Kollam, the enchanting tourist spot, is an old sea port town on the banks of Ashtamudi lake. Kollam has maintained a commercial reputation from ancient times. Phoenicians, Persians, Arabs, Greeks, Romans and Chinese traded with this port. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish a trading centre at Kollam, followed by the Dutch and the British. There are some historic remains and a number of temples built in the traditional ornate architecture. Kollam is the gateway point to the magnificent backwaters of Kerala.