Kollam pronunciation (help·info)
, known by its former name Quilon pronunciation (help·info)
, and Desinganadu,
is an old seaport and city on the Laccadive Sea coast of the Indian state of Kerala. It is situated 66 kilometers north of the state capital Trivandrum. The city is on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake. Kollam has a strong commercial reputation since the days of the Phoenicians and Romans. Fed by the Chinese trade, it was mentioned by Ibn Battuta in the 14th century as one of the five Indian ports he had seen during the course of his twenty-four-year travels. Desinganadu's rajas exchanged embassies with Chinese rulers while there was a flourishing Chinese settlement at Kollam. In the 9th Century, on his way to Canton, China, Persian merchant Sulaiman al-Tajir found Kollam to be the only port in India visited by huge Chinese junks. Marco Polo, the Venetian traveller, who was in Chinese service under Kublai Khan in 1275, visited Kollam and other towns on the west coast, in his capacity as a Chinese mandarin. Kollam is also home to one of the seven churches that were established by St Thomas.