One of the prime locations of Kollam city is Ashramam. It is one among the 55 wards of the Kollam district and stands on the banks of the internationally famous Ashtamudi Lake. The lake is famed for its natural beauty and is surrounded by emerald green mountains standing like ancient sentinels guarding its tranquil waters. The numerous tiny islands dotting its surface add to its allure and invite you to come explore. The lake is supplied by eight water channels, hence its name ‘Ashta’ meaning eight and ‘mudi’ meaning cones in the local Malayalam language. It forms part of the globally famous backwaters network where a boat ride is a must to appreciate the overflowing natural beauty of this place. The placid and quiet of the atmosphere surrounding the lake are a balm to the urbanite looking for peace and rejuvenation in the most natural of ways.
Ashramam is located just about 3km away from the city bus station and is famous for many things. It is noteworthy for having Kerala’s oldest airport that was built in the 1920’s. However, with the commissioning of the Trivandrum International Airport in 1932, this small airport or aerodrome became redundant and is now known as the Ashramam Maidan, and is the biggest of its kind in Kerala…..naturally, since it was big enough to house runways! Ashramam is also home to Kerala states one and only International Hockey Stadium which was opened in 2015.
With the beautiful backwaters flowing on one side and the exotic green forests surrounding the two centuries old Guest House complex on the other side, the Ashramam Picnic Village makes for an exciting and unforgettable stay in the luxurious lap of nature. As the name suggests, the area occupied by this picnic village is a large one and covers a staggering 48 acres! This huge wooded area provides the tourists with sufficient area to pick their own picnic spot without any hindrance. You can either laze the day away lost in dreams in this green nook of nature or you could venture out to the lake banks and spend the day admiring the play of light on the smooth, tranquil surface of the lake, broken only by the activities of fisher boats or by some cruising boat. For the more energetic tourist, there are numerous amenities and activities provided that can keep you occupied for hours.
Boating in the lake is the most common activity here as there is some primeval force that always attracts people to large bodies of water. There are a variety of boat rides to choose from including serene houseboat rides, luxury boats or the speed boats for the adrenaline junkies!
If you are looking for some quality time alone with your partner, then the best way to keep the kids occupied and safe is to introduce them to the Children’s Park, which is full of fun-filled activities for the little angels.
For art lovers and culture buffs, the Paramparya Museum is a must visit place. It’s located on these grounds and houses many exhibits of arts from different parts of India, especially tribal art. Different types of paintings including Warli, Kalamkari and Madhubani as well as the famous Kerala mural arts are on display. In addition, there are wooden carvings, dolls, puppets, cane and coir crafts as well as local jewellery.
The Guest House is the main attraction of this picnic village and was once the abode of Lord Munroe. It is about two centuries old and is built in the exquisite styles of the colonial era. It is open to the public to enjoy its antiquity and remind one of the eras gone by. The Guest house faces the backwaters and one of the islands of the Ashtamudi Lake, which are part of the backwaters, has been named after Lord Munroe. It is an inhabited island with a small ancient village community residing there since thousands of years.
People from different parts of the country as well as from abroad visit this park for its scenic beauty as well as its historical importance. At present, the Guest House is being administered by the Kerala government, but guests aren’t allowed to stay overnight in it. A number of good hotels are available in Kollam city, including the five-star Raviz hotel of international standards.
To enjoy the amenities of the Ashramam Picnic Village, one has to reach Kollam, from where it’s a short bus, or preferably taxi ride away. Getting to Kollam is easy too as it’s well connected by rail, road as well as air, with Trivandrum International Airport being the closest airport. A scenic 70km drive along well-maintained highways will bring you to Kollam in no time. Kollam Junction Railway station is about 2kms away and the city is well connected to other parts of the state by road.
Come join in the fun and freedom of natural beauty of Ashramam.