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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. Nagam Aiya in his Travancore State Manual records that in 822 AD two East Syrian bishops Mar Sabor and Mar Proth, settled in Quilon with their followers.Two years later the Malabar Era began (824 AD) and Quilon became the premier city of the Malabar region ahead of Travancore and Cochin.Likewise at Male, where the pepper grows, and in the farming community of Kalliana (Kalliankal at Nillackal) there is also a bishop consecrated in Persia in accordance with the Nicea sunnahadose of 325 AD." The port at Kollam, then known as Quilon, was founded in 825 by the Nestorian Christians Mar Sabor and Mar Proth with sanction from Ayyanadikal Thiruvadikal, the king of the independent Venad or State of Quilon, a feudatory under the Chera kingdom.It is believed that Mar Sapor Iso also proposed that the Chera king create a new seaport near Kollam in lieu of his request that he rebuild the almost vanished inland seaport at Kollam (kore-ke-ni) near Backare (Thevalakara), also known as Nelcynda and Tyndis to the Romans and Greeks and as Thondi to the Tamils, which had been without trade for several centuries because the Cheras were overrun by the Pallavas in the 6th century, ending the spice trade from the Malabar coast.This allowed the Nestorinas to stay in the Chera kingdom for several decades and introduce the Christian faith among the Nampoothiri Vaishnavites and Nair sub castes in the St.Thomas tradition, with the Syrian liturgy as a basis for the Doctrine of the Trinity, without replacing the Sanskrit and Vedic prayers.
There was also a land route over the Western Ghats.
From top clockwise: RP Mall in Downtown Kollam, Lighthouse in Tangasseri, British Residency in Asramam, Kollam Junction railway station and Kollam MEMU Shed, Aerial view of Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam Port, Asramam Adventure Park, Jalakeli Kendram near Kollam Beach 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.
Spices, pearls, diamonds, and silk were exported to Egypt and Rome from these ports.
Pearls and diamonds came to the Chera Kingdom from Ceylon and the southeastern coast of India, then known as the Pandyan Kingdom.
In 825 CE, the Malayalam calendar, or Kollavarsham, was created in Kollam at meetings held in the city.