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Destination of the Month

Kollam, Kerala

Just imagine an evening with friends at home, accompanied with the finest beverages and snacks. Suddenly you see a plate full of enticing and rich looking cashew nuts most appropriately fried and sprinkled with a pinch of salt. The moment you eat these cashews, you feel lost in their sumptuousness and texture as you relish each moment.

Ever imagined from where we get these grand 'Kajus' which give us sheer happiness as a culinary delight.

An old sea port town perched across the Arabian coast and nestled on the banks of the Ashtamudi Lake is known as Kollam (pronounced as koy-lon) or Quilon, in the Indian state of Kerala. During the medieval period this port thronged with Chinese, Phoenician and Roman trade, hence it raked in its popularity much to the level of being termed as one of the five important ports by Ibn Battuta, the famous 14th Century AD Moroccan explorer during his twenty four years of globe-trotting which encompassed North Africa, The Horn of Africa, West Africa, Eastern Europe, Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China. Marco Polo, the great Venetian traveler, during his tenure in Chinese service under Kublahan in 1275, also visited Kollam and other towns on the west coast in the 13th Century AD.

Historically, the year 825 CE was very significant for Kollam as the Malayalam calendar known as Kollavarsham was formulated here this year. The name Kollam is believed to have been derived from the Sanskrit word Kollam, meaning pepper.

Invariably this place is God gifted with uniqueness that encompasses – sea, plains, rivers, streams, backwaters, forest, sprawled green fields and all varieties of food and cash crop. This is the very reason why Kollam is regarded as "God's own capital". The city is located at about 71 kilometers (44 mi) north of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. Being the headquarters of the Kollam district, Kollam is the fourth largest city in Kerala and is known world across for its cashew processing and coir manufacturing. The district is encircled by Alappuzha in the north, Pathanamthitta in the northeast, Thiruvananthapuram in the south, Tirunelveli (Tamilnadu) in the east, and the Arabian Sea in the west.

Kollam is thriving on tourism and its traditional cashew business. With over 600 cashew processing units, an average of 130,000 ton of processed cashew is exported from Kollam to major countries of the world which include USA, UAE ,Netherlands ,Japan ,Saudi Arabia, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Singapore, Italy, Greece, Australia, Kuwait, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Canada, Thailand, Russia, Norway, Syria, and Hong King. Kollam is also well known for being a famous seafood exporting hub in India. So many seafood exporting companies are there in the city. Kollam's clam fishery is acclaimed globally, being the only Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fishery in India. Ashtamudi Lake in Kollam is the major source of the clam used in this fishery. This clam fishery which began in 1981 has ever since supported livelihood of around 3,000 fisher folks involved in collection, cleaning, processing and trading clams. Approximately 90 species of fish and 10 species of clams are found there.

At Kollam one is recommended to visit Asramam picnic village which is a center of tourism activities. This Government guest house is a 200 year old property well sprawled across 48 acres of campus and was the residence of Lord Munroe during the British Raj. This picnic village faces Kollam backwaters. The backwaters here is a major tourist attraction and is flocked each year with ample tourists, both International and domestic. Another major attraction which cannot go unnoticed is the Kollam Beach where one can go and simply enjoy the serenity and the beauty of the sea, amidst the lashing waves on the shore.

Thangassery or Tangasseri is a thickly populated beach area on the shores of the Arabian Sea in Kollam city. It is situated about 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) from the city center. With a splendid cultural and historical background of Thangassery harbor it is indeed a pride landmark of Kollam. Besides, here stands the 144 feet tall Thangassery lighthouse as a warning for seamen since 1902.

Kollam is connected with major cities like by Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kochi by Trivandrum International Airport, which is about 56 kilometers from the city. Trivandrum International Airport is the first international airport in a non-metro city in India and the only airport in Kerala having more than 2 Terminals and offers International flight services connecting Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Muscat, Male, Doha, Singapore and Colombo. Quilon Aerodrome at Asramam in Kollam City was the first aerodrome in Kerala. Marking history, the first flight to Kerala landed at Kollam Asramam Airport. Another historic moment in aviation was when the first Amphibian Aircraft (Seaplane) of Kerala landed here. Furthermore, Kollam Junction is the second largest railway station in Kerala with a total of 6 platforms. Kollam also boasts of housing the longest railway platform in Kerala (second longest in India), which is more than 1 km long.

Kollam has always been known to the outside world, by the time enriched proverb –"Once you have seen Kollam you would no more need your illam (Home)"