Kollam is the headquarters of the Kollam district and is one of the most scenic cities in Kerala. The town is well known for cashew processing and coir manufacturing. It is the southern gateway to the backwaters of Kerala, and thus, a prominent tourist destination.
History of Kollam
The city of Kollam is known by many different names that frequently changed with time. It was associated with names like Desinganadu, Kollam, and Quilon. From the days of the Phoenicians and the Romans this seaport town has continued to have a commercial reputation. Ibn Batuta regarded Kollam as one of the five main ports dealing in Chinese trade. Since ages rulers of Kollam and China have exchanged embassies and this led the town to flourish as a Chinese settlement.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish a trading center at Kollam in 1502. Then came the Dutch followed by the British in 1795. A British garrison was stationed at Kollam in pursuance of a treaty between Travancore and the British.
During the rule of Velu Thampi Dalawa of Travancore the town experienced many changes, new bazaars were built and that invited merchants from Madras and Thirunelveli to settle here. Later on Kollam became the capital of the enlightened and liberal rulers of Desinganad.
As an administrative unit the town flourished in the year 1835, when the Travancore state consisted of two revenue divisions with headquarters at Kollam and Kottayam. In the year 1949 when Travancore and Cochin were desegregated, Kollam was one of the three revenue divisions in the state. Later on these three revenue divisions were converted into districts.
The later history of Kollam is interwoven with the Portuguese, Dutch and English rivalry for control of the Indian Ocean trade routes and commodities nearby. The Malayalam era is calculated from the founding of Kollam in the 9th century.
Geography of Kollam
The geographical coordinates for Kollam are 9.28'45° N 76.28'0° E. The district covers an area of 2,492 kmē and ranks seventh in the State with respect to area. The district is bound on the north by Alappuzha district, north east by the Pathanamthitta district, east by Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, south by [Thiruvananthapuram district]] and on the west by the Arabian Sea.
Kallada and Ithikkara are the two rivers that flow through this district. Shasthamkotta Lake is the only major fresh water lake in the State. Two other major lakes are the Ashtamudi Lake and the Paravur Kayal. Edava and Nadayara lakes lie partly in this district.
The district has a tropical and humid climate, with an oppressive summer and plentiful seasonal rainfall. The summer season, from March to May, is followed by the south west monsoon from June to September.
Tourist attractions of Kollam
Kollam was once an international emporium of trade and even today it is a prosperous commercial center. Kollam is located on the edge of the famous Astamudi. Kollam was one of the early centers of Christian activity in Kerala. The popularity of Kollam has been established by the time-honored proverb once you see Kollam; you will not need your home any more.
The Thangassery Light house, built in 1902, is a great center of attraction in Kollam. The Ananda Valleeswaram Temple of Kollam attracts people on almost all days. There are several Churches and Mosques around Kollam. The Pullichira Church was established in 1700 A.D. One of the oldest and most important Mosques in Kollam is the Chinnakkada Palli.
Mahatma Gandhi beach and park at Kochupilamoodu, Thirumullavaram beach and Ashramam picnic village, are some of the important spots of local sight seeing in kollam. Mahatma Gandhi beach lays just 2 km from Kollam. It is fascinating place for an evening walk. Thirumullavaram Beach is 5 km from Kollam. The sea here is ideal for swimming and bathing.
Kollam stands along Ashtamudi Lake and it is a major attraction. The children's Traffic and Entertainment Park, designed by NATPAC, is also worth visiting in Kollam. It is the largest traffic park in Kerala. The Adventure Park, located in Kollam village along the shores of the Astamudi backwaters, is also an exciting place to be at.
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