"Once you see Kollam, you will not need your home anymore." - This is an old tag attached to Kollam, a coastal city of Southern Kerala.
Swarms of tourists come down to the palm-shaped Ashtamudi Lake of Kollam every year. With luxury houseboats, traditional Chinese fishing nets, lofty coconut trees and thatched toddy shops along the banks, the brackish backwaters are bound to give you warm fuzzies.
Kollam has a diverse history as a port city. It was important in the Chera regime until the 9th century. From 825 AD, it became the capital of Venad. There were trade links with China and Marco Polo who visited in 1292. During colonial times, both the Portugese and the British had an influence on Kollam. Since 1949 the city has been a major hub in Kerala. It is one of those cities that have been mentioned in the famous traveler Ibn Batuta.
Kollam occupies the biggest portion of backwaters, streams, rivers, lakes, mountains, plains, forests, fields and tropical crops in Kerala. The people's main livelihood comes from cashew processing and coir production. It is also famous for its clay tile manufacture.
Thenmala, a pristine ecotourism destination, 62 km from the town centre, offers trekking, boating, mountain biking, rock climbing, river crossing and other adventure activities. Kollam beach, Monroe Island, Tangasseri Light House, Portugese Cemetery, Njarazhcha Para and Paravur Lake are some of the other attractions that you don't want to miss. The local cuisine spiced with pepper, cinnamon and ginger and pepped up with coconut is a must try.
Incidentally it is also the only city to have a water sport competition where the President sponsors the trophy. The President's Trophy Boat Race is an annual affair where large numbers of snake boats participate in a race on the Ashtamudi Lake. One should and see this magnificent event in Kollam, it is a lifetime experience!
The best time to visit Kollam is from August to March when the climate is relatively cooler and less humid.