Known historically as a trade hub, Kollam is home to some of the exciting tourist destinations in Kerala. The district is endowed with a long coastline and a network of waterways. Attractive mountains, small lagoons, placid backwaters, beautiful rivers, and thick forests form the landscape of the place. Ashtamudi lake, known as the most visited lake in the state, is located in Kollam. Palaruvi Water Falls, Thenmala forest, and reservoir and Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve are some of the enchanting locations for a nature lover. Recently the world’s largest bird sculpture was built in Jatayupara. The adventure park and adjacent museum are worth a visit.
Kollam has a long history of trade relations with Phoenicia and Ancient Rome. Hence the place is historically significant. The events like the Ochira festival, Kallada boat race, Kottangulangara festival, Chandanakudam Maholsavam add to the cultural fabric of the land. Numerous cashew factories in the region make Kollam the capital of Kerala’s cashew industry.
Tourist Places in Kollam
Thenmala is the first eco-tourism destination in India. Located 66 kilometers from the city center of Kollam, the place has some spectacular attractions for the tourists visiting Kerala. The Thenmala dam and the resultant lake assumes an air of tranquility. Boating on the lake is very relaxing. Tourists have the opportunity to experience the jungle and dwell in the tree houses. Recreational and adventure activities like camping, trekking, and mountain biking adds more excitement to the trip. A walk through the rock bridge is enthralling. The uniqueness of the place gained the approval of UNESCO and was declared a world heritage site.
Jatayu Earth's Centre (Jadayuppara)
Located in the historic village of Chadayamangalam, Jatayu Earth Center houses the largest bird sculpture in the world. Jatayu is a legendary bird in the Indian epic Ramayana. According to the story Jatayu was slain by the demon king Ravana while he was abducting Sita. Situated at a height of 350 meters above sea level the view of the dense green forest from the location is captivating. The adjacent adventure park promotes several activities for adventure lovers. The Jatayu museum nearby is also worth a visit.
Neendakara is one of the major fishing harbors in Kerala. The Needakara bridge provides a great view of the confluence point of Ashtamudi lake and the Arabian sea. One can relax in the harbor enjoying the cool breeze and the crimson sunset. It is also the best place to buy fresh fish. A wide variety of seafood like crabs, prawn, shark and so on are available here. The Chinese fishing nets lining the shore proclaim the history of trade relations between Kerala and China in ancient times. The quaint village is also a great place to explore the unique culture and life of the fishing folk.
The placid lake of Sasthamkotta is a great tourist destination in Kollam. Spreading across a catchment area of 12.69 square kilometers, it is the largest freshwater lake in India. It meets the drinking water needs of almost half a million people in the district. The lake is also home to some varieties of freshwater fishes. Flanked by magnificent hills, the panoramic location is an ideal holiday spot. Boating through the lake is one of the favorite activities of tourists along with feeding the friendly monkeys in the region.
Ashtamudi Lake is the most visited lake in Kerala. Tourists love to imbibe the scenic sight of the palm-shaped water body and the surrounding greenery. The most enjoyable activity here is the boat ride in the traditional Kerala houseboats. It is a unique experience to slowly float through the lake in the boats with all the facilities of a home. The President’s Trophy boat race is conducted in the waters of the lake annually. It is a prominent race of the traditional snake boats and is sure to take the spectators to the peak of excitement.
Achankovil Sastha Temple
A Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, Achankovil temple is one of the most famous temples in Kerala. The legend has it that the idol in the sanctum sanctorum was consecrated by Parasurama — an incarnation of God Vishnu. Devotees believe that paying homage in the temple will cure a person of poisonous snake bites. As the shrine is located deep in the dense jungle, the location is very quiet and tranquil. The trek to the temple through the forest roads is very exciting. On the way there are two spectacular waterfalls, namely, Manalar falls and Kumbuvurutty falls. The transfixing beauty of these cascades captivates travelers.
Located almost 23 kilometers from the Kollam city, Chittumala is a small village with some specialties. The ancient temple of Chittumala Sree Durga Devi temple is located atop the hill here. It is a unique sight to see the devotees carrying huge chariots up the hill during the famous festival. The local self-governing body in Chittumala, the Chittumala block panchayat, is the recipient of the Swaraj trophy for the best of its kind. It is thus a great place to visit for the tourists interested to know the quiet life in the villages in Kerala.
Azheekal beach is a relatively less crowded seashore in Kollam. The deep blue Arabian sea, expansive long stretch of sand, and swaying coconut trees make the place a picture-perfect location. The ‘Pulimuttu’ —a walkway made of stone — extending half a kilometer into the sea is a great space for fishing and enjoying the sunset. Many beach activities are also incorporated in the area to attract tourists.
Kollam beach or Mahatma Gandhi beach is famous for its beauty and history. A pristine shore is a great place to enjoy the beauty of the sea and to involve in various activities like sunbathing, beach volley, and swimming. It is also one of the three beaches in Kerala with lifeguards. Historically the port was used for trade with China. Later the Portuguese, the English, and the Dutch captured it because of its strategic and commercial importance. Still, there are many ruins of the Portuguese and Dutch forts in the area. There are also 18th-century churches near the beach constructed in European architecture. The 44-meter long Thangasseri lighthouse, which was built in 1902 is another famous monument here. The marine aquarium with its 40 huge water tanks is the best place to see the diversity of marine life.