Kollam also called Quilon is a district in south Kerala. The capital of the district is also known by the same name. Kollam is a mid sized coastal town located in the west of the district where it meets the Arabian Sea.
Geographically Kollam represents a sample slice of what Kerala is. The west of Kollam is a long wide coastline facing the Arabian Sea. The eastern edge of Kollam district is hilly, and gradually merges into the fringes of Western Ghats. The plane midland lies between the western coastal strip and the hilly eastern region. On the planes is the giant Ashtamudi Lake with numerous streams radiating out of it.
History of Kollam is both old and significant. In the earlier days ( 8 century AD) , Kollam was called Desinganadu. In those days Kollam was the capital of a kingdom called Venad.
Being a district sandwiched between the Western Ghats and the Arabian sea, Kollam has an interesting mix of tourist attractions. The flagship attraction is of course the backwater tourism located around the Ashtamudi lake. The Thenmala Ecotourism on the fringes of the Western Ghats in Kollam is first planned ecotourism destination in India.
Accessing Kollam ( Quilon ) is no great difficulty from anywhere in the country. A major rail link of the Indian Railways passes right through Quilon town. Kollam is a major railway junction.
So are the National Highways . National Highway 47 ( NH 47) passes through Kollam. Two other national highways - NH208 and NH220 - starts from Kollam. And there are numerous roads radiating out of Kollam connecting other towns and cities, both of Kerala and neighboring Tamilnadu state.
The state owned KSRTC buses operate from the bus stand in the Heart of the town. All the long distance and local bus services of KSRTC operate from here. Also there are few private bus stands in the town center with frequent services to the nearby places.
Kollam has no airports. Trivandrum, about 65 km south of Kollam is the nearest airport for Kollam. Another option is Cochin airport, which is about 175 km north of Kollam. Trivandrum and Cochin are international airports with plenty of domestic flights operation too.
For the curiosity's sake , Kollam do have some old airstrip, not much used for flying anymore though. The ground is now used by numerous driving schools as practice ground and of course cricket too is played on this erstwhile 'plane ground'.
Kollam is often described as the gateway to the backwaters in this part of Kerala. There is a boat jetty in Kollam with regular services to the designations in and around the district. The boat jetty is located right next to the KSRTC bus stand.
Though Kollam is a port town, there are no ferry services by sea route from Kollam. The ports are mostly used for fisheries and cargo transport.
Boasted as the longest backwater cruise in Kerala, the Kollam to Alappuzha (Quilon to Alleppey) boat ride is an 8 hours affair. The route practically connects the two towns.
Estuaries, lagoons, lakes and a network of interconnecting canals make the bulk of its backwater tourism. Kerala has plenty of backwater tourism hotspots, however some backwater destinations are immensely popular.
Ashtamudi literally means , eight branches, depicting the complex topography of this sprawling backwaters.