Ashtamudi Lake (Ashtamudi Kayal) in the Kollam District of Kerala, India, is the second largest and deepest wetland ecosystem, a palm-shaped (also called octopus-shaped) large water body, next only to the Vembanad estuary ecosystem of the state. Ashtamudi means ‘eight coned'(Ashta = ‘eight’; mudi = ‘coned’) in the local language of Malayalam.
Along both banks of the lake and its backwater canals, coconut groves and palm trees interspersed with towns and villages are seen. Quilon is an important historic port city located on the right bank of the lake and boat cruises are operated by the Kollam Boat Club from Quilon to Alappuzha providing transport access to many other towns and villages along this route, apart from the luxury “house boats” which also operate in the lake. The boat journey is an 8 hour trip, winds through lakes, canals and water bound villages, and gives a complete exposure to the beauty of the backwaters of Ashtamudi Lake. Chinese fishing nets, called cheena vala in the Malayalam language, are used by local fisherman and are a common sight along the waterway
Quilon or Kollam and inevitably the Ashtamudi lake’s importance is claimed to be dated to the days of the Phoenicians and the Romans. Ibn Batuta, during his 24-year sojourn in the 14th century, is reported to have mentioned about the Quilon port as one of the five ports for Chinese trade. Links with Persia (9th century), Chinese mandarin in 1275 AD, Portuguese in 1502 AD, and the Dutch followed British in 1795 AD are recorded history. Velu Thampi is credited with organizing the rebellion against the British from this place