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Quilon was an
international emporium of trade and even now it is a prosperous commercial
centre. Quilon edges with the famous Astamudi lake. Many a foreign traveller has
visited Quilon in the early midieval period. Quilon was one of the early centres
of Christian activity in Kerala. The popularity of Quilon has been established
by the time- honoured proverb once you see Quilon, you will not need your home
any more. Quilon has several tourist attractions.
An ancient port dating back to the 9th century, Kollam has given its name to the Malayalam era Kollavarsham, which began in 825 AD, and is said to be calculated from the date of the founding of this town. In that year, Persian immigrants set up a township in Kollam and built a town here, having received a charter of privileges from the Raja of Venad. According to one historical view, in that year, King Udaya Marthanda Varma of Venad convened at Kollam a grand assembly of Kerala's learned men in order to introduce a new era which the assembly resolved would be adopted from the first Chingam (Malayalam month) of the year. In Kollam, over the centuries, merchants from all over the world gathered and contributed to the city's reputation as a centre of a flourishing mercantile community. This is borne out by the testimonies of Arab, Chinese, Jewish, and European travelers (Marco Polo, among others). It was also in Kollam that in 1330 AD Friar Jordams was consecrated Bishop of the first Roman Catholic in India. The town's commercial importance led the Portuguese to set up a factory here in 1502. This passed into the hands of the Dutch in 1661 and later, in 1795, to the British. Today the red-tiled roofs that dot the low skyline of Kollam are a reminder of the architectural influences of the Dutch and British villas. Further, the Chinese fishing nets along the Ashtamudi Lake bear testimony to the trade links with China. Today, this town, 71 km from Thiruvananthapuram, is fairly important for the state's trade and commerce and is the centre of the country's cashew trading and processing industry. It is also an important hub for the state's marine produce industry, with the port of Neendakara being the centre for trawlers and ice plants. A particularly picturesque town standing on the banks of the Ashtamudi Lake, the lake with eight creeks, Kollam's primary reason for fame now is as the gateway to Kerala's exceedingly beautiful backwaters. The 8-hour-long boat cruise from Kollam to Alappuzha is the best and most comprehensive introduction to the delights of Kerala's backwaters, as the journey meanders through lakes, canals, and water-bound villages. The famous `Cheena Vala' or Chinese fishing nets dot the waterway all along the trip. As a typical southern Kerala town, Kollam offers a tranquil, rural atmosphere, punctuated by the bustle of trade and commerce in its many busy and crowded market streets and junctions. On the outskirts of the town are cashew nut processing factories. Next to the Government Guest House at Ashramom, 3 km away from the Central Bus Stand, is an Adventure Park which delights children and adults alike. The Quilon District Tourism Promotion Council organizes backwater cruises from here and during the tourist season conducts cruises to Alappuzha. There is a beach with a small park at Kollam, popular as an evening retreat for locals. On the route to Shenkottah, 70 km from Kollam, is Ariankavu, which holds a shrine devoted to Lord Sastha, Ayyappan). The main festival of this temple is in December. Five km from Ariankavu is the waterfalls at Palaruvi with a height of 300 feet. There are frequent buses to Ariankavu and to Palaruvi. There is a PWD Inspection Bungalow where rooms are available. On the same route, 64 km from Kollam, Kulathupuzha is in the forest range and is famous for a similar shrine. The most important temple festival is the Vishnu Mahotsava in April/May. Mayyanad, a small town about 10 km north of Kollam, is known for its nine temples, the most famous of which is the shrine of Lord Subramanyan, said to have been consecrated by Sankaracharya. An important pilgrimage centre 34 km north of Kollam, Oachira is famous for its `Oachira Kali' festival in mid-June. Sasthamkotta is 29 km from Kollam and on the right bank of the Kallada river. This is a small town with a temple dedicated to Lord Sastha. An hour's ride from Kollam, Sasthamkotta has a PWD Rest House where accomodation is available. Five km and a 15-minute bus ride from Kollam town lies Thangassery. A historically important town, it contains ruins of a Portugese/Dutch fort as well as an 18th c. church. The 3-km-long beach has a lighthouse which is open to visitors between 3:30 and 5:30 pm. Thirumullavaram, just 6 km north of the town centre and easily reachable by bus, is a beautiful and quiet little beach, ideal for swimming or just soaking up the sun. The Quilon District Tourism Promotion Council, which functions from the Government Guest House at Asramam, arranges on request a one-day city tour by coach for a group of ten or more persons. For larger groups, the Council will arrange a backwater cruise to Alappuzha.
Distance from various towns: Bangalore 657 Kms. Coimbatore 364 Kms. Idukki 239 Kms. Kanyakumari 160 Kms. Kochi 150 Kms. Kodaikanal 331 Kms. Kottayam 106 Kms. Kozhikode 372 Kms. Madras 663 Kms. Mysore 574 Kms. Ooty 449 Kms. Sabarimala 177 Kms. Thiruvananthapuram 71 Kms.
Quilon - Location
Quilon or Kollam is situated in the southwest corner of India in the state of Kerala. 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. It extends latitude 9°28' and longitude 76°17' north.
Quilon - Climate
The climate is of tropical humid type with an oppressive summer and plenty of seasonal rainfall. The summer, lasting from March to May, is followed by the southwest monsoon from June to September. The northeast monsoon occurs from October to November. The rest of the year is generally dry.
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