Kollam or 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.
Kollam District which is a veritable Kerala in miniature is gifted with unique representative features - sea, lakes, plains, mountains, rivers, streams, backwaters, forest, vast green fields and tropical crop of every variety both food crop and cash crop, so called 'The Gods Own Capital'.
Short History of Kollam
Kollam or 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 rulers of Kollam (Desinganadu) and China , exchange embassies and there was flourishing Chinese settlement at Kollam. Merchant Sulaiman of Siraf in Persia ( 9th Century) found Kollam to be the only port in India , touched by the huge Chinese junks , on his way from Carton of Persian Gulf. Marco Polo, the great Venician traveller, who was in Chinese service under Kublahan in 1275, visited Kollam and other towns on the west coast, in his capacity as a Chinese mandarin.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish a trading center at Kollam in 1502. Then came the Dutch followed by the British in 1795. A British garrison was stationed at Kollam in pursuance of a treaty between Travancore and the British.
Velu Thampi Dalawa of Travancore, did much for the improvement of the Kollam town. He build new bazaars and invited merchants from Madras and Thirunelveli to settle here. Kollam later became the capital of the enlightened and liberal rulers of Desinganad.
Once a city of palaces, Kollam has been known to the outside world, by the time honoured proverb, 'Once you have seen Kollam you would no more need your illam (Home)'
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 headquarters at Kollam and Kottayam. At the time of the integrating of Travancore and Cochin in 1949,Kollam was one of the three revenue divisions in the state. These three revenue divisions were converted into districts. 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, Mavelikkara, Karthikappally. Chenganuur and Thiruvalla Taluks were united to the new district. When Pathanamthitta district was formed on 1st July 1983, the entire Pathanamthitta Taluk and nine villages of Kunnathur Taluk of the district were also removed. Now the district has a single revenue division with headquarters at Kollam. Pathanapuram, Kunnathur, Kottarakkara, Karunagappally and Kollam are the five taluks in the district.
Kollam District is situated on the South west coast of kerala. The District is bound on the north by Alappuzha and north east by Pathanamthitta Districts on the east by Thirunelveli District of Tamilnadu, on the South by the Thiruvavanathapuram District and on the west by Arabian sea.
Two rivers Kallada and Ithikkara flows through this District. The Sasthamcotta lake, the only major fresh water lake in the state is in Kollam District.
The Soil of the District may be classified as sandy loams, larerite and forest soil. The costal belt has sandy loams and the forest soil is found in the eastern forest belt. The rest of the district is laterite soil.
The District has a tropical humid climate with an oppressive summer and plentiful seasonal rainfall. The hot season., lasting from March to May is followed by the South West Monsoon from June to September. The rest of the year is generally dry.
Kollam, 71 km away from Trivandrum is fairly important for the State's trade and commerce and is the centre of the country's cashew trading and processing industry.
It is also an important hub for the State's marine products industry, with the port of Neendakara being the centre for trawlers and ice plants.
Kollam District has a large area under forest. Pathanapuram, Anchal, Kottarakkara and Chadayamangalam are blocks having large areas of forest. The forest divisions are at Thenmala and Punalur.
For all its natural gifts of wide rivers, dominant hills and forest, lakes and plains, there is the throb of a vibrant industrial activity that combines with equanimity the wonders of the modern age with the traces of a bygone era.
District Area : 2491 Sq.Km.
District Population : 25,84,118
Climate : Tropical
Rainfall : 270 Cms. (Annual)
Mean Max.Temperature : 36.0 Deg.C.
Mean Min.Temperature: 22.4 Deg.C.
Clothing : Tropical
Tourist Season : August to March
How to get there
Air --> The nearest airport, Thiruvananthapuram is 71 Kms away
Rail--> Kollam (Quilin) is connected by rail with several important cities.
Road--> Kollam (Quilon) is connected by road with many tourist centers in India.
The Quilon district is divided both on geographical and functional basis for purposes of general administration. Geographically it is divided into Revenue Divisions, five Taluks and 104 Villages. Functionally the District administration is carried on through the various Departments of the State Government each of which has an office of its own the district level.
The District Collector is the pivot district administration and the District Officers of the various Departments in the District render technical advice to him in the discharge of his duties.
The District Collector is a key functionary Of Government having large powers and responsibilities. He has a duel role to play both as the agent of the Government and also as the representatives of the people in the District. He is responsible for the maintenance of the law and order.
The total population of the district is 25.84 Lakhs. In population, the district ranks sixth in the state. The density of population of the district has increased from 961 persons per Sq.kms in 1991 to 1037 in 2001.
Sex Ratio( defined as the number of females per 1000 males) shows a fluctuating trends from decades to decades. Taking the population in the district as a whole in 1941,1971,1981,1991 and 2001,females outnumbered males.
In all other decades there was a ponderance of males over females. According to the 2001 census there are 1070 females for every 1000 males, while it was 1035 in 1991 census.
Taluks and Villages
Kollam Revenue District is divided into 5 (five) Taluks and 104 Villages. The Tahsildar in charge of each Taluk is primarily the Revenue Official responsible for the collection of revenue, but he is also expected to be in direct contact with the people at all levels and to have first hand knowledge of the conditions of every village under his jurisdiction. The Tahsildar is assisted in each village by Village Officers and Village Assistants.
Places to Visit
K ollam town, the headquarters of Kollam district and Kollam taluk, has a hoary past. It was an international emporium of trade and even now it is a prosperous commercial centre. It is situated about 71 Kms. north of Thiruvavanathapuram and is linked by rail, road and backwater transport.
The town edges with the famous Ashtamudi lake. Many a foreign traveler has visited Kollam in early medieval 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 home any more. Kollam is an important commercial, industrial and trading centre. It is also the headquarters of Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation.
The 144 ft. Thangassery Light House, built in 1902, is a centre of attraction. The Ananda Valleswaram Temple here, attracts people on almost all days. There are several Churches and Mosques in and around Kollam. The Pullichira Church was established in 1700 A.D. One of the oldest and most important Mosques in the Chinnakkada Palli. The Thangal Kunju Musliar College of Engineering, the first of its kind in the private sector 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 spots of local sight seeing, Mahatma Gandhi beach lies just 2 Kms. from the town. It is fascinating place for an evening. Thirumullawaram Beach is 5 kms. from the town. The sea here is ideal for swimming and bathing. Asramam picnic village is located in the 48 acre Guest House Complex. This is the centre of various tourism development activities of the district.
The Government Guest House here is 200 years old. It stands along Ashtamudi lake and is a major attraction for its elegance rates. The adventure park, located in the shores of the Ashtamudi backwaters, is a novel experiment in the country. Different types of 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, Yatri Nivas, run by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, is also located in this village. The village is just 2 kms. away from the town.
Situated about 80 kms from Punalur is an important pilgrim center. The Sastha temple here, situated amidst dense forest. 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 'Revathi'(January-February). The two notable features of the festival are the Therotam (chariot festival) and Pushpabhishekam (offering of flowers). In no other temple of the South India are flowers offered to the deity so lavishly as at Achencoil.
Alumkadavu located at 26 Kms from Kollam City and on the lakeside of Kollam-Alappuzha National Water Way. The 'Green Channel Back Water Resort' at Alumkadavu makes itself a tranquil location for both foreign and Indian Tourists. The scenic beauty of blue green stretches of serene back water and rambling gardens of hundreds of coconut palms give the Green Channel Resort an incomparable beauty.
Apart from providing tasty Kerala/North Indian/Chinese dishes the resort offers excellent facilities like comfortable accommodation, Back Water Cruise, visit to Matha Amritanandamayi Asramam, which is only 4 KM away, House Boats, Ayurvedic treatment for rejuvenation of body by qualified and experienced Ayurvedic Practioner, canal tour with the unique opportunities to experience the true village life and do fishing leisurely. Telephone No. 911-0476 - 2628134 Email : email@example.com
Amritapuri located at 110 kms from capital of Kerala. Amritapuri is the realisation of the ancient Indian ideal 'the whole world is one family' (vasudhaiva kutumbakam). By bus or train: Kayamkulam (12 km north of Amritapuri) and Karunagappally (10 km south) are the major cities to reach. By air and taxi: The two closest airports are in Trivandrum (110 km south of Amritapuri) and in Cochin (140 km north).
For more details visit : www.amritapuri.org
Situated 13 kms south of Punalur, Anchal is known for its cattle market held twice a month. The Mudi festival of the Bhagavathy temple here, conducted once every 12 years, attract huge gatherings.
Situated about 73 kms east of Kollam is one of the important pilgrim centers of the district. From very early days, it was an important trade route for merchants from either sides of western Ghats. The chief attraction of Aryankavu is the shrine dedication of Lord Sastha. The temple has some fine sculptures and mural paintings. Thousands of pilgrims flocks of this temple during the Mandala Pooja in December. All trains towards Shencottah have a stop at Aryankavu. About 5 kms away from Aryankavu there is a big waterfall known as Palaravi meaning river of milk. It is one of the well-known waterfalls in the south India, falling from a height of 300 feet. It is situated 66kms from Kollam on Kollam-Shencottah road.
Chavara is situated 14 kms north of Kollam on the Kollam-Alappuzha road. Thousands of tonnes of mineral sand are exported from Chavara to various countries. The Kovilthottam port is situated within the limits of Chavara Panchayat. Four major industrial establishments 1.Indian Rare Earths 2.The kerala Premo Pipe factory 3.Kerala Mineral and Metal factory 4.Titanium Complex are in Chavara.
Jetayu Para, a huge rock, is another attraction in Kollam district. This huge rock is in the Chadayamangalam 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 attempt to spot Ravana from taking sita away. The rock is ideal for trekking by the lovers of adventure. The rock can be seen from the Chadayamangalam junction. itself.
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 .Padanayarkulangara, which forms part of the town, was once the military station at Kayamkulam Rajas. An idol of Buddha, recovered from a local tank here, is now preserved in the Krishnapuram palace the headquarters of Kayamkulam Rajas situated north of Oachira. The town has a temple dedicated to Lord Siva, two old mosques and a mar Thomas Church.
Kottarakkara is the headquarters of Kottarakkara Taluk. It is linked by both rail and road, 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-Kath kali had its small beginning in this town and it flourished under the patronage of Raja of Kottarakkara.
Kulathupuzha is situated on the Thiruvannathapuram - Sencottah road and is 10 kms south of Tenmala railway station. It is and important forest range, well known for its elephants. Reed, an essential raw materials for paper manufacture at Punalur Paper mill, is partly supplied from Kulathupuzha valley.
Kundara is linked with Kollam by rail and road, a distance of 18 kms. Large deposit of china clay discovered here, helped in the establishment of the Government Ceramics.
The main attraction of Kunnicode, situated 10 kms west pf Punalur ,is Pachilakunnu a small hillock where a Muslim saint is said to have breathed his last.
Mayyanadu,10 kms south of Kollam is noted for its shrines and temples. The most important temple is the one at Umayanallor, dedicated to Lord Subramanian. The shrine is said to have been consecrated by Shri. Sankaracharya of Kaladi. Besides the temples, there are three churches and a Mosque. Cotton weaving and oil pressing are the main occupation in the village.
Situated about 8 kms north of Kollam , Neendakara is the Headquarters of the Indo-Norwegian 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. Neendakara Port, the hub of fishing activities is here.
Situated ,32 kms north of Kollam on the Kollam Alappuzha National Highway and on the boundary of Kollam district, Oachira is a unique pilgrim center. The peculiarity of the temple here is that there is no temple building as such nor is there any idol. All classes of people workship the presiding deity the parabrahmam. Oachira draws thousands of Pilgrims for Oachirakkali, a festival held annually in June. It is also an important handicraft center where fancy articles of screw pine mats are manufactured.
Palaruvi Water Falls
The famous waterfall in Kollam District is situated at Palaruvi near Aryankavu, Kollam - Sencottah NH 208. Season to visit the places is from June to January.
Paravur is an important fishing and coir production center. It is situated 13 kms south of Kollam and is connected with Kollam town by rail and road. It is the birth place of K.C.Kesavan Pillai(1865-1913) and Kesava Asan(1869-1917) ,two leading literary men of eminence.
An important trading center on the banks of the Kallada river, Pathanapuram is 13 kms away from Punalur. The Chandanakkudam mahotsavam of the mosque there, celebrated every year in February-March atrtacts thousands of devotees.
Pattazi is the seat of an ancient temple, dedicated to Bhagavathy. The Mudi is the major festival of this temple.
Punalur is one of the important industrial centers of kerala. It is 45 kms from Kollam on the Kollam-Shencotta railway line and is also linked with Kollam by road. The Suspension bridge accross 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 near by and now the suspension bridge is only of archaeological interest. Punalur is the head Quarters of Pathanapuram Taluk.
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 freshwater 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 frequently operated to Sasthamcottah, which can truly be called as Queen of Lakes.
Thangassery is a place of historical importance situated 5 kms. 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 sentinel, warning seamen of the treacherous reefs of Thangassery. The construction of a fishing harbour is in progress. Thangassery was an enclave of the Portuguese, Dutch and British in succession. The remnants of the Portuguese and Dutch forts still exits.
Thazhava in Oachira block is an important center of screw pine mat industry. An Image of Buddha, discovered from a tank known as Pallikkulam near Maruthoorkulangra is one of the interesting archaeological relics, associated with Kollam district
Thenmala is the meeting point of Kollam-Shencottah road and Trivandrum-Shencottah road, surrounded by dense forest, 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. Themala Dam site is open for tourists. Eco tourists center is situated at Thenmala. All buses passing through Kollam-Shencottah road stop at Tenmala. There is also a Railway Station here.
Important Religious Centres
Kollam district has a number of pilgrim centers. The temples dedicated to the Sastha at Achencoil, Aryankavu and Kulathupuzha are visited by a large number of pilgrims. The festivals, Therottam and pushpabhishekam of Achenciol Temple fall during December - January and January - February respectively. The Mandala Pooja of Aryankavu Temple, is in December and the Vishumahotsavam of Kulathupuzha in April.
The Oachira Temple, dedicated to Parabrahamam attracts a large number of pilgrims, particularly during the festival called Oachirakkali in June-July. The Panthranduvilakku Mhotsavam (November-December) of this temple is also very famous, Vishu Mahotsavam (April) of SreeKrishna Swami Temple, Ashramam, Navarathri Mahostsavam (October) of Mahadeva Temple, Mukhathala, Ustavam of Mahadeva Temple, Thrikkadavur and Bhagavathi Temp-le, Kottamkulangara, Sivarathri Festival (March) of Shiva Temple, Chittadeeswaram and Chenamathu Temple, Chathannoor, Festival (September-October) of Veera Bhadra Nada, Astamudi, renowned for the 'Urul Nercha', Sivarathri Mahotsavam (March) of Kashi Viswanathan at Cheriazheekal (Karunagappally Taluk) Thiruvathira Mahotsavam (April) of Shri. Mahaganapathi Temple, Kottarakkara Attam Mahotsavam (March) of SreeBhoothanada Temple, Chathannoor are some of the important festivals connected with temples.
The Ashtami Rohini Festival at Vadayattukotta Sree Krishna Temple also attracts huge crowds from neighbouring places. In addition to these temples, there are Churches and Mosques which have their own festivals attracting huge crowds, irrespective of their religious affiliation.
Some of the important Churches are St. Casmir's church, Kadavur, Velankanni Matha Shrine, Tuyyam; St. Francis Church, Koduvila (kallada), Amalotbhava Matha Church, Pullichira (Kottiyam), St. John Brotto Church, Sakthikulangara; St. Sebastian Church, Needakkara: St. Thomas C.S.I. Church, Pattathanam and St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral, Sastri Junction.
Valiyapalli, Janakappuram, Juma-Atrh-Palli, Kolluvila, Jumma-Ath-Masjid, Thattamala, NMuslim Jumma-Ath-Palli, Karuva: Kalamala Palli, Kalamala: Muthirapparambu Palli, Muthirapparambu and Siyavathummodu Palli, Kilikolloor are the most important mosques. '
Amritapuri located at 110 kms from capital of Kerala. By bus or train: Kayamkulam (12 km north of Amritapuri) and Karunagappally (10 km south) are the major cities to reach. By air and taxi: The two closest airports are in Trivandrum (110 km south of Amritapuri) and in Cochin (140 km north).