The coastal town of Kollam has fascinated world-renowned explorers from Ibn Battuta to Marco Polo since time immemorial. The district, which is known for its pristine nature and spices trade for centuries, is still one of the favourite destinations of travellers.
Its thick forests, the expansive lake and the idyllic beaches also make Kollam a popular holiday spot. Moreover, it also serves a plethora of lip-smacking dishes that can bowl over any person with a discerning palate. Here’s a lowdown of places of interest in Kollam district.
The Palaruvi waterfall is an amazing spot near Aryankavu on the Kollam-Chenkotta route. The milky waters cascade from a height of 300m and the waterfall originates from the mountain ranges that are part of the Western Ghats. The falls got its name 'Palaruvi,' meaning ‘stream of milk’ as its white, frothy waters stream down the cliff's edge drawing numerous visitors.
It is believed that the Palaruvi waterfall, which is one of the highest falls in India, has amazing Ayurvedic medicinal properties. The local residents would vouch for the fact that a bath in the falls can cure many diseases as its water flows through the forest interior after caressing many medicinal plants. A horse stable and a stone ‘mandap’, which reflect the bygone royal era, can be found near the falls.
Kulathupuzha is a small town situated 10km away from the Thenmala railway station on the road connecting Thiruvananthapuram with Chenkotta. This tranquil place, which is on the banks of the Kallada River and tightly hugged by the Western Ghats, is riddled with breathtaking vistas such as the deciduous forest and the Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary.
The tribal colonies such as Peruvazhikkala, Kulambi, Vattakkarikkam, Randam mile and Villumala on the eastern region of Kulathupuzha are inhabited by people belonging to the Kanikkaran tribal community. Other attractions of Kulathupuzha include the British era-bridge in Neduvanurkadavu, the age-old Kattilapara, Rockwood Estate and tea plantations, among others.
Jatayu Earth Center
Jatayu Earth Center, which is a rock-theme park, is a tourist spot that has been gaining popularity in recent times. The highlight of the park, undoubtedly, is the mammoth sculpture of the mystical bird Jatayu on the top of the hill. The other spots of interest in the facility include a 6D theatre, audio-visual digital room, ayurveda cave resort and cable car services, among others. The park is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm.
The picturesque Thangassery Beach, which is just 5km away from Kollam town, was one of the best settlement destinations of the British, the Portuguese and the Dutch. The 3km long beach oozing with serenity and free flowing silver sand can take your breath away. The other attractions are the cluster of palmyra palm trees and the lighthouse.
You can get a bird’s eye view of the Arabian Sea and the sea shore from the top of the century-old lighthouse. The remnants of a Portuguese fort throw light on a bygone era. If you are into adventure, indulge in deep-sea fishing, speed boat rides, scuba diving, surfing and catamaran riding to get your dose of adrenaline rush at the Thangassery beach.
The Thevally Palace was built in early 19th century as a meeting place of the kings of Travancore kingdom and the British officials. The palace, which is awash in the regal splendor of the Travancore kingdom, is a blend of the British, the Dutch and the Portuguese architecture. The structure also houses a ‘Sastha’ Temple.
The other must-see spots of the Kollam district are Ashtamudi Lake, Thenmala Deer Park, Thirumullavaram Beach, Kollam Beach, Mahatma Gandhi Beach and Park, Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary, Punalur, Aryankavu, Alumkadavu, Ochira, Sasthamkotta Lake, Kottukkal Cave Temple, Kumbavurutty Waterfalls, Munroe Island, Panmana ashram, Kayamkulam Lake, Azheekal Beach, Neendakara Harbour and Rosemala among others.