Kollam

Kollam is in southern India on the coast of the Arabian Sea. It was a large port town, and flourished due to merchants coming from China in the East, and Arabs in the west. Many travelers visited the port of Kollam, such as Marco Polo in 1275. The name Quilon comes from the Portuguese who visited the city and called it Quilon instead of Kollam. The Portuguese were among the first Europeans to visit the port. Kollam was one of the first centers for the development of Christianity [1]. The city is known for its cashews. Due to its strategic location, Kollam was a place that the Dutch, British, and Portuguese fought over to have control, so as to control the trading routes that passed through the city.

On his way to Kollam, Ibn Battuta found a very interesting tradition on the road. There were places along the way to Kollam that had benches for water. A Hindu man would sit there and hand out the water. If he were giving the water to a fellow Hindu man, they could drink from a dish. If he were to give water to a Muslim, he would pour it in his hands and let him drink from his hands. If a Hindu man were to let a Muslim man drink from a dish, eat from a plate, or enter his house, he would have to break it. Ibn Battuta said if it were not for the many Muslims that had settled along this road, no Muslims would ever travel this way because they would not survive. He noted the port of Kollam was one of only a few ports where Chinese junks (their name for ships) took harbor in Southern Asia. He was on his way to China when he visited Kollam.

Kollam is still a large port in Kerala. It is divided into 104 villages and into Revenue Districts [2]. One of the main attractions in Kollam is the large lighthouse called the Thangassery Lighthouse, built in 1902 [3]. The city is home to Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and practitioners of other religions.

Source:

[1] Kollam District (The Official Website), “Short History of Kollam.” Accessed August 12, 2012. http://kollam.gov.in/history.html.

[2] Kollam District (The Official Website), “Short History of Kollam.” Accessed August 12, 2012. http://kollam.gov.in/history.html.

[3] Kollam District (The Official Website), “Short History of Kollam.” Accessed August 12, 2012. http://kollam.gov.in/history.html.