There is something to be said about water bodies and the charm and appeal they have to the mind and soul of mankind. For some reason known only to our searching souls, the sight of serene blue waters works like a magnet to attract the person to its sides. You can sit on its banks for hours without moving as mind communes with the soul. And by the time you are ready to leave, you can be sure you are leaving as a rejuvenated and more alive person.
The natural beauty of Sasthamkotta Lake is one such beautiful location that attracts tourists by the thousands every year, both domestic as well as international. This freshwater lake is surrounded by towering green hills and valleys on three sides and rolling paddy fields on the southern side. The lake is also known as ‘The Queen of Lakes’ as its located in such a serene and peaceful environment. In the southwestern part of the lake, there are numerous other smaller water bodies and waterlogged areas, making up the wetlands which are home to a variety of water birds. The avid birdwatcher can have a fulfilling time here with the local as well as migrant bird population. The lake waters also abound with a variety of freshwater fishes and it’s a beautiful bonus to watch the fishermen at work on their seemingly little boats.
Sasthamkotta Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Kerala, a state located in the southern part of the western coast of India. The lake is named after the ancient Sastha temple, a popular pilgrimage center located on its bank. The temple also lends its name to an attractive little village near its banks. This temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and Lord Ayyappa, both Hindu gods and is surrounded by cool hills and forests. The monkeys living on the premises of this temple are considered to be holy and the thousands of devotees that throng this temple enjoy feeding them with nuts and fruits.
The water of the lake is very pure due to the large population of a type of larva that feeds mainly on bacteria in the lake waters. Due to its purity, the lake is used to fulfill the drinking water needs of over half a million people of the nearby Kollam district. Of recent, the area of the lake has reduced considerably and now stands at 375 hectares as parts of the lake are being taken over for agriculture. What is amazing is that there appear to be no visible tributaries feeding the lake; natural springs or aquifers are said to be the source of water in this lake. Rainwater during the monsoon season is also known to increase levels of the lake during the rainy season.
If Kerala is known as “Gods own Country” owing to its matchless beauty, then it's just right that Sasthamkotta Lake should be called “The Queen of Lakes”. The charm of the beautiful tranquil waters of the lake coupled with the emerald beauty of the surrounding forests and hills are enough to claim this title. Lines of tall swaying coconut trees stand like sentinels on the banks of the lake as you slowly drift down the placid waters on a slow cruise. A boat ride is the only way to truly appreciate the vast beauty of the lake. The silence surrounding the lake is only interrupted by birdsong as all else are hushed by the awesome beauty of their surroundings. You just might be lucky enough to witness the shooting of a film on the Lakes banks as this serene location is fast becoming a haven for many popular movies and TV series.
A health resort and a bunch of restaurants provide a memorable place to stay. To reach the Sasthamkotta Lake, you have to reach the historical city of Kollam, which is located on the northern banks of the Ashtamudi Lake. From there it’s just a 25km or an hour’s drive away. Trivandrum International Airport is situated about 70 km from Kollam for those coming by air. To avail of better facilities, you can also choose to get accommodation in Kollam where hotel chains like The Raviz know how to make a traveler feel pampered and fulfilled. The Ashtamudi Lake and many other tourist spots beckon you to stop over in Kollam or you can opt to go straight to the Sasthamkotta Lake first.