The Malayalam Era named after Quilon began in 824 AD. Malayalam Era is called 'Kolla Varsham' after Kollam, because of the importance of Kollam in the 9th century A.D. It signified the independence of Malabar from the Cheraman Perumals. (Reference: Travancore Manual page 244). For the services of the Syrian Christian merchants, King Stanu Ravi Gupta of Kollam, granted the copper plate grants in 824 A.D. to Mar Sapor Iso, transferring to the Tarasa Church and community in Quilon, lands near the city with hereditament of low caste slaves. (Reference: Travancore Manual page 244). Merchant Soleyman of Siraf of Persia visited Malabar in the middle of the 9th century and found Quilon to be the only port in India touched by the huge Chinese ships on their way from Canton to the Persian Gulf.
The rulers of Kollam (formerly called 'Desinganadu') ,then, also had trade relations with China and exchanged embassies. According to the records of the Tang Dynasty (618 AD to 913 AD) (Reference: Travancore Manual, page 244), Quilon was their chief port of call and was given the name 'Mahlai' by them. The Chinese trade decreased about 900 AD and was again revived in the 13th century. Marco Polo, who visited China's Kublai Khan's court, on his return journey to venice, travelled through Kollam and gave an interesting account of the flourishing port of Kollam (Coilum, as referred to by him) and its trade relations with China in the East and the Western countries. Chinnakada, (China-kada), the city center, was so named after the Chinese merchants. The increase in commercial activity resulted in establishment of flourishing Chinese settlement at Kollam.
Marco Polo, the great Venetian traveller, who was in Chinese service under Kublai Khan visited Kollam in 1293 A.D. on his return trip from China to Venice. He found Christians and Jews living in Coilum (Kollam). He also found merchants from China and Arabia. He has given a detailed account of Kollam in his writings, that are reproduced in the Travancore Manual.
According to Ibn Batuta, Kollam was one of the five ports, which he had seen in the course of his travels, in the 14th century. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish a trading center in Thangasseri, Kollam in 1502. Kollam became the centre of trade in pepper. In the wars with the Moors/Arabs that followed, the ancient church of St Thomas was destroyed. In 1517, the Portuguese built the St. Thomas Fort in Thangasseri. The fort was destroyed in the subsequent wars with the Dutch. The ruins of the Fort can still be seen in Thangasseri. In 1661 the Dutch took possession of the town. The remnants of the Dutch forts can be found at Thangasseri. In the 18th century Travancore conquered Kollam, followed by the British in 1795. Thangasseri remains today as an Anglo-Indian settlement. Many of the Anglo-Indian families migrated from this place and only a few remain. The Infant Jesus Church in Thangasseri stil remains as an old Portuguese-built church, reminding us of the Portuguese rule of the area.
Velu Thampi Dalawa of Travancore, worked towards the improvement of the Kollam town. He helped build new markets and invited merchants and traders from Madras (now Chennai) and Tirunelveli to set up trade in Kollam. Kollam, to this day has a thriving business in cashewnuts, coir and spices.
The history of the district as an administrative unit can be traced back to 1835, when the Travancore state consisted of two revenue divisions with headquarters at Kollam and Kottayam. At the time of the integrating of Travancore and Cochin districts in 1949, Kollam was one of the three revenue divisions in the state. Later these three revenue divisions were converted into districts. But Shencottah taluka was merged with Madras state consequent to the implementation of the States Reorganisation Act of 1956. Now the district has a single revenue division with its headquarters at Kollam Taluk Cutcherry.
Kollam is bordered by Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts on north and Thiruvananthapuram district on south.
As of 2001[update] India census, Kollam had a population of 361,441. The density of population being 1037 persons per square kilometre. The sex ratio (the number of females per 1000 males) was 1070 during the census year of 2001. The district ranks sixth with respect to the population in the state. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Kollam has an average literacy rate of 82%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 84%, and female literacy is 80%. In Kollam, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.
RAIL: Kollam Railway Station is considered to be one of the biggest railway stations in Kerala state after Shoranur and Palakkad. The district is covered by 132 km of railway tracks, of which 51 km are broad gauge and 81 km metre gauge. The metre gauge track is being converted to broad gauge under project Unigauge and is closed. There are almost 22 railway stations of which 9 are on broad gauge line and 13, on the metre gauge line. Kollam is an important railway junction. The Thiruvananthapuram - Ernakulam (via Kottayam and Alappuzha) line passes through Kollam. Kollam is the terminal junction for Chenkotta - Kollam metre gauge line. Electrification of the Broad Gauge railway lines towards Thiruvananthapuram from Kayamkulam is complete.
br>ROAD: The district is well connected to other parts of Kerala and India through the National Highways 47, 220 and 208 and by the railway network. Kollam has a total 1552.096 km of roads. The National Highway 47 covers a distance of 57.4 km in the district. The National Highways NH 208 (Kollam - Chenkotta) and NH 220 (Kollam - Theni) originates from Kollam. The State Highway namely, Main Central Road (MC Road) and Punalur-Pathanamthitta-Muvattupuzha (Main Eastern Highway) connects the district to other districts. Transport is provided by State owned Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and private transport bus operators. Road transport is also supported by private taxis and autorickshaws also called autos..
WATER: The State water Transport Department operates boat services to West Kallada, Munroe Island and Alappuzha. The Alappuzha service attracts a lot of tourist attention. A full day onboard journey through the backwaters provides an opportunity to experience the natural way of life of the people around.
Luxury boats, operated by Government and private owners, operate from the main boat jetty during the tourist season. The West coast canal system, which starts from Thiruvananthapuram in the south and ends at Hosdurg in the north, passes through Kollam and Karunagappally taluks. The Thiruvananthapuram-Shornur canal, forms a part of the Thiruvananthapuram-Hosdurg system, runs a distance of about 62 km. The other canal systems include the Paravur Kayal, Kollam canal and Chavara canal.
Neendakara and Kollam are the two ports in the district, the former, an intermediary and the latter, a minor port. Port operations are carried out through Neendakara. Neendakara is also a busy fishing harbour.
Kollam like other districts in the state is moderately industralised. Some of the major employers in the public sector are Indian Rare Earth (IRE), Kerala Metals and Minerals Limited at Chavara; Union Electrical Industries (popularly known as the Meter Company) and Parvathi Spinning Mills at Kollam. Kundara was known as an Industrial area with Alumnium, Ceramics, Starch factories, but all are closed or on the verge of closing. Cashew processing and coir production are the two most important sources of employment. Major share of employment in the private sector is provided by Cashew processing and exporting units. Cashew processing and sorting employs a large share of women workers who manually peel and sort the cashew into different categories according to their size. Another important source of employment is tile manufacturing using clay.
Kollam has its fair share of privately owned and state owned educational institutions. Institutions of education are affiliated to either the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), or the Kerala State Education Board. Most private schools use English as the medium of instruction whereas government run schools offer both English and Malayalam as a medium of instruction. After the going through the 10+2 years of schooling the student can enroll in higher education institutions like colleges to pursue general or professional degree courses.
The major colleges in Kollam are Fatima Matha National College,"Shree Vidyadhiraja college" Karunagappally, Sree Narayana College, and Thangal Kunju Musaliar College. Some of the colleges in and around Kollam are Sree Narayana College, Fatima Matha National College, Sree Narayana College for Women,NSS college Kottiyam, Govt. College chavara,Thangal Kunju Musaliar College of Engineering (TKMCE),Younus College of Engineering & Technology(YCET),Travancore Engineering College(TEC),Baselios marthoma mathewsII engg college sasthamkotta,TKM Institute of Technology and Management,College of Engineering Perumon, College of Engineering Karunagappally,St. Gregorious College Kottarakkara, Devaswom Board College Sasthamkotta and The V Institute of Wireless & Telegraphy. Amrita has a campus at Vallikkavu, Karunagappally. Most of the colleges offering Higher education are affliated to Kerala University. Amrita engineering college is affiliated to amrita viswa vidya peedom, deemed university.Amrita is the first deemed university college in kerala.
The City Central School,Lake Ford School,St Aloysius Higher Secondary School,Vimala Hridaya Girls' High School, Sree Narayana Public School, Sree Narayana Trust Central School, St. Jude Higher Secondary School Mukhathala, Kristhu Raj Higher Secondary School, Infant Jesus Anglo Indian High school(http://ijhss.org/), Mount Carmel Convent Anglo-Indian School, TKM Public school, St John's Residential High School, Kundara, Nehru Memorial Higher Secondary School, Kaithakuzhy and Trinity Lyceum,St Mary's Residential Central School,Maruthadi Kollam, are some of the English medium schools located in and around Kollam town.Mount Carmel Convent Anglo-Indian Girls High School is the oldest school in Kollam.
The famous hospitals in Kollam are District Hospital, Kerala E.N.T. Research Foundation(KERF),Thevally, N.S. Memorial Institute of Medical Sciences, Sanker's Institute of Medical Sciences, Dr. Nair's Hospital, Upasana Hospital, Benziger Hospital, Kundara LMS Hospital, Kottiyam Holy Cross Hospital,Amrita Ayurveda Medical College, Oachira Parabrahma Hospital, Kottarakkara KNS Hospital, Kollam ESI Hospital, Cherumoodu Amrita Ayurveda Hospital etc.
PLACES OF INTERESTS
Most of the sights in Kollam are situated within a radius of 8–10 km from the city centre. Places close to city centre include the calm and scenic Thirummulavaram and Tangasseri beaches. Another picturesque beach worth visit is the semilunar Kochupilamood Beach (Kollam beach). The light house at Tangaseeri Kollam stands 144 ft (44 m) tall. The Tangasseri Light House was built in 1902. Thirumullavaram, approximately 6 km away from the city centre is popular for its calm and serene beach. Boating facilities on Ashtamudi Lake are available at the Local boat jetty beside the main Bus depot popularly known as Civil station. House boats can be hired from the boat jetty or arranged through the tourist guides or by the local hotels. Kollam The Kayal (Lake) Pradakshina Cruise operated by local boat owner is available till the Munroe Island, formed by the backwaters of Ashtamudi and Kallada River. The backwater trip from Kollam to Alappuzha is the longest cruise in the state and takes around 8 hours. Tourist spots such as Thenmala, Residency Palace Ashramom, Adventure Park, Jetayu para, and Palaruvi water falls are popular attractions. A place in Kollam district that every tourist has to visit is the maruthimala. Maruthimala is situated in Kottarakara Taluk of Kollam district.
Kollam is widely known as the Cashew Paradise in Kerala, and affords a wide cultivation and processing techniques. The square-shaped clock tower, is visible from all parts of the Chinnakada market(city center). Tourists can visit the Thevally Palace, currently used by the Indian Army and the Dutch fort at Thangassery. Though most of it has been repainted, still the ambrosial palace displays a magnificent view from the lake. The Ashtamudi lake with its scenic beauty, houseboats and ayurvedic centers also has plenty to offer. There are many breathtaking viewpoints to savor, including Padappakkara, Munroe Islands, anchalumoodu, Vellimon, Paravoor, Ashtamudi, Thevally etc. Kollam is also close to the 'Tenmala' tea estates and spice county. Approximately 7 km from Kollam on NH 47 towards Alappuzha is Neendakara. Once a fishing harbour under the Indo-Norwegian project, today it is more famous as a viewing point for 'Chaakara', a post monsoon phenomenon that occurs just off the coast. Ezhukone is a small village located 19 km north of Kollam District. Ezhukone has a concentration of more than 15 cashew nut processing factories, which is a major source of foreign income. Ezhukone is well connected with road and rail transport facilities.NH 208, connecting Kollam District and Thirumangalam district of Tamilnadu passes through Ezhukone. Ezhukone has a Metre gauge railway station. Passenger and Express trains from Kollam to various Tamilnadu districts have stop at Ezhukone. Also the villages of Kollam district are very much blessed with natural beauties. Another place attracting tourist interest is Sathamkotta. The place is famous for the largest freshwater lake in the state. Motorboats are not allowed in the lake, only manually propelled boats are permitted. Sasthamkotta is well connected to Kollam town by both rail and road. It takes 30 minutes from Kollam to Sasthamkotta by train and around 1 1/2 hrs by road. Sathamkotta is also the headquarters of Kunnathoor taluk. Kollam is situated on NH 47 that links Salem to Kanyakumari, via Palakkad, Thrissur, Ernakulam and Alappuzha. The nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, 71 km from Kollam city center.