This is the fifth post in the Kerala Backwaters Series. Lets explore backwaters of Kollam and nearby regions, in this post.
A Glimpse of Kollam : Image by raj_nair81 via flickr
The coastal district of Kollam formerly known as Quilon lies 70 km from Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. The first thing that comes to the mind of a Keralite when he hears of Kollam is the delicious cashew nut. The orchards and their abundant yield of the costly nut has led to the title “Cashew Kings” dispersed among some of the rich. The place is rich in marine yield also. It is one of the oldest ports and trading centers in Kerala. It finds mention in history pointing to its trading connection to Phoenicians and Romans before the start of Christian era.
30% of the area is covered by the Ashtamudi Lake which derives its name from the meeting of the 8 streams. “Ashta ” stands for 8 in Sanskrit. Kollam is the gateway to the backwaters of Kerala. It takes a cruise of only 8 hours to reach Alappuzha.
Chinese Nets Seen on the Banks of Ashtamudi Lake: Image by albert via flickr
The sights around are so wonderful that a tourist does not want the cruise to end. You can see the water plants, such as Lotus with its head held high, water lilies almost in contact with the water surface, groups of ducks floating leisurely with not a care in the world. The Chinese fishing nets hanging from poles to the surface of water is a common sight. On the way you can stop at the Munroe Island. From Munroe Island also, a tourist can begin the cruise.
Munroe Islands, Kollam : Image by pabloneco via flickr
Kollam backwaters offer you unforgettable experiences. Alumkadavu village twenty three km from Kollam on the way to Allapuzha is one such. You can actually observe the vintage craft of fashioning a Housboat or “Kettuvallam”, which means a boat bound with ropes. Many families used to own one for their outing and spending some days on the river. It was widely used to transport cargo.
Going on a cruise in Kettuvallom or Houseboat through the Kollam backwaters to Alleppey will be an experience that one will never forget!!
The Amritanandamayi Asram is only 4 km away. Devotees and visitors flock there to experience the concept of “World is one large family”. Enjoy the view of Kayamkulam lake and Karunagapally lying on its bank, which the locals say was the playground of Kochunni a Robin Hood type of “dacoit” famous in Kerala folktales.
There are many famous temples built in the traditional style like the Devi Temple at Thevalakkara and Anandavalleswaram Temple.. The old Pullichira church is also nearby.
The Sree Dharma Sastha Temple with its view of Sasthamkotta fresh water lake invites you to spend a day there. This lake provides drinking water to most of Kollam town. A visit to the temple during day and the relaxing cruise on the moonlit water can be exhilarating experiences.
Asramam picnic village, a center of tourism activities in Kollam, is part of the government guest house complex. The Government guest house is around 200 years old and was the residence of Lord Munroe then. This picnic village lie facing Kollam backwaters.
The adventure park is the latest development here. You can hire any type of boat from the jetty. You can take an evening cruise and/or “go around” cruise from the village. There is a budget hotel conveniently situated near the park; and all this at 2 km away from town.
There is an old saying “the one who sees Kollam forgets his Illam( home)”. So beware!!!
Do include Kollam in your itinerary as you plan your Kerala tours. You will not regret that decision!
Here is the complete list of articles in Kerala backwater series.
3. Fishing…For Fun at Njarakkal Aqua Fish Farm (Part of Kochi Backwaters)