|•||Kollam Town||•||Ashramam Picnic Village||•||Sasthamcottah||•||Thangassery|
|•||Jatayu Para||•||Courtalam Waterfalls||•||Mannarsala||•||Aryankavu|
|Kollam Town, Kollam Town is the head quarters of Kollam district and Kollam taluk, has a hoary past. It was an international emporium of trade and even now it is a prosperous commercial centre. It is situated about 71 kms north of Thiruvananthapuram and is linked by rail, road and backwater transport. The town edges with the famous Ashtamudi Lake. It is said that the present town of Kollam was built by the Syrian merchant ,Sapir Iso in the 9th century A.D. Kollam is also the head quarters of Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation.|
|Ashramam Picnic Village, is located in the 48acre Guest House complex. The children's traffic and entertainment park, designed by NATPAC is also located in this village. It is the largest traffic park in Kerala. The adventure park located in the village along the shores of the Ashtamudi back waters , is a novel experiment in the country. Different types of boats, including luxury cruise boats, power boats and motor boats are available on hire from the boat jetty near to the adventure Park. A budget hotel for tourists, Yathrinivas, run by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, is also located in this village. The Govt. Guest House here is 200 years old . It stands alone Ashtamudi Lake and is a major attraction for its elegance and architectural beauty. Tourists can stay here at economical rates. The village is just 2kms away from the town.|
|Sasthamcottah, is an attractive village situated about 19kms from Kollam town. It is a beauty spot , a health resort and a centre of pilgrimage. The extensive fresh water lake here is said to be the biggest of its kin d in Kerala. Water supply to the Kollam town is met by purifying the water from this lake. Sasthamkottah lake is called the queen of lakes.|
|Thangassery, is a place of historical importance a situated 5kms away from the Kollam town. The churches here are pretty old, having been established in the 18th century. The chief attraction of the place is light house, built in 1902. The 144ft high light house stands as a sentinel, warning seamen of the treacherous reefs of Thangassery.|
|Jatayu Para, a huge rock is another attraction in Kollam district. This huge rock is in the Chadayamangalam village on the M.C. Road. The name comes from the epic , Ramayana. It is believed that Jatayu, the giant bird in the epic fell here after falling in its attempt to stop Ravana from taking Sita away. The rock is ideal for trekking by the lovers of adventure.|
Though the famous waterfall at Courtalam is situated in Tamil Nadu, it shares the boundary of Kollam also. Season to visit the place is from June to January.
The District Tourism Promotion Council offers tourists information and assistance. The office of the council is situated at Ashramam Government Guest House complex. There are tourist information centre at the Railway station, Kollam and Kerala State Road Transport Corporation central bus station, Kollam.
15 kms north of Krishnapuram Palace, and 32 km before Alappuzha, Mannarsala , on National Highway 47, is the site of the Nagaraja (serpent king) Temple, and the most significant site for snake worship in Kerala. According to the Mahabharatha, snakes fled from the fire started by Arjuna in the Khandava forest (believed to be an area near Alappuzha). They prayed for protection and the area around Mannarsala cooled down providing them a refuge.
Local legend relates that subsequently a Namboodiri woman developed sacred groves for the snakes and dedicated the land to the snake dieties , Nagaraja and Sarpayakshi. Today the tradition continues and the oldest female member (known asvaliama) of the illam (women's section of the Namboodiri house hold), has the role of priestess and conducts rituals at the temple. On accepting the role she relinquishes her earthly marital status and assumes a spiritual one- that of wife of the serpent king deity. She lives alone in premises within the temple complex.
The temple is in typical Keralan architectural style, with the larger central shrine surrounded by many smaller ones . Infinite number of cobra idols encompass the complex, it's said that many of their earthly cousins are there as well. The two main idols are those of the serpent king and queen.
The annual festival is in the month of Thulam (October/ November) . At this time the main idols are taken in procession by the priestess and offerings of milk, turmeric and rice are made.
As with Keralan temples generally, this is a peaceful place, apart from vedis (Explosive devotional sounds). Visitors who respect the rituals and the serenity of the temple are welcome. Men must remove their shirts, women must wear saris or similar clothing.
|Aryankavu, Situated about 73 kms east of Kollam is one of the important pilgrim centers of the district. From very early days, it was an important trade route for merchants from either sides of western Ghats. The chief attraction of Aryankavu is the shrine dedication of Lord Sastha. The temple has some fine sculptures and mural paintings. Thousands of pilgrims flocks of this temple during the Mandala Pooja in December. All trains towards Shencottah have a stop at Aryankavu. About 5 kms away from Aryankavu there is a big waterfall known as Palaravi meaning river of milk. It is one of the well-known waterfalls in the south India, falling from a height of 300 feet. It is situated 66kms from Kollam on Kollam-Shencottah road.|