Kollam (Malayalam:) (known to the Portuguese as Quilon, pronounced koy-lon) is a city and a municipal corporation in Kollam district in the Indian state of Kerala. It lies 71 Kilometres north of the state capital Thiruvanathapuram(Trivandrum). It is also the headquarters of the Kollam District, one among the 14 districts in the state of Kerala. It is bound on the south by Thiruvananthapuram district, on the north by Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha, on the east by Tamil Nadu and on the west by the Arabian Sea. The town is very famous for cashew processing and coir manufacturing. It is the southern gateway to the backwaters of Kerala, and thus, a prominent tourist destination.
Kollam was formerly called "Desinganadu". During the rule of the Travancore kingdom in southern Kerala, Kollam was the focal point of trade. The start of the Malayalam era(ME) is associated with Kollam.It is believed that the era was started by Nestorian Christian merchants who settled in KorukeNi kollam, near to the present Kollam. The ME is also referred as Kollavarsham.
Kollam is widely known as the Cahew 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, 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 19Kms 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 facilites.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.
Kollam is situated on NH 47 that links Salem to Kanyakumari, via Palakkad, Thrissur, Ernakulam and Alappuzha.
The nearest airport is at Thiruvananthapuram, 71 km from Kollam city center.