The coastal district of Kollam formerly known as Quilon lies 70 km from Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. The first thing that comes to the mind of a Keralite when he hears of Kollam is the delicious cashew nut. The orchards and their abundant yield of the costly nut have led to the title “Cashew Kings” dispersed among some of the rich. The place is rich in marine yield also. It is one of the oldest ports and trading centres in Kerala. It finds mention in history pointing to its trading connection to Phoenicians and Romans before the start of Christian era.
30% of the area is covered by the Ashtamudi Lake which derives its name from the meeting of the 8 streams. “Ashta ” stands for 8 in Sanskrit. Kollam is the gateway to the backwaters of Kerala. It takes a cruise of only 8 hours to reach Alappuzha.
The sights around are so wonderful that a tourist does not want the cruise to end. You can see the water plants, such as Lotus with its head held high, water lilies almost in contact with the water surface, groups of ducks floating leisurely with not a care in the world. The Chinese fishing nets hanging from poles to the surface of the water is a common sight. On the way, you can stop at the Munroe Island. From Munroe Island also, a tourist can begin the cruise.
Kollam backwaters offer you unforgettable experiences. Alumkadavu village twenty-three km from Kollam on the way to Allapuzha is one such. You can actually observe the vintage craft of fashioning a Houseboat or “Kettuvallam”, which means a boat bound with ropes. Many families used to own one for their outing and spending some days on the river. It was widely used to transport cargo.
Going on a cruise in Kettuvallom or Houseboat through the Kollam backwaters to Alleppey will be an experience that one will never forget!!