Kollam, the capital of the erstwhile Venad, was a great centre of learning and culture. It attracted distinguished scholars from all parts of south India. Leelethilakam and Unnuneeli Sandesam, two outstanding literacy works of historical importance, is contributions o0f 14th century Kollam. The dance from of Kathakali in its new version of Ramanattam was the creation of Kottarakkara Thampuran, who also improved Krishnanattam by substituting Malayalam for Sanskrit.
Paravoor K.C.Kesava Pillai, a gifted poet, prose writer, dramatist and Scholar, originated the musical play in Malayalam through his work Sadarama. His Kesaveeyam, a Mahakavyam, is of outstanding literary importance. In the history of Malayalam music, he has a prominent place as a gifted composer of songs. Paravoor Kesavan Asan, the founder editor of Sujananandini, another prominent literacy figure, was a journalist and a prose writer of eloquence. His Saratchadrika is a contribution to the study of Ayurvedic system of medicine. E.V.Krishna Pillai, another literacy celebrity has etched his name in the field of humor and satire. C.V.Kunjuraman, editor of Kerala Kaumudi and Malayalarajayam was a poet, literacy critic, prose writer and journalist of outstanding distinction.
Coming to modern times, Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai and Sooranadu Kunjan Pillai, noted literary luminaries hailing from this district. Oyoor Kochu Govinda Pillai, the Katha Kali artist, Paris Viswanathan and Jayapala Panicker the renowned artists also belong to this district.
Leaders like T.M.Varghese, C.Kesavan and Kumbalathu Sanku Pillai, were the architects of freedom movement in Kollam. R.Shanker, who played a prominent role as an educationalist and social reformist, hails from Kolam. The district gave birth to well known freedom fighters like Chandiran Kali ambi (Kadakkal Manthri) and Franco Raghavan Pillai.
Festivals & Fairs
Crafts Festival (December – January)
The craft festival is held annually during December-January. This festival features the work of craftsmen from all over the country.
Kerala Tourism Boat Races (January)
The Boat Race is conducted on 19th January every year to coincide with the great elephant march which is held on 17-20 January.
Kollam Pooram (April)
A colourful 10 day Vishnu festival which takes place in Ashram temple. It includes procession and fire works.
Ashtami Rohini (August – September)
Vadayattukotta Temple celebrates 5 day Ashtami Rohini festival. There are various amusements and festivities which are held in connection with festivals in temples.Muharam is also observed in this month with processions at the town mosque.
The mock swork-fight Oachirakkali is one of the most important of such festivals. Oachira has been famous for long as one of the sacred places of Kerala. Historically too this place is very famous, for, it was on the plains of Oachira that the much famed battle in the history of Travancore, the battle of Kayamkulam, was fought between Marthandavarma, the Maharaja of Travancore and the Raja of Kayamkulam.In commemoration of this historic battle Ochirakkali is conducted on the first and second of Mithunam (June-July) every year. On this occasion, the young and the old, drawn from the two Karas lying east and west of Oachira, from themselves into two groups, reach the Padanilam (the place for fighting) and conduct the age-old fencing exercise under the leadership of the elder kalari asan.
Kottamkulangara Temple (Vilakkeduppu)
In Kottamkulangara Temple in Chavara, there is a peculiar custom of men dressing up as women and carry lighted lamps (Thalappoli). The Uriyadi is a typical festival associated with Krishna Temple. The annual Uriyadi festival held at Vadayattukotta temple in connection with Ashtami Rohini deserves mention. The Kettukazhcha (exhibition of effigies) festival held at Mahadevar Temple, Thrikkadavur in February-March every year is one of the colorful festival of the district. There are similar festivals in the temples of Sasthamcotta, Velinallur, Chathannur, Chirakkara etc.