Kollam or Quilon, an old seaport town on the Malabar Coast, had a sustained commercial reputation from the days of the Phoenicians and the Romans. A famous port of international spice trade in ancient India, the present day Kollam is famous for its varied modern industries including cashew nut processing and research, fisheries, etc.
Its association with the renowned Ashtamudi Lake makes it the gateway to the magnificent backwaters of Kerala. The eight-hour boat trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is the longest and most exhilarating experience on the backwaters of Kerala. The place is also home to relics of the past and a number of temples built in the traditional ornate architectural style.
Things you can do while you are there:
Excellent tours through the canals of Munroe Island and across Ashtamudi Lake are organised by the DTPC and a few private operators. After a 25km drive to the starting point, you take a three-hour trip via punted canoe. On these guided excursions you can observe daily village life, see kettuvallam (rice barge) construction, toddy (palm beer) tapping, coir-making (coconut fibre), prawn and fish farming, and do some birdwatching on spice-garden visits.
2.Santhigiri Ayurveda Centre
An ayurvedic centre with more of an institutional than a spa vibe, popular for its seven- to 21-day treatment packages – accommodation is available for ?500 a night. You can also just visit for a rejuvenation massage (?1000).
The restaurant at the Nani Hotel has a slightly formal feel with high-backed chairs amid intricate copper-relief artwork depicting Kollam history. Meals, including Keralan dishes such as Travancore egg masala, as well as tandoori and Chinese, are well prepared and tasty thalis are available at lunchtime.
This darkened air-con restaurant is recommended for its tasty veg and nonveg cuisine, thalis and Sunday lunch buffet. There’s a less formal coffee shop for snacks and the Golden Tavern bar in the same hotel complex.
Taj Mahal in Kollam