Every South India tour package, especially a Kerala holiday package, must include Kollam. Places to visit include the Ashtamudi Lake, one of the places in Kerala houseboats are famous, which is the most frequented backwater among the backwaters of Kerala. The Ashtamudi Lake offers a lovely view, and one can relax on the luxury cruises available for hire. The beaches at Kollam, Thirumullavaram and Thangassery provide glorious sunset views. The 144 feet Thangassery Light House, built in 1902, is a popular jaunt for tourists. The Ananda Valleeswaram Temple here charms visitors from far and wide daily. The Kollam district has over 35 other temples. The British Residency in Kollam is “one of the most beautiful buildings in the country,” as architect Pandala calls it, a massive building built with a tile-fitted sloping roof.
Cashews are a must. Not only are they inexpensive, they will also melt in your mouth easily. The spices are good too. The seafood is another mandatory buy. The clams are export quality.
Adventure Park in Asramam, a picturesque park in the city, is a renowned tourist place in Kerala. It is along the shores of the Ashtamudi backwaters and is about 3 km away from Kollam. Close to the park are the Government Guest House and a boat jetty. Various types of boats, including luxury cruise boats, powerboats and motorboats, are available on hire. Tourism in Kerala has been spurred by these.
The local cuisine, flavoured richly with coconut and spices like cardamom, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon and ginger, attracts visitors from abroad. Like the rest of Kerala, Kollam is famous for being a seafood exporting centre. Over 600 cashew processing units thrive in Kollam. About 8 lakh tonnes of raw cashew are imported to Kollam for processing on an annual basis.
The Shenduruny wildlife sanctuary is situated 66 kms from Kollam. Remnants of Stone Age culture were excavated from a large cave in this sanctuary. The remains belong to the Mesolithic period (10000 – 5000 BC). Leelethilakam and Unnuneeli Sandesam, two exceptional literacy works of historical importance, are contributions of 14th century Kollam. The dance from of Kathakali (now Ramanattam) was the creation of Kottarakkara Thampuran.
Kollam (anglicised as Quilon) district is named after Kollam, the Sanskrit word for pepper. The capital of Kerala’s cashew industry, the district is also known as God’s own capital. The district was a major commercial port in the days of the Phoenicians and ancient Romans. The kings of Kollam (pronounced Koillam) exchanged embassies with Chinese kings like Kublai Khan, under whose rule Marco Polo visited India.