When you are in Kollam, do not miss these spectacular tourist destinations

Known for its scintillating natural beauty and adventure activities, Thenmala has been included in UNESCO’s list of heritage sites. Coracle Ride at Thenmala Shenthuruni Thenmala Ecotourism. Photo: Shutterstock/Nowshad Kilimanoor

Kollam district in Kerala has been luring visitors with a handful of picturesque locations that cater to all kinds of tourists. From beautiful waterfalls and charming isles to misty mountains and warm beaches, Kollam is truly a traveller’s dream destination. These are some of the most popular tourist destinations in the district.

Thenmala, which is situated in the beautiful valleys of the majestic Western Ghats, is the first planned tourism centre in India. Known for its scintillating natural beauty and adventure activities, Thenmala has been included in UNESCO’s list of heritage sites. Moreover, tourism here is mostly regulated by the government.

The verdant meadows, butterfly safaris, music and dance recitals, adventure activities, hiking, trekking and night camping are some of the popular attractions in Thenmala. This is a fabulous spot that is perfect for those who are looking for a wholesome tourism experience.

Palaruvi waterfalls
The Palaruvi waterfall which falls from a height of over 300 feet cascades through the rocks. This place has become an amazing picnic spot for families. Interestingly, the people in the locality believe that taking a bath in the waterfall could cure diseases.

Some experts think that there might be some scientific base for this. They claim that the pristine water that touches many medicinal plants, on its course, has medicinal qualities. Besides, the water is extremely cool in this humid place, which is one of the reasons why people are attracted to Palaruvi.

Jatayu Earth Centre
The Jatayu Earth Centre is the only place in the world where a gigantic rock statue of a bird is built at a height of 850 feet above sea level. It is often hailed as one of the ‘must–see’ places in the state.

Alumkadavu is a quaint coastal hamlet on the sides of the Kollam – Alappuzha national waterways, around 26 kilometres away from Kollam town. The vibrant blue waters of the lakes and the lush coconut orchards add a scintillating charm to this area.

Moreover, this place which is known for its delectable freshwater fish dishes is a favourite destination of foodies. Tourists can enjoy peaceful stays at some of the beautiful resorts, backwater cruises, houseboat rides, ayurvedic treatment and fishing. Besides, boat rides through the natural canals allow the visitors to experience the authentic rustic life. The Mata Amritanandamayi Pilgrimage Centre is just 4 kilometres away from Alumkadavu.

The iconic Munroe Island is a group of eight small islands. Visitors can reach this place, which is around 27 kilometres away from Kollam, via road or boat.

Hanging bridge at Punalur
The Punalur hanging bridge connects the two banks of the Kallada River which is the most important river in the district. It was during the reign of Ayilyam Thrunnal, the Maharaja of erstwhile Travancore, that the hanging bridge was built and opened to the public.

Diwan Nanu Pillai, the then Prime Minister of the province granted permission to construct the hanging bridge in 1871. Noted British engineer Albert Henry had designed and overseen the construction of the bridge. Even though the construction was completed in 1877, it was opened to the public, three years later, in 1880. Interestingly, it was one of the first projects of this nature in South India.

Achankovil is a beautiful hamlet in the Pathanapuram taluk in Kollam district. It is situated near Alimukku Chembanaruvi Lake, between the Western Ghats in the east. The Shasta temple here is a popular pilgrimage centre. There are lots of rubber orchards and timber industries in this region. Pallivasal is a forest lake that flows through the heart of this village. Proper roads are there until the entrance of the temple.

Those who dream of enjoying a mesmerizing boat ride through the serene backwaters that are surrounded by beautiful lakes shouldn’t miss Sambranikodi while they are in Kollam. It is a scintillating island at the southern end of the Ashtamudi Lake. Interestingly, you could walk through the shallow waters for up to 2 – 4 kilometres into the lake. Besides, boating facilities are available here from 9 am to 5 pm.

Thankassery Lighthouse
The lighthouse here is the second tallest one in the coastal belt in Kerala. So, this is one of the most visited lighthouses in the state. The tower which has a height of 41 metres or 135 feet, has been functioning since 1902.

Kottukkal cave temple
This is a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Shiva on the Thiruvananthapuram – Kottayam MC Road. The word ‘Kottukal’ has been inscribed on the rocks here.

Meanwhile, this temple is known as Kalthrikovil in the local dialect.

There are two cave shrines where the Nandi bull idol is worshipped in the bigger cave. Meanwhile, the idol of Lord Hanuman is worshipped in the smaller one. You could also see an idol of Lord Ganapati between these caves. This temple is a perfect example of exquisite rock-cut architecture that was popular between six and eight centuries AD.

Kumbavurutty waterfalls
Situated inside the dense forest, the Kumbavurutty waterfalls are one of the favourite spots of adventure lovers and trekking enthusiasts.

Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary
This is the only wildlife sanctuary in Kerala which is known by the name of a tree. Established in 1984, it is the only wildlife sanctuary in Kollam district. The headquarters of the sanctuary is at Thenmala which is just half an hour away from Punalur.

Kallada – Parappar dam, hanging bridge, boating facilities, statue park, walk through a wooden bridge, river crossing, cycling, butterfly park, musical dancing fountain, tree houses and trekking are some of the highlights of Thenmala. Meanwhile, the wildlife sanctuary is part of the Kulathupuzha reserve forest.

Meenpidipara is a picturesque location behind the St. Gregorius College at Pulamon Junction on the Kollam Chenkottayi Road. Well-designed parks, small waterfalls, a huge mermaid statue, a hanging bridge, a walkway that is half kilometres long, cosy sitting spaces and bathing facilities in Pulamon lake are some of the attractions here. Even though the waterfall isn’t quite strong, lots of visitors come here to enjoy the serene ambience.

Kappil Beach
The coast of Kappil Beach where the river meets the ocean offers a spectacular sight. The vast coastal line and the silent atmosphere make it a popular destination for those who seek solace in nature. Kappil Beach is situated at the border of the Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts.

Pinnacle viewpoint
Pinnacle View Point is popularly known as the poor man’s Ooty, Gavi of Kollam and Mini Munnar for its cool climate and amazing natural beauty. This awe-inspiring viewpoint is located in the middle of a rubber estate, that sprawls in acres of land, between Chettukuzhi and Orunada in the Valiakuruvikonam – Venchembu – Thadikadu road.

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