Historical Hubris And New Age Aura…

” Sheer temptation. For once You see Kollam, you would never want to go anywhere else, so goes the adage. such is the magic caress of her backwaters. The exhilaration of her wilds. The romance of her history. Succumb to the subtle seduction, Fall madly in Love..!

” Sometime in the tenth century, Common Era, when Kakasseri Bhattathiri defeated the great Tamil scholar Udananda in open debate the gave a culinary reason for his success. The aviyal, [ Avial is an Indian mixture of 13 vegetable dishes with origins in the Kerala region ] he gushed, is the flower of Kerala civilization and it refined the understanding and improved the complexion, was a cure for intestinal stasis and even soothed the pangs of unrequited love…

History doesn’t record whether Udananda ever had a rematch with the Bhattathiri, either home or away, or whether he spent spies over to the Chera Country to smuggle out the relished recipe.

Posterity does know, however, that it was during roughly this period that a distinct Kerala or Malayalee identity was born. A century of Chola-Chera conflict culminated in the breakup of Tamizhagam or the Tamil Empire. Kollam became the capital of the new Chera Empire and the Kollam Era marked the beginning of the Malayalam calendar. [ its also 12 Months –  Chingam, Kanni, Thulam, Vrischikam, Dhanu, Makaram, Kumbham, Meenam, Medam, Edavam, Midhunam, Karkidakam .]

Malayalam Month English Months Saka Months Hijra Months
Chingam August – September Sravana – Bhadra Rajab – Sha`ban
Kanni September – October Bhadra – Asvina Sha`ban – Ramadan
Thulam October – November Asvina – Kartika Ramadan – Shawwal
Vrischikam November – December Kartika – Agrahayana Shawwal – Dhu l-Qa`da
Dhanu December – January Agrahayana – Pausa Dhu l-Qa`da – Dhu l-Hijja
Makaram January – February Pausa – Magha Dhu l-Hijja – Muharram
Kumbham February – March Magha – Phalguna Muharram – Safar
Meenam March – April Phalguna – Caitra Safar – Rabi`al-Awwal
Medam April – May Caitra – Vaisakha Rabi`al-Awwal – Rabi`ath-Thani
Edavam May – June Vaisakha – Jyaistha Rabi`ath-Thani – Jumada l-Ula
Midhunam June – July Jyaistha – Asadha Jumada l-Ula – Jumada t-Tania
Karkhidakam July – August Asadha – Sravana Jumada t-Tania – Rajab

That much for the city’s antiquity and proud past, barely discernable today under layers of buried history. At the Neendakara fishing harbor to the south of the city, all things past shimmy out of focus as a forest of masts rise darkly in the foreground. Schooners and trawlers with blue, red, and yellow masts, and with names like jolly peter and Sea Tortoise, are anchored along the main pier.

Neendakara is an important hub for Kerala’s marine products industry, while Kollam in general is the state’s main center for the growth and export of international quality Cashew.

The eight branching arms of the Ashtamudi Lake come together at Neendakara before emptying into the Lakshadweep Sea. Along the southern shores of the Ashtamudi before it reaches the sea are some of the best backwater resorts in the state. Some distance away is Alumkadavu, which is the base for a fascinating backwater Cruise.

The Ashtamudi Lake, along with Vembanadu Lake in the neighboring district, is a continuous maze of canals and lagoons, navigable for over 900 Kilometers, and eventually draining into the Arabian Sea. An eight-hour cruise all the way to Alappuzha town one of the backwater cruise over miles and miles of un-spooling shoreline, and you can be simply overwhelmed by the breathtaking views, the relaxed air, and the sheer expansiveness of it all.

In Kollam city itself, there are two beaches. The Mahatma Gandhi Beach at Kochupilamoodu and the Thirumullawaram Beach are safe for swimming. The sunsets seen from here are quite special as the shadows advancing in serried ranks create an artificial stage lighting effect.

The Sree Venkatachalapathy Temple is one of the famous temples in Kollam city. it was established in 1822. what makes it unique is that it is the southernmost temple of the Gowda Saraswat Brahmins. The Gowda Saraswats are originally from Karnataka or even further north in the Konkan region. They came to Kerala fleeing the religious persecution of the Deccan Sultans and also because of the trading opportunities that the Chera country provided. Today the community, mainly comprising middle-level businessmen and with distinctive cultural trails, is cluttered around this temple. The temple is within walking distance of Anandavallewaraw Temple.

The Venkatachalapathy Temple has a peculiar architecture. The deities in the Sreekovil or sanctum sanctorum, unlike anywhere else, are placed on three steps. The principal deity Sri Venkatachalapathy, with Laxmi Devi and Bhoomi Devi on either side, is on the first step. On the second step is the Utsav Moorthy of Varadaraja with the two goddesses on either side. On the third step are two samputas modes of Salagrama. The temple also has two ponds – a larger one outside and a smaller one inside. A notable aspect of this temple is the large aviary constructed near the smaller pond, and which is home to numerous carefree pigeons.

Five kilometers away is the Thangassery Lighthouse. Fifteen stories high, its lights have, for the last hundred years, warned vessels approaching Kollam of treacherous reefs nearby. Thangassery was successive, an enclave of the Portuguese, Dutch and British, and the debris and detritus of centuries of foreign occupation are still conspicuous in this piece of mainland jutting into the sea. Thangassery is also one of the holiest sites for Kerala Christians. St. Thomas is believed to have established a church here. There is conclusive historical evidence of the presence of a sizable Christian community in Kollam by the ninth century. Copper plate inscriptions record the granting of numerous privileges, including the right to establish a church and to control the affairs of the community, by the Perumal or Kollam’s ruler, to the Christian merchant from Syria Sapir Isho.

Mayyanad, ten kilometers to the south of Kollam, is noted for its temples. The most important of the nine temples here is the Subramanya Temple at Umayanallor. The shrine is said to have been consecrated by Adi Sankaracharya. The Rameshwaram temple, on its part, has obvious Tamil antecedents. There are inscriptions in Tamil dating to between the 12th and 16th centuries and the Pandyan influence in its design is unmistakable. The vyala monster sculptures in this temple belie the impression that they are created on stone. The gargoyles are, in fact, so animate as to invite immediate comparisons with the tactile paintings and sculptures of the Ajanta and Ellora caves.

The Kottukal cave temple near Chadayamangalam is an example of the relatively rare rock-cut temple architecture in Kerala. Nearby there is a huge rock called Jatayu Para or the Rock of Jatayu. In the Ramayana, the huge bird jatayu tries to stop the demon king Ravana who, having abducted Sita, flees with her to Lanka. Jatayu has his wings severed by Ravana for his trouble and according to myth this rockis one of the places where the dismembered portion fell. The rock is a good picnic spot and the surrounding area provides some good trekking trails.

Ochira. The peculiarity of this temple is that it has no idol or a formal sanctum. The presiding deity the powerful Parabrahmam is believed to be indiscriminate in his blessings to those who take the trouble to visit his shrine. This magnanimity probably accounts for Ochira often being called Dakshina Kasi or Kasi – Hinduism’s holiest site – of the south.

En route to Ochira is the freshwater lake at Sasthamkotta, the biggest of its kind in Kerala. The small town’s sightseeing assets and its pure air has turned it into a sought-after health resort.

Nearby is the town of Chavara on the Kollam Alappuzha road. it is famous for mineral sands. Mechanized panning of these sands yields precious quantities of rare minerals, including Titanium, which is then processed and exported to countries in Europe and Asia. At the Chavara Kottamkulangara temple’s annual Thalapoli Maholsavom lighted lamps in decorated pans are the votive offering – there is an interesting ritual. Male devotees attire themselves as women to carry the lamps. What it symbolizes is the community’s need for periodic transgressions of boundaries of the acceptable, the ritual violation of a taboo. it has a famous puranic precedent. the Pandava colossus Bhimasena briefly masqueraded as a seductive woman prior to slaying the lecherous Keechaka.

Arayankavu, on the eastern extremity of the district, and some 60 kilometers from Kollam city, is the gateway to the hills, The Shencottah Gap has been historically one of the two overland entry points across the Western Ghats into Kerala – the other one is Palakkad Gap. On the outskirts of Aryankavu is a spectacular waterfall, the Palaruvi. Dropping a sheer 300 feet and with brilliant scenery all around, it rightly claims a place as of the best-known waterfalls in entire South India.

Kulathuppuzha is situated on the Shencottah road leading to Tamil Nadu and is ten kilometers south of Thenmala. it is an important forest range with a large population of elephants. Bamboo reed, the basic raw material for paper manufacturing at the Punalur Paper Mills, is partly supplied from Kulathuppuzha’s forested valley. One of the five sacred shrines dedicated to Sastha or Ayappan is situated here. While in Sabarimala Ayappan is in a reclusive posture, in Kulathuppuzha he is in the guise of a hunter and yet to fulfill the task for which he has incarnated. The Vishnu Mahotsava in April-May is the most important festival at this temple there are three mosques nearby. In the same area is the Shenduruni wildlife sanctuary, one of the State’s model eco-tourism sites from the village of Thenmala, ringed by rubber and tea plantations, that one proceeds to the sanctuary. Thenmala, as its name the honeyed hill’ indicates, is the source of some special honey that is tasty and medicinal.

” Thenmala is 66 kilometers east of Kollam, Covered by dense forest, rubber, and tea plantations, Thenmala is home to India’s first planned eco-tourism project. selected by World Tourism Organisation as one of the world’s best eco-friendly projects, Thenmala has a leisure zone that includes winding pathways, a sway bridge, a boardwalk, a culture zone with an amphitheater, a musical fountain, and an adventure zone.

A huge rock at Chadyamangalam takes its name from the mythical bird Jatayu in the epic Ramayana, who is believed to have collapsed on the rock after an idyllic example of rock-cut temple architecture.

My self Santhosh Raghavan from Cab in Kerala taxi service More than 15 years of experience in Kerala tourism Taxi Driver with a tour guide. Cab in Kerala Taxi Service and Kerala tempo traveler rental Kerala tour connector. Kindly Check my other post if you have any comments please add them below.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *