Kerala is known as ‘God’s own country’ for a reason – you have to visit it to experience it for yourself! With the Arabian Sea in the west, the Western Ghats towering 500-2700 meters in the east and networked by 44 rivers, Kerala enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia.
The rich cultural ethos blended with the breathtaking nature transport you in a different world altogether. It’s difficult to choose which ones beautiful; the Unending vistas of breathtaking stepped tea-estates of Munnar and Thekkady or the romantic houseboats swaying gently in the backwaters! Catch the famous Kathakkali performance for a taste of Kerala folk art or relax in one of the Ayurvedic Spas. There’s no dearth of peace and calm moments in Kerala.
Formerly known as Trivandrum, Thiruvananthapuram is the capital and officially the first metro city in Kerala. Located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland it is a major tourist hub in South India. Kovalam and Varkala are popular beach towns located near the city. The Padmanabhaswamy Temple is believed to be among the richest and grandest temples in the world. Shanghumukham, Azhimala Beach, Agasthyamala rain forests, Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kallar, Braemore, Ponmudi hills, Poovar and Anchuthengu backwaters, Varkala Cliffs and Kappil, Edava lakes are among the many tourist attractions in and around the city.
Kollam is an old seaport and city on the Laccadive Sea coast of Kerala. The city is on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake which is among the most visited backwaters of Kerala. Adventure Park in Asramam, Portuguese Cemetery, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Police Museum, Kollam Beach and Thirumullavaram beach are popular twin beaches, Tangasseri – Beach, Lighthouse and Fort are some of the popular tourist spots in Kollam.
Also known as Cochin, it is the second largest city of Kerala. It is famously referred to as the Queen of the Arabian Sea and was an important spice trading centre on the west coast of India from 14th century onward.
Thrissur is also known as the Cultural Capital of Kerala owing to its cultural, spiritual and religious significance throughout history. It has the Kerala Sangeetha Nadaka Academy, Kerala Lalithakala Akademi and Kerala Sahitya Academy. The city hosts the Thrissur Pooram festival, the most colourful and spectacular temple festival in Kerala. Vadakkunnathan temple is a classic example of the Kerala style of architecture. Thrissur has an interesting mix of old Temples, Churches and Mosques.
Kozhikode also known as Calicut was and is a prominent centre of commerce and trade and the most important region of the Malabar Coast. Lush green countryside, serene beaches, historic sites, wildlife sanctuaries, rivers, hills and a unique culture of warmth and hospitality make Kozhikode a popular destination.
Places to Visit
Alappuzha is called as the Venice of the East. It is famous for its boat races, backwater holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. Alappuzha beach is a popular picnic spot which also has the 19th-century Alappuzha Lighthouse. Another delightful experience while in Alappuzha is a houseboat cruise. The boats are a reworked version of Kettuvallams of olden times or rice barges used to carry tons of rice and spices. The Kettuvallam or ‘boat with knots’ was so called because the entire boat was held together with coir knots only. Punnamada Lake’s snake boat races are a well-known annual event.
Kovalam is an internationally renowned beach with three adjacent crescent beaches. It has been a favourite haunt of tourists since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The beach complex includes a string of budget cottages, Ayurvedic health resorts, convention facilities, shopping zones, swimming pools, Yoga and Ayurvedic massage centres.
Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams – Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. Sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2,695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.
Wayanad is a picturesque plateau with its name is derived from Vayal Nadu which means the land of paddy fields. Located in the north-east region of the Indian state of Kerala it is the southernmost tip of the Deccan Plateau. It is known for its cool highland climate, misty peaks and its virgin forests. It is often called the spice garden of the south, the land of paddy fields, and the home of the monsoon. Main tourist attractions include the Banasura Sagar Dam, Banasura Meen Mutti falls, Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary, Pukode Lake, Adventure camp at Karlad Lake, Chembra peak and the ancient Hindu temple of Thirunelly also known as Dakhin Kashi dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the holy mountain stream, Papanassiniand the Shiva Temple at Thrishilery among many others.
To explore the historic town of Fort Kochi, there is no better choice than setting out on foot. Relax, breathe deep and come out in cotton, soft shoes and a straw hat. Every nook of this island is steeped in history offering you interesting places to explore. The Indo Portuguese museum, Chinese fishing nets, Fort Kochi beach, Dutch Cemetery, Southern Naval Command Maritime Museum, Cochin Thirumala Devaswom, Sree Gopalakrishna Devaswom Temple, St. Francis Church, Santa Cruz Basilica, Bishop’s House, Fort Emmanuel, Jewish Synagogue, Mattancherry Palace, Jain Temple are among its many attractions.
The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake, and is part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres, is a favourite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist’s paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teals, waterfowls, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian Stork visit here in flocks and are a fascinate the visitors. An enchanting backwater destination, Kumarakom offers visitors many other leisure options including boating and fishing facilities.
Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady
The very sound of the word Thekkady conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations. The Periyar forest of Thekkady is one of the best wildlife reserves in India. Picturesque plantations and hill towns spread across the entire district are ideal for treks and mountain walks.
Best time to visit
The high season is considered to be from September to May where summer is between March to May which is hot but not humid, as it is near the tropics. Best time for Ayurvedic treatments or Monsoon Rejuvenation programmes is between June-August when the climate is wet and cold.