As the largest freshwater lake in Kerala, it has been a popular destination for travellers. Sasthamcotta is home to the historic Sastha temple. The abundance of additional smaller bodies of water and wet areas makes this area a haven for different species of waterbirds. The lake is also rich in freshwater fish. The lake is a source of drinking water for the 500,000 inhabitants of Kollam district as well. The presence of cavaborus larvae which consumes bacteria in the lake accounts for its being regarded as safe for drinking.
The lake has been recognised since November 2002 as a wetland of international significance by the Ramsar Convention. Visitors who come to the lake are devotees who visit the Sastha temple. For visitors, it is a time of introspection and an opportunity to connect with nature, as they feed the monkeys and fish. Dharmasastha, another name for Lord Ayyappa, is believed to have a loyal retinue of monkeys. Rowboat rentals are available too – a must to appreciate the lake's breathtaking magnificence in its entirety.