V. Nagam Aiya in his Travancore State Manual records that in 822 AD two East Syrian bishops Mar Sabor and Mar Proth, settled in Quilon with their followers. Two years later the Malabar Era began (824 AD) and Quilon became the premier city of the Malabar region ahead of Travancore and Cochin. Kollam Port was founded by Mar Sabor at Tangasseri in 825 as an alternative to reopening the inland sea port of Kore-ke-ni Kollam near Backare (Thevalakara), which was also known as Nelcynda and Tyndis to the Romans and Greeks and as Thondi to the Tamils.
Kollam is a coastal city on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake that took the title God's Own Country without much demur. The Ashtamudi Lake lie about 71 kilometres (44 mi) north of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. The city hosts the administrative offices of Kollam district and is a prominent trading city for the state. The proportion of females to males in Kollam city is second highest among the 500 most populous cities in India. Kollam is the least polluted city in India.
Four major trading centers/towns around Kollam are Kottarakara, Punalur, Paravur and Karunagapally.
Kollam is an ancient trading town – trading with Romans, Chinese, Arabs and other Orientals – mentioned in historical citations dating back to Biblical times and the reign of Solomon, connecting with Red Sea ports of the Arabian Sea (supported by a find of ancient Roman coins). There was also internal trade through the Punalur Pass connecting the ancient town to Tamil Nadu. The overland trade in pepper by bullock cart and the trade over the waterways connecting Allepey and Cochin established trade linkages that enabled it to grow into one of the earliest Indian industrial townships. The rail links later established to Tamil Nadu supported still stronger trade links. The factories processing marine exports and the processing and packaging of cashewnuts extended its trade across the globe.
Kollam is the fourth most populous city in Kerala(the new population is taken as city agglomeration) and the fifth largest in incorporated area. It is known for cashew processing and coir manufacturing. Ashtamudi Lake is considered the southern gateway to the backwaters of Kerala and is a prominent tourist destination at Kollam. The Kollam urban area includes suburban towns such as Paravur in the south, Kundara in the east and Karunagapally in the north of the city. Other important towns in the city suburbs are Eravipuram, Kottiyam, Kannanallur and Chavara.
Kollam appeared as Palombe in Mandeville's Travels, where he claimed it contained a Fountain of Youth. During the later stages of the rule of the Chera monarchy in Kerala, Kollam emerged as the focal point of trade and politics. Kollam continues to be a major business and commercial centre in the Southern Kerala.
In 825 CE, the Malayalam calendar, or Kollavarsham, was created in Kollam at meetings held in the city. The present Malayalam calendar is said to have begun with the re-founding of the town, which was rebuilt after its destruction by a fire. The name Kollam is believed to have been derived from the Sanskrit word Kollam, meaning pepper.
As the ancient city of Quilon, Kollam was a flourishing port during the Chera dynasty (c. 3rd century BC–12th century), and later became the capital of the independent Venad or Kingdom of Quilon on its foundation in c. 825. Kollam was considered one of the four early entrepots in global sea trade during the 13th century, along with Alexandria and Cairo in Egypt, the Chinese city of Quanzhou, and Malacca in the Malaysian archipelago
Along with Pattanam (Muziris), Quilon was an ancient seaport on the Malabar Coast of India from the early centuries before the Christian era. The city had a high commercial reputation from the days of the Phoenicians and Ancient Romans. Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD) mentions Greek ships anchored at Muziris and Nelcynda. There was also a land route over the Western Ghats. Spices, pearls, diamonds, and silk were exported to Egypt and Rome from these ports. Pearls and diamonds came to the Chera Kingdom from Ceylon and the southeastern coast of India, then known as the Pandyan Kingdom. Cosmas Indicopleustes, a Greek Nestorian sailor, in his book the Christian Topography who visited the Malabar coast in 550, mentions an enclave of Christian believers in Male (Chera Kingdom). He writes, "In the island of Tabropane (Ceylon), there is a church of Christians, and clerics and faithful. Likewise at Male, where the pepper grows, and in the farming community of Kalliana (Kalliankal at Nillackal) there is also a bishop consecrated in Persia in accordance with the Nicea sunnahadose of 325 AD." The Nestorian Patriarch Jesujabus, who died in 660 AD, mentions Kollam in his letter to Simon, Metropolitan of Persia.
The port at Kollam, then known as Quilon, was founded in 825 by the Nestorian Christians Mar Sabor and Mar Proth with sanction from Ayyanadikal Thiruvadikal, the king of the independent Venad or State of Quilon, a feudatory under the Chera kingdom.
It is believed that Mar Sapor Iso also proposed that the Chera king create a new seaport near Kollam in lieu of his request that he rebuild the almost vanished inland seaport at Kollam (kore-ke-ni) near Backare (Thevalakara), also known as Nelcynda and Tyndis to the Romans and Greeks and as Thondi to the Tamils, which had been without trade for several centuries because the Cheras were overrun by the Pallavas in the 6th century, ending the spice trade from the Malabar coast. This allowed the Nestorinas to stay in the Chera kingdom for several decades and introduce the Christian faith among the Nampoothiri Vaishnavites and Nair sub castes in the St. Thomas tradition, with the Syrian liturgy as a basis for the Doctrine of the Trinity, without replacing the Sanskrit and Vedic prayers. The Tharisapalli plates presented to Maruvan Sapor Iso by Ayyanadikal Thiruvadikal granted the Christians the privilege of overseeing foreign trade in the city as well as control over its weights and measures in a move designed to increase Quilon's trade and wealth. The two Christians were also instrumental in founding Christian churches with Syrian liturgy along the Malabar coast, distinct from the ancient Vedic Shivism propounded by Adi Shankara in the early 9th century among the Nampoothiri Vaishnavites and Nair Sub Castes, as Malayalam was not accepted as a liturgical language until the early 18th century.
Thus began the Malayalam Era, known as Kolla Varsham after the city, indicating the importance of Kollam in the 9th century. The Persian merchant Soleyman of Siraf visited Malabar in the 9th century and found Quilon to be the only port in India used by the huge Chinese ships as their transhipment hub for goods on their way from China to the Persian Gulf. The rulers of Kollam (formerly called 'Desinganadu') had trade relations with China and exchanged embassies. According to the records of the Tang dynasty (618–913), Quilon was their chief port of call before the 7th century. The Chinese trade decreased about 600 and was again revived in the 13th century. Mirabilia Descripta by Bishop Catalani gives a description of life in Kollam, which he saw as the Catholic bishop-designate to Kollam, the oldest Catholic diocese in India. He also gives true and imaginary descriptions of life in 'India the Major' in the period before Marco Polo visited the city.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish a trading center in Tangasseri, Kollam in 1502, which became the centre of their trade in pepper. In the wars with the Moors/Arabs that followed, the ancient church (temple) of St Thomas Tradition at Thevalakara was destroyed. In 1517 the Portuguese built the St. Thomas Fort in Thangasseri, which was destroyed in the subsequent wars with the Dutch. In 1661 the Dutch East India Company took possession of the city. The remnants of the old Portuguese Fort, later renovated by the Dutch, can be found at Thangasseri. In the 18th century Travancore conquered Kollam, followed by the British in 1795. Thangasseri remains today as an Anglo-Indian settlement, though few Anglo-Indians remain. The Infant Jesus Church in Thangasseri, an old Portuguese-built church, remains as a memento of the Portuguese rule of the area.
The Battle of Quilon was fought in 1809 between a troop of the Indian kingdom of Travancore led by the then Dalawa (prime minister) of Travancore, Velu Thampi Dalawa and the British East India Company led by Colonel Chalmers at Cantonment Maidan in Quilon. The battle lasted for only six hours and was the result of the East India Company's invasion of Quilon and their garrison situated near the Cantonment Maidan. The company forces won the battle while all the insurrectionist who participated in the war were court-martialed and subsequently hanged at the maidan.
Excavations are going on at Kollam Port premises since February 2014 as the team has uncovered arrays of antique artifacts, including Chinese porcelain and coins. A Chinese team with the Palace Museum, a team from India with Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) are jointly working at the Kollam Port site for the treasure hunt. The archaeologists and historians said that the discovered coins and artifacts had the potential to tell the story of a bygone India-China link, and even strong trade links of Kollam city with other ancient empires.
Kollam city is bordered by the panchayats of Neendakara and Thrikkaruva to the north, Mayyanad to the south, and Thrikkovilvattom and Kottamkara to the east, and by the Laccadive Sea to the west. Ashtamudi Lake is in the heart of the city. The city is about 71 kilometres (44 mi) from Thiruvananthapuram, 142 kilometres (88 mi) from Kochi and 350 kilometres (220 mi) from Kozhikode.
The six major urban centres are Punalur, Kottarakara, Karunagapally, Paravur, Anchal and Kundara.
Two of the major waterways in the district are the Kallada and Ithikkara rivers. The Kallada empties into Ashtamudi Lake, while the Ithikkara runs to Paravur Kayal. The Palaruvi Falls and Kumbhavurutty Waterfalls are also important geographical attractions in Kollam district. In March 2016, IndiaTimes, one of the leading online news media, selected Kollam as one of the 9 least polluted cities on earth to which anybody can relocate.
As of the 2011 India census, Kollam city had a population of 349,033 with a density of 5,900 persons per square kilometre. The sex ratio (the number of females per 1,000 males) was 1,112, the highest in the state. The district of Kollam ranked seventh in population in the state while the city of Kollam ranked fourth. As of 2010 Kollam had an average literacy rate of 93.77%, higher than the national average of 74.04%. Male literacy stood at 95.83%, and female at 91.95%. In Kollam, 11% of the population was under six years of age. In May 2015, Government of Kerala have decided to expand City Corporation of Kollam by merging Thrikkadavoor panchayath. So the area will become 73.03 square kilometres (28.20 sq mi) with a total city population of 384,892.
Malayalam is the most spoken language while Tamil is well understood in the city. There are also small communities of Anglo-Indians, Konkani Brahmins, Telugu Chetty and Bengali migrant labourers settled in the city. For ease of administration, Kollam Municipal Corporation is divided into six zones with local zonal offices for each one.Central Zone – 1, Kollam Municipal Corporation
Central Zone – 2 (Headquartered at Cantonment), Kollam Municipal Corporation
Sakthikulangara Zone, Kollam Municipal Corporation
Vadakkevila Zone, Kollam Municipal Corporation
Kilikollur Zone, Kollam Municipal Corporation
Eravipuram Zone, Kollam Municipal Corporation
In 2014, former Kollam Mayor Mrs. Prasanna Earnest was selected as the Best Lady Mayor of South India by the Rotary Club of Trivandrum Royal
Kollam City is a Municipal Corporation with elected Councillors from its 55 divisions. The Mayor, elected from among the councillors, generally represents the political party holding a majority. The Corporation Secretary heads the office of the Corporation.
The present Mayor of Kollam Corporation is Adv.V. Rajendrababu of CPI(M).
The police administration of the city falls under the Kollam City Police Commissionerate which is headed by an IPS (Indian Police Service)cadre officer and he reports to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Thiruvananthapuram Range. The police administration comes under the State Home Department of the Government of Kerala. Kollam City is divided into three subdivisions, Karunagappally, Kollam and Chathannoor, each under an Assistant Commissioner of Police.
With a total urban population of 1,187,158 and 349,033 as city corporation's population, Kollam is the fourth most populous city in the state and 49th on the list of the most populous urban agglomerations in India. As of 2011 the city's urban growth rate of 154.59% was the second highest in the state. The Metropolitan area of Kollam includes Uliyakovil, Adichanalloor, Adinad, Ayanivelikulangara, Chavara, Elampalloor, Eravipuram (Part), Kallelibhagom, Karunagappally, Kollam, Kottamkara, Kulasekharapuram, Mayyanad, Meenad, Nedumpana, Neendakara, Oachira, Panayam, Panmana, Paravur, Perinad, Poothakkulam, Thazhuthala, Thodiyoor, Thrikkadavoor, Thrikkaruva, Thrikkovilvattom, and Vadakkumthala.
The Kerala Government has decided to develop the City of Kollam as a "Port City of Kerala". Regeneration of the Maruthadi-Eravipuram area including construction of facilities for fishing, tourism and entertainment projects will be implemented as part of the project
The city life of Kollam has changed greatly in the last previous decade. In terms of economic performance and per capita income, Kollam city is in 5th position from India and third in Kerala. Kollam is famous as a city with excellent export background. 5 star, 4 star and 3 star hotels, multi-storied shopping malls, branded jewelleries, textile showrooms and car showrooms have started operations in the city and suburbs. Kollam was the third city in Kerala (after Kozhikode and Kochi) to adopt the shopping mall culture. Kollam district ranks first in livestock wealth in the state. Downtown Kollam is the main CBD of Kollam city.
Dairy farming is fairly well developed. Also there is a chilling plant in the city. Kollam is an important maritime and port city of the state. Fishing has a prominent place in the economy of the district. Neendakara and Sakthikulangara villages in the suburbs of the city have thriving fisheries. An estimated 134,973 persons are engaged in fishing and allied activities. Cheriazheekkal, Alappad, Pandarathuruthu, Puthenthura, Neendakara, Thangasseri, Eravipuram and Paravur are eight of the 26 important fishing villages. There are 24 inland fishing villages also. Recognizing the unique location and infrastructure available, the Government has initiated steps for establishing a fishing harbour at Neendakara which is expected to increase fish production by 15%. Average fish landing is estimated at 85,275 tonnes per year. One-third of the state's fish catch is from Kollam. Nearly 3000 mechanised boats are operating from the fishing harbour. FFDA and VFFDA promote fresh water fish culture and prawn farming respectively. A model fishing village with 100 houses is being built at Eravipuram. A model prawn farm is being built at Ayiramthengu, and several new hatcheries are also planned to cater to the needs of the aquaculturists. Kerala's only turkey farm and a regional poultry farm are at Kureepuzha.
There are two Central Government industrial operations in the city, the Indian Rare Earths, Chavara and Parvathi Mills Ltd., Kollam. Kerala Ceramics Ltd. in Kundara, Kerala Electrical and Allied Engineering Company in Kundara, Kerala Premo Pipe factory in Chavara, Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited in Chavara and United Electrical Industries in Kollam are Kerala Government-owned companies. Other major industries in the private/cooperative sector are Aluminium Industries Ltd. in Kundara, Thomas Stephen & Co. in Kollam, Floorco in Paravur and Cooperative Spinning Mill in Chathannoor. The beach sands of the district have concentrations of such heavy minerals as Ilmenite, Rutile, Monosite and Zircon, which offer scope for exploitation for industrial purposes.
Besides large deposits of China clay in Kundara, Mulavana and Chathannoor, there are also lime-shell deposits in Ashtamudi Lake and Bauxite deposits in Adichanallur.
Kollam, like other districts in Kerala, is moderately industrialised. Some of the major employers in the public sector include Indian Rare Earths Limited (IRE) and Kerala Metals and Minerals Limited at Chavara, the former Kerala Primo pipe factory at Chavara (now closed); United Electrical Industries Limited (popularly known as the Meter Company) and Parvathi Spinning Mill at Kollam.
Industrial estates in Kollam City include;Mundakkal
SIDCO Industrial Estate, Umayanalloor
Known as the "Cashew Capital of the World", Kollam is noted for its traditional cashew business and is home to more than 600 cashew-processing units. Every year, about 800,000 tonnes of raw cashews are imported into the city for processing and an average of 130,000 tonnes of processed cashews are exported to various countries worldwide. The Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) expects a rise in exports to 275,000 tonnes by 2020, an increase of 120 per cent over the current figure. Along with coir processing, the cashew business is one of the most important sources of private sector employment in the city: 80% of all Indian cashew processing and export takes place at Kollam. The Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation Limited (KSCDC) is situated at Mundakkal in Kollam city. The company owns 30 cashew factories all across Kerala. Of these, 24 are located in Kollam district. Cashew processing and sorting employs a large number of women workers who manually shell, peel and sort cashews into different categories by size.
The Kerala State Cashew Workers Apex Industrial Co-Operative Society Ltd. (CAPEX) is situated in Kadappakada, Kollam while the headquarters of the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India is situated at Mundakkal, Kollam. They have a modern testing lab in Kollam.
Kollam is one of the best known seafood export hubs in India with numerous companies involved in the sector. Most of these are based in the Maruthadi, Sakthikulangara, Kavanad, Neendakara, Asramam, Kilikollur, Thirumullavaram and Uliyakovil areas of the city. Capithans, Kings Marine Exporters, India Food Exports and Oceanic Fisheries are examples of seafood exporters. The dynamic development of Kollam Port will accelerate business in the city, as its total export contribution is high compared to other cities in Kerala. The Kochi based Marine Products Export Development Authority(MPEDA) has one its seven sub-regional offices situated in Kollam's Chinnakada area.
Kollam's Ashtamudi Lake clam fishery was the first Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fishery in India. The clam fishery supports around 3,000 people involved in the collection, cleaning, processing and trading of clams. Around 90 species of fish and ten species of clams are found in the lake.
Around 80% of India's export quality clams come from Kollam. The growth of Ashtamudi's commercial fishery was driven by demand from Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia in the 1980s and 90s. By 1991, the catch peaked at 10,000 tonnes a year, but declined by 50 per cent in 1993 due to overfishing. An average of 10,000 tonnes of clams are taken in Kollam every year.
Kollam is the largest pencil slat manufacturing hub in India. There are more than 150 slat production units in the city employing roughly 5,000 persons. A good portion of the demand for pencil slats in the country is met by these units. 35% of the world's pencil slats are manufactured in Kerala. Of the 170 odd pencil slat manufacturing units in Kerala, 125 are based in and around Kollam district. These units export 160 loads of slats per month to companies across the world. This, according to slat manufacturers, is enough to make 200 million pencils per month. A slat is of 185mm length, 77mm width and 5.5mm thickness. Each load exported contains 300 bags with 900 slats bundled into each. On an average each month 150 loads of pencil slats are shipped to pencil factories based in Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and various places in Gujarat. Over 30 countries depend on Kollam's pencil slat manufacturers for pencil making under different brand names. These factories are working with the support of their associations: the Kerala Slats Factories Association and the Kerala State Small Industries Association (KSSIA). Most of the important employees of these associations are from Kollam.
Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd.(KMML) is an integrated titanium dioxide manufacturing public sector undertaking in Kollam, Kerala, India. Its operations comprise mining, mineral separation, synthetic rutile and pigment-production plants. Apart from producing rutile-grade titanium dioxide pigment for various types of industries, it also produces other products like Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon, Sillimanite, Synthetic rutile etc. It is one of the best performing Public Sector Units in India.
A Techno-lodge is a kind of small Information Technology park established by Government of Kerala in small towns or villages in Kerala. Techno-lodges constitute the third tier of the IT infrastructure in Kerala after the IT hubs at Thiruvananthapuram (Technopark), Kollam (Technopark), Kochi (InfoPark) and Kozhikode (Cyberpark). The Government has approved the setting up of two such parks in Perinad, a suburb of Kollam city and Kadakkal Grama Panchayats in Kollam District.
Parvathy Mills is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under National Textile Development Corporation in the city of Kollam. It is situated very close to the heart of the city. It was one of the glorious spinning units in India. The mill is under the consideration of National Textile Development Corporation for renovation. The mill is also placed in the Master Plan of the Greater Kollam City Project in which the Government is planning to build a large scale garment manufacturing unit by utilizing the available infrastructural facilities.
United Electrical Industries Limited (UEI) is an ISO 9001:2000 accredited State Level Public Enterprise that has successfully operated in the electrical engineering sector since 1950. The company is one of the pioneers in energy meter manufacturing and switch gear components. Situated at Pallimukku in Kollam city, UEI Ltd. has so far supplied over four million electromechanical and five million electronic electricity meters for domestic and industrial use. The company has received several awards for their achievements in energy conservation.
Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL) is a government-owned ISO 9002 Certified corporation in India. One of the four production plants of IREL is situated near Chavara, in the suburbs of Kollam city. The plant operates on a mining area containing as high as 40% heavy minerals and extending over a length of 23 km in the Chavara belt. The present annual production capacity of Chavara unit engaged in dry as well as wet (dredging/ up-gradation) mining and mineral separation stands at 1,54,000t of ilmenite, 9,500t of rutile, 14,000t of zircon and 7,000t of sillimanite. In addition the plant has facilities for annual production of ground zircon called zirflor (-45 micron) and microzir (1–3 micron) of the order of 6,000t and 500t respectively. The other plants of IREL are Manavalakurichi, OSCOM and Rare Earths Division at Aluva.
"The Kollam coast in Kerala is a blessed coastal belt with the best mineral sand deposit of the country". This belt commonly known as the Chavara deposit, after the main locality, is 22 kilometres (14 mi) in length and about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) wide in the north and 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) in the south. Around 60% of the Chavara barrier beach portion is composed of heavy minerals. The Chavara deposit is estimated to contain 127 million tonnes of heavy minerals with ilmenite content of 80 million tonnes from the total reserve of raw sand of the order of 1400 million tonnes. The deposit is quite rich with respect to ilmenite, rutile and zircon and the mineral-ilmenite happens to be of weathered variety analyzing 60% TiO2.
The city of Kollam borders Ashtamudi Lake. Many a foreign traveller visited Kollam in the 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.
The popularity of Kollam is illustrated in the time-honoured proverb, Once you see Kollam, you will not need your home any more. Kollam is an important commercial, industrial and trading centre. It is also the headquarters of the Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation.
The 144 feet (44 m). Tangasseri Lighthouse, built in 1902, is a centre of attraction. The Ananda Valleeswaram Temple here attracts people almost daily. The Thangal Kunju Musaliar College of Engineering, the first private college of its kind in the state, is at Kilikollur, about 7 kilometers east of Kollam city. Mahatma Gandhi Park and Beach at Kochupilamoodu, Thirumullavaram Beach and Ashramam picnic village are some of the important local sight seeing spots. Mahatma Gandhi beach lies just 2 Kilometers away from the city center. It is a fascinating place for an evening. Thirumullavaram Beach is 5 Kilometers from the city. The sea here is ideal for swimming and bathing. Ashramam picnic village is located in the 48 acre Guest House Complex. This is the centre of various tourist development activities of the district. The Government Guest House(popularly known as "British Residency") here is 200 years old. It stands by Ashtamudi Lake and is a major attraction for its elegance and architectural beauty. Tourists can stay here at economical rates.
The British Residency, situated in the city, is "one of the most beautiful buildings in the country", as architect Pandala describes it, a massive building built with a tile-fitted sloping roof. Another building built by the British, a two-storeyed, twin-tower structure in laterite stone, is called the Thevally Palace, once the home of the Travancore kings, who are best remembered today for amassing a mind-boggling treasure in the secret vaults of the Sri Padmanabha Swami temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
The Children's Traffic & Entertainment Park, designed by NATPAC, is also located here. It is the largest traffic park in Kerala. The Adventure Park, located in the village along the shores of the Ashtamudi backwaters, is a novel experiment for the country. Different types of boats, including luxury cruise boats, powerboats and motorboats, are available on hire from the boat jetty near to the Adventure Park. Eight-Point Gallery Cafe, the first international standard art cafe in the city, is also a major tourist attraction in the city.
Neendakara, 9 Kilometers from the city, is the headquarters of the "IndoNorweigian Fisheries Community Project", which was established in 1953. The important institutions included in this project are the boat building yard at Sakthikulangara, the Fisherman's Training Institute, the ice factory and the refrigeration plant. Improvements have been made to Neendakara Port, which has been thrown open to traffic. Thangassery is a place of historical importance situated 5 km from Kollam city. The churches here are fairly old, having been built 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. A fishing harbour is being built. Thangassery was an enclave of the Portuguese, Dutch and British in succession. Remnants of the Portuguese and Dutch forts still exist. Alumkadavu is another interesting backwater destination in Kollam. The first houseboats in India was built at Alumkadavu in Kollam.
Ashtamudi Lake (Ashtamudi Kayal) in the Kollam District of Kerala, India, is the most visited backwater of Kerala. With the unique ecosystem, a palm-shaped (also called octopus-shaped) large water body, Ashtamudi means 'eight coned' (Ashta = 'eight'; mudi = 'coned') in the local language of Malayalam. The lake is also called the gateway to the backwaters of Kerala. Quilon is an important historic port city located on the right bank of the lake.
The boat journey is an 8-hour trip (day cruise), winds through lakes, canals and water-bound villages, and gives a complete exposure to the beauty of the backwaters of Ashtamudi Lake. Chinese fishing nets, called cheena vala in the Malayalam language, are used by local fisherman and are a common sight along the waterway.
The lake is the source of livelihood for the people living close to it in fishing, coconut husk retting for coir production and inland navigation services. The lake and the life on its shores have inspired many artists and writers. It has been the subject of many poems of renowned poet Thirunalloor Karunakaran, who was born and brought up on its banks.
Adventure Park in Asramam is a scenic park in the city which attracts so many visitors everyday, every time. It is along the shores of the Ashtamudi backwaters and is about 3 km away from the city centre. It is a novel experiment in the country. The park is a delightful place for children. District Tourism Promotion Council arranges backwater cruises from here. Close to the park are the Government Guest House and a boat jetty. Different types of boats, including luxury cruise boats, powerboats and motorboats, are available on hire from the boat jetty near to the Adventure Park. 10 fascinating sculptures with distinctive themes are one of the major attractions of Adventure Park. The skillful hands of some of the state's finest sculptors have given a whole new ambience to the pristine beauty of the Adventure Park on the banks of the Ashtamudi Lake.
The Portuguese Cemetery at Tangasseri, Kollam, which became the Dutch Cemetery after the Dutch invasion, was constructed in around 1519 as part of the Portuguese invasion of old Quilon city. Kollam is one of the oldest Portuguese-Dutch-English settlements in Asia. Popularly known as Tangy, Tangasseri was an erstwhile trading outpost of the Portuguese, Europeans, Arabs, Chinese and Jews. The site is a centrally protected monument under the control of Archaeological Survey of India since 1920.
Asramam picnic village is located in the 48 acre Guest House Complex. It is a center of tourism activities in Kollam. The Government guest house is a sprawling 200-year-old property campus and was the residence of Lord Munroe then. This picnic village lie facing Kollam backwaters. The Paaramparya Museum in the same premises has on display paintings from different parts of the country including Warli, Kalamkari and Madhubani as well as Kerala mural art. A budget hotel for tourists, Yatri Nivas, run by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, is also located in this village. The village is just 2 km away from the city.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Police Museum is the only such establishment in the country that traces the history and growth of the Police force in India. It is located just opposite the Kollam Junction railway station. The museum was dedicated to the iron man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. In addition to arms and ammunition of the 18th and 19th centuries, including bullets, guns, machines, and a diversity of other weapons, the museum also houses information charts on DNA tests, human bones, fingerprints, snaps of police dogs and a variety of medals awarded to policemen of different ranks.
Kollam Beach is also known as Mahatma Gandhi Beach. It is one of the twin beaches of the city. The other is Thirumullavaram beach. Kollam Beach is 2 km from Kollam city. It is one of the top crowd-pulling beaches in Kerala. The beach also has a park of international standard. The Mahatma Gandhi Park was inaugurated on January 1, 1961 by the then Vice President of India, Zakir Hussein. So many eye-catching and entertainment stuffs are there in the park. A mermaid statue of height 10.6 metres (35 ft) stands at the center of the park. Kollam Corporation has started the construction of a marine aquarium at Kollam Beach which is the first of its kind in the state of Kerala. The Harbour Engineering Department is constructing the aquarium on the eastern side of the beach.
Thangassery or Tangasseri is a thickly populated beach area on the shores of the Laccadive Sea in Kollam city. It is located about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from the city center. The splendid cultural and historical background of Tangasseri harbour often makes it a pride landmark of Kollam. Archaeologists recently discovered Chinese coins and other artifacts from the cost which reveals the splendid historic background of Thangassery Kollam Port also making Thangassery an important place in the world maritime map. There are also ruins of Portuguese and Dutch forts and 18th century churches. Thangassery fishing harbour is another important trade centre in Kollam City. Tangasseri is a picturesque seaside village with a three kilometre long beach on which stands a 144 feet tall lighthouse—a silent sentinel warning seamen since 1902 of the treacherous reefs. Only Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur districts have more than one lighthouse. The Lighthouses in Kollam district are,
- Tangasseri Lighthouse
- Kovilthottam Lighthouse
St. Thomas Fort is about 20 feet tall. Today, the remains of the fort, popularly known as Tangasseri Fort, remain facing the beach. The government of India has taken over the fort and it is being considered an historical landmark. Reformation of the fort is still going on. At present, this fort is managed by the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI).
Thirumullavaram beach is one among the twin beautiful beaches in the Cashew Capital of the World. It is at a distance of 6 km away from the heart of the city. The secluded beach soothe your mind and body with its natural beauty. The beach will give an estuary feel for the tourists as the area is full of coconut palms which makes the place a shady paradise and it is a very silent place. The beach is ideal for early morning walks The beach is ideal for swimming and sun bathing and no danger zones are identified. The beach is connected with all the major roads around the state and it can be easily accessed to reach the place. The taste of local cuisine that is mostly flavoured with coconut and spices like cardamom, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon and ginger also attract a good number of visitors. A water hillock named Njarazhcha Para which means Sunday Rock, is another allurement for the tourists visiting here. During low tides, this hillock can be seen clearly from the shore about one and a half km into the sea.
The city corporation of Kollam is served by the Trivandrum International Airport, which is about 56 kilometers from the city. Trivandrum International Airport is the first international airport in a non-metro city in India. and the only airport in Kerala having more than 2 Terminals. Daily domestic flight services are available such major cities as Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kochi. International flight services connecting to Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Muscat, Malé, Doha, Singapore and Colombo are available from here.
However, Kollam Airport at Asramam was the first aerodrome in Kerala. The first flight to Kerala landed here. Now the old airport area is serving as a twin-helipad of the city, which is about 1 km away from the city center. The first Amphibian Aircraft (Seaplane) of Kerala also landed in Kollam.
Kollam Junction (Code: QLN) is the second largest railway station in Kerala in area, after Shornur Junction, with a total of 6 platforms. Kollam also boasts the second longest railway platform in the world, which is more than 1 km long. The total length of Kollam Junction's PF-3 and 4 combined is around 1180 meters, which is more than the length of the longest existing platform in the world (Kharagpur – 1072.5 meters), but the length of the PF-3 side is about 900 m, while the PF-4 side is about 880 m. In a single stretch the total length is 1180 m.
The metre gauge track from Kollam to Punalur was converted to broad gauge and was inaugurated by the Minister of State for Railways, E. Ahmed, on 12 May 2010. The Thiruvananthapuram – Ernakulam (via Kottayam and Alappuzha) line passes through Kollam. Kollam has completely electrified railway tracks. Two railway lines passing through Kottarakkara (Chengannur-Kottarakkara–Thiruvananthapuram) and Punalur (Erumeli – Punalur – Thiruvananthapuram) have been proposed and are awaiting survey.
Mainline Electrical Multiple Unit (MEMU) services started from Kollam to Ernakulam via: Alappuzha and Kottayam in the 2nd week of January 2012. By 1 December 2012, MEMU service between Kollam and Nagercoil became a reality and later extended up to Kanyakumari. Kollam MEMU Shed inaugurated on 1 December 2013 for the maintenance works of MEMU rakes. Kollam MEMU Shed is the largest MEMU Shed in Kerala, which is equipped with most modern facilities. There is a long-standing demand for the Kollam Town Railway Station in the Kollam-Perinad stretch and "S.N College Railway Station" in the Kollam-Eravipuram stretch. The railway stations in Kollam city are:Kollam Junction railway station
Eravipuram railway station
Kilikollur railway station
A new suburban rail system has been proposed by the Kerala Government and Indian Railways on the route Thiruvananthapuram - Kollam - Haripad/Chengannur for which MRVC is tasked to conduct a study and submit a report. Ten trains, each with 7 bogies, will transport passengers back and forth along the Trivandrum-Kollam-Chengannur-Harippad section. The Suburban Corridor is modelled on the lines of the Mumbai Suburban Rail, where around 3,000 suburban trains run every day
Suburban railway stations in Kollam Metropolitan Area
Kollam MEMU Shed is a motive power depot facility for maintaining MEMU rakes, situated in the city of Kollam in the Indian state of Kerala. It is one of the four MEMU rake maintenance sheds serving the Southern Railway zone of the Indian Railways. The first announced MEMU shed for Kerala was actually in Kollam, but the inauguration of this shed had been delayed for more than 2 years due to the clearance issues from Indian Railways. Palakkad MEMU shed inaugurated on 1 January 2011. Kollam MEMU Shed was formally commissioned on 1 December 2013, five years after its completion. Kollam MEMU Shed is the largest MEMU Shed in Kerala, which is equipped with most modern facilities. Presently, 5 pairs of MEMU services are now running from Kollam Junction. The maintenance works of those rakes are regularly doing in Kollam MEMU Shed.
The city of Kollam is connected to almost all the cities and major towns in the state, including Trivandrum, Alappuzha, Kochi, Palakkad, Kottayam, Kottarakkara, and Punalur, and with other Indian cities through the NH 66, NH 183, NH 744 - and other state PWD Roads. Road transport is provided by state-owned Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and private transport bus operators. Kollam is one among the five KSRTC zones in Kerala. Road transport is also provided by private taxis and autorickshaws, also called autos. There is a city private bus stand at Andamukkam. There is a KSRTC bus station beside Ashtamudi Lake. Buses to various towns in Kerala and interstate services run from this station.Major places connecting to NH 66
Mevaram → Thattamala → Pazhayattinkuzhi → Pallimuk → Madannada → Polayathode → College Jn. → Railway Station → Chinnakada → Cutchery → Collectorate → Mulamkadakam → Nellimukku → Medayil Jn → Ramankulangara → Vallikeezhu → Kavanad → Aaltharamoodu → Capithans → Sakthikulangara → NeendakaraMajor places connecting to NH 744
Chinnakada → Kadappakada → Randamkutty → Koickal → Kallumthazham → Moonnamkutty → Karicode → Kilikollur → ChandanathoppeMajor places connecting to NH 183
Thevally → Thrikkadavoor → Anchalumoodu → Perinad → Kundara
The State Water Transport Department operates boat services to West Kallada, Munroe Island, Guhanandapuram, Dalavapuram and Alappuzha from Kollam KSWTD Ferry Terminal situated on the banks of the Ashtamudi Lake. Asramam Link Road in the city passes adjacent to the ferry terminal.
Double decker luxury boats run between Kollam and Allepey daily. Luxury boats, operated by the government and private owners, operate from the main boat jetty during the tourist season. The West coast canal system, which starts from Thiruvananthapuram in the south and ends at Hosdurg in the north, passes through Paravur, the city of Kollam and Karunagappally taluk. The Thiruvananthapuram-Shornur canal, which forms a part of the Thiruvananthapuram-Hosdurg system, runs a distance of about 62 kilometres (39 mi). The other canal systems include the Paravur Kayal, Kollam Canal and Chavara canal.
Kollam Port (Thangasseri Port) is the second largest port in Kerala, after Cochin Port Trust. It is one of two international ports in Kerala. Cargo handling facilities began operation in 2013. Foreign ships arrive in the port regularly with the MV Alina, a 145-metre (476 ft) vessel registered in Antigua anchored at the port on 4 April 2014. Once the Port starts functioning in full-fledged, it will make the transportation activities of Kollam-based cashew companies more easy. Shreyas Shipping Company is now running a regular container service between Kollam Port and Kochi Port.
The natural depth of Kollam Port is 8 meters. This will soon be increased to 10 meters. The project to increase depth is now underway at a cost of Rs.5.7 crores. Kollam Port has a cement terminal, cargo handling facilities, and a customs clearance centre (under construction). The port is undergoing infrastructural development. The port is very near the city of Kollam. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy launched the Coastal Shipping Project (CSP) at Kollam Port on 9 November 2013. Passenger ships will start operating from Kollam Port by 2014.
Neendakara and Sakthikulangara are twin fishing harbours in Kollam. Neendakara is one of the busiest fishing harbours in South Kerala. Some port operations are carried out through Neendakara as well. The concerned authorities of Kollam Port has recently cleared the decks for tie-up with Tuticorin Port.
Historically, the port city of Kollam (formerly Quilon) was one of India's major trading hubs. This spurred the local port authority to reactivate an old proposal for a passenger ferry service between Kollam Port and Minicoy, a route of approximately 398 kilometres (247 mi). The As of 2014, the Lakshadweep authorities are also seeking opportunities to invest in Kollam Port with funds available for a passenger terminal with dormitory facilities and an office to guide the people of Minicoy arriving at Kollam Port. Traditionally, Lakshadweep's connections with the mainland have been through Kochi and Beypore ports. However, Minicoy, a small atoll at the southernmost end of the archipelago, is closer to Kollam than to either Kochi or Beypore.
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham at Amritapuri is an integrated campus There are many respected colleges, schools and learning centres in Kollam.
The city and suburbs contribute greatly to education by providing the best and latest knowledge to the scholars. The Thangal Kunju Musaliar College of Engineering, the first private school of its kind in the state, is at Kilikollur, about 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) east of Kollam city, and is a source of pride for all Kollamites. The Government of Kerala has granted academic autonomy to Fatima Mata National College, another prestigious institution in the city. Sree Narayana College, Bishop Jerome Institute (an integrated campus providing Architecture, Engineering and Management courses), and Travancore Business Academy are other important colleges in the city. There are two law colleges in the city, Sree Narayana Guru College of Legal Studies under the control of Sree Narayana Trust and N S S Law College managed by the N.S.S.
Kerala State Institute of Design (KSID), a design institute under Department of labour and Skills, Government of Kerala, is located at Chandanathope, about 8 Kilometers from Kollam town. It was established in 2008 and was one of the first state-owned design institutes in India. KSID currently conducts Post Graduate Diploma Programs in Design developed in association with National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
The Institute of Fashion Technology, Kollam, Kerala is a fashion technology institute situated in Vellimon, Kollam, established in technical collaboration with the National Institute of Fashion Technology and the Ministry of Textiles. In addition, there are two IMK (Institute of Management, Kerala) Extension Centres active in the city.
Apart from colleges, there are a number of bank coaching centres in Kollam. Kollam is known as India's hub for bank test coaching centres with around 40 such institutes in the district. Students from various Indian states such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh also come here for coaching.
Kollam has a fairly well-developed network of medical facilities. According to the 14th century Travels of Sir John Mandeville, the mountains outside the city were the supposed site of the Fountain of Youth. The health care sector of Kollam has changed greatly in the past decade. Once there were no medical colleges in the district, but now there are three, two under official management, Kerala Government Medical College and Valiyath Institute of Medical Sciences, Karunagappally. The only ESIC Medical College in Kerala is located in the Kollam district. Travancore Medicity Medical College in the city and Azeezia Medical College and Dental College in Meeyannoor are the other two medical colleges in the district.
The Samad In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) hospital has a branch in Kollam. There are a number of Christian Missionary Hospitals in the district, including Bishop Benziger Hospital in the city and Holy Cross Hospital, Kottiyam. The Kollam district hospital and Victoria Hospital play a vital role in the health care sector of the city. The Upasana Hospital, owned by R.P Group, N.S Co-operative Hospital, KIMS Hospital, and Ashtamudi Hospital are other important hospitals in the city. The Meditrina Group is constructing its new hospital in the city while ESIC corporation runs a highly specialized hospital in Asramam, Kollam.
Kollam Fest is Kollam's own annual festival, attracting mostly Keralites but also hundreds of domestic and foreign tourists to Kollam. The main venue of Kollam Fest is the historic and gigantic Ashramam Maidan. Kollam Fest is the signature event of Kollam. Kollam Fest seeks to showcase Kollam's rich culture and heritage, tourism potential and investments in new ventures.
Kollam Pooram, part of the Ashramam Sree Krishnaswamy Temple Festival, is usually held on 15 April, but occasionally on 16 April. The pooram is held at the Ashramam maidan.
The President's Trophy Boat Race (PTBR) is an annual regatta held in Ashtamudi Lake in Kollam. The event was inaugurated by President Prathibha Patil in September 2011. The event has been rescheduled from 2012.
Paravur Puttingal Meenabharani Maholsavam is a Temple Festival usually held on the 2nd day of the 2nd month (Meenam) of the Malayalam Calendar (March–April). This temple is very famous for the fireworks competition (Malsara Kambam), which is usually held on the final day of the festival.
Kadakkal Thiruvathira is a famous festival celebrated in March, and is one of the most attractive festivals of the region. The temple festivities attract large crowds from various parts of the state.
"Oachira Kali", To commemorate old war between Venad King and Kayankulam King. Involves martial art Kalarippayattu and a practice fighting with model weapons.
Chittumala Theerthatanam is an annual march held on Thiruvonam to promote communal harmony; it was first celebrated in 1968. It starts from Munroe Island, 25 km from Kollam, and ends at Chittumala.
Irupathiettam onam is a Temple Festival celebrated on the 28th day of Onam.
Kallada Boat Race (Kallada Jalolsavam) conducted during Irupathiettam Onam is one of the oldest boat races in the district and attracts thousands of people
Thrikkadavur Thiruvathira, a world-famous annual festival of Thrikkadavoor temple in the Malayalam month of Kumbha (Feb-March). The only one Nedumkuthira(Eduppukuthira= the vertical men lifted traditional colorful chariot)water-procession of the world. Centuries old custom. International tourists also attracted nowadays.
Perumon Therukettu Festival, The traditional Kerala chariot lifted and circumvented by mass of people around the antique temple of Perumon. Celebrated once in a year. Hindus believe that seeing the right-starting movement of the chariot will wash away all the sins made by one for the previous year and thus can escape the punishment by God.
Cricket is the most popular sport, followed by hockey and football. Kollam is home to a number of local cricket, hockey and football teams participating in district, state-level and zone matches. An International Hockey Stadium with the most modern facilities and international hockey turf is under construction in the city at a cost of Rs.13 crore. The land for the construction of the stadium was taken over from the Postal Department at Asramam, Kollam. The city has another stadium named the Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium, Kollam. It is a multipurpose stadium and has repeatedly hosted such sports events as the Ranji Trophy, Santhosh Trophy and National Games. Two open grounds in the city, the Asramam Maidan and Peeranki Maidan, are also used for sports events, practice and warm-up matches.
The Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium is getting ready to host the 35th National Games of India. Construction work for the International Hockey Stadium is in full swing for the same reason.
The city of Kollam is a microcosm of Kerala state and its residents belong to varied religious, ethnic and linguistic groups. There are so many ancient temples, centuries-old churches and mosques in the city and it's suburbs.
Kollam is a Hindu majority city in Kerala. 56.35% of Kollam's total population belongs to Hindu community. Moreover, the Kollam Era (also known as Malayalam Era or Kollavarsham or Malayalam Calendar or Malabar Era), solar and sidereal Hindu calendar used in Kerala, has been originated on 825 CE (Pothu Varsham) at (Kollam) city.
Anandavalleeshwaram Sri Mahadevar Temple is a 400 years old ancient Hindu temple in the city. The 400-year-old Sanctum sanctorum of this temple is finished in teak. Ammachiveedu Muhurthi temple is another major temple in the city that have been founded around 600 years ago by the Ammachi Veedu family, aristocrats from Kollam. The Kollam pooram, a major festival of Kollam, is the culmination of a ten-day festival, normally in mid April, of Asramam Sree Krishna Swamy Temple. Kottankulangara Devi Temple is one of the world-famous Hindu temples in Kerala were cross-dressing of men for Chamayavilakku ritual is a part of traditional festivities. The men also carry large lamps. The first of the two-day dressing event drew to a close early on Monday. Moreover, Kottarakkara Sree Mahaganapathi Kshethram in Kottarakkara, Puttingal Devi Temple in Paravur, Poruvazhy Peruviruthy Malanada Temple in Poruvazhy, Sasthamcotta Sree Dharma Sastha Temple in Sasthamkotta, Thrikkadavoor Sree Mahadeva Temple in Kadavoor and Kattil Mekkathil Devi Temple in Ponmana are the other famous Hindu worship centres in the Kollam Metropolitan Area.
Christian population accounts 21.17% of the total population of Kollam city. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Quilon or Kollam is the first Catholic diocese in India. The diocese, which covers an area of 1,950 km². (753 square miles) and contains a population of 4,879,553 – 235,922 (4.8%) of whom are Catholic – is claimed to have first been erected on 9 August 1329. It was re-erected on 1 September 1886. The famous Infant Jesus Cathedral, 400 years old, located in Thangassery, is the co-cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Quilon. CSI Kollam-Kottarakara Diocese is one of the twenty-four dioceses of the Church of South India.
The Infant Jesus Cathedral in Tangasseri is established by Portuguese during 1614. It is now the pro-cathedral of Roman Catholic Diocese of Quilon – the ancient and first Catholic diocese of India. The church remains as a memento of the Portuguese rule of old Quilon city. St. Sebastian's Church at Neendakara is another important church in the city. The Dutch Church in Munroe Island is built by the Dutch in 1878. Our Lady of Velankanni Shrine in Cutchery is another important Christian worship place in Kollam city. Saint Casimir Church in Kadavoor, Holy Family Church in Kavanad, St.Stephen's Church in Thoppu and St.Thomas Church in Kadappakada are some of the other major Christian churches in Kollam.
Muslims accounts 22.05% of Kollam's total population. As per the Census 2011 data, 80,935 is the total Muslim population in Kollam. The Karbala Maidan and the adjacent Makani mosque serves as the Eid gah for the city. The 300-year-old Juma-'Ath Palli at Karuva houses the mortal remains of a Sufi saint, Syed Abdur Rahman Jifri.
Kottukadu Juma Masjid in Chavara, Elampalloor Juma-A-Masjid, Valiyapalli in Jonakappuram, Chinnakada Juma Masjid, Juma-'Ath Palli in Kollurvila, Juma-'Ath Palli in Thattamala and Koivila Juma Masjid in Chavara are the other major Mosques in Kollam.
Notable individuals born in Kollam include: