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A beach backwater symphony

Kollam, one of the big cities in Kerala state, is generally associated with the cashew industry as well as a tourism destination for backwaters.

But this city was much more than all these. Considering the once formidable stature that this place had enjoyed it won’t be fair to narrate the present scenario before mentioning its glorious past.

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This, along with Muziris (the present Kodungalloor) was the only two international ports in Kerala’s coastline that enjoyed trade relations with the outside world, right from the Roman era. At that time, Kollam was a major trading partner with the ancient China, Egypt, Greece and Rome. It served as a key commercial spot and Kollam harbor was a busy center for import & export of precious commodities like Spice.

Kollam served as the capital city of the erstwhile kingdom of Venad (which emerged from the Tamil Empire of Chera) for almost three centuries, 9th to 12th century AD. In fact the prominence of Kollam was so high that the Malayalam era, which official began in 9th century (825 AD), was named after this city as, ‘Kolla Varsham’. In the colonial era, following the power struggle of westerners and subsequent annexation by the British, Kollam lost its autonomy. Later, it gained importance as the hub of Cashew processing & trading industry. During the 1960s – 80s, Kollam was the no.1 city in Kerala in terms of the number of millionaires and luxury cars, mainly due to the booming Cashew industry.

Though now overshadowed by the likes of Kochi as a center of economy, the presence of charming backwaters & beaches and, the still thriving cashew sector keeps Kollam in the list of prominent destinations of Kerala.

Kollam’s natural assets:

Ashtamudi Lake

The second largest lake (after Vembanad) in Kerala, without which the state’s backwater wealth is not complete. Ashta-mudi (meaning eight-branches in Malayalam), is a splendid lake with multiple branches of canals.

Together with Vembanad, Ashtamudi forms a very fine backwater network, debated as the most beautiful of its kind. From Ashtamudi (in Kollam) to Vembanad (in Alappuzha) marks the longest waterway in Kerala, and the boat ride takes almost a day – an incomparable trip.

Sasthamkotta Lake

Kerala’s largest freshwater lake – is fondly known as God’s own lake city. Sasthamcotta’s locations are known for their peerless beauty – source of inspiration for many writers & poets, plus, a prime shooting location for films & TV programmes.

Kollam beach

Known as the Mahatma Gandhi Beach… a pleasing seashore that serves as an ideal recreation center.


Former wanted trade post by the colonial powers… the village of Tangasseri now exhibits the famed colonial traces like this timeworn fortress.

Thirummulavaram Beach

A seashore with a delightful mixture of seclusion and harmony… best suited for seaside picnics.

Kollam’s landscape – perfect visualization of beach-backwater symphony

Thekkady thrills…

Periyar National Park

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It ranks amongst the most precious natural assets of God’s own Kerala state… that’s Thekkady or, to be precise, the location of ‘Periyar National Park’.

Periyar National Park

Originally established as a Tiger Reserve long back, what makes this green hub a major tourist attraction is its peculiar landscape beauty. Lush forests are surrounded by a lovely lake (formed artificially as a result of the neighboring ‘Mullaperiyar Dam Project’). This typical geography makes boating at Thekkady Lake a thrilling affair with vivid wildlife views.

Periyar National Park

Though named after India’s national animal ‘Tiger’, those majestic predators won’t grant their presence to the visitors easily. It requires much patience and luck! On the other hand, other wild inmates like Elephants, Gaurs, Sambhar Deers, etc. are common sights from the lake.

Periyar National ParkGlimpses of wildlife from the Thekkady Lake…Periyar National Park

Luckiest ones can get precious glimpses of Tiger(s) and some other rare & endangered inmates, such as the lion tailed macaque.

Periyar National Park
A rare photograph of ‘lion tailed macaque’ at Thekkady

Periyar National Park
‘Tiger’ – another prized photographer’s delight at Thekkady

Apart from its wildlife wealth, which is the most publicized activity here, Thekkady offers numerous trekking trails also – a fact that is relatively unknown for outsiders. The surrounding greenish hills are much unexplored and by taking guided trekking, adventures can experience new dimensions of thrills.

Periyar National Park
One of the adventurous trekking trails in Thekkady

Periyar National Park
An aerial view of Thekkady town from the neighboring green-coated hills

With its lush landscape and cool mild climate, Thekkady naturally forms a haven for sought-after spices (black pepper, cardamom, ginger, vanilla …) too.

Kerala’s famous ‘black pepper’ plant at Thekkady

For visitors coming to experience the God’s own country, this destination is definitely a major spot with various entertainments in the form of boating, trekking, elephant safaris, spice plantation trips and, of course, the touch of Ayurveda. Experiencing India’s ageless traditional way of treatment in such a land blessed with many features is indeed rewarding.