Kollam is an old sea port town and is the headquarters of the District of Kollam. Kollam used to be a major trading point where traders from Arab countries and Portugal used to meet the Chinese and Indian traders. The town of Kollam stands on the beautiful Ashtamudi Lake, meaning the lake with eight creeks and is mapped by a number of backwaters, plains, hills, rivers and streams. It is also the to the serene backwaters of the State. Kollam is well known for its cashews and fish.

Kollam is located at a distance of around 70 kilometers from the capital city of Kerala, Trivandrum. A very important port in Kerala, Kollam is known to be a renowned center of international spice trade. The famous Ashtamudi Lake occupies almost 30% of the total area of this town and is famous for its beautiful backwaters. Known as the gateway of the backwaters of Kerala, your travel to Kollam is incomplete if you miss a houseboat ride on the backwaters. It is one experience that must not be missed, come what may. So read on our related sections and know more about Kollam tourism.

The place is historically significant and has many ruins of palaces and forts that are worth visiting. The scenic beaches of Kollam are a treat to those tired eyes and mind. But what truly makes this destination a paradise is the 900-kilometer stretch of the meandering backwaters of the Ashtamudi Lake. The place is known for its cashew industry and is an important center of trade. Though industrialized, the place hasn't lost its natural beauty and is a visual treat for anyone seeking a peaceful vacation. So come to Kollam and see for yourself the best of God's own country.

Kollam (Malayalam: കൊല്ലം) (Anglicised name: Quilon, pronounced koy-lon) is a city , a municipal corporation and headquarters of Kollam District in the Indian state of Kerala. Kollam is the fourth largest city of kerala after Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode and is famous for cashew processing and coir manufacturing. Kollam District is named after this city. It lies 71 Kilometres north of the state capital Thiruvanathapuram (Trivandrum). The city lies on the shores of Ashtamudi Lake and is the southern gateway to the backwaters of Kerala, and thus, a prominent tourist destination.

Kollam was formerly called "Desinganadu" and even before its was known as Tarsish(Koreki ni-(sea pointed inland or a creek)Kollam). Later during the rule of the Travancore kingdom in southern Kerala, Kollam was the focal point of trade. Kollam, a Municipal Corporation is a major business and commercial centre in the central Travencore region of Kerala. Kollam Cargo port has been revived and expected to provide a bright future for the city.

Kollam or Quilon, an old seaport town on the Arabian coast, stands on the Ashtamudi lake. Kollam, the erstwhile Desinganadu, had a sustained commercial reputation from the days of the Phoenicians and the Romans. Fed by the Chinese trade, it was regarded by Ibn Batuta, as one of the five ports, which he had seen in the course of his travels during a period of twenty-four years, in the 14th century.

Located 71 kms to the north of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam is the center of the country's cashew trading and processing industry. One of the oldest ports on the Malabaar coast, Kollam was one the port of international spice trade. The eight-hour boat trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is the longest and most enchanting experience on the backwaters of Kerala. The district also has some interesting historic remnants and a number of temples built in the traditional ornate architectural style.

Kollam District which is a veritable Kerala in miniature is gifted with unique representative features - sea, lakes, plains, mountains, rivers, streams, backwaters, forest, vast green fields and tropical crop of every variety both food crop and cash crop, so called 'The Gods Own Capital'.


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.



The closest airport from Kollam is around 67 km away in Thiruvanantpuram. Pre paid taxis are available to fetch you to Kollam from Thiruvanantpuram.


Kollam is 159 km south of Ernakulam and takes three to four hour trip. The Trivandrum Mail from Chennai goes through Kollam, as does the Mumbai-Kanyakumari Express and the Mangalore-Thiruvananthapuram coastal service.

The Quilon Mail between Kollam and Chennai (Egmore station) via Madurai in 20 hours.


Kollam is on the Thiruvananthapuram –Kollam –Alappuzha -Ernakulam bus route. The fast buses (reservations possible) take 1 ½ hours to Thiruvananthapuram; 1 ¾ hours to Alappuzha ; and 3 ½ hours to Ernakulam.


There are public ferry services across Ashtamudi Lake to Guhanandapuram (one hour), Muthiraparam (2 ½ hours) or Perumon (2 ½ hours). There are daily ATDC and DTPC tourist boats to Alappuzha The tours either start by bus from the KSRTC bus stand or from one of the town jetties.


Kollam offers wonderful shopping items such as handloom products, jewellery, Ayurvedic products and textiles.


A range of rooms are available at various hotels and resorts at Kollam. Ashtamudi Resort offers luxury rooms, the best in Kollam. The said providers also provide house boat rooms. Some other deluxe resorts and hotels include Aqua serene and Palm Lagoon. Low budget accommodation providers at Kollam include Ram Kamal Residency, Yatri Niwas, Hotel Sudarsan.


Kollam Backwaters
Mesmerizing, beautiful and rejuvenating, such are the Kollam backwaters. Offering picturesque views of the gorgeous green surroundings, the backwaters attracts tourists from far and wide. The lush green trees at lining the backwaters are homes to wonderful birds like egrets, cuckoo and ducks. The views of water lilies and lotus at the backwaters are a great delight. You can also enjoy traditional cuisine at the small restaurants on the shores of the backwaters.

A particularly picturesque town standing on the banks of the Ashtamudi Lake Kollam`s contemporary fame among today`s travellers is as the gateway to Kerala`s exceedingly beautiful backwaters. The long 8 hour boat trip from Quilon to Alleppey is the best and most comprehensive introduction to the delights of Kerala`s backwaters as the journey passes through lakes, canals and waterbound villages. The famous `Cheena Vala` or Chinese Fishing Nets can also seen along with backwaters.

Kollam District
STD Code
Best time to visit
August to March