KERALA PLACES TO SEE
Thangasseri (5 km from Kollam town):
This seaside village of historic importance has the ruins of an old Portuguese fort and churches built in the 18th century. The Thangasseri Lighthouse is open to visitors from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm. There are buses at 15 minute intervals from Kollam town.
This temple which shows Pandyan influence in its design has inscriptions in Tamil, dating from the 12th to the 16th century. The Vyala monster sculptures in this temple are carvings which give one the impression that the creatures are animate and are actually climbing upstairs with their outstretched paws.
Mayyanad (10 km south of Kollam town):
Mayyanad is noted for its shrines and temples. The most important of the nine temples here is the Subramanya temple at Umayanallor. This shrine is said to have been consecrated by the great Hindu philosopher Sree Sankaracharya. There are frequent buses from Kollam to Mayyanad.
Sasthamkotta (29 km from Kollam town):
The vast fresh water lake here is the largest of its kind in Kerala. The ancient Sastha temple which lends its name to the town, is an important pilgrim centre. There are frequent bus services from Kollam. Accommodation is available at the PWD Rest House.
Ochira (34 km north of Kollam town):
The unique feature of this famous pilgrim centre is that there is no deity or idol at the famous Parabrahma temple dedicated to universal consciousness. Ochira Kali in mid June and the twelve day Panthrandu Vilakku in November/December are the two main annual festivals. Ochira Kali is a mock fight enacted between groups of men dressed as warriors on the padanilam (fighting spot). They perform a martial dance standing in knee-deep water, brandishing swords and shields and splashing water in every direction. There are frequent buses from Kollam and Alappuzha.
Kulathupuzha (64 km from Kollam town):
Situated on a forest range on the Thiruvananthapuram - Shenkottai road, Kulathupuzha is known for the Sastha temple. The Vishu Mahotsavam in April/May is the most important festival. There are frequent buses from Kollam to Kulathupuzha. The Thenmala railway station is just 10 km from here.
Thenmala (66 km east of Kollam):
The area is covered by dense forest, rubber and tea plantations. An Eco Tourism Development Project is under implementation here. Thenmala is also a dam site.
Ariankavu (70 km from Kollam town):
Situated on the Kollam - Shenkottai road, Ariankavu is famous for the shrine dedicated to Lord Sastha. Mandala Pooja and Trikalyanam celebrated in the month of December are the main festivals here.
Palaruvi Waterfalls(75 km from Kollam town):
Palaruvi which means "milky stream" makes its `milky way' down the rocks, falling from a height of 300 feet. The Palaruvi woods is a beautiful picnic spot. There are frequent buses to Ariankavu from Kollam. The PWD Inspection Bungalow and the KTDC Motel offer comfortable accommodation.
Thirumullavaram Beach (6 km north of Kollam town):
This secluded beach is a beautiful picnic centre and has frequent bus connections to the town.
Matha Amrithanandamayi Ashram, Vallikavu :
The residence and the headquarters of Matha Amrithanandamayi Devi, one of India's female gurus, is situated at Amrithapuri near Vallikavu. The ashram is accessible both by road and boat.
This village is located at Ashramam, along the backwater front, is the main centre of recreational activities in Kollam. The 200 year old Government Guest House, an Adventure Park, the Tourist Boat Club, the Children's Traffic Park and the Yatrinivas are situated in this vast tourist complex.
Kottukal Rock Cut Cave Temple (11 km from Chadayamangalam):
This temple situated on the Thiruvananthapuram-Kottayam MC Road is an idyllic example of rock cut temple architecture.
A huge rock at Chadayamangalam takes its name from the mythical bird `Jatayu' in the epic Ramayana, who is believed to have collapsed on the rock after failing in his attempts to thwart Ravana's kidnapping of Si