Kollam or Quilon, an old sea port and town on the Arabian coast in Kerala, India, on the Ashtamudi Lake. Kollam, once called Desinganadu, had a sustained commercial reputation from the days of the Phoenicians and the Romans. Fed by the Chinese trade, it was regarded by Ibn Battuta, as one of the five ports which he had seen in the course of his travels during twenty four years, in the 14th century. Kollam District is a veritable Kerala in miniature is gifted with sea, lakes, plains, mountains, rivers, streams, backwaters, forest, vast green fields and tropical crops of every variety.
Kollam is a coastal city on the banks of the Ashtamudi that took on the title God’s Own Country without much demur. The braids of Ashtamudi Lake lie about 71 kilometres (44 mi) north of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. The city hosts the administrative offices of
Kollam district and is a prominent city of trade for the state.
An ancient trading town – trading with Chinese, Arabs and other Orientals – with historical citations of trade dating back to Biblical history and the reign of Solomon (supported with a find of ancient Roman coins). Internal trade occurred through the Punalur Pass connecting the ancient town to Tamil Nadu. The overland trade by bullock cart of its produce pepper and the trade over the waterways connecting Allepey and Cochin ensured trade linakges that grew into shaping it as a town playing host to one of the earliest industrial townships. The rail links established to Tamil Nadu supported firmer trade links. The marine exports processing factories and the processing and packaging of Cashewnuts took the produce of these shores across the globe. The State of Kerala is looking at trade to drive development that is environment friendly and sustainable.
Kollam is the fourth-largest city Village in Kerala, after Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Kozhikode, (The new population is taken as city agglomeration) in Kerala on the basis of population and the fifth-largest city on the basis of area after Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Thrissur. It is known for cashew processing and coir manufacturing. It is considered to be the southern gateway to the backwaters of Kerala and is a prominent tourist destination. The Kollam urban area comprises the fast developing suburban towns such as Kottiyam in the south, Kundara in the east, and Chavara in the north of the city. Other important towns in the city suburbs are Paravur, Eravipuram, Kannanalore, and Anchalumoodu. Karunagapally, Chathannoor, and Kottarakkara are major towns within a distance of 25 km from Kollam city centre towards north, south, and east respectively.
Kollam appeared as Palombe in Mandeville’s Travels, where he claimed it contained a Fountain of Youth. During the later stages of the rule of the Chera monarchy in Kerala, Kollam emerged as the focal point of trade and politics. Kollam continues to be a major business and commercial centre in the central Travancore region of Kerala.