A port city of primary historical importance, Kollam has been on the global map for millennia. This ancient trading town is one of the oldest ports on the Arabian Sea. Phoenician, Roman, Chinese, Arabic, and later on, Portuguese, Dutch and British traders have been known to frequent this thriving harbour, seeking to get a share in the flourishing spice and cashew nut trade. Its location, along the east-west trading routes and at the head of canals linking back to Kochi and Alleppey, was also an essential element in its evolution into a major Indian port.
Today, the city centre is a hectic and bustling hive of activity, and the port is still a hub of international commerce. The bazaar is a tumultuous amalgamation of sensory stimulations, with spices, foods, fabrics and souvenirs clamouring for your attention.
If the hustle and bustle become too much for you, Kollam is surrounded by the serene waterways of Ashtamudi Lake. Here, a tranquil tapestry of canals, cashew plantations, rural villages and paddy fields opens up before your eyes. Glide along the waters in an elegant and traditional houseboat (avoiding the higher prices and larger crowds at Alleppey) and soak in the languid backwater ambience. Conversely, enjoy a leisurely picnic at Palaruvi Falls. This three-hundred-foot fall is said to have Ayurvedic properties.
A bit further afield, Munroe Island, or Mundrothuruthu, is an inland cluster of eight islets famous for coir retting and weaving