Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam Overview
Ashtamudi Lake is famous for being the second largest one in Kerala. The lake spans over more than 16 km in length. Located in the district of Kollam, the lake occupies more than 30% of the area of the town called Kollam.
The name of the lake, Ashtamuddi, combines two words, Ashta that means 8 and Muddi that means a branch. Thus, the Ashtamuddi Lake comprises 8 branches that combine into a channel flowing down into the Arabian Sea. Each of the branches of the Ashtamuddi Lake is named differently, viz., Kandachira Lake, Thevally Lake, Kureepuzha Lake, Kallada Lake, Thekkumbagham Lake, Perumon Lake, Kanjirottu Lake and Kumbalathu Lake.
One of the main rivers, Kallada feeds the lake. The lake is beautifully surrounded by the palm and coconut trees. Not only are the banks of the lake, but the entire area in the close vicinity to the lake is covered by the trees in abundance.
The lake derives a different kind of the look because of the Chinese fishing nets that it is laid with. Apart from the palm and coconut trees, there is beautiful greenery and various types of bushes at the banks. The site is really a treat for the Nature lovers!
The lake is almost perfect if you feel like escaping the cacophonous noise of the city life and calm down your unnerved spirits. You may also hire one of the motorboats available that usually accommodate 2 to 14 individuals and rush to enjoy the site of the lake backwaters.
More on Ashtamudi Lake
Flora, Fauna and Aquatic Life at Ashtamudi Lake
The Ashtamudi estuary is widely recognized for its wide range of the mangroves. Out of the 43 species, 2 are considered as endangered. The species help developing marine bio-reserve. With the preservation of these mangrove species, the scope of the eco-tourism is also enhanced. But an accelerated transformation of wetlands into paddy fields does endanger the species.
Also, there are 57 bird species including 6 that are migratory. The majority of these birds are dependent on the wet lands. Plovers, terns, herons, and cormorants are the most popular of the birds here. Functioning as a part of the biosphere, the lake provides for 45 insect species including 26 species of butterflies. Besides, a number of clams and fish also inhabit the water body.
Ashtamudy Lake is widely recognized for being the largest fishery next to the Vembanad Lake. Thousands of the families earn their bread and butter by means of catching and selling fish and also the inter-related activities. The Lake water also provides for as many as 9 kinds of the phytoplanktons. Apart from maintaining a balance, the phytoplanktons help replenish the water body also. Thus, needless to say, Ashtamudi Lake is a boon for the environment and should be preserved.
Ashtamudi Lake Islands
As the Lake is a highly expanded water body over a large area, its geographical structure and the huge size have resulted in the formation of a number of little islands. Three of these are widely recognized viz., Munroe Island, Thekkumbhagom Island and Chavara Island. Munroe Island is a group of 8 little islands. All of them are home to tropical bushes and trees. However, they are not inhabited by people due to their small geographical area. But you may find houseboats encircling the islands.
However, Chavara island is a rich resource of minerals. Thus there are quite a few factories and the island is an industrial island.
Thekkumbhagom, the rural island would give you a highly rustic feel. It is also historically important to the epic poetry composed in Malayalam. Ramachandrvilasam was composed at Thekkumbhagom. Also, paying a visit to the village would allow you to gain awareness of the lives of the coconut farmers and the fishermen. There is a temple that is known to be 1000 years old. There is also a 200 years old church. Whenever you visit there, you will get a feel of the yesteryears.
The Traditional Houseboats of Kerala
Ashtamudi Lake is a little biosphere in its own. Not only the flora and fauna in and around the lake are carefully studied, perseverance is maintained to make the tourist spot eco-friendly.
There are a number of rentals for houseboats that consider various requirements and budgets. If you do not feel like renting a houseboat, you can enjoy a brief boat ride. Besides, you may either avail of a private or a government motorboat ride. However, if you really want to enjoy a stay at the motor boat, hire it for a night at least. The boat would be equipped with a Captain to manage it. Besides, there will be a Chef to cook as per your preferences. Most of the Chefs at the houseboats are experts at preparing the sea food, apart from the Kerala delicacies.
All of the house boats, including the smallest ones have at least one room and common area in the open at the front part of the boat. The boat ride is highly pleasant when the water is calm and the air is fresh. The house boats usually accommodate 2-15 people. Some of the boats are highly sophisticated. They are well equipped with game rooms and swimming pools. Thus, going for a vacation on a houseboat is a peaceful, but a nice experience in itself.
You will also find a number of villas and resorts on the banks of the Lake. Besides, while looking for a suitable stay, you will come across not only 5 Star Hotels, but also Airbnb accommodations, apart from various choices to opt from. Some of the hotels also organize the shows presenting the Classical Kerala Dances and Theatre performances and Kathakali and Mohiniattam dance performances leave the audiences spell bound.
History of Ashtamudi Lake
Ashtamundi Lake and the Quilon Port hold a highly important place in the world history. The Morrocon scholar Ibn Battuta refers to Quilon as one among the five most important ports for the Chinese trade in his 24 year sojourn. Ibn Battuta is known to have travelled across the world. What’s more, various histories in the world have recorded the Lake including the Portugal, Chinese Mandarin and the Persian histories. Besides, the Lake is also specified whenever the Dutch and the British occupations (1795 AD) are talked about. Moreover, the Lake is highly important as Velu Thampi, the famous freedom fighter had started the rebellion against the rule of the British from here only.
Best Time to Visit Ashtamudi Lake
Visit the lake during the sunsets as Lake looks quite different at that time and the experience is really worth it.
How to Reach Ashtamudi Lake?
Kollam Junction (2 km) is the nearest Railway Station. Trivandrum International Airport (70 km) is the nearest airport. You may hire an auto rickshaw or a cab to reach the Lake from here.