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'.
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.
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.
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.
Achencoil 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).
Anchal 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.
Aryankavu 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. 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.
Jetayu Para 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.
Kulathupuzha 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.
Oachira 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.
Sasthamcotta Lake 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.Sasthamcottah,which can truly be called as Queen of Lakes.The Sasthamkotta lake the largest freshwater lake in Kerala is surrounded by hills on all sides except south where a bund has been constructed separating the lake from the neighbouring rice fields.
Thangassery 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.Thangassery was an enclave of the Portuguese, Dutch and British in succession.The remnants of the Portuguese and Dutch forts still exits.