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Ashtamudi Lake is considered the southern gateway to the backwaters of Kerala and is a prominent tourist destination at Kollam.The Kollam urban area includes suburban towns such as Paravur in the south, Kundara in the east and Karunagapally in the north of the city.In 825 CE, the Malayalam calendar, or Kollavarsham, was created in Kollam at meetings held in the city.The present Malayalam calendar is said to have begun with the re-founding of the town, which was rebuilt after its destruction by a fire.The Ashtamudi Lake lie about 71 kilometres (44 mi) north of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram.The city hosts the administrative offices of Kollam district and is a prominent trading city for the state.3rd century BC–12th century), and later became the capital of the independent Venad or Kingdom of Quilon on its foundation in c. Kollam was considered one of the four early entrepots in global sea trade during the 13th century, along with Alexandria and Cairo in Egypt, the Chinese city of Quanzhou, and Malacca in the Malaysian archipelago Along with Pattanam (Muziris), Quilon was an ancient seaport on the Malabar Coast of India from the early centuries before the Christian era.The city had a high commercial reputation from the days of the Phoenicians and Ancient Romans.
Kollam continues to be a major business and commercial centre in the Southern Kerala.
The factories processing marine exports and the processing and packaging of cashewnuts extended its trade across the globe.
It is known for cashew processing and coir manufacturing.
Other important towns in the city suburbs are Eravipuram, Kottiyam, Kannanallur and Chavara.
Kollam appeared as Palombe in Mandeville's Travels, where he claimed it contained a Fountain of Youth.
The overland trade in pepper by bullock cart and the trade over the waterways connecting Allepey and Cochin established trade linkages that enabled it to grow into one of the earliest Indian industrial townships.