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Kollam Rising
13,883 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Kollam - The Capital of the Powerful Kingdom called Venad
Kollam or Quilon is a storehouse of history, tour attractions, natural vistas and unlimited excitement. Kollam is a city famous for its antiquity and backwaters! Known as 'Desinganadu' in the olden days Kollam was an important international trade centre that was engaged in trade with foreign lands as far as Rome. Kollam was a renowned port on the Malabar Coast and also a prominent port of the ancient times. The port of Kollam was frequented by Phoenicians, Persians, Romans, Arabs and Chinese! Also, famous travellers like Marco Polo and Ibam Batuta have acclaimed the historical importance of Kollam as a commercial city! The capital of a powerful kingdom called "Venad"Kollam came into prominence in the 9th century AD. As cited by some historians, the Malayalam era - called the Kollam era - was established by Marthanda Varma, the ruler of Kollam in 825 AD! Kollam also has some notable importance in Indian history during the British Raj - it was the nerve centre of the rebellion organised by freedom fighter Veluthampi Dalava!

Speaking of culture, it was in Kollam where 'Ramanattam' - the dance form of Kathakali originated! Today, Kollam is one of the major industrial and commercial centres of Kerala and also the hub of Kerala's cashewnut industry!

The thread aims to showcase the tourism potential that exists in abundance in Kollam. The district as well as the city is an abode of rich flaura and fauna with the queen of backwaters Ashtamudi in its heart.

Watch this cool and beautiful thread to enjoy the enchanting scenic beauty of Kollam.

A relatively new video that depicts the true essence of Kollam:

Kollam Backwaters

Kerala is a land of natural beauty and there are several backwaters to further enthrall the tourists who arrive at Kerala to visualize nature’s boundless beauty. One such mesmerizing backwater is Kollam Backwaters which is ideal for calm and serene backwaters tours.

KOLLAM, the oldest sea port of the Malabar Coast and a flourishing center of trade and commerce with the Arab, Chinese, Greek, Roman, British Dutch and Portuguese is also known for its cashew trading and processing industry.

Kollam is located on the green banks of the vast Ashtamudi Lake that is the gateway to the vast labyrinth of Kerala backwaters with eight streams that penetrate their arms into the remotest parts of Kollam. Currently, Kollam is famous for its cashew and marine industries.

The Kollam Backwaters are situated at a radius of 71 kilometers from the city of Thiruvananthapuram to its north and 140 kilometers from the city of Cochin to its south. Kollam is an important destination for tourists all over the world. The distinguished Asthamudi Lake covers 30% of the city’s area and also makes the city the most appropriate portal to Kerala’s backwaters and hence making it the southern gateway to the magnificent backwaters of Kerala.

ASHTAMUDI Lake is a scenic lake amongst red cliffs and swaying palms and stretches northwards from Kollam town. The huge lake is named “Ashthamudi” as it branches off into 8 creeks. The Kollam - Alappuzha backwaters cruise is the longest backwater tour in Kerala.These eight hours just rocket past the riders and they stunningly find themselves at the end of the trip. This is Kerala’s longest backwater cruise and also gives lots of rest and refreshes the mind as well as the soul as it passes through lush green backdrops. It also provides extensive facilities for retting coconut husks which makes the district a hub of coir industry.

Home to the largest fresh water lake in Kollam -Sasthamcottah lake, a boat cruise starting from the Ashtamudi backwaters in Kollam to backwater networks in the adjoining district of Alappuzha and further is a delightful experience.

Tour the Alumkadavu village on your Kerala backwaters tours and feast your eyes on this picturesque water bound village known for its boat building yard. Some important must see destinations on the banks of the Kollam backwaters that warrant a visit include the Sasthamkotta fresh water lake, Thirumullavaram beach, Subramanya temple, Rameshwara temple and other tour sites.The fascinating temples of Kollam draw lots of tourists all around the world as they are built in an extremely elaborate and traditional method.

Apart from the profusion of natural beauty you are sure to feel overwhelmed by the colorful cultural traditions that manifest themselves in the forms of fairs, festivals, religious occasions and even in the day-to-day lives of the locals. Welcome to a luxuriant and lush green land of backwaters, beaches, cashew nuts, fishes and coconuts and experience the real Kerala in a Kollam flavour. Explore the wonders of this ancient port city and the district that is a delightful mosaic of sea, rivers, backwaters, mountains, paddy fields and lush forests.

Kollam City Centre - Chinnakkada Round - Where NH 47 meets NH 208

Some beautiful scenes from the Ashtamudi banks

The Adventure park boat teminal at Ashramam. A great place to have a golf course as Asramam Residency complex has a wide space with greenary and trees as well as the beautiful Ashtamudi lake on 3 sides. GoK.... pay attention to this area as it can be developed as a beautiful Golf Cource

Ashtamudi Lake - The life line of this beautiful city

View of the city from the Ashramom side of the Ashtamudi lake

Another view

KTDC Tamarind Easy at the banks of Ashtamudi lake in Ashramom

Ashtamudi Lake from the Thevally Bridge


Kollam Rising
13,883 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Future looks bright with Tourism

Kollam's future is based on Tourism and IT more than Cashew. As we all know, the Kollam port is still nowhere as far as the basic infrastructure is concerned and ships are hesitant to dock here due to that. Thanks to the great great politicians of Kerala. Moreover, there are vested interests to undermine the port development by brainwashing the fisherfolks terming it disturbs their living. It is a dirty game played by some people behind the scene.

In this scenario, it is important to tap the tourism abundance in the form of backwaters, beaches, eastern forest area, Thankasseri Anglo Indian village. In addition to that, there is Amrithapuri and a lot of pilgrimage centes, temples, churches and mosques.

It is high time to promote and showcase these exotic, elegant, enigmatic, enticing, enchanting and pious locations. Please join hands with me to make this endeavour a great success.

A beautiful view of the MG park from the rooftop of Beach Orchid Ecotel

Scene from MG Park

Some City Snaps from Ashtamudi Lake


Trivandrum Tiger
1,472 Posts
Great Start, Beautiful Pictures

Hi Reghu,

Good work started nicely.


Kollam Rising
13,883 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Kollam Pooram - The Cultural Celebration of South Kerala

Kollam Pooram is one of the most colourful festivals of Kerala. Kollam Pooram festival, celebrated in the month of April every year is a feast for the cultural enthusiast. Kollam Pooram attracts large number of people from all parts of Kerala. The Kollam Pooram, organised in connection with the annual festival of the Aashramam Sri Krishnaswamy Temple, is held at the Aashramam Maidan in April (the day after Vishu) every year. Kollam Pooram has now assumed the status of a national festival attracting tourists in large numbers.

Aashramam Sri Krishnaswamy Temple

For the `Kudamattom', 30 tuskers split into two groups of 15 each representing the Thamarakulam Sri Mahaganapathy Temple team and the Puthiyakavu Bhagawathy Temple team. The `kudamattom' was held to the beats of a traditional `melam'. The pooram was followed by a spectacular show of fireworks...:banana::banana::banana:

Kollam Rising
13,883 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Tourism Destinations in Kollam - Backwater Resorts

Club Mahindra Ashtamudi Resorts, at Chavara South in Kollam

Club Mahindra is one of the leading players in the leisure & vacation ownership industry. Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL) is a part of the USD 3.8 billion Mahindra Group, one of India’s leading Industrial Houses.

Club Mahindra today provides its customers 15 five-star resorts of its and also through affiliations provides access to 40 resorts in India and through RCI exchange, 3,700 premier resorts worldwide

Recently a Mammooty film was shot at a Nallukettu house very near to this resort. A beautiful place surrounded by Ashtamudi lake. The isolated land piece was recently connected to Kollam city by the Dalavapuram Bridge.

The location of this three-star resort was so chosen to offer guests peace and calm without being entirely cut off. The nearest settlement with all the rustic charms of a Kerala village is just a canoe ride away. You can also go cycling. Spread over three acres, the resort housing 10 independent cottages, took a year to take shape.

Aquaserene resort at South Paravoor, Kollam

This three-star resort is a unique blend of tradition and nature, at South Paravoor, Kollam is a resort town surrounded by tantalizing backwaters. Paravoor is an important centre for both fishing and coir production and is also famous for its local handloom weaving.

Swams at Acquaserene:

Sarovaram Backwater Resort & Ayurvedic Spa at Ashtamudi, Kollam

Sarovaram at night:

Sarovaram Ayurvedic Resort is situated on the Ashtamudi Waterfront 11 kms from Kollam city off NH 47.

Sarovaram is spread over 3 acres of herbal garden and Comprises 9 heritage cottages which have Air-conditioned, Television and view of the Ashtamudi Lake and a Garden Front.

Sarovaram is managed by Ayurveda Professionals whose families have been undertaking Ayurveda treatments for over three generations.

While In Sarovaram You can enjoy a backwater ride or an evening dance performance or just laze around in the lawns and nature around or undertake an ayurvedic treatments in consultation with the resident doctor.

Fragrant Nature Resort, at Nedungolam in Paravur, Kollam

Truly, Kollam rocks..:banana: :cheers: :applause:

Kollam Rising
13,883 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Ashramam - The Tourism hub of Kollam

The Majestic Biritish Residency on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake at Aashramom

The Ashramom Adventure Park boat terminal

The boat jetty at the opposite side of Aashramom Tourist Village - View from Adventure Park

A scene of the Ashtamudi lake from the Ashramom Adventure Park

Another view of the Aashramom Residency

Yathri Nivas inside the Aashramom Tourist Village (Now renamed Tamarind Easy )

The other side of the Ashtamudi lake - View from the Aashramam Tamarind Easy (Former Yathri Nivas)

The Ashramom Sree Krishna Swamy Temple famous for the Kollam Pooram - Just a few meters away from the Tourist Village.

Adventure Park on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake


Satheesh Kumar
750 Posts
Great work raghu, Kollam is realy rocking, absolutely beatuiful

Kollam Rising
13,883 Posts
Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Kollam Vattakayal - Prospects bright for Water Sports Academy - Rs 300 crores investment for Kollam lake

Vattakayal Lake in Kollam may soon be a swimming training facility for para-military personnel; the transformation will benefit the state’s tourism industry

A sleepy hamlet around a fresh-water lake in Kollam will soon be on the defence as well as the responsible tourism map of India, thanks to the efforts of an an environmental protection body in the district. The lake might soon see para-military personnel undergo swimming lessons.

The Vattakayal Lake, which takes is name for its circular shape, is at the forefront of a unique initiative spearheaded by the Vattakayal Samrakshana Pradeshika Vikasana Samithi, the environment protection body here. The Samithi leads an eco club that strives to protect and spur development around the fresh water lake.

Speaking to Business Standard Jayan Pongada, secretary, Vattakayal Samrakshana Pradeshika Vikasana Samithi, said: “The Samithi’s efforts are starting to bear fruit with a proposal to develop and convert the Vattakayal Lake into a swimming pool to train the country’s para-military forces under consideration of defence ministry.” The proposal is likely to get the nod soon and the Vattakayal Lake will never be the same old sleepy water body in this part of Kollam district, Jayan said.

The defence ministry nod will mean that Rs 300 crore would be invested to transform the Vattakayal Lake into a swimming pool to train para-military personnel. The lake, which spans a circumference of 40 acres, plus the 100-acre wasteland adjacent to it, will benefit from the investment, Jayan added. The southern part of the lake will house the swimming training facility. Vattakayal was picked from among five locations in Kerala, including the Veli Lake in Thiruvananthapuram, he added.

Explaining the rationale behind the swimming training facility, a source in the para-military forces said this probably would be a common training centre aimed at training the National Disaster Response Force, which would include the CRPF, BSF, ITBP and the CISF. Members of rescue missions, which get into the act when national calamities strike, are expected to complete their training at the Vatakayal Lake facility when the work on it is over.

Efforts taken by the Vattakayal Samrakshana Pradeshika Vikasana Samithi had attracted intervention from the local MLA and Kerala’s Minister for Water Resources N K Premachandran. He, along with the Minister for Labour and the Minister for Revenue , took the idea forward. The Samithi, with support from the Kollam District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC), felt that there was a need to develop the lake into a responsible tourism destination too. When the approval for the swimming training facility comes up, it is expected that tourism around Vattakayal would also blossom.

The Samithi and the DTPC are now in efforts to introduce sustainable initiatives in tourism that would help tourists, the local community and the fisher folk depend ent on the Lake for a living. “We would also launch efforts to help the fisher folk play a role in sustainable tourism, by helping them find buyers for their catch,” Jayan added.

6,395 Posts
I have found separate threads for different domains for the same city in the case of other cities. Kollam's development will be bolstered by tourism itself. There is no doubt in that. Kollam truly gears up for that. Though, I am based in Bangalore now, I could see the mamoth investment in this sector as well as the scenic abundance in Kollam. My endeavour is to showcase this rich potential to the outside world giving due importance to the domain itself and hence the new thread.

All are welcome to post the scenic images of Kollam and tourism development and hospitality news.
Dear reghu,yes u can find those but they are different, for example calicut have a projects thread where we post all the upcoming project related to calicut, and some updates, we hav calicut or kannur or kottayam highrises u/c where we hav compiled almost all projects which are proposed or u/c, and we also hav seperate threads for many megaprojects which are 20 stories or above, or upcoming IT parks, where we post news and updates which are relevant to that particular project, but here in the case of kollam we already have a cityscapes thread, so we dont need a seperate thread for that, there are certain rules for posting a thread, u can do one thing, u can change this thread from kerala projects subforum to indian cityscapes subforum,(see the link which i have posted earlier) so that we can have participation from keralas fourth city there, where we already hav cochin, calicut and trivandrum cityscapes threads, but here this thread is irrelevant...u can do it with the help of moderators...just give a PM to sudeeshji or suncity....:cheers:

But reghu ur postings have the quality we need here to attract viewers....keep up the good work....

From Treasure City
316 Posts
Hi Reghu,
You are doin an Excelent job, good work. Lone warrior.

Sanju's point is also correct.
But the good thing is that, Reghu is trying to showcase the tourism pottential of Kollam District, the intention is good. I feel there is nothin wrong with starting a new thread like this, projecting the tourism pottential.
Keeep Goooin!!!!!!!!!!! :eek:kay:

Trivandrum Lobby
1,121 Posts
I think Kollam cityscapes thread should be used for general city scape photos, while in this thread Reghu wants to highlight the tourism potential of the city. a special purpose thread.. like Bangalore malls thread

6,395 Posts
I think Kollam cityscapes thread should be used for general city scape photos, while in this thread Reghu wants to highlight the tourism potential of the city. a special purpose thread.. like Bangalore malls thread
Then we will have to change this thread to showcase gallery or indian cityscapes gallery....

Kollam Rising
13,883 Posts
Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
When and where to visit Kollam? How to reach there?

Kollam’s East borders Tamil Nadu, South Thiruvanathapuram , West Arabian Sea and North Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta districts. Kollam has commercial and trading reputation from ancient times. Its port attracted Arabs, Portuguese, Greeks, Chinese and British for trading. Kollam is the gateway to the magnificent backwaters of Kerala. Kollam is proud of keeping its tradition in tact. For grandeur, heart-stirring excitement, fun and merriment, the place is Kollam. It is an old seaport city on the banks of Ashtamudi lake. The shrines of Christian, Muslim and Hindu are built in traditional ornate architecture.

Kollam city is the district headquarters of Kollam district. Kerala’s cashew-nut industry is centered here. The city is smeared with historic tapestry. Spices, coconut palms and mesmerizing backwaters setting persuaded Marco Polo who visited here in 13th century to shower glowing tributes on Kollam. Ashtamudi lake can be seen standing at the main bus stand. The lake looks unrelentinge silent and stunning during moon light. Just stand on the Thevally bridge to enjoy the beauty.

All the enjoyable sights are within the radius of 10-km of the city. Kollam beach as well as Thirumullavaram and Thangassery beaches, Thankasserri Port, Neendakara port, Colonial relics, churches, temples and mosques among the sights other than Ashtamudi Lake are worth visiting.

Adventure Park at Ashramam, run by District Tourism Promotion Council, which is a vantage spot to overview Ashtamudi Lake, Rest House, built in 1810 in a smart blend of European and Kerala architecture brilliance are unavoidable from the tour-kit. The Residency Bunglow is a fine heritage piece with wide compound and high-ceiling rooms furnished with vintage teak furniture.

Thevally Palace, a super value heritage structure, now in the use of Public Works Department and Army, which can be viewed from Ashtamudi Lake.

Poorams and Temple Festivals
Kollam Pooram festival that is celebrated in the month of April every year is a feast for the culture enthusiast. The other interesting events that mark the glorious Kollam Kerala culture are the 5-day Ashtami Rohini festival that is celebrated at the Vadayattukotta Temple, the backwater boat races held in January, Oachirakkali festival in June and the Uriyadi festival.There are several places to visit while you are on Kollam tours some of which are: Kottamkulangara temple, Vadayattukotta temple, Pullichira Church, Amritapuri, Panmama Aashramam, Sasthancotta Temple, Kollam Aashramam Sree Krishna Swamy Temple, Koonambai Kulam Temple, Kollam Puthiyakavu Temple and Anandavalleshwaram Temple.

Some important tourist places in Kollam

Thankasseri 4 km from Kollam city centre: Thangassery is historically important, as become evident by the ruins of the Portuguese/ Dutch fort there as well as the 18th Century church. Once a British enclave, the place is a great draw. Thankassery treasures the awesome remnants of the Portuguese and Dutch forts. The Portuguese, the Dutch and the British ruled this place in succession. The 3 km long beach has a lighthouse which is 45 metre high and is an added attraction to this place. The light from it spreads to a distance of 16 KMs in the sea. Stand down the light house to enjoy an exhilarating view of sea. The lighthouse is open to visitors between 3.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m.

Strewn around the light house lies the partly collapsed walls of the early sixteenth century Portuguese Fort and the remains of the Church of St.Thomas probably one in which St Francis Xavier attended mass during his evagelical mission in the Malabar coast.

Ashtamudi Backwaters: The sprawling lake has tributary canals. A fine location for boat rides. The DTPC offers boat ride in the lake and the canals. It also arranges 4-hour cruise which maps in Munroe island, too, formed by backwaters and Kallada river. The DTPC also arranges a sunset cruise of 3 hours.

Neendakara: 8 km from Kollam city. It is a fishing harbour, humming by hundreds of fishing boats. The Ashtamudi lake embraces the sea. The Chinese nets silhouetting is a delightful sight.

Dharmasasftha Temple at Sasthamkotta: The deity here is Lord Ayyappa. Here the temple roof is of corrugated GI sheets as against tiles in most of the shrines in Kerala. This is just to save the roof from the wrath of monkeys in large number as if they are the devotees. The custom here is that devotees have to step on the droppings of the primate. The temple is close to Sasthamkotta lake which meets the drinking water needs of the entire district.

Azheekal: The recent tsunami wrought havoc on this coastal area. Several lives lost. There is a long walkway, rock lined on either side, to the sea. The view of the sea from this point is spectacular. The beach is long stretched.

Alumkadavu: The first in India to build houseboats, the Kettuvallms. The method of its making is interesting to watch. The craftsmen require strong noses as a mix of cashew and fish oil is used as a coating in the manufacturing process. This is to shield from decaying in the water – saline and non saline. After the raw boat work is over, the next step is thatch-roofing. In the final process the raw floor will be transformed like an apartment. The whole process will take few months by about 7 to 8 craftsmen.

Amrithapuri: With one side lake and the other side sea, the place is highly attractive. 32 km away from Kollam city, Amrithapuri, though a village, is known world over. The Ashram (head quarter) of the spiritual leader Matha Amrithanadamayi, affectionately called ‘Amma’(mother) is here. The Amma has large disciples from all faiths in and outside India. The disciples are so large, it warrants hours in queue to receive the blessing. The blessing is a hug by the saint. That is all.

The Amrithapuri has now a town look. A hospital, colleges, institutes and many buildings for providing accommodations to devotees and staff, a temple and all other amenities. No cast restriction for visitors. Anyone can visit and stay. 10 days notice is required to facilitate the accommodation. Yoga and meditation are part of Ashram activities. Visitors can participate. As the saint is often on tour, it is advisable to ensure the position. Phone: 0476-2896399.

Colonial Relics: The square shaped 1944 built Clock Tower is visible from any part of the historical Chinnakada market. The Velankanni church, a Roman Catholic shrine, is also housed here.

Another monument worth seeing is the former British Residency at Aashramam, a magnificirnt 250 year old mansion that is used at present as a Government Guest House. Overlooking the parade ground it is one of the few monuments from the early days of the Raj. Its palatial rooms still retain their original Georgian furniture, Chinese pickle jars and floor to ceiling shuttered windows while the walls sport antique East India Company lithographs.

19th century tomb stones of the Britishers are there in good form amongst the new and crumbling old grave stones in the English church cemetery.

The Adventure Park at Ashramam managed by District Tourism Promotion Council betrays a look of negligence by the authorities. Ashatamudi lake can clearly be viewed from this park.

The Kerala and European mix architecture reflecting Residency Bungalow built in 1810, more commonly known as government Guest House, is also a hallmark of Kollam. British Resident Colonel Munno had used it as his residence. Erected in a sprawling compound, the bungalow has high ceilinged rooms with scarcely furnished old teak furnitures.

Thevally Palace: The Palace is clearly viewable from Ashatamudi lake. It is now in the use of Public Works Department and the army. There is a stunning legend behind it. A British Resident who resided across the lake fell in deep love with a lady in the Palace. His faithful dog used to swam the lake to deliver love-letters to his master’s love everyday. One day the dog was found dead in the compound – either due to exhaustion or killing by palace disciples. A monument for the ever-faithful dog was built. Its crumbling pedestal is visible now.

Alumkadavu-Sasthamkotta Region: This region represents a way of life a visitor might not have seen anywhere else. Hire a small boat (vallam in local terminology) costing Rs 100-200 (depending upon the visitor’s bargain skill) and cruise past small houses on the banks of the backwaters. For the inhabitors these are their homes but to the visitors they are heaven. The day ends with a thought in the minds of the visitor – what a world around to experience.

The time spent in the boats is an exciting experience to the visitors, but for the people dwelling here the boats are everything – the means of livelihood, means of transport between home, work, school, market, shrines and on on. A small vallam (boat) is a four or six-seater and other passengers have to stand. A visitor cruising in a vallom discovers Kerala and her people. No guides or cooked up brochures are necessary for this.

Twin Temples, Cheriazheeakal: The Sri Kashi Viswanathar Temple is also known as Deccan Kashi Temple. The legend behind the twin temples is interesting. A priest who went to Kashi chanced upon a Shivalingam when he dipped in the Gages. He brought back the Lingam and installed here. There is another legend. There was a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu 2000 years ago at the same site. This temple was washed away by the sea and a new one was built about 150 years ago. And today two temples at a site existed as reality. Mahashivaratri is celebrated for 10 days to appease Lord Shiva in one temple and Sri Krishna Jayanti to appease Lord Sri Krishna in the other temple.Cheriazheekal is located west to Amritapuri.

Wadekkenadayil Bhagawathi Temple: This 1800 years old temple is just opposite to the twin temples. The original temple was taken away by sea and the present one was built 10 years ago. Kannagi is the deity here. The idol was brought from the now sea-eaten Chola city of Kaveri Poompattinam off the east-coast of Tamilnadu. In the 2nd week of May a 10-day long Thottampattu Utsavam is celebrated when Kannagi’s story enshrined in the Tamil epic Silppadhikaram is enacted.

Devi Temple at Thevalakkara: This 1000 years old temple is situated about 14 km from Alumkadavu. There is an interesting story behind the temple. Portuguese attempted to rob the temple, but their attempt resulted futile. When they tried to leave the area their ship did not move. Sensing trouble they apologised for their misdeed and put their repentance in writing on black stone. The writing is still visible. In between the sanctum sanctorum and the main door the inscription can be seen. Outside the temple there is a papal and palm tree which grow together. A yakshi (lady demon) lives on top of the palm, the locals believe.

Ochira Temple: Ochira is situated 35 km away from the city. There is no temple in the real sense. Around big trees in vast open area there are exposed small idols. Some idols are of female forces attributed to Shakti (power) and the others are of Parabrahmam, the omnipresent. To the right of the idols surrounded trees is an Ayyappa swamy kshetram (temple) constructed similar to Sabarimala temple, and to the left is a mosque. Ochiria is also considered an omnipresent Shiva kshetra. The visitors can see the Ochira Kaala. The decorated Ochira bulls symbolize Shiva’s vehicle, the Nandi. There is a famous festival called Ochira kali festival in June. During this festival men dressed as warriors enact mock war standing in the lake. People of various religious faiths visit this omnipresent temple and the legend is that Buddha had once camped here.

Malanada Duryodhana Temple: 27 km away from the city and near Alumkadavu. The idol-less temple is dedicated to the notorious Kaurava. Duryodhana was served food and water when he was found tired by the low-cast Kuruvas here during his pursuit of Pandavas. As a custom, the priest of the temple is from Kuruva community. The rituals and customs are Dravidian. Animal sacrifice was a usual practice here earlier. Following vehement protests from enlightened citizens this deplorable practice is discontinued now. During worship a rooster wanders around symbolically. In the 2nd Friday of Meenam (March/April) there is festival when Duryodana’s favoured beverage toddy is brought by the devotees as offering. As the toddy is in great demand during this day, the devotees who are unable to get toddy bring tamboolam (betel nut and arcecanut),red silk or a rooster as offering. Malanad is located 14 km away from Sasthamkotta.

St Mary’s Orthodox Church: Situated at Kallada, 30 km from the city. The church is several hundred years old. It was reconstructed four times. A wood beam, inside, reportedly 700 years old, has a sign of cross, a Hindu symbol and a Muslim crescent. A shrine dedicated to Mar Andrews displays the inscription “In sacred memory of Mar Andrews, a prelate from Jerusalem who arrived in Kerala in 1678 … died in 1692. Here he lies entombed, enshrined.”

Thenmala: Located 73 km north of Thiruvananthapuram and 73 km east of Kollam city, Thenmala lies in the foothills of western Ghats in Kollam district. It neighbours Senduruney wildlife sanctuary and distances little from Courtallam Falls in Tamilnadu.
Thenmala is accredited as India’s first planned eco-tourism project. An eco-tourism vacation at Thenmala is educative, fun and indefinably more. Here the man, matter and nature celebrated. A visitor can count on many. If opted for a natural trail, for example, could identify the lively animals hovering around as harmless monkeys. Soon the visitor will realise these energetic creatures are the lovely Macaca radiate, indigenous to the area. Thenmala’s forests, rubber and tea plantations are quick to grab the mind of visitors. Spend a day with Thenmala Eco-tourism Facilitation Centre to have bellyfull of activities. A visitor is advised to visit first Thenmala Ecotourism Facilitation Centre (Phone: 0475-234800). They will arrange to experience most of Thenmala’s USP, the eco-tourism. Their staff is specialized in planning the itinerary. Website:;

Senduruney Wildlife Sanctuary: The reservoir of Senduruney Sanctuary is a great draw for boating. Eco-tourism is a serious effort which the tourists will realize at the time of signing up for a ride. A bafttery-operated van carries the visitors from the Facilitation Centre to the boat’s set off point. The round trip lasts an hour. The lucky visitors can spot exotic species of wildlife in a shore scan during the thrilling ride. There is no boating on Mondays.

There is trekking facility in the Sanctuary and other ancillary spots in the Western Ghats. The trekking programme is arranged by National Adventure Foundation (Phone : 0944-7217035 of Thiruvananthapuram. The charge inclusive of transportation and food is Rs 750 per head for trekking time of 4 to 5 hours. If overnight stay is desired, accommodation is available for Rs 1500 per person. If there is a group booking, the rates will be lower.For trekkers, Guides are available at the Facilitation Centre for Rs 200.

There is an Adventure Zone located 700 m away from Facilitation Centre. Nature-walks, mountain biking, elevated walk-ways, recreational rock-climbing, rappelling and river-crossing are the attractions here. Entry fee is Rs 20-50 for mountain-biking. Rock climbing and rappelling Rs 100, River crossing Rs 30-50.

There is another zone called Leisure Zone. A large broad walk and swaying bridge add glamour to ever-thriving greenery.
Yet another zone – Culture Zone – has a Musical Dancing Fountain where jets of water dance to film songs. There is no show on Mondays. If Monday falls on public holiday, there will be show. Entry fee is Rs 25-5o. Normally, the Fountain is activated and operated in the presence of a minimum 10 visitors as otherwise it will be uneconomical.

Deer Rehabilitation Centre: The spotted, sambar and barking deer strayed from the nearest forests are rehabilitated here. The animals are rehabilitated in a nature trail surrounded enclosure. The inhabitants get food and medical attention. Walk around the nature trail to spot the deers. The walk consuming about an hour throws open a chance to the visitors to climb a tall ladder and perch in a tree-house which offers an exciting view of the surrounding massive forests. The Centre is located about 1.5 km from the Facilitation Centre.

Shri Dharmasastha Kshetram at Kulathupuzha: This Ayyappa temple has a unique ritual practice. It is Meenoottu, feeding of fish. The feeding is done in the nearby lake with peanuts and puffed rice. Seeing the feeds, fish in large numbers suddenly converge and eat in a frenzy mood – a joyful sight to watch. The bridge over the lake provides a good view of the eating fish. The temple was constructed by the Raja of Kottarakara. The festival lasting10 days is in Medam (precisely from April 5 to 14). The temple is located 10 km from Thenmala. Shri Rama Temple at Triprayar in Thrissur district is also very famous for fish feeding ritual. Here the feeding is done in the Canoli canal in front of the temple.

Aryankavu: Located on Kollam-Shencotta road, Aryankavu has an important shrine of Ayyappa. Some believe the Lord here is in his Brahmachari (bachelor) avatar, while some others believe that this is the place where the Lord married Pushkala from Saurashtra community. Anyway, the festivals celebrated here lent credentials to both the arguments. The main festival, Thirukalyanam (divine marriage), attributes to Lord’s marriage to Pushkala. The Mandala Pooja during November-December, celebrated in most of the Ayyappa temples and more popular in Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in Pathanamthitta district, is also an important event here. The temple is 35 ft below the road level.

Palaruvi Falls: 4 km away from Aryankavu, the 300 ft high Aryankavu Falls are like white thin threads of water. The name Palaruvi itself means stream of milk. The falls-water collects in a small pond below and flows out. Bathing is allowed in the pond. A nature-shower bath is an unforgettable experience. The road leading to the falls is narrow and passes through forests. After some stretch of level it goes uphill. There is a hotel, Hotel Aram, which has only 3 basic rooms. The visitors require to hand-over their belongings including liquor possession, if there is, at the checkpoint, 4 km to the falls, where there is a restaurant.

When To Go: Nature observes no holiday or contacts any disease. Visitors can therefore go any time to Thenmala for eco-tourism. Since the region is with many rugged terrains, it is however advisable to avoid monsoon period. The hilly roads caution the visitors with sign boards inscribed “Mind the Brakes or Break the Mind.”

Hanging Bridge of Punalur: Punalur is 22 km away from Thenmala and en-route to Thenmala from Kottarakkara. The inscription of ‘1877’ on the arch of the bridge is possibly the year of construction. This bridge across the Kallada River is a ’Protected Monument’ and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The bridge is 20 ft wide. The base is made of wooden planks and slides are of metal. The bridge used mainly for traffic in the earlier days is now restricted to pedestrians.

Achancovil: The temple consecrated by Parasurama is devoted to Ayyappa. The idol holding a shield and sword is worshipped here in his Grihastha (householder) avatar. The Lord is shown in the company of his consorts Poorna and Pushkala. There are 18 steps leading to the main shrine as in the case of Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala. A long winding mountain road leads to Achancovil. En-route there is Manalar Falls. This is a tiny one visible only after rains. Move ahead little to see Kumbavurutty Falls. This is a nature interaction centre where tree houses exist for children and a fine leisure spot for passers-by.

Kottarakkara: Contrary to the suggestive feeling (implied from the name of the temple) that the deity of the Mahaganapthy Temple is Ganesh, the deity is actually Shiva. Nobody knows how this contrast happened. True to its deity, the temple was originally known as as Mahadedva temple. The temple has four other shrines – for Parvathi, Ayyappa, Muruga and Nagaraja. The prasadam (sanctified food) of this temple - unniappam – a soft and sweet rice delicacy is very famous. Vinyaka Chathurthi is celebrated as a festival in big scale. During this festival a grand homam (sanctified bonfire) is conducted and 10008 coconuts are given to the Lord as offering. The annual festival on the day of Medam Thiruvathira (Shiva’s birth star) (April/May) is sponsored by devotees. The highlight of this festival is a procession by hundreds of ornamented elephants when thousands of people assemble.

Kottarakkara Thampuran’s Museum of Classical Arts: Just 1.5 km away from Mahaganapathy temple, located. Presently the museum is only for name sake. A small and cramped house exhibits life-sized statues with various disguises and attires of Kathakali. Kottarakkara is the birth place of this Kerala dance form and the founder of the art is Kottarakkara Thampuran. The Kathakali apart, there are statues, disguises and attires of Mohiniyattam, Kudiyattam, Bharatanattyam, Kuchipudi etc. An old maintenance-ignored Tanjore Veena is also there in the display. The museum will shortly get a face-lift and additions of displays as the government has decided to spend for it.

Veluthampi Smarakam: The Smarakam (memorial) is in Mannady, near Kottarakkara. The great warrior Veluthampi (1765-1809), the Dewan of Travancore revolted against the British by rallying the people. The revolt was quelled. He preferred suicide to capture. The ignorance of the authorities lits large on the monument made of black stone. It is scarcely seen due to the overgrown grasses all around. A kilometer away is Mannady Devi Temple where Veluthampi made his last pray before ending the life. The people attach great importance to this temple of Veluthambi’s dear deity.

Jatayu Rock @ Chadaya Mangalam: The Jatayu Rock is a huge rock situated in the Chadaya Mangalam village on MC Road. The name 'Jatayu', a giant bird, comes from the epic - Ramayana. For the adventurous at heart, the place is ideal for trekking.

Shopping: Cashewnuts and spices at Chinnakada and several other locations in the city. Chinnakkada, Bishop Jerome Nagar, Main Road, Kadappakada, Beach Road, Convent Road, Aashramom Road, Pallimukku, Paikada Road, Lakshmi Nada and Polayathode are the main shopping areas within the city. Oachira, Karunagapalli, Chavara, Kottiyam, Chathanoor, Parippally, Kundara, Kottarakara, Punalur and Anchal are the other shopping centres.

Backwater cruises: DTPC offer popular boat cruises from Kollam to Alappuzha (Rs300) on alternate days departing at 10.30 am and taking eight hours with lunch and tea breaks. Exclusive overnight kettuvallam cruises are also on offer. The half day trip run by DTPC to Monroe Island is a great bet to steal a fascinating glimpse of the village life of this water logged pretty village.

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