Kollam is one of Kerala’s fourteen districts famous for its cashew industry. It is known as the cashew capital of the world.The district is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and has many scenic spots to explore from pristine beaches to tranquil lakes and ancient architecture.
Let us look at some of the popular tourist spots in Kollam.
Image by Jpaudit via Wikimedia
Punalur is a town near the Kerala-Tamilnadu Border. The Kallada River flows through this town, giving it the name ‘Punalur’ which means ‘place of water’ in the local lingo.
Popularly known as the gateway of the Western Ghats, Punalur is the second largest town in Kollam. A must visit place in Punalur is the suspension bridge which was South India’s first motorable bridge and one of the oldest bridges in Indian history.
2. Ashtamudi Lake
Image by Raviz Hotels and Resorts via Wikimedia
Ashtamudi lake is the most popular tourist spots in Kollam. The serene lake has tourists visiting it at all times of the year. Coconut groves and palm trees can be seen on the banks of the lake swaying gently in the breeze. Known as the gateway to Kerala backwaters, the lake offers boating services in a variety of crafts.
The 8-hour houseboat journey to Alleppey winding through canals, and water bound villages is the most popular of the cruises. This journey will expose travellers to a complete backwater experience. The President’s Trophy boat race is held in this lake on November 1st annually. The usually placid surface of the lake is churned by hundreds of oarsmen rowing their way towards the finishing line accompanied by the loud cheers from the clamorous crowds thronging the banks.
The President’s Trophy boat race is held in this lake on November 1st annually. The usually placid surface of the lake is churned by hundreds of oarsmen rowing their way towards the finishing line accompanied by the loud cheers from the clamorous crowds thronging the banks.
3. Tengasseri Lighthouse
The Tengasseri Lighthouse is a cylindrical shaped tower offering scenic view of the Arabian sea and Kollam itself. The Tengasseri lighthouse is the second largest in the state, and is a major attraction among tourists visiting Kollam.
Built in 1902, the lighthouse rises majestically above the coconut palms. One can witness the glorious sunset from this tower. It is also a perfect place to have some quiet moments and indulge in your own thoughts.
4. Thirumullavaram Beach
Image by Pratheesh Prakash via Flickr
Thirumullavaram is a secluded beach in Kollam district skirted by swaying coconut palms and exuding a natural beauty that is bound to soothe your minds.It is one of the most popular beaches in Kerala, safe even for little kids. Visitors can see the ‘Njayarazhcha Para’ (Sunday Rock) about a kilometre and half into the sea.
This unspoilt beach with crystal clear water, sun-soaked sand and lush green palms attracts tourists from all over the world. One can refresh oneself with fresh coconut water to beat the scorching summer heat and get a taste of the local cuisine. There is also a Maha Vishnu temple near the beach. Pilgrims come here to perform the spiritual ritual of Vavubali tharpanam.
5. British Residency
Image by Arunvrparavur via Wikimedia
Also known as the Government guest house, this two storey building was built by Col. John Munro. The mansion is constructed with a blend of Indian, European and Tuscan architecture styles. The structure is famous for its murals and other artistic embellishments.
The notable landmark of this place is the Chinnakada clock tower which stands in the heart of the city. The Edward Rose Garden is another not to be missed attraction of this mansion.
6. Palaruvi Falls
Image by Jaseem Hamza via Wikimedia
Palaruvi Falls is a popular waterfall in Kollam. Cascading from a height of 300 feet, it is a favourite picnic spot for people in the district as well as for tourists from other parts of the country.
Palaruvi means ‘milky stream’ in the vernacular language. This waterfall is said to possess ayurvedic healing properties as the stream meanders through upstream terrain that has a rich growth of medicinal herbs.
The water plunges down a rocky massif and forms a pool where people come to take a dip in this healing waters. Palaruvi also has the two popular trekking trails in Kerala.
One is the Palaruvi trail, which leads to the top of the waterfall, and the other is the Kurishumala trail which is popular among Christian pilgrims.The best time to visit Palaruvi is during the monsoon season when there is an abundance of water thundering down the rock face.
7. Munroe Island
Image by Christopher Porter via Flickr
Named after Col. Munroe, the British resident of erstwhile Travancore state, this is a small island lying at the confluence of the Ashtamudi Lake and the Kallada river. Canoe tours to the island through the backwaters is very popular, being one of the best ways to experience first-hand the life of the riverine population and see the natural vegetation that the island has to offer.
Another attraction of the island is the Dutch church located on the scenic banks of the Ashtamudi Lake. It is one of the oldest churches in Kerala featuring a mix of Dutch and Kerala architectural styles.
Image from jatayuearthscenter.com
Jatayupara takes its name after the epic bird in Ramayana – Jatayu. Legend has it that the bird tried to rescue Sita from the clutches of Ravana. The story goes on with Ravana beating Jatayu and the bird supposedly falling on this rock with its wing cut off.
A massive sculpture of Jatayu, the world’s largest bird sculpture, is the main attraction of Jatayapara, a popular picnic spot for families. A nature park is constructed around the sculpture. An 18 ft high statue of Lord Rama is also being constructed at the site.
9. Kollam Beach
Image by Ignazio Carpitella via Flickr
The Mahatma Gandhi beach, popularly known as Kollam beach is a good place to spend time with your family. The Tengasseri lighthouse is a major landmark of this beach.
The Mahatma Gandhi park adjoins the beach, making it a perfect place for kids to have fun. You can also enjoy beautiful sunrise and sunset at the beach. A one of a kind marine aquarium project is under way here, making Kollam beach a must-visit place in Kerala.
10. Neendakara Port
Neendakara port is one of the largest fishing ports in Kerala. Countless motorized fishing boats can be seen tethered to bollards along the waterfront. At Neendakara Port, you get fresh fish at reasonable rates. This makes Neendakara port one of the major sea food sources in Kerala. The view of the sea from the port is beautiful especially during the golden hours of the day.
You can see the Ashtamudi Lake uniting with the Arabian Sea from here and several Chinese fishing nets silhouetting the sky. The Neendakara Bridge connects Neendakara and Sakthikulangara, which is another coastal area of Kollam district. The harbour can be seen from this bridge. Neendakara is a perfect place to interact with the local fishermen.
Visiting Kollam is sure to give you a refreshing new experience. The place is a wholesome package of fun and adventure but is also a place that can be quiet and laid-back, going at its own pace. Be sure to check out these places the next time you make a trip to Kollam.
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