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For the district with the same name, see Kollam District.

Coordinates: 8.88° N 76.60° E


 - District(s)
 - Kollam
Coordinates 8.88° N 76.60° E
 - Elevation
 - Coastal line

 - 3 m
 - 37 km
Temperature 29 °C to 37 °C
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Population (2001)
 - Density
 - Sex ratio
 - Literacy rate
   - Male
   - Female
 - 1,038/km²
 - 1069
 - 91.18%
   - 94.43%
   - 88.18%
Mayor N.Padmalochanan
 - Postal
 - Telephone
 - Vehicle
 - 691 XXX
 - +0474
 - KL-2
Website: www.kollam.nic.in

Kollam (Malayalam:കൊല്ലം ) (known to the Portuguese as Quilon, pronounced koy-lon) is a city and a municipal corporation in Kollam district in the Indian state of Kerala. It lies 71 Kilometres north of the state capital Thiruvanathapuram(Trivandrum). It is also the headquarters of the Kollam district, one among the 14 districts in the state of Kerala. It is bound on the south by Thiruvananthapuram district, on the north by Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha, on the east by Tamil Nadu and on the west by the Arabian Sea. The town is very famous for cashew processing and coir manufacturing. It is the southern gateway to the backwaters of Kerala, and thus, a prominent tourist destination.

Kollam was formerly called "Desinganadu". During the rule of the Travancore kingdom in southern Kerala, Kollam was the focal point of trade. The start of the Malayalam era(ME) is associated with Kollam.[1][2] It is believed that the era was started by Nestorian merchants who settled in KorukeNi kollam, near to the present Kollam.[3] The ME is also referred as Kollavarsham.


[edit] History

Kollam is an old sea port town. Kollam had a sustained commercial reputation from the days of the Phoenicians and the Romans.[citation needed] The rulers of Kollam (Desinganadu) and China, exchanged embassies.[citation needed] Chinnakada,the city center, was so named after the Chinese merchants (China-kada).[citation needed] The increase in commercial activity resulted in establishment of flourishing Chinese settlement at Kollam.

Cosmos Indicopleustes, who visited Malabar Coast in 522 A.D. mentions about Syrian Christians in Kollam. He wrote, "In the island of Tabropane (Ceylon), there is a church of Christians, and clerks and faithful. Likewise at Male where the pepper grows; and in the town of Kalliana there is also a bishop concentrated in Persia" (Reference: Travancore Manual) The Nestorian Patriarch Jesujabus who died in 660 A.D. makes special mention of Quilon in his letter to Simon, Metropolitan of Persia. In 822 A.D., two Nestorian Persian Bishops, Mar Sapor and Mar Peroz settled in Quilon, with a large following. Two years later, in 824 A.D. the Malayalam Era named after Quilon, began. Malayalam Era is called 'Kolla Varsham' after Kollam, because of the importance of Kollam in the 9th century A.D. It signified the independence of Malabar from the Cheraman Perumals. (Reference: Travancore Manual page 244). For the services of the Syrian Christian merchants, King Stanu Ravi Gupta of Kollam, granted the copper plate grants in 824 A.D. to Mar Sapor Iso, transferring to the Tarasa Church and community in Quilon, lands near the city with hereditament of low caste slaves. (Reference: Travancore Manual page 244).

Merchant Soleyman of Siraf in Persia visited Malabar in the middle of the 9th century and found Quilon to be the only port in India touched by the huge Chinese ships on their way from Canton to the Persian Gulf.

Marco Polo, the great Venetian traveller, who was in Chinese service under Kublai Khan visited Kollam in 1293 A.D. on his return trip from China to Venice. He found Christians and Jews living in Coilum (Kollam). He also found merchants from China and Arabia. He has given a detailed account of Kollam in his writings, that are reproduced in the Travancore Manual.

According to Ibn Batuta, Kollam was one of the five ports, which he had seen in the course of his travels, in the 14th century.

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. The remnants of the Dutch forts can be found at Thangasseri. Velu Thampi Dalawa of Travancore, worked towards the improvement of the Kollam town. He helped build new markets and invited merchants and traders from Madras (now Chennai) and Tirunelveli to set up trade in Kollam. Kollam, to this day has a thriving business in cashewnuts, coir and spices.

The history of the district as an administrative unit can be traced back to 1835, when the Travancore state consisted of two revenue divisions with headquarters at Kollam and Kottayam. At the time of the integrating of Travancore and Cochin districts in 1949, Kollam was one of the three revenue divisions in the state. Later these three revenue divisions were converted into districts. But Shencottah taluka was merged with Madras state consequent to the implementation of the States Reorganisation Act of 1956.

Now the district has a single revenue division with its headquarters at Kollam Taluk Cutcherry.

[edit] Geography

The geographical coordinates for Kollam are 9.28'45° N 76.28'0° E. The district covers an area of 2,492 km² and ranks seventh in the State with respect to area. The district is bound on the north by Alappuzha district, north east by the Pathanamthitta district, east by Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, south by [Thiruvananthapuram district]] and on the west by the Arabian Sea.

Kallada and Ithikkara are the two rivers that flow through this district. Shasthamkotta lake, is the only major fresh water lake in the State. Two other major lakes are the Ashtamudi Lake and the Paravur Kayal. Edava and Nadayara lakes lie partly in this district.

The district has a tropical and humid climate, with an oppressive summer and plentiful seasonal rainfall. The summer season, from March to May, is followed by the south west monsoon from June to September. The north east monsoon lasts from October to November.[citation needed]

[edit] Demographics

As of 2001 India census,GRIndia Kollam had a population of 361,441. The density of population being 1037 persons per square kilometre. The sex ratio (the number of females per 1000 males) was 1070 during the census year of 2001. The district ranks sixth with respect to the population in the state. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Kollam has an average literacy rate of 82%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 84%, and female literacy is 80%. In Kollam, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.

[edit] Transport

The district is covered by 132 km of railway tracks, of which 51 km are broad gauge and 81 km metre gauge. There are almost 22 railway stations of which 9 are on broad gauge line and 13, on the metre gauge line. Kollam is an important railway junction. The Thiruvananthapuram - Ernakulam (via Kottayam and Alappuzha) line passes through Kollam. Kollam is the terminal junction for Chenkotta - Kollam metre gauge line. Electrification of the Broad Gauge railway lines towards Thiruvananthapuram from Kayamkulam is complete.

A view of the Kollam backwaters from the railway line
A view of the Kollam backwaters from the railway line

The district is well connected to other parts of Kerala and India through the National Highways 47, 220 and 208 and by the railway network. Kollam has a total 1552.096 km of roads. The National Highway 47 covers a distance of 57.4 km in the district. The National Highways NH 208 (Kollam - Chenkotta) and NH 220 (Kollam - Theni) originates from Kollam. The State Highway namely, Main Central Road (MC Road) and Punalur-Pala-Muvattupuzha (Main Eastern Highway) connects the district to other districts. Transport is provided by State owned Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and private transport bus operators. Road transport is also supported by private taxis and autorickshaws also called autos.

The State water Transport Department operates boat services to West Kallada, Munroe Island and Alappuzha. The Alappuzha service attracts a lot of tourist attention. A full day onboard journey through the backwaters provides an opportunity to experience the natural way of life of the people around.

Luxury boats, operated by Government and private owners, operate from the main boat jetty during the tourist season. The West coast canal system, which starts from Thiruvananthapuram in the south and ends at Hosdurg in the north, passes through Kollam and Karunagappally taluks. The Thiruvananthapuram-Shornur canal, forms a part of the Thiruvananthapuram-Hosdurg system, runs a distance of about 62 km. The other canal systems include the Paravur Kayal, Kollam canal and Chavara canal.

Neendakara and Kollam are the two ports in the district, the former, an intermediary and the latter, a minor port. Port operations are carried out through Neendakara. Neendakara is also a busy fishing harbour.

[edit] Industries

Kollam like other districts in the state is moderately industralised. Some of the major employers in the public sector are Indian Rare Earth (IRE), Kerala Metals and Minerals Limited at Chavara; Union Electrical Industries (popularly known as the Meter Company) and Parvathi Spinning Mills at Kollam. Kundara was known as an Industrial area with Alumnium, Ceramics, Starch factories, but all are closed or on the verge of closing.

Cashew processing and coir production are the two most important sources of employment. Major share of employment in the private sector is provided by Cashew processing and exporting units. Cashew processing and sorting employs a large share of women workers who manually peel and sort the cashew into different categories according to their size.

Another important source of employment is Tile manufacturing using clay.

[edit] Education

Kollam has its fair share of privately owned and state owned educational institutions. Institutions of education are affiliated to either the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), or the Kerala State Education Board.

Most private schools use English as the medium of instruction whereas government run schools offer both English and Malayalam as a medium of instruction. After the going through the 10+2 years of schooling the student can enroll in higher education institutions like colleges to pursue general or professional degree courses.

Amrita University has a campus at Amritapuri, Karunagappally. Most of the colleges offering Higher education are affliated to Kerala University. Some of the colleges in and around Kollam are Fatima Matha National College, Sree Narayana College, Sree Narayana College for Women, Younus College Of Engineering And Technology (YCET) and Thangal Kunju Musaliar College of Engineering (TKMCE), TKM Institute of Technology and Management, St.Gregorious College etc.

Sree Narayana Public School, Sree Narayana Trust Central School, St. Jude Higher Secondary School Mukhathala, Kristhu Raj Higher Secondary School, Infant Jesus Anglo Indian High school, Mount Carmel Convent Anglo-Indian School, St Aloysius Higher Secondary School TKM Public school and Trinity Lyceum are some of the English medium schools located in and around Kollam town.

[edit] Places of worship

Kottarakara Sree Mahaganapathy Kshethram(Temple), situated at Kottarakara is about 30 km from Kollam town. The famous temple at Kottarakara is dedicated to Lord Vigneswara(Ganapathy), Oachira Parabrahma Temple, Puthenkulangara Devi Kshethram at Keralapuram, Kadavoor Mahadeva Temple, Sasthamkotta Ayyappa Temple, Ayyappa Temple Kadappakkada, Ashramom Sree Krishna Swamy Temple, Thalavoor Sri Durga Devi Temple, Pattazhy Devi Temple, Kundara Elampalloor Devi Temple, Pazhangalam Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, Kollorvila Devi Temple, Paravoor Puttingal Devi Temple , Kattayil Palakkottu Bhagavathy Temple, Kattayil Kavil Bhagavathi Temple, Kollam Ammachi Veedu Moorthy Kavu, Kollam Valiayakavu Devi, Koonambaikulam Devi Temple, Ummannoor Anchu Moorthy Temple etc are among the important Hindu temples in Kollam.

 Gateway to a temple at Kollam
Gateway to a temple at Kollam

The Mata Amritanandamayi Math is situated at Amritapuri in this district, about 30 km from the Kollam town.

Some of the important churches are St. Casimir's Church, Kadavur; Shrine of Our Lady of Velankanni, Tuyyam; Trinity Lyceum, Infant Jesus Shrine, Vadi; St. Joseph Shrine, Perinad; St. Francis Church, Koduvila (Kallada); Amalotbhava Matha Church, Pullichira (Kottiyam), St. John Britto Church, Sakthikulangara; St. Sebastians Church, Neendakara; St. Thomas C.S.I. Church, Pattathanam; St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral, Sastri Junction and St. Antony's Church at Tillery.

Some of the famous mosques are Valiyapalli at Jonakappuram, Juma-Ath-Palli at Kolluvila, Juma-Ath-Masjid at Thattamala, Muslim Juma-Ath-Palli at Karuva, Kalamala Palli at Kalamala, Muthirapparambu Palli at Muthirapparambu and Siyavathummodu Palli at Kilikolloor.

Kadakkal in Kollam is known for Kadakkal Devi Kshetram, kadakkaldevi temple comes alive during Thiruvathira festival held in March, and is one of the prime festivals of the region. The temple festivities attract large crowds from various parts of the state. Kadakkal amma or goddess is considered as a very powerful deity.

The Mahavishnu Temple, believed to have been consecrated by Parasurama, the legendary creator of Kerala. One will be amazed to see two idols perching in the same sanctum - a bizarre feature not usually found in Indian Temples - an idol of Vishnu facing east and Shiva facing west.

The Apostle Thomas is said to have founded one of his "seven and a half churches" in Kollam. From these seven and a half churches, including the one in Kollam, have multiplied thousands of churches, hospitals, orphanages and other Christian charities that cover India today.

Panmana Asramam has been acknowledged to be a unique and sacred centre of learning and service which has had the divine presence of SREE VIDYADHIRAJA PARAMA BHATTARAKA CHATTAMBI SWAMIKAL and SREE MAHA THRIPURASUNDARI DEVI. Panmana Asramam located 18 Kms. North of Kollam city nearby the National Highway 47.

[edit] Hospitals

The famous hospitals in Kollam are District Hospital, Sanker's Institute of Medical Sciences, Dr. Nair's Hospital, Upasana Hospital, Benziger Hospital, Kundara LMS Hospital, Kottiyam Holy Cross Hospital, Amrita Ayurveda Medical College, Oachira Parabrahma Hospital, Kottarakkara KNS Hospital, Kollam ESI Hospital, Cherumoodu Amrita Ayurveda Hospital etc.

[edit] Places of Interest

Most of the sights in Kollam are situated within a radius of 8-10 km from the city centre. Places close to city centre include the calm and scenic Thirummulavaram and Tangasseri beaches. Another picturesque beach worth visit is the semilunar Kochupilamood Beach (Kollam beach). The light house at Tangaseeri Kollam stands 144 ft (44 m) tall. The Tangasseri Light House was built in 1902. Thirumullavaram, approximately 6 km away from the city centre is popular for its calm and serene beach.

Boating facilities on Ashtamudi Lake are available at the Local boat jetty beside the main Bus depot popularly known as Civil station. House boats can be hired from the boat jetty or arranged through the tourist guides or by the local hotels.


The Kayal (Lake) Pradakshina Cruise operated by local boat owner is available till the Munroe Island, formed by the backwaters of Ashtamudi and Kallada River. The backwater trip from Kollam to Alappuzha is the longest cruise in the state and takes around 8 hours.

Tourist spots such as Thenmala, Residency Palace Ashramom, Adventure Park, Jetayu para, and Palaruvi water falls are popular attractions.

A place in Kollam district that every tourist has to visit is the maruthimala. Maruthimala is situated in Kottarakara Taluk of Kollam district.

[edit] Places to visit

Kollam is widely known as the Cashew Paradise in Kerala, and affords a wide cultivation and processing techniques.

The square-shaped clock tower, is visible from all parts of the Chinnakada market(city center). Tourists can visit the Thevally Palace, currently used by the Indian Army and the Dutch fort at Thangassery. Though most of it has been repainted, still the ambrosial palace displays a magnificent view from the lake.

The Ashtamudi lake with its scenic beauty, houseboats and ayurvedic centers also has plenty to offer. There are many breathtaking viewpoints to savor, including Padappakkara, Munroe Islands, Vellimon, Paravoor, Ashtamudi, Thevally etc. Kollam is also close to the 'Tenmala' tea estates and spice county.

Approximately 7 km from Kollam on NH 47 towards Alappuzha is Neendakara. Once a fishing harbour under the Indo-Norwegian project, today it is more famous as a viewing point for 'Chaakara', a post monsoon phenomenon that occurs just off the coast.

Kollam is situated on NH 47 that links Salem to Kanyakumari, via Palakkad, Thrissur, Ernakulam and Alappuzha.

The nearest airport is at Thiruvananthapuram, 71 km from Kollam city center.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Kerala government website
  2. ^ In the Travancore State Manual, Ch:XIII,pages 49-50, by Sri.T.K.Velu Pillai according to keralainfoservice
  3. ^ 'K Sivasankaran Nair, vENadinte pariNAmam വെണാടിന്റെ പരിണാമം,DC books, pages 28-29

[edit] External links

Seal of Kerala State of Kerala
Kerala Topics | History | Economy | Geography | Flora and Fauna | Culture | Arts | Tourism
Capital Thiruvananthapuram
Districts AlappuzhaErnakulamIdukkiKannurKasaragodKollamKottayamKozhikodeMalappuramPalakkadPathanamthittaThiruvananthapuramThrissurWayanad
Major cities KochiKollamKozhikodeThiruvananthapuramThrissur