Kerala, considered the most verdant state of India, is surrounded by the Arabian Sea along its long stretch of the western coast and the towering Western Ghats on the eastern side. These beautiful green hills covered with dense vegetation range from a height of 500 to 2700 meters. Kerala, also known as ‘Gods own country’ is criss-crossed by 44 rivers that help in maintaining its natural emerald beauty. It can be classified as the land of lakes and rivers as it is blessed with as many as 34 serene lakes. Their glistening beauty is further enhanced by the fringe of elegant and tall coconut trees and dense greenery. The Ashtamudi Lake, one of the most popular and attractive lakes in southern Kerala is a sight to behold; whether it’s to do with watching the sunrise or the sunset, or just lazing on its banks, it inspires deep poetry from the soul of the onlooker.
The city of Kollam is located on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake and a popular destination for tourists. With its easy connection to rail, road and air, it’s an ideal central point for tourists to settle in and visit the surrounding attractions of the bountiful countryside. Unfortunately, the Raviz hotel is the only five star accommodations available in this area.
The tranquil stretches of backwaters trailing from the lakes add to the exotic wildlife, gurgling waterfalls, lush hillside plantations and numerous paddy fields that the location is blessed with. Other unique experiences here are the magical festivals, adrenaline-pumping snakeboat races on the lakes and an exotic cuisine. And the best part is that each of these charming locations is just about an hour or two’s drive from each other. A visit to Kerala will surely leave you with unforgettable memories.
With its hundred percent literacy, Keralites bear the distinction of being India’s most advanced society. It has the lowest infant mortality rates as well as the highest life expectancy rates. And being peaceful and pristine, it’s the cleanest state in India.
The serenity of the lake and its surroundings has inspired many people living on its banks.Renowned poet Thirunalloor Karunakaran, who was brought up in Ashtamudi wrote some of his best poems with the lake as its subject. A popular narrative poem of his, called ‘Rani’ was first published in 1955 and was based on the struggle of two poor working class lovers living on the banks of Ashtamudi lake.
An author and social reformer, best known for her literary works, Lalithambika Antharjanam also grew up around the surroundings of Ashtamudi. Her writings reflect her thoughts on the role of women as individuals and as a center for bonding. She was also greatly influenced by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and the social reforms movement among the Nambudiri caste. She has written poems, short stories as well as two books and an autobiography.
Another important personality arising from the springboard of this scenic location is actor, singer and politician Suresh Gopinathan, also known as Suresh Gopi. He has starred in over 200 Malayalam films and has won the National Film award as well as the Kerala State Film Award for best Actor. In 2016, Suresh Gopi was sworn in as a Member of Parliament (MP) from the Kollam district, of which he is an indigene.
Another son of the soil who has made Kollam proud is Vijay Babu, an Indian film producer as well as an actor. He started his career with Star TV, then moved on to Asianet and finally back to Kerala as VP of Surya TV. In 2013 he quit his media career and joined the Malayalam film industry.
Krishnan Nair, better known as Jayan, who passed away in 1980, was an actor, a stunt performer and a cultural icon of the 1970s. He specialized as an action star and was famous for his macho image. He was one of the most bankable stars and lead actor of the 70’s. Sadly, he passed away at the age of 41, while filming a stunt part involving a helicopter that crashed while he was hanging on it. He was a son of Kollam.
Television and film actress Vijayakumari was born to a poor boat driver and a mother working in the cashew nut factories of Kollam. Her creativity led her to achieve many accolades including the Kerala State Award for the Best Stage Actress. Her husband and son are also into acting.
George Varghese Kakkanadan, commonly known as just Kakkanadan was a short story writer and a novelist from Kollam. His works were a clear break away from neo-realism and laid the foundation for modernization in Malayalam literature. He is the recipient of numerous awards.
P. M. Satheesh works with sound effects and is a famous sound designer, sound editor and mixer. He has worked in numerous film industries including Hollywood, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam films. The effects of his sound designing are also of significance in numerous documentaries for BBC, National Geographic, National Film Board of Canada, CBC and various feature films.
Another poet who got inspired by the lap of beauty that he grew up in is noted Malayalam poet Kureepuzha Sreekumar. His poetry is of the post modern era and has won him many awards including the Best Poet Award, the Vyloppilli Award for Malayalam Poetry and the Kerala Sahithya Akademi Award.
Ambili Devi, a prominent actress of Malayalam films and serials has established herself as a lead actress. She has acted in 30 television serials and won the Kerala State Television Award for Best Actress in 2005.