1 Oct 2013

Kollam: Where Tradition Meets Modernity

Located on the Ashtamudi Lake is the coastal city of Kollam or Quilon. Covering an area of 58 square kilometers, it is one of the largest cities in Kerala with a population of 349,000. Having been an ancient trading town, Kollam is a commercial, industrial and business hub with a flourishing trading port. It has diverse geographical features such as backwaters, lakes, forests, mountains, rivers and plains. It is around 70 kilometers from Thiruvananthapuram and is convenient to access.
The Beautiful and picturesque Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam (photo courtesy: flycatcherstours.com)
Being colonised by more than one European power and ruled by several Indian dynasties, Kollam is a melting pot of cultures. It has sustained as a metropolitan city but has often juggled between tradition and modernisation. It is one of the leading centers of education in the country. Notable poets, authors and thinkers from different parts of India have added to the richness of cultural diversity. Although, most literary transactions are in Malayalam, other South Indian languages like Tamil, Kannada and English are also used.
The Grand Pooram Festival (photo courtesy: wikipedia)

Thankasseri or the Kollam Port is the second largest port in Kerala. The functionality of the port goes as far back in history as the glorious Venad kingdom in 825 AD. Kollam is now known for its cashew nut processing and coir manufacturing. It is also a major tourist destination owing to its beautiful landscapes and picturesque lakes. The backwaters of Kollam are home to a large variety of flora and fauna.

Kollam Pooram is a popular festival celebrated in the city, attracting thousands of tourists from all over the country. It was initiated with Asramam Sri Krishnaswamy Temple, an iconic landmark among places of Hindu worship. Other temples in the city include, Thamarakulam Mahaganapathy temple, Puthiyakkavu Devi Temple, Kottarakulam Mahaganapathy temple and Mulamkadakom Devi temple.
Kollam Beach (Photo courtesy: lonelyplanet.com)
Unspoilt beauty of Kollam Beach (Photo courtesy: luxoindia)
Religious diversity is one of the highlights of the city. A number of churches and mosques are found scattered over the landscape of an urbanized yet cultural city. Some of the popular mosques are Juma-'Ath Palli at Kollurvila, Kottukadu Juma Masjid Chavara, Juma-'Ath Palli at Thattamala and Ochira Juma Masjid. Kadeesa Syrian Orthodox Church, St. Casmir Church Mathilil, St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church are some of the famous churches which are frequently visited. 

  It is almost always hot and humid in Kollam with heavy showers in the months between June and October. Summers are hot and winters are moderately pleasant. December to March is the best time to visit for sightseeing. One can reach Kollam through Thiruvananthapuram flights from Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. The international airport at Thiruvananthapuram is less than 2 hours away from Kollam, making it easily accessible.