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South Kerala

Kollam

Kollam is another coastal district of Kerala. Kollum, the city of wide rivers, dominant hills and forest, lakes and plains is about 71 km away from Thiruvananthapuram. It is fairly important for the state's trade and commerce and is the centre of he country's cashew trading and processing industry. It is also an important hub for the state's marine products industry Thirty per cent 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 on the backwaters of Kerala.

Kollum at a glance :

Kollum at a glance :
Area 2579 sq. km
Altitude Sea level
Population 25,84118(2001 census)
Climate Tropical
Annual Rainfall 278 cm
Best season August to March
Distance from Kollum to :
Bangalore 657km
Coimbatore 364km
Kodaikanal 106km
Kottayam 106km
Kochi 150km
Kozhikode 372km
Madras 663km
Sabarimala 177km

How to reach

The nearest airport is the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, 71km away. Kollam is an important railway junction and links to almost all major indian cities.

Places of Interest

Palaruvi

Palaruvi literally stream of milk - is one of Kerala's most picturesque waterfalls, cascading down a height of 300 feet. It is a favourite picnic spot for visitors from all over south India. The journey to Palaruvi through the dense tropical forest is a spellbinding experience. This place is situated 75 Km from Kollum town and about 72 Km from Thiruvananthapuram International Airport

Picnic Village

Located on the backwater-front, the Picnic Village is one of the main centres of recreational activities in Kollam. A 200 year old Government Guest House, an adventure park, a Tourist Boat Club, a Children's Traffic Park and a Yatri Nivas provide accomodation and entertainment facilities in the village. The District Tourism Promotion Council conducts regular backwater cruises in houseboats, luxury boats and speedboats from the Boat Club. The Picnic Village is at Ashramom, about 3 km from Kollam town. This place is situated 3 Km from Kollum Junction and about 75 Km from Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.

Sasthamkotta

Sasthamkotta, situated about 29 kms from Kollam town, can be rightly called the 'Queen of Lakes'. This vast fresh water lake flanked 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. This temple dedicated to both Lord Ganesha and Lord Ayyappa is surrounded by hills and forests, and the monkeys inhabiting the premises are considered holy. The monkeys of Sasthamkotta are believed to be the faithful entourage of the ruling deity, the Dharmasastha and therefore they have a spiritual ambience about them. The monkeys are devotee-friendly, and the thousands of devotees visiting the temple take pleasure in feeding these monkeys with nuts and fruits. It is about 3 Km away from Kollum town Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is 71 Km away from Kollum.

Thenmala

It is India's first planned eco-tourism destination, which is gaining popularity due to its unique vistas, bio-diversity and functioning. Situated about 72 kms from Thiruvananthapuram, in the District of Kollam, the Thenmala Eco-Tourism shares its resources with the famous Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary at the foothills of the Western Ghats. The word Thenmala in the local language Malayalam has an interesting meaning. Then'means honey and Mala'means hill;and they combine to mean Honey Hill'. It is believed that the honey collected from this region is of very good quality owing to its unique biological settings. Managed by Thenmala Eco-Tourism Promotional Society, which is an undertaking of the Government of Kerala, Thenmala Eco-tourism is unique destination from a visitor's point of view. It has equal opportunities for fun, adventure, leisure and for learning the significance and necessity of eco-friendly measures for promoting tourism related activities. There are well-placed signboards, direction pointers, and information boards to facilitate one's movement inside the project area. Divided into different zones with a particular theme, the project area currently has three major zones viz. Culture Zone, Leisure Zone and Adventure Zone. Besides the zone-based activities for a visitor, Thenmala Eco-Tourism also offer other attractions, like an invigorating boat ride in the Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary; a visit to the Deer Rehabilitation Centre, where one can have a look at Spotted deer, the Sambar deer and the Barking deer, which have been given protection after straying out from the forests. The project area also has tree top huts and children's eco-park, riverside treks, and battery powered vehicle rides through the forest, enabling one to sight wildlife from a close distance. For a visitor to Thenmala Eco-Tourism, some of the nearby attractions are also worth exploring. One may visit the picturesque Palaruvi waterfalls, about 16 kms away, on the way to Shenkottah.Thenmala Eco-Tourism is open round the year and there are conducted tours organized by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation from the Capital City of Thiruvananthapuram and also by the District Tourism Promotion Council of Kollam District. It is about 66 Km away from Kollum junction and about 72 Km from Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.

For more Information
Thenmala Eco-tourism Promotion Society,
Thenmala Dam Junction,
Thenmala PO 691308 Kollam District,
Kerala, India.
Ph. 91-475-2344800

Wild Life

Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary

The Shenduruny forest declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1984 gets its name from an endemic species of tree called Chenkuruny (Gluta travancoria). Out of this 100 sq km of central region of moist, mixed deciduous forest 26 sq km is an artificial lake formed by the Parappar dam built across the Shenduruny and Kulathupuzha rivers.

According to some recent archaeological studies, Shenduruny was the cradle of one of the oldest river valley civilizations in India - one older than even the Indus Valley. This place is situated 66 Km from Kollum town and about 72 Km from Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.

For more information
The Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife)
Thiruvananthapuram 695014
Telefax: 0471 322217.

The Wildlife Warden

Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary
Thenmala Dam P.O.
Kollam district
Ph. 0475 344600.

Monuments

Thangasseri

The sheltered recess of the calm Arabian sea "THIRUMULLAVARAM", is an ideal place for swimming and bathing, and attracts domestic as well as international tourists. It is situated 5 K.M. from the town. Five Kilometres north of Kollam lies " Thangasseri" which was an enclave of the Portuguese, Dutch and British in succession. The remnants of the Portuguese and Dutch forts still exist. The place is also well known for its 45 metre high light house. The centre of various tourism development activities is located in the "Guest House Complex" Asharam, where the District Tourism Promotion Council functions. The Government Guest House which was built by the Divan of erstwhile Travancore State CI.Munroe, in 1812, is even now a major attraction for its elegance and architectural beauty. This 48 acre complex on the banks of Ashtamudi lake is a naturalist's delight with a variety of rare trees and shrubs. The Children's Traffic Park, designed by the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre ( NATPAC) is located in this complex and is the largest Traffic park In Kerala. Adventure Park which is also in this complex is a novel experiment. The young and the adventurous can try out their skills in various arts of physical prowess.

Religious Places

Mayyanad

Mayyanad is noted for its shrines and temples. The most important of the nine temples here is the Subramanya Temple at Umayanallor. The shrine is said to have been consecrated by the great Hindu philosopher Sree Sankaracharya. There are frequent buses from Kollam to Mayyanad.

Ariyankavu

Situated on the Kollam - Shenkottai road, Ariankavu is famous for the shrine dedicated to Sree Sastha. Mandala Pooja and Trikalyanam celebrated in the month of December are the main festivals here. There are frequent buses to Ariankavu from Kollam.

Ochira

The unique feature of this famous pilgrim centre is that there is no deity or idol at the famous Parabrahma temple dedicated to the Universal Consciousness. Ochira Kali in mid June and the twelve day Panthrandu Vilakku (twelve lamp festival) in November/December are the two main annual festivals. Ochira Kali is a mock fight enacted between groups of men dressed as warriors on the padanilam (battle field). They perform a martial dance standing in knee-deep water, brandishing swords and shields, and splashing water in every direction. There are frequent buses from Kollam and Alappuzha.

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.

Ph: 0476-2897578

Kottukal Rock Cut Cave Temple

This temple situated on the Thiruvananthapuram - Kottayam MC Road is an idyllic example of rock cut temple architecture. It is 11 Km from Chadayamangalam.

Jatayupara

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.

Kulathupuzha

Situated on a forest range on the Thiruvananthapuram - Shenkottai road, Kulathupuzha is known for the 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.

Amabalappuzha Sreekrishna Temple

Amabalappuzha Sreekrishna Temple on the Kollam-Alappuzha Highway is called the Dwaraka of the South. It is frequented by thousands of devotees especially during the annual festival which falls in April every year. 'Ambalappuzha palpayasam' the devotional delicacy of the temple, is renowned for its unique taste. Ambalappuzha is also famous for the traditional visual martial art of Kerala, Velakali.

Karumadi

Karumadi, three Kms. east of Ambalappuzha, has a statue of Budha called Karumadikuttan, a perennial source of interest for the tourists.

Mannarassala

Mannarassala near Harippad 32 Kms. south of Alappuzha is an important centre of pilgrimage in the district. The famous Mannarassala temple devoted to the serpent deity is a rare phenomenon of worship. The Ayilyam festival held in November every year is very famous.

Arthumkal Church

Arthumkal Church is famous for the St. Sebastian's church which is situated south west of Cherthala town 22 Kms north of Alappuzha. The famous Arthumkal Perunal is held in January every year. Catholics from all parts of the state participate in the feast of St. Sebastian.

Beaches and Back water Cruise

Thirumullavaram Beach

This secluded beach is a beautiful picnic centre and has frequent bus connections to the town. It is situated 6 km north of Kollam town.

Alumkadavu (Backwater)

Just 23 km from Kollam, Alumkadavu is half way on the route to Alappuzha from Kollam. This quiet little backwater village in Karunagapally town is famed for its boat building yard. It is here that the gigantic kettuvallams (cargo crafts of rural Kerala) were built. Today the kettuvallams which were long replaced by modern means of transport, have been converted into houseboats.

Backwater Cruise

A full day onboard journey through the backwaters provide a unique opportunity to experience the natural life of Keralites and the scenic beauty of God's own country. A large number of foreign tourists arrive at Kollam during the season ( November-March) for this 8 hrs long backwater cruise. Luxury boats of Government as well as private parties are operated from the main boat jetty during the season. Usually the trip starts at 10.30 am. and reaches Alleppy at 6.00 pm. Washed by the silvery waves of the Arabian sea Alappuzha occupies a significant place in the tourist map of Kerala. Interlocked with a large number of canals and bridges this waterlocked district has immense untapped potential for backwater tourism. Alappuzha has several canals and lakes fit for boat cruise. Three prominent rivers in the southern grid of Kerala viz. Achankovil, Pamba and Manimala empty into the lakes. A boat journey through the lakes will be a memorable experience. The watercourses are flanked by an unending row of coconut trees which heave and sway to the tune of the gush.

For more information
DTPC Tourist Office
Guest House Complex
Asramam
Kollam
Tel: 91-474-2750170. Email: dtpcqln@md3.vsnl.net.in

Water Carnival

Nehru Trophy Boat Race, the annual water carnival at Punnamada Lake, is considered the biggest snake boat race in the world. The colourful boat peagentry which precedes the boat race is a marvellous treat to the eyes. The snakeboats with a length of 30 to 60 metres and with 100 to 150 oarsmen plough the waters with the rhythm and symbols to the tune of the legendary songs. The Nehru Trophy was instituted by the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who was enthralled by the charm and gaiety of the water carnival. The boat race attracts a large number of tourists, domestic and foreign. In addition to this, the boat races at Payippad, Thiruvanvandoor, Neerettupuram, Karuvatta and Thykkoottam are quite famous.

Fishing

Alappuzha is a great centre of fisheries. 'Chakara' a rare marine phenomenon in which a large number of fish throng together in the early days of May to August is a peculiarity of Purakkad, one of the main fishing centres on the coast of the Arabian Sea. This is in fact a fishermen's fiesta.

Others

Coir

The district is the major centre of coir and allied products. There are about 4000 production units including a few big factories with mechanized looms. Alappuzha retains monopoly in coir production and exports.