Located on Malabar Coast, Kollam is an ancient port town in Kerala, also known by its anglicised name Quilon. Since the city has had trade relations with China, Egypt and Malaysia, there’s a prominent cultural influence of these countries on the city. Well-known for its spices and cashew industry, a trip to Kollam can’t be complete without visiting its many lakes, waterfalls, beaches and backwaters.

There’s no better place to start exploring Kollam, than from Ashtamudi Lake. Lush green waterways lined with palm and coconut trees, a houseboat trip to this lake is among the best experiences to have in Kollam. It is the gateway to the backwaters in Kerala.

Falling from a massive height of 91 meters, Palaruvi Waterfalls is known for its picturesque beauty. Palaruvi literally means ‘a stream of milk,’ and the whiteness of the falls looks spectacular against lush green surroundings and misty mountains.

To explore Portugese architecture, visit the churches and other historic monuments in Thangassery. The town is also known for its clean beach, and a gorgeous lighthouse that affords the most beautiful views of the city. About 6km from Kollam, Thirumullavaram Beach, is another scenic beach famous for its yearly ritual of Karkidaka Vavubali.

Even, Thevally Palace, the erstwhile abode of the King of Travancore, has a rather prominent British, Dutch and Portuguese influence in its architecture.

For water sports, fishing, bird-watching and boat-racing, head to Munroe Island, located in the backwaters of Ashtamudi river. For a stint with wildlife, a visit to Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary covering an area of 100 square kilometres is highly recommended.

A visit to Jatayu Nature Park, a rock-themed park, will promise an adventure-filled experience. The park has a 6D theatre, an audio-visual digital room, cable car and much more. The giant bird statue located on top of a hill is certainly unique and not to be missed.