or Kollam , an old sea port town on the Arabian coast , stands on
the Ashtamudi lake. Kollam , the erstwhile 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 Batuta, as one of the five ports , which he had seen
in the course of his travels during a period of twenty four years,
in the 14th century.
rulers of kollam (Desinganadu) and China , exchange embassies and
there was flourishing Chinese settlement at Kollam. Merchant
Sulaiman of Siraf in Persia ( 9th Century) found Kollam to be the
only port in India , touched by the huge Chinese junks , on his way
from Carton of Persian Gulf. Marco Polo, the great Venician
traveller, who was in Chinese service under Kublahan in 1275,
visited Kollam and other towns on the west coast, in his capacity as
a Chinese mandarin.
The Portuguese were the first
Europeans to establish a trading center at Kollam in 1502. Then came
the Dutch followed by the British in 1795. A British garrison was
stationed at Kollam in pursuance of a treaty between Travancore and
Velu Thampi Dalawa of Travancore, did
much for the improvement of the Kollam town. He build new bazaars
and invited merchants from Madras and Thirunelveli to settle here.
Kollam later became the capital of the enlightened and liberal
rulers of Desinganad. It was also the nerve center for the rebellion
organized by Velu Thampi against the British.
Once a city of
palaces, Kollam has been known to the outside world, by the time
honoured proverb, "Once you have seen Kollam you would no more
need your illam (Home)"