Kollam is known to (the Portuguese as Quilon, pronounced koy-lon) is a city and a municipal corporation in Kollam district in the Indian state of Kerala. It lies 71 Kilometres north of the state capital Thiruvanathapuram (Trivandrum). It is also the headquarters of the Kollam District, one among the 14 districts in the state of Kerala. It is bound on the south by Thiruvananthapuram district, on the north by Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha, on the east by Tamil Nadu and on the west by the Arabian Sea. The City of Kollam is very famous for cashew processing and coir manufacturing. It is the southern gateway to the backwaters of Kerala, and thus, a prominent tourist destination.
Kollam was formerly called "Desinganadu" and even before its was known as Tarsish(Koreki ni-(sea pointed inland or a creek)Kollam). Later during the rule of the Travancore kingdom in southern Kerala, Kollam was the focal point of trade.
Kollam (Tarsish) shares fame with Kodungallur (Muziris) as an ancient sea port on the Malabar coast of India from early centuries of the Christian era. Periplus of the Erythraean Sea gives a detailed account of the ports of South India in the 1st century CE. It mentions Muziris ( identified with Kodungallur (ruled by the Chera Kingdom) and also mentions Nelcynda, Bacare (Purakkad) and Belita as the ports south of Muziris. Kollam is identified with Nelcynda. The historical accounts mentioned below indicate that Kollam had a sustained commercial reputation from the days of the Phoenicians and the Romans. Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) mentions Greek ships anchored at Muziris and Tarsish (korke-ni-kollam). Nelcynda was connected with the Pandyan port of Korkai (Kayal) on the East Coast of India. There was also a land route over the Western Ghats. Spices, pearls, diamonds and silk were exported to Egypt and Rome from these two ports on the South Western coast of India. Pearls and diamonds came from Ceylon and the South eastern coast of India, then known as the Pandyan kingdom.
Cosmas Indicopleustes, who visited Malabar Coast in 522 AD, mentions about Syrian Christians in Kollam. He wrote, "In the island of Tabropane (Ceylon), there is a church of Christians, and clerks and faithful. Likewise at Male, where the pepper grows; and in the town of Kalliana (Kallianpur) there is also a bishop concentrated in Persia . The Nestorian Patriarch Jesujabus who died in 660 A.D. makes special mention of Quilon in his letter to Simon, Metropolitan of Persia. In 825 A.D. Nestorian Monk Mar Abo on the invitation of kollam king Ayanadikal Thiruvadikal of Venad kingdom arrived in the famed kollam port of kor-ke-ni-kollam (Tarshish) along with Mar Peroz (Proth) who was the Founder Bishop of Kodungallur (Musriz). Mar S(abo)r who is also called as Mar Abo lived his last years at Thevalakkara (Tarsish-a-palli) whom he founded in Syrian litergy after receiving the Tarsish-a-palli cheppadukal(Tharisapalli plates)written in Tamil Vatteluttu from kulshekara kings.
His remains were buried in the Martha Mariam Orthodox Church at Thevalakara. This church which carries the tomb of Mar Sapor is at the ancient port of Tarshish in Thevalakkara(from Korekeni-kollam (sea pointed into inland or a creek) port at astamudi lake inside the neendakara basin of the Arabian sea)..Tharisapalli plates is signed by the Nestorian monks or traders, in Hebrew Pahlavi and Kufic languages indicating that the immigrants were Jews, Persians and Palestinians.