Kollam (Anglicised name: Quilon, pronounced koy-lon) is a city in the Indian state of Kerala. The city is situated about 71 kilometres (44 mi) north of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. It is the headquarters of the Kollam district. Kollam is the fourth largest city in Kerala and is known for cashew processing and coir manufacturing. The city lies on the shores of Ashtamudi Lake. It is the southern gateway to the Kerala Backwaters of Kerala and is a prominent tourist destination.
Kollam was formerly called Quilon and Tarsish. During the rule of the Travancore monarchy in southern Kerala, Kollam was the focal point of trade. Today, Kollam is a major business and commercial centre in the central Travancore region of Kerala. Quilon 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.