A lake that resembles much to the shape of palm conifer or an octopus, Ashtamudi Lake or the ‘Gateway to Kerala Backwaters’ is a much coveted tourist attraction in Kerala. Flaunting its enchanting beauty in Kollam, this awe-inspiring lake is a cult among all the backwater destinations in God’s Own Country. It is in fact, the highest visited or sought after backwater destination in the entire of Kerala.
A revered tourist destination in the state, Ashtamudi Lake is known for its unique ecosystem and varied offerings. Shrouded with evergreen coconut groves and other scenic floral species, this alluring lake is a natural home to more than 50 different avifauna species and around 97 aqua fauna species. Visiting this magical lake in Kollam is no less than an exuberant visual treat for the visitors!
Adding more to the beauty and charm of this Ashtamudi Lake is the cluster of tiny islets. The lake has a total of eight picturesque islands, most of which are still untouched by the outer world. The lake is also a great host to backwater cruises. Traditional houseboats or ‘Kettuvallams’ across this lake gets the visitors acquainted with the magical beauty and magnificence of Kerala’s silent backwaters. Within these exciting tours, visitors not only get to embrace the irresistible charm of the backwaters, but also get to witness a livelier glimpse of Kerala’s traditional way of living!
How to Reach Ashtamudi Lake:
Being placed in Kollam, one can easily reach Ashtamudi Lake by road from across a number of tourist destinations in Kerala. Visitors can board the regular state-run or private buses, hire local taxis or autos from within the city limits to reach the lakeside.
Kollam Railway Station is the closest railway station to reach Ashtamudi Lake by train. The station allows passage to a number of direct and via trains from major parts of the country.
Kollam does not have its own airport. To reach Ashtamudi Lake by air, one can book tickets to the Trivandrum International Airport which is located around 71km from Kollam. On arrival at the airport, visitors can utilise the bus service or hire private taxis to complete the next leg of their journey to reach Ashtamudi Lake by road.
Best Time to Visit Ashtamudi Lake:
Winter (October – February) – Best Time: As winter makes it way to the vicinity, temperature starts falling down with the ambience getting more serene and enticing. Within these months, Ashtamudi Lake gets adorned with a misty outlook with a crispiness that can infect the visitors within a blink of the eye. With all these climatic changes, winter also makes it for an ideal time to go for backwater cruises in the traditional Kettuvallams. For the honeymooners, winter serves as the most romantic and pleasant time to visit Ashtamudi Lake.
Monsoon (June – September) – Good Time: Ashtamudi Lake experience high rainfall between the months of June to July end. Starting from August, amount of monsoon showers comes down significantly. Advent of the monsoon showers also causes the temperature to fall down and gets a fresh and magical look to the surrounding. Visitors searching for good time to visit Ashtamudi Lake, can plan their backwater tour during the monsoon season; especially between August and September.
Summer (March – May) – Not So Good Time: Temperature during this period reaches the maximum point. Though Ashtamudi Lake has a short-lived summer, visitors might feel extremely uncomfortable as humidity also increases along with the mercury level. This makes summer a not-so-favourable time to visit Ashtamudi Lake.
Places to Visit around Ashtamudi Lake:
Kollam Beach: Also called the Mahatma Gandhi Beach, Kollam Beach is a hotspot among the beachgoers to Ashtamudi Lake. Prized as the first ‘Beach Wedding Destination in Kerala’, this surreal tourist spot is dotted with other tourist attractions.
Munroe Island: This picturesque island is one of the must visit places around Ashtamudi Lake. Situated around 14km from the lakeside, Munroe Island’s location at the meeting ground of the lake and Kallada River, makes this island a wonderful place to join the revelry of Snake Boat Racing events.
Mayyanad: A small town with a rustic charm, Mayyanad resonates the true meaning of universal brotherhood. This is one tourist place where all the religions thrive together.
Alumkadavu: Located around 23km from the pristine locales of Ashtamudi Lake, this place is known for its prismatic offerings. Be it nature’s miraculous beauty or amazing leisure options, Alumkadavu offers them all!
Thevally Palace: Built somewhere around 1811-1819, this piece of architectural genius is a must visit heritage attraction. Seating graciously on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake, this glorious palace is touted as the ‘Hallmark of Kollam City’.
Thirumullavaram Beach: Kollam is fringes with quite a few pristine beaches; Thirumullavaram Beach is one among them! Located in Thirumullavaram, this beach has been listed as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world by Discovery Channel.
Things to Do in Ashtamudi Lake:
Backwater Cruise: The fun and excitement of visiting Ashtamudi Lake is entirely vague without embarking on backwater cruises. With these cruises, visitors not only get to witness the lush beauty around the lake, but also get to feel the true essence of Kerala’s silent backwaters.
Houseboat Stays: Even if in extreme conditions, you wish not to go for backwater cruise, you should definitely go for houseboat stays in Ashtamudi Lake. On a traditional houseboat, you would find all the luxury and comfort along with a sorted list of services. Check-in into these bucolic boats to experience a world of new dimensions floating above the azure silent backwaters of Ashtamudi Lake.
Island Visits: Ashtamudi Lake boasts of having eight picturesque islands. While on a backwater cruise or enjoying a salubrious houseboat stay, try to visit these islands; you would surely fall in love with their untouched beauty and charm!
Sit Back & Relax: Enchanted with the heavenly beauty of the silent backwaters, Ashtamudi Lake also qualifies as a relaxed destination to visit in Kerala. With no intervention of the outer world, it serves as a perfect destination to sit back, relax and curate some of the most pleasant memories!
Hotels around Ashtamudi Lake:
Being one of the highest visited tourist destinations in Kerala, Ashtamudi Lake is surrounded with a good number of hotels and other stay options. Whether visitors want to step into luxury stay options or enjoy the rawness of the vicinity by checking-in into homestays or any resorts, they would find no difficulty in finding the perfect place to unwind while around this lake.