Quilon, or Kollam as it is now called, was known as the cashew capital of the world in the early 20th century. Once a historically significant region, Kollam was the capital of the erstwhile Venad province. Kollam was once referred to as ‘Desinganadu’ after King Jayasimha of the Venad dynasty. Located in the Southern part of God's Own Country, parallel to the enchanting lake Ashtamudi - one end of Kerala's backwaters, its natural harbour Neendakara made it an ideal destination for export and import. One of the earliest ports on the southwest coast of the Arabian Sea, well-known traders, missionaries and travellers such as Ibn Battuta, Vasco da Gama and Henrique Henriques have made port calls here. Its palm-fringed waterways, historical landmarks and distinctive cultural and geological diversity make it a distinct destination. Kollam has its popular annual festival called Kollam Fest on the sprawling Ashramam Grounds or maidan, once used as an aerodrome in the British era. The fest is a peek into Kollam's rich culture and heritage, tourism potential and investments in new ventures.
There are also historical relics and a number of temples constructed in the region's typical ornate architectural style. The Malayalam calendar or Kollavarsham, was created in Kollam in 825 CE under a team of scholars as per a royal decree passed by H H Udayamarthanda Varma. It was implemented throughout Travancore and provinces under the Chera kingdom ruled over by the king.