coir serving as a rest room and kitchen for the crew.
A familiar sight on the waters, these vessels are built entirely without using nails. Planks of jack wood are joined together with coir rope and coated with a caustic black resin made from boiled cashew kernels with careful maintenance they last for generations.
This place has become a hot spot for Kettuvellams(houseboat building).
Located near the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, 5 kms from Ariankavu is the lovely waterfalls at Palaruvi, at a height of 300 feet. Being the pristine spot, the waterfalls give the impression of following milk, which falls steeply down into a small shallow pool which is ideal for swimming nearby there are also smaller cascades, which gives a beautiful sight.
Matha Amrithanandamayi Ashram
Vallikavu is the residence and headquarters of Matha Amrithanandamayi Devi, situated at Amrithapuri near Vallikavu. The ashram is accessible both by road and boat. Picnic Village, located at Ashramam, along the backwater front, is the main centre of recreational activities in Kollam. A 200 year old Government Guest House, and Adventure Park, a Tourist Boat Club, a Children's Traffic Park and a Yatri Nivas are all housed in this vast tourist complex.