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Tourism in Kerala

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Kerala, a state in the southern part of India, ranks among the most favourite tourist destinations nationally and internationally; it is easily one of the few remaining parts of India where some areas still are untouched and unspoilt by the advancement of the modern world.

Tourism in Kerala

Interestingly, this turnaround has come about only in the last couple of decades. Till the 1980s, tourism in Kerala was restricted mostly to the northern regions of the state – from Cochin (Kochi) upwards to Calicut (Kozhikode) and northward. The state tourism agency, Kerala State Tourism Development Corporation, understanding the need to promote the state strongly to compete with other states in the national circuit, opened up a hard-hitting marketing strategy showcasing the naturally abundant resources of the state – the naturally vibrant culture and traditions, green and lush forests, abundant plant and wildlife, virgin beaches and tranquil backwaters, quaint and picturesque hill-stations tucked among rolling mountainsides, raging rivers and thundering waterfalls, royal palaces and museums, its age-old ayurvedic traditions of living and medication, and much more. And above all, to create in the mind of the traveller a destination that offered everything as a ‘complete package’.

The carefully planned blitzkrieg focused on promoting the state’s natural resources in an ecologically and environmental conscious way so as to preserve the natural beauty and resources without over burdening them to the point of depletion. Ecologically sustainable tourism has taken off in a big way in Kerala with clear focus on promoting unique tourist sites in a traditionally touristic manner in conjunction with culture, heritage, living and growth of the local people.

Since then, Kerala has literally transformed itself into a highly prized tourist destination; its ranking among the ‘ten best paradises of the world’ by none less than National Geographic Traveller, is sweet reward in itself. The percentage of tourist arrivals has been steadily climbing year after year.

The first thoughts about Kerala’s tourist spots brings to mind its serenely flowing backwaters, clean beaches, lush greenery and undulating hillsides. It is indeed quite amazing that this narrow ridge-like state tucked in the south-western part of the country has such a fascinating variety of tourist spots to visit. The juxtaposition of seasons play out very well in Kerala; each of them offer colourful insights into the myriad varieties of villages, towns and cities that dot the length and breadth of the state.

No wonder then, it is called God’s Own Country!! It is most definitely a ‘Paradise in Green’.

With the Arabian Sea hugging its western boundaries all along the coastline of the state, Kerala’s beaches and backwaters are famed throughout the world. Notwithstanding, the state offers such a diverse package for tourists that can hardly be seen anywhere else. There are hill-stations, forest reserves, lakes, dams, places of religious and historical interest, museums, art galleries, palaces, zoos and many more that can be packed into a visit to Kerala.

The highlight of a trip to Kerala is most undoubtedly the vast expanses of green that cover the entire state; it is a matter of distinction that this small state, easily among the smallest in the country in terms of geographical area (sq.kms.), contains nearly 12 reserved or protected forest areas.

The diverse tourist spots in Kerala combine an awesome mixture of the traditional, cultural, religious, historical and adventurous. The main towns will serve as the focal point to visit interesting sites and spots around the area.

Top Tourist Places to Visit in Kerala

Wayanad in Kerala

Kerala has a great number of tourist destinations that are all worth visiting. The main towns and cities like Alappuzha, Kochi, Kozhikode and Thiruvanathapuram showcase bustling city lives along with palaces, monuments, art galleries and museums and places of religious and cultural interest. Besides, there are adjoining destinations along the beaches, backwaters, among the plains and foothills, on the mountains etc., which have their own charm and unique character that leave lasting memories of a fabulous holiday destination.

It is indeed an arduous task to pick and choose a few destinations and must-see places in Kerala because of the diverse spots that are there to see – cultural, historical, natural, religious and many others. But to ensure that a lot is covered in the duration of a visit to Kerala, it is useful to keep these locations in plan and travel to these places not only to enjoy the scenic beauty and see the local sights and spots but also to plan other trips and destination visits around these areas keeping in mind connectivity, distances and how much can be covered in a visit. A tourist is welcome to plan or customize a holiday on their own initiative or get the advice and help of an experienced and noteworthy travel and tour agent to plan a holiday in Kerala.

Wayanad

This entire region, an iconic Biosphere of immense national and ecological importance and relevance, is high on the list of ‘to see places’ in Kerala. Wayanad is a vast area, mostly situated at high altitude along the Western Ghats ranges and provides access to not only the iconic Silent Valley National Park but several others places of tourist interest. The terrain here is different and so a visit to Wayanad can help tourists see the Chembra Peak, the highest point in the area, Meenmutty Falls, the Muthanga and Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuaries, Edakkal caves and many others. Wayanad has a good sprinkling of homestays which provide the visitors comfortable accommodation with a warm, homely feel. Wayanad also gives adventure tourists value for money with great spots for hiking and trekking.

Munnar

Munnar Tourism Kerala

Munnar is synonymous with estates and plantations, mostly tea and spices. The area around Munnar combines misty hills, rolling plains and thick jungles full of plant and animal life. Anamudi, the highest peak in South India, is within the vicinity as also the Eravikulam National Park, the Tea Museum and the Indo-Swiss Dairy Farm.

Backwaters in Kottayam

The highlight of any visit to Kerala is a trip on the backwaters and a stay in a resort or hotel along the serenely flowing backwaters. It is like a trip back in time, seeing the idyllic lifestyle of the people here leading simple lives fishing from the river, making mats, palm leaf products and threading coir. Kumarakom, one of the principal towns in the area, is the location of one of the most visited bird sanctuaries and is a popular tourist destination with many homestays, budget hotels and luxury resorts in the vicinity of the backwaters.

Kochi

Travel to KeralaOther than mainland Kochi, the main tourist attraction here is Fort Kochi, called the ‘Gateway to Kerala’. The city itself is enchanting in many ways and bears and mark and influence of many foreign civilizations like the Arabs, the British, Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese, who have all left historical and cultural landmarks all over this region.

Also Read: Tourist Spots in Kochi

Thekkady

Thekkady is a very popular tourist destination in south Kerala. The district is famous for the Periyar National Park and the huge artificial lake that came about due to the damming of the Periyar River in 1895. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary spreading around this lake is one of the most popular national parks in the south of the country. The national park is a dense hilly area and a natural habitat for vast species of birds, insects and animals, many of which are threatened and rare but flourish here with natural protection. Thekkady is popular for jungle safaris, boat rides and many other fun-filled activities.

Periyar and Thekkady are within easy reach of the southern cities and towns in Kerala like Thiruvananthapuram from where other tourist spots like Ponmudi and Varkala can be visited.

Athirapally Falls

Athirapally waterfall is strategically positioned at the entrance of the Western Ghats through the Sholayar range of forests 1000 ft above sea level. The largest waterfall in Kerala, Athirapally is a part of the Chalakudy River as it flows from its source through the high mountain ranges. The entire Athirapally-Vazhachal area is a naturally scenic and is a splendid natural habitat for many animal, bird and plant species that thrive here. Environmentalists say that this is a ‘one-of-a-kind, rich and luscious riparian eco-system’; it may soon be declared a protected sanctuary and national park. Driving through the forest is an enjoyable and adventurous experience with sightings of elephants, bisons and deer and innumerable species of birds along with the soft rippling of the water streams that flow through the area.


Watch Video of Athirapally Waterfalls

Athirapally is well connected through the SH 21 connecting Kerala with the adjoining state of Tamil Nadu and is a very popular tourist spot. Visiting here in the monsoon when the falls thunders down from 80 ft, is an awesome sight.

Medical Tourism in Kerala

The synergy between health or medical facilities and the tourism industry is generally referred to as ‘Medical Tourism’.

In recent years, several new and upcoming sectors in tourism like Heritage Tourism, Adventure Tourism, Sports Tourism etc, have caught the fancy of tourists, both domestic and international, in a very big way.

Medical Tourism in KeralaKerala is a premier state where medical tourism has taken off in a big manner showcasing the advanced medical facilities in the state – both mainstream and alternate – along with the other factors that add up in favour such as its moderate weather, scenic tourist locations such as backwaters and beaches, specialist doctors in major disciplines, good numbers of trained medical and para medical staff, fluency in English and international connectivity of the state to major world destinations. In addition, several idyllic tourist destinations such as Kottayam, Varkala, Kozhikode, Alappuzha, etc are easily accessible from the larger towns and cities that have a host of medical facilities.

In addition, the high standards of hygiene that is visible throughout the state among the general public, private and public hospital environments, hotels and resorts and places of medical treatments promote Kerala as a highly-valued destination for a holiday combined with medical treatment.

The globalization of the economy has given a boost to the medical sector, which along with the tourism industry and health insurance companies have played a major role in the promotion and expansion of Kerala as a destination for medical tourism. The potential is earning huge revenues for the state besides promoting Kerala as an attractive tourist destination.

Thus, we find that the tourism industry markets are attractive and the efficient medical tourism packages make tourists desirous of availing medical treatment in the state. Through tour operators and agents these are brought to the consumer as holiday packages customized to their convenience, need and budget. The package customization includes choice of treatment, location, and recuperative leisure at desired hotel or resort, airport transfers, accommodation, food and other expenses, post recuperation medical follow-up etc.

In addition to regular mainstream medical facilities, the more popular form of medical tourism concerns the alternative medicine sector. Kerala, being the pioneer of Ayurveda and treatments based on the ancient Ayurvedic medicinal methods is a natural choice of destination.

The main reason attributed to the success of destinations like Kerala and more largely, India, is the soaring medical and surgical costs in the western world that puts even regular medical treatments out of bounds for thousands of people. The affordable treatments by qualified and experienced medical practitioners and the competitive costs make Kerala a viable destination for medical treatments especially for people in the Gulf countries and Europe. Influent NRIs are seen to play a significant role in the promotion of medical tourism in Kerala.

Among the popular medical specialties in Medical Tourism are:

Modern Medicine

  • Cardiac care
  • Cosmetic Treatments
  • Dental Care
  • ENT
  • Fertility Treatment
  • General Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Urology
Alternate Medicine
  • Ayurveda
  • Homoeopathy
  • Siddha
  • Naturopathy
  • Unani

Hill Stations in Kerala

With the tag of ‘God’s Own Country’ in its lapel, Kerala is distinguished from other tourist destinations because of its varied natural splendour – no other destination has a superb mix of backwaters, beaches, thick forests, rolling hills, green estates and plantations, and the whiff of old-world life and laid back charm. Kerala also has a high number of hill stations, thanks to the high altitude Western Ghats ranges that have seen the mushrooming of many towns and locales where plantation owners lived and farmed the land for centuries. The salubrious climate adds in abundance to the natural beauty and splendour of the hill station locales that are huge favourites with domestic and foreign visitors.

When to Visit the Hill Stations in Kerala

Summer months stretching from March to July; the post-June monsoon season is also a favourite with many tourists. However, hikers, trekkers and climbers are cautioned to be careful while stepping on the damp slopes; leeches frequent these areas and very often get caught on clothing and trekking gear.

  • Summer temperatures range from 18°C to 29°C
  • Winter temperatures vary from 5°C to 15°C although in very chilly conditions some of the highest altitudes record freezing climes.
All the hill stations offer clean and comfortable accommodation to suit all budgets; during the tourist-season, accommodation is fully booked and advance reservations have to be made. Alternatively, hiring taxis or coaches for day trips and visits can be arranged through local travel agents and operators and via the help desk of town and city hotels where accommodation has been arranged for stay.

Munnar

A picturesque hill station nestling among the most alluring and fascinating terrain of the Western Ghats, Munnar is often referred to as the ‘Kashmir of the South’. Situated above sea level at an altitude of 1600 feet, this is a favourite tourist spot that is enveloped in green as far as the eye can see and offers visitors insight into some of the rate attractions that are around it. Munnar literally means ‘three rivers’, a reference to the confluence of the Kundala, Madhurapuzha and Nallathani in the district. Every twelve years, the hills around Munnar are bathed in eclectic shades of blue with the blossoming of the famous Neelakurinji flower.

Munnar’s easy accessibility by air via Kochi International Airport, by rail from Ernakulam South Railway Station and by road from Idukki.

A few places that are worth a visit in close proximity to Munnar are:

Pothamadu: About 6 kms from Munnar, this place provides panoramic views of cardamom, coffee and tea plantations set among rolling hills; several tourists come here for treks and mountain walks.

Munnar Hill Station in KeralaDevikulam: This picturesque hill-station, 7 kms from Munnar, encloses the Sita Devi Lake which is believed to have health benefits with its pristine mineral waters. The lake is a favourite with anglers for trout fishing.

Pallivasal, which is 8 kms from Munnar, is the location of the first ever Hydro-Electric Project in the state of Kerala. Adding to its historical significance is the immense beauty that surrounds the place.

Chithirapuram: Close to the Pallivasal Hydel Project, this small town with charming old-world bungalows and cottages and tea plantations was once the retreat of the Royal Family of Travancore.

Attukal: Located between Pallivasal and Munnar, Attukal is known to be an ideal location for trekking; the undulating hills and waterfalls provide a feast for the eyes.

Nyayamakad: A scenic picnic spot that offers trekking trails, Nyayamakad also has splendid waterfalls and cascades.

Lockhart Gap: One of the most preferred tourist locations about 13 kms from Munnar, Lockhart Gap is an ideal spot for adventure tourism like mountaineering, hiking and trekking. Breathtaking views of the mist-covered hills are interspersed with winding roads cutting through dense, lush greenery and waters from silvery brooks flowing by.

Mattupetty: An absolute delight for lovers of nature and the outdoors, Mattupetty which is about 13 kms from Munnar is at an altitude of 1700 metres and is an extremely beautiful place with rolling grasslands, lush tea plantations, cascades, rivulets and waterfalls all over. The entire area is a bird-paradise. The Kundala Lake close to the Idukki Hills and the Mattupetty Dam are local picnic spots that offer speedboat and motor boat rides.

The Indo-Swiss Livestock Project, established in 1962 between the Govt of India and the Swiss Confederation is a unique and high specialised project where nearly 100 breeds of high-yielding cattle are reared. Visitors are allowed inside the farm and watching the cattle grazing on the lush slopes adjoining the farm is truly an off-beat and exciting experience.

There are also some other equally worthwhile visiting places around Munnar that can be added into the tour itinerary.

The Anayirankal Dam and Reservoir surrounded by tea plantations and lush greenery is a beautiful experience. It is about 22 kms from Munnar.

Top Station: At 1700 metres above sea-level, this is the highest point around Munnar and offers a fantastic lookout point into the surrounding areas. This location is also famous for the Nilakurinji plant which blooms once in 12 years bathing the hills in hues of bright blue.

Marayoor: Known for the naturally abundant growth of sandalwood trees, the attractions of Marayoor include the caves and ruins, remnants of the New Stone Age that depict murals and relics of a bygone civilization. The entire area falls under a reserve forest sanctuary.

Eravikulam National Park: Kerala’s first National Park, this protected forest along the Western Ghats notified in 1978, provides a variety of landscapes – rolling hill plateaus, high grasslands, and dense jungles. This 97 sq km lush forest area is criss-crossed by many perennial streams with copious water flow which form the tributaries of the west-flowing Periyar River and the Cauvery which empties into the Bay of Bengal after flowing through the adjoining state of Tamil Nadu. The Anaimudi hill is located within the boundaries of the Eravikulam National Park; the Lakkom Waterfalls is another highlight.

The extensive and unique range of animal species include the largest population of the Nilgiri Nahr, a highly-endangered mammal species, along with other well-known species like Dhole or Indian Wild Dog, Gaur or Indian Bison, Golden Jackal, Jungle Cat, Leopard, Sambar Deer and Tiger. Smaller species include the Dusky Palm Squirrel, Indian Porcupine, Nilgiri Marten, Nilgiri Langur and Stripe-necked Mongoose. Besides, this park has recorded over 135 bird species, 101 butterfly and inspect species and 19 amphibian species.

Rajamala:
Together with Eravikulam, Rajamala offers a safe haven and has become the natural habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr or the Indian Ibex, a rare mountain goat.

Anemudi and Anaimudi as this mountain peak is also called because of its resemblance to an ‘elephant head,’ is the highest peak in South India and the second highest point outside of the Himalaya-Karakoram mountains. At an altitude of nearly 2700 metres, Anaimudi is home to a great variety of animals, birds, insects and plant life that are unique to this area. The Anamudi Shola National Park is a protected area along the Western Ghats mountain ranges that adjoins and is administered by the Department of Forests and Wildlife of the state of Kerala. Its most popular inhabitants are the Atlas Moth, said to be the largest moth group in the world, leopards, lion-tailed macaques, tigers etc. The closest town, less than 15 kms away, is Munnar.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary: Among the 12 protected forest reserves in Kerala, Chinnar falls within the rain-shadow region of the Western Ghats and is the refuge of many unique animal and plant species that thrive in the thorny vegetation. Chinnar’s varied altitude and rainfall gives it a combination of dry thorny jungles, deciduous forest, grasslands and sholas; this sanctuary is watered by the Chinnar and Pamba Rivers; the Chinnar continues into adjoining Tamil Nadu to become the Amaravathi River. The sanctuary’s boundaries provide protection to 34 mammal species such as elephants, gaur, macaques, panthers, sambar deer, tigers and tahr, 29 species of reptiles including the largest population of the vulnerable mugger crocodiles, 245 bird species, 42 fish varieties, 22 species of amphibians and 156 butterfly species. The flora include 965 flowering plants species at different altitudes and elevations; the famous Marayoor Sandalwood Forest is within the sanctuary.

Tata Tea Museum: Tata Tea is synonymous with Munnar and definitely worth a visit. Munnar’s history and legacy as a tea plantation area for centuries is well-known. To commemorate this, Tata Tea has set up a museum, within the confines of a rolling estate, containing facts and figures about the origin and growth of tea estates and plantations in Munnar. Many interesting curios, machinery and photographs have been preserved in this museum that are a treat to see; a leisurely walk through the surrounding plantations give a bird’s eye view into the splendid natural beauty of the entire place.

A trip to Munnar will not be complete without a trip to the picturesque town of Kundala enroute to Top Station. Kundala Lake and Dam are the main attractions here. Cheeyappara, noted for its waterfalls and trekking sites and Meenuli are two other places to see.

Idukki

Idukki in KeralaIdukki is one of the pristine hill stations in Kerala perched at an altitude of 2500 m above sea level. Idukki in the local language of the state which is Malayalam means ‘a narrow gorge’. Indeed, the hills and gorges are splendid with green interspersed with the waters of the Periyar, Thalayar and Thodupuzha Rivers that flow through the area.

Idukki is well connected by the Kochi International Airport, the Ernakulam South Railway Station and by a network of state and national highways.

Tourist Attractions

  • Idukki wildlife Sanctuary – a sprawling area set aside as a natural habitat for some of the finest wildlife in the area.
  • Tea and Spice plantations and estates
  • Idukki Arch Dam - At 550 ft in height and 650 ft wide, it is one of the largest and prestigious Hydel Power Projects.
  • Keezhar Kuthu Waterfalls

Asia’s very first and the world’s second Arch Dam, the Idukki Dam constructed on the Periyar River was commissioned in 1976.


The Silent Valley

As the name suggests, this valley has retained its rustic, natural charm with the scenic landscape offering a perfect blend of nature in all its wild beauty. One of most important national parks and sanctuaries in India, The Silent Valley is a protected forest reserve home to many species of plants, trees, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and animals, including some of those categorized as ‘endangered’. The Kurumbar Tribes live in these jungles. Naturalists and wildlife photographers often visit the Valley to observe and photograph wildlife in their natural habitats.

The nearest airport is Coimbatore which is 55 kms away; Palakkad, the closest railway station is also the same distance from Silent Valley. An efficient road transport network also connects to neighbouring districts and towns.

Wayanad

Comfortably ranked amongst the most popular hill stations in the country, Wayanad is renowned for its lush and green hills and plains with spice and tea plantations covering the entire district.

Modernization has not yet tainted its natural charm and beauty and this serene hill station, located on the southern side of the summit of the Deccan Ghats has the Western Ghats running through the length of the area. A drive through the area from the neighbouring state of Karnataka is perhaps the best way to see the natural splendour and also encounter some of the exciting wildlife like elephants, deer, bison etc.

The Chembra Peak, at 2100m above sea level is the highest peak in Wayanad and is a favourite with trekkers and climbers.

Kozhikode, around 70 kms away is the nearest railhead to Wayanad but a number of well-maintained mountain road connect this hill station to nearby areas.

Ponmudi

Ponmudi in KeralaPonmudi means ‘golden peak’ in Malayalam; this less visited hill station is a hikers’ and trekkers’ paradise. Its tall, misty peaks are covered by exotic vegetation and the cold waters of hill streams. A hike through the tea gardens on its slopes is an exciting and soothing experience; anglers can fish in the Kallar River’s emerald waters.

Ponmudi is 61 kms from Thiruvanathapuram, which is the nearest airport and railway station and can be reached through the Thiruvanathapuram-Nedumangad Highway.
Besides these, there are also other hill stations in Kerala worth visiting.
  • Peermedu, near Kottayam
  • Lakkidi, Vythiri, Pakshipathalam and Peruvannamuzhi from Kozhikode
  • Vagamon, close to Kottayam
  • Attapady, Malampuzha and Nelliyampathy near Palakkad
  • Pythalmala from Kannur

Also Read: Hill Stations near Thiruvananthapuram

Beaches in Kerala


Kerala Tourism

Situated on the south-western coast of peninsular India, Kerala’s beaches run along the Arabian Sea flanking the western coast of India. All the beaches are unique in character; some are palm fringed and are an extension of the backwater canals that form the state’s waterways, others are sandy, white stretches adjoining steep cliffs, while some others have rocky beaches with the ruins and remains of ancient piers, rock heads and outcrops jutting out.

When to Visit the Beaches in Kerala

Summer months stretching from March to July, so weather-wise December to March is a pleasant season along the beaches. The monsoon season from June to September when the seas are slightly rough are equally inviting for many tourists; in the monsoon season tariffs drop greatly so there is added incentive to visit Kerala in the rainy season.

Certain stretches of Kerala’s beaches are rocky outcrops with strong currents and swirls; visitors are generally cautioned of the dangers of swimming or bathing in these areas without safety gear, the presence of beach guards is an absolute necessity.
The sands of some of these world famous beaches are believed to have medicinal properties on account of the rich mineral soils and waters that flow by. As much as the beaches are balmy and sunny in summers, the monsoon fury can be a treat to watch as the waves crash on the shore and ebb away. From Kappad in the north to Kovalam in the south, such is a beauty where time stops and nature’s supremacy is all too visible.

Here is some information on the most prominent and popular beaches in Kerala.

Kovalam Beach

By far the most developed and popular beach hangouts in Kerala as well as India, this stretch of white sands and blue waters close to the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram, Kovalam consists of three crescent-like coves and stretches the Hawah, Lighthouse and Samudra coves. The Lighthouse is the busiest, a rocky incline sloping towards the beach lined with cafes, restaurants and thronged by people year round. The 35-metre ancient lighthouse situated on the rocky outcrop is a prominent lookout. Samudra Beach, which is further along the same stretch is a quiet secluded place with swaying palms and fine sand and visitors ambling along the sands can watch fishermen setting out to sea to fish.

Kovalam has been featured in many international travel magazines and has a fine assortment of hotels, resorts and amenities with excellent facilities and food, besides a host of activities like swimming, sunbathing, water sports, yoga and ayurvedic massages.

Varkala Beach

Varkala beach in KeralaPerhaps the most stunningly located beach in Kerala and the most photographed for its amazingly beautiful and sheer, rocky coastline, Varkala Beach is a strip of golden sand at the base of tall red cliffs, running perpendicular to the coast in a continuous stretch. The town of Varkala is a seaside resort and spa as well as a seat of Hindu worship; the 2000-year old Janardana Swamy temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is a popular tourist attraction, a number of mineral springs which give the place the name of ‘Papanashini’ or ‘washing away of sins’. The Nature Cure Centre at Varkala attracts a lot of people for treatments of illnesses through the traditional medicinal form of Ayurveda.

All the resorts and eating places are located above the cliff facing the ocean and offer marvelous views of the limitless ocean stretching up to the horizon. It is a common sight to see pods of dolphins playing about in the water.

Varkala’s ambience and facilities are world-class, and is flocked by tourists throughout the year. A serene and lazy atmosphere pervades this place, the perfect setting for a beach holiday.

Bekal Beach and Fort

This beach has gained popularity in recent years as much for its clean and unspoiled beaches as well as the largest fort in Kerala dating back to around mid 1650s and has changed hands from the Kadamba dynasty to the Vijayanagar Empire and the British East India Company. Now a part of the Archaeological Survey of India’s heritage properties, this impressive and well-maintained laterite stone structure is atop a 35-acre cliff top about 130 ft above the Arabian Sea. The fort and beach adjoin seamlessly enhancing the archaeological and historical significance of this area. It is needless to say that the view of the sea and the surrounding areas is unparalleled.

Already many hotel and resort groups have set up facilities here; many more are competing for space and it has to be seen if the area will remain unaffected by the advancements of tourism and the mass influx of people.

Bekal beach is situated in the northern part of Kerala and is an hour’s drive from the airport at Mangalore. The Valiyaparamba backwaters are an added attraction in the area, about 22 kms from Bekal.

Fort Kochi Beach

Fort Kochi in KeralaOriginally a fishing village and a township of the first European settlers to India, Fort Kochi is a charming place with an aura of colonial charm. An assortment of Jewish families still live in the area around the beach where a 300-year-old church to St. Francis and an old Jewish synagogue vie for visitors. The beach on this island town is unfit for swimming but the entire beach front lined with stores selling a variety of decorative items and handicrafts made of stone and shell add their own charm. The beachfront is lined with Chinese fishing nets, which are a big attraction and some of the promenade cafes and restaurants sell freshly caught fish which can be cooked to customization.

Kozhikode Beach

Kozhikode, in north Kerala, is a scenic town of great historical relevance. It was the capital of the Zamorins and an important hub in the trade and commerce route from India to the West. It was along this beach that Vasco da Gama landed in the early 15th century in his search for the famous spices and condiments that India is famous for. The sunset views over the Arabian Sea from this beach are said to stunning; a light-house and the remains of two broken down piers running into the sea have helped it retain its old world beauty and charm, despite its popularity as a tourist destination.

The list of beaches does not end here; there are several others that are good for a visit.
  • Mararikulam beach, near Kochi
  • Alleppey beach
  • Beypore beach, at the mouth of the Chaliyar River
  • Kappad, north Kerala
  • Cherai, near Vypeen Islands
  • Thirumullavaram beach, Kollam (Quilon)
  • Shankumugham beach, near Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)
  • Vallikunnu beach, Malappuram
  • Muzhapilangad beach, Thallasery, north Kerala
  • Payyoli beach, near Kozhikode – important because it is a protected sanctuary for nesting Olive Ridley turtles
  • Payyambalam, Kannur (Cannanore)
  • Kappil beach, between Bekal and Kasargod town
  • Kanwatheertha beach, northernmost tip of Kerala in Kasargod district

Also Read: Cherai Beach in Kochi | Chavakkad Beach in Thrissur | Snehatheeram Beach in Thrissur | Chowara Beach in Thiruvananthapuram | Beaches in Malappuram | Kappad Beach in Kozhikode | Kozhikode Beach | Alappuzha Beach

National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala

Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks in KeralaKerala virtually hugs the rugged and diverse terrains of the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats that provide ample greenery and dense forest cover for a range of wildlife that is unique and endemic to the rich bio-diversity of this part of the country. The abundant plant and animal life thrive in natural habitats ranging from grasslands to deciduous forests, and tropical evergreen jungles. The lush, green and beautiful landscape of the state has a protected forest cover extending to nearly 12,000 sq. kms; within these boundaries are 5 National Parks and 13 Wildlife Sanctuaries that are a huge draw with tourists and wildlife enthusiasts, both domestic and foreign.

Some of the most popular and best-known sanctuaries and national parks can be found in Kerala.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

It is also known as Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary. A serenely calm and beautiful area in Thekkady town, the sanctuary has the Periyar Lake at the centre surrounded by the Cardamom and Pandalam hill slopes. The national park with an area of 675 sq km encircles the lake and is blessed with an abundance of flowering plants and trees and animal species from exotic birds, amphibians, insects, reptiles and mammals. Visitors to Periyar sail around the lake and have glimpses of elephants and bisons along the water’s edge; the park is also a famous Tiger Reserve with a good population of the endangered species thriving here.

Trekking is another popular activity in Periyar – Mangaladevi, Mullakudy, Thannikudy and Vellimala are the popular trekking trails in the surrounding hills.

Best months to visit – November to April

Nearest town – Kumili; closest airport – Madurai; closest railway station – Kottayam.

Silent Valley National Park

Silent Valley National Park in KeralaThe Silent Valley National Park is one of the first areas of the country to be identified as a biosphere; it forms the core of the Nilgiri International Biosphere Reserve and has received recognition from UNESCO as a Western Ghats World Heritage Site. The Silent Valley came about as a result of pioneering efforts by environmentalists and conservationists who opposed the construction of a hydel power project cutting through this beautiful land. This 230 sq km of tropical rainforest in the Sahaya hills is the surviving tract of evergreen forest untouched and unspoilt in the entire subcontinent region. It may not rank among the most popular wildlife spots in the state but its exquisite beauty and its importance as the last refuge for several rare and endangered species of plants, birds and animals make it a prestigious national park. Chief among these is the lion-tailed macaque whose numbers were dwindling rapidly; it is a matter of great pride that these primates thrive here in their natural habitat.
The Silent Valley is so called because unlike most other forest areas, the cicadas are conspicuous by their absence; however, the great number of wild birds endemic to the Nilgiris have made this area their home and their cries echo around the dense forests.

Best months to visit – November to March

Closest town (railway station and airport) – Coimbatore

Wayanad Sanctuary

Extending to an area of 344 sq kms, the Wayanad Sanctuary is divided into two separate pockets of forest area – the Muthanga Sanctuary in the south and the Tholpetty Sanctuary in the north. Established in 1973, as part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the Wayanad Sanctuary is an extension of the Bandipur National Park of neighbouring Karnataka. This deciduous and evergreen forest is a natural home for thriving wildlife species like leopards, tigers, panthers, bears, civets, wild dogs, Indian bison besides a host of reptiles and many species of birds. Besides, the abundance of nature and wildlife, this sanctuary is home to several tribal groups.

The Sanctuary is a protected area under the ‘Protect Elephant Project’ and, hence, it is common to sight roaming herds of elephants while driving through the forest.

The Lakkidi Valley, a picturesque and beautiful valley within the sanctuary has the distinction of experiencing the highest average rainfall in the state.

Best months to visit – June to October

Nearest town – Sulthan Bathery, closest airport and railway station – Kozhikode

Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary

Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary Under consideration by UNESCO for a World Heritage Site citation, this sanctuary covering an area of 285 sq km is adjacent to Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary and is blessed with a wide range of flora and fauna – 16 species of amphibians, 39 species of mammals, 61 reptile species, 124 butterfly types and 268 bird varieties. The sanctuary is also home to four indigenous tribal colonies.

The lake within the sanctuary is a favourite watering hole for many animals and tourists can avail the boating facilities to take a leisurely cruise. Prior permission is a must for trekking groups.

Best months to visit – November to April

Nearest town – Pollachi, closest railway station – Palakkad, closest airport – Coimbatore

Click Here to Read More about Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary in Kochi

Thattekadu Wildlife Sanctuary

One of the most popular wildlife habitats in the state with nature lovers and birdwatchers, Thattekadu Wildlife Sanctuary is also known as the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, in honour of the famed Ornithologist of India, Dr. Salim Ali who discovered this area. The first established sanctuary for birds, this place has a most exotic population of birds second only to that of the Eastern Himalayas with nearly 500 exotic bird species with unique habitat and migratory patterns. Read More

The bird sanctuary extends to a total area of 25 sq km and earns pride of place as ‘the richest bird habitat of peninsular India’.

Best months to visit – May to July

Nearest railway station – Aluwa, nearest airport – Nedumbassery

Some other sanctuaries and parks are:
  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, near Marayoor town, Idukki District
  • Eravikulam National Park, Munnar
  • Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Vembanad Lake
  • Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, Peppara Dam
  • Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary, Kochi
  • Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary, Thrissur District
  • Peechi-Vaazhaani Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chenthuruni Wildlife Sanctuary, near Kollam
  • Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, Kannur


Also Read: Wildlife Sanctuaries in Thrissur


Parks and Gardens in Kerala

Almost all of Kerala’s main towns and cities hug the waterfront, be it the silvery beaches or the gentle backwaters and there is never a place that is far from the presence of water. Since the state is endowed with natural water resources, it is only to be expected that gardens and parks, in natural as well as man-made forms dominate the landscape of cities and towns all over Kerala. In addition to the vast tracts of land cordoned off for wildlife sanctuaries and natural habitats for plant and animal life, there are an abundance of parks and gardens that are open to the public. There are no less than 60 big parks and gardens all over Kerala, besides the street corner ones, and these are located at landmark spots like dam sites, lake shores, along beach fronts and within public monuments and ancient palaces.

Malampuzha Gardens

Gardens in Kerala

These extensive gardens are at the site of the Malampuzha Dam. The dam, on the outskirts of Palakkad, is built across the Malampuzha River and the park is a very popular tourist attraction. There is a lake along the foothills nearby where walks and boat cruises for tourists are allowed. The gardens include natural spaces and man-made marvels such as the Japanese Gardens and the fountains.

Sea View Park

A very popular picnic spot for families to indulge in leisure activities like boating, this park is very close to the beachfront and has a large collection of plants and trees. Large flocks of local and migratory birds can be observed in the park.

Eco Park

This park, one of the earliest with an eco-friendly theme, is set in a picturesque locale in Thenmala close to the Ghat section and the nearby reserved forests. A Childrens’ Park and a Deer Park are the main attractions within this Eco Park. The long winding garden path set against enclosures of birds and animals, mostly deer which are abundant, is an excellent way of covering the whole area with the serene beauty of nature all round.

Indira Priyadarshini Park

Willingdon Island is a landmark area in Kochi, a piece of land away from the mainland and close to the harbour and naval settlements where one can watch the big cargo ships enter and leave the port. The park is one of the main attractions in the area, with the waters gently lapping against the walls and wide promenades that are inviting enough to take a leisurely walk along. This park is well maintained with a large collection of local plants, creepers and herbs that are endemic to the area. It is a great way to spend an evening relaxing in the quiet surroundings amid all the intense activity watching the setting sun.

Malabar Botanical Garden

These botanical gardens in Kozhikode cover a vast area with excellent collection of fresh water plants from all over the country. The tropical climate of the region brings abundant rainfall transforming a portion of the gardens into a wetland area for part of the year, ideal for the cultivation of wetland flora. It is also a centre for research in Biodiversity Conservation and related topics; many species of primitive plants like ferns and mosses are grown here along with exotic species of aquatic plants, orchids and medicinal varieties.

Must Read: Parks and Gardens in Kochi | Dreamworld Water Park in Thrissur | Kauthuka Park Thrissur | Lion's Park in Kozhikode | Sarovaram Bio Park in Kozhikode | Viaya Beach Park in Alappuzha

Forts and Palaces in Kerala

Tipu's Fort

Forts in KeralaAlso known as Palakkad Fort, this ancient structure still stands tall, its distinct laterite walls telling the stories of great courage and fortitude of the rulers who set foot there.

Tipu’s Fort was constructed by Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan’s father and Mysore Emperor, in 1766 AD to facilitate movement between both sides of the Western Ghats. Hyder Ali’s conquest of the Kochi and Malabar regions is well known in history. It was captured by the British in 1784 but later fell into the hands of the Zamorins of Kozhikode. The British ultimately wrestled control. In 1799, while fighting in one of the battles against the British, Tipu Sultan lost his life. The fort has been named in his honour. This intact and well preserved structure is administered by the Archaeological Survey of India and is protected under the Monuments Act.
  • Visiting hours - 0800 hrs to 1800 hrs
  • Railway station – Palakkad, 5 kms
  • Airport – Coimbatore, 55 kms (Tamilnadu), Kochi International Airport. 140 kms


Bekal Fort

The largest fort in Kerala used purely for defense purposes, the Bekal Fort is uniquely shaped like a keyhole and seems to rise straight out of the sea. Constantly drenched by the waves, a good walk around the fort gives a visitor the sense of defense strategy used to protect the area from invaders and enemies. Built in the 17th century overlooking the Arabian Sea its tall observation towers offer splendid views and had strategic significance in keeping track of even the tiniest movements of the enemy. Close to the fort are a temple and mosque signifying the religious harmony that prevailed at the time. From the ancient Kadampa kingdom it passed on to the Vijayanagar Empire before being taken over by Tipu Sultan, eventually being controlled by the British East India Company.

Bekal Fort and Beach is a prominent tourist destination today.
  • Major railway station – Kasargod, 16 kms
  • Airports – Mangalore Airport, 50 kms; Kozhikode International Airport, 200 kms from Kasargod

Anjengo Fort

Palaces in KeralaAnjengo (or Anjuthengu, which in Malayalam means five coconut trees) is a place on the sea coast near Varkala. In 1684, when the British East India wished to establish a settlement in Kerala, they were granted a piece of land with five coconut trees by the Queen of Attingal to carry on trade. The remnants of an old English Fort here is a historical throwback to the wars fought by various foreign powers to gain control of Kerala. The Fort contains a cemetery believed to contain the remains of the fort’s occupants; the oldest grave dates to 1704.

Off the beach, a stretch of backwaters crisscrossed with coconut trees provides an idyllic sight. The beach here is clean and is a favourite picnic spot. The fishing settlements along the beach add to the charm of this place, giving it an old-world look. Read More
  • Railway stations – Varkala 12 kms, Thiruvananthapuram 37 kms
  • Airport – Trivandrum International Airport, 35 kms


Padmanabhapuram Palace

Located at the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border at a distance of 35 kms from Kanyakumari is Padmanabhapuram Palace. Although Kanyakumari district falls within the state of Tamil Nadu, the Padmanabhapuram Palace is administered by the Kerala state government.

It is a 16th century wooden palace magnificently resplendent with intricate carvings of rosewood, murals from the 17th and 18th centuries and sculpted decor that is reminiscent of Kerala’s fine architectural design and style. The Padmanabhapuram Palace was the official residence of the Travancore Maharajahs when Padmanabhapuram was the capital of Travancore. In 1795, Thiruvananthapuram became the capital and this palace was used less for living and served as a museum to house all the royal artefacts and treasures. Read More
  • Visiting hours: 0900 hrs to 1700 on all days except Mondays.
  • Railway station – Nagercoil, 16 kms
  • Airport – Trivandrum International Airport, 52 kms


Mattancherry Dutch Palace

Built in 1557 by the Portuguese and gifted to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi, this palace is constructed in typical Kerala style with the Nalukettu, a traditional feature in most Kerala homes. This feature sports a large rectangular structure with an open central courtyard in the centre with four attached wings running in the four directions.

The palace was renovated by the Dutch in 1663; the central courtyard has a Bhagavati temple. The double-storeyed structure has a panoramic view of the backwaters. Other features like exquisite furniture, silver and metal coins, clothing, utensils, huge swings and weapons and ammunitions belonging to the royal families are also on display. Read More
  • Visiting hours – 10.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs on all days, Friday is the weekly holiday.
  • Railway station – Ernakulam, 10 kms
  • Airport – Kochi International Airport, 42 kms


The Arakkal Palace

The Arakkal Palace belonged to the only Muslim royal famil, the Arakkal Royal Family of Kerala that had relations with colonial powers and complete monopoly over the spice trade. The Arakkal rulers exercised overall control over northern coastal Kerala and Lakshadweep. The St.Angelo Fort close to the palace and known as Kannur Fort, was also purchased by the Arakkal ruler in 1663 for fortification and defence. In the mid 1800s when the British East India Company occupied India, they took over the fort and constructed a tunnel joining the Kannur and Thalassery forts together as an escape route from enemies.

The Arakkal Palace is a monumental structure with large halls, coloured glass panes and architectural grandeur. Within the vicinity of the palace is the Arakkal Mosque frequented by the family; a museum dedicated to the royal family houses the treasures which are on display to the public.
  • Railway Station – Kannur Railway Station
  • Airport – Karipur International Airport

Kilimanoor Palace

Famous Palaces in KeralaKerala’s tryst with art and its fame as centre of distinctive, heritage art and paintings can perhaps be attributed to that great master painter, Raja Ravi Varma. A royal by birth, Raja Ravi Varma’s rise to fame was through the master strokes of his brush and the canvases that he brought to life. The Kilimanoor Palace, which is his birthplace, holds a coveted place in the hearts of true art lovers and the followers of Ravi Varma. The palace walls were the first canvases he painted on, using charcoal as a precious 5-year old. The palace, spread over a vast extent of 15 acres comprised the traditional Kerala style residence, other adjoining medium and small buildings, bathing ponds, wells and groves of fruit trees. The lifestyle at the palace and the settings were later themes of his much renowned paintings that brought him international fame and recognition.

A visit to the palace gives a visitor an insight into the great artist’s studio and his work place as well as the opportunity to feast eyes on the reproduced works of his original paintings.
  • Railway station – Thiruvananthapuram Central, 41 kms
  • Airport – Trivandrum International Airport, 42 kms


Bolghatty Palace

A beautiful palace and monument which has now been converted into a heritage hotel, the Bolghatty Palace is on Bolghatty Island, Kochi. The Dutch built the two-storeyed palace in 1744 and much of it is still preserved in its original form. The original palace was used by a residence by the British Governors before it was taken over by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation; the now converted hotel is set in serene and beautiful landscapes with lush green tropical greenery, against the backdrop of the gentle backwaters. It offers different types of accommodation from deluxe to luxury; the rooms are filled with statuesque furniture and trappings of modern hotel stay but the idyllic atmosphere and laid-back charm are worth experiencing. Read More
  • Railway station - Kochi Harbour, Ernakulam Town and Ernakulam Junction
  • Airport – Kochi International Airport, 22 kms

Click Here to Read about: Fort Kochi | Kollengode Palace in Thrissur | East Fort in Thiruvananthapuram | Poonjar Palace in Kottayam | Krishnapuram Palace in Alappuzha

Some of the other forts and palaces in Kerala include:
  • Nilambur Kovilakkam, Malappuram
  • Shakthan Thampuran Palace, Thrissur
  • Thalassery Fort
  • Koyikkal Palace, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Krishnapuram Palace, Kayamkulam
  • Poonjar Palace, Kottayam
  • Chendamangalam Fort, Ernakulam District
  • Kuncham Smarakam Fort, Palakkad


Did You Know: Kerala is the first state in India, which carefully follows the concept of “Responsible tourism" and gaining attractiveness by improving the tourism rank of the country. Kumarakom is the live example in the state of responsible tourism and is the first place that is getting benefits by applying the notion.

Hotels and Resorts in Kerala

Almost all of the country’s leading hotel chains have a presence in Kerala at the main tourist destinations. There are also a couple of international hotel groups that vie for tourist attention. Kerala is ranked among the top travel destinations of the world and besides luxury tourism, there are hotels, resorts, lodges and boarding places to suit all budgets and requirements. Being a favoured destination, a trip to Kerala calls for detailed planning and scheduling in advance to ensure accommodation and travel reservations.

In recent years, hotels and resorts have started marketing the state’s naturally scenic beauty and abundant resources in the form of customized packages to suit travellers of all kinds. From laidback and leisurely vacations on sunny beaches, cruising along the backwaters in a refurbished rice boat, trekking or hiking through jungles dense with forest cover, walking along winding roads set in lush green estates and plantations high in the hill stations, feeling the jet sprays of water from the thundering falls, there are countless ways to enjoy a holiday in Kerala.

The Leela

Hotels in KeralaThis luxury resort belonging to the Leela Group of Hotels overlooks the sea at Kovalam and is set in a fabulous location. Spread over 44 acres of land on a rock face overlooking the Arabian Sea the hotel has 184 tastefully done guest rooms, private beach front, excellent food, efficient service and all the other factors that make it one of the most sought after holiday locations. The infinity pool on the rock front seems to almost merge with the waters of the sea, giving it a resplendent feel.

The Leela Address: Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram 695527, Kerala
Tel: +91-0471-305 1234
Fax: +91-0471-2481522
Website: www.theleela.com

The Zuri in Kumarakom

The Vembanad Lake is one of the largest backwater fronts in Kerala, very picturesque and scenic. The Zuri is located amidst the tranquil shores of the lake and offers world class facilities and services. It has been ranked ‘the best resort spa hotel’ for two years consecutively. The resort is known for its complete and comprehensive range of ayurvedic treatments by renowned medical practitioners and is a huge favourite with many foreign travelers.

The Zuri Kumarakom Kerala Resort & Spa: 235 A1 to A54, Karottukayal, Kumarakom, Kottayam 686563, Kerala
Tel: +91-0481 252 7272
Fax: +91-0481 252 7282
Website: www.thezurihotels.com/kumarakom

Vivanta by Taj in Kovalam

The Taj Vivanta, belonging to the Taj Group of Hotels, is built using a combination of the famed Balinese architectural styles in conjunction with local Kerala traditions and customs and literally transports visitors to another realm altogether. Individual guest cottages with thatched roofs are picturesquely set against the hillside with open and uninhibited views of the sea. There is a host of restaurants serving various cuisines with a fresh seafood counter on the beach, offering fresh catch of the day in preferred cooking style.

Vivanta by Taj: G V Raja Vattapara Road, Kovalam, Thirunvananthapuram 695527, Kerala
Tel: +91-0471 661 3000
Fax: +91-0471 248 7744
Website: www.vivantabytaj.com

Also Read Resorts in Kovalam

Vythiri Resort

The Wayanad region of Kerala is one of the most natural environments in the whole country. The Vythiri resort is tucked in the dense tropical rain forests of Wayanad with a whole range of accommodation choices like cottages, tree houses etc. The resort covers a huge area of 150 acres with a perennial creek running through the length of it. Apart from the superb facilities and services offered here for the discerning traveller, Vythiri’s harmonious celebration of nature and wellness includes therapies and treatments, and adventure activities like hiking, trekking etc.

Vythiri Resort: Lakkidi P O., Wayanad 673576, Kerala
Tel: +91-04936 256800 / 255366
Website: www.vythiriresort.com

Banasura Hill resort in Wayanad

Resorts in KeralaThis resort holds the ‘Certificate of Excellence’ for being Asia’s first and largest eco-friendly resort and is often referred to as the ‘mud haven of Kerala’. Built entirely using bamboo, leaves and mud with very little binding materials, the resort nestles in a 35-acre extent of land 3500 ft above sea level and contains coffee, pepper and tea plantations.

Banasura Hill Resort: Vellamunda, Wayanad 670731, Kerala
Tel: +91-04935 277900 / 01 / 02 / 03 & 277777
Website: www.banasura.com

Besides the hotels and resorts operated by leading hotel chains and private groups, there are many budget hotels offering convenient, clean and well furnished accommodation with good food. Most of these are run by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation and cover almost all the holiday destinations in Kerala.

Other well known hotels and resorts in Kerala are:

  • Vedic Village Resorts, Kochi
  • Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere, Kumarakom
  • Taj Vivanta, Kumarakom
  • The Oberoi Motor Vessel Vrinda
  • Kumarakom Lake Resort
  • Fragrant Nature Hotel & Resort, Kumarakom
  • Aranyaka Resort, Munnar
  • Misty Mountain Resort, Munnar
  • Silver Woods, Wayanad
  • Poovar Island Resort

Click Here for Information on Hotels in Thiruvananthapuram | Kochi | Ernakulam | Alappuzha | Kottayam | Malappuram | Thrissur

Homestays in Kerala

A ‘homestay’ experience in Kerala truly is a rejuvenating experience. It takes one back to the old-world charm of stately estate bungalows, luscious spread of home-cooked food with recipes secreted down from generation to generation, getting a peek into how old-timers learned to live off the land and losing track of time and the world going by. From rustic palaces set in rambling grounds with landscaped gardens to old, rambling homes refurbished with modern amenities and plantation buildings transformed into comfortable living quarters, there are a variety of homestay options to choose from in Kerala.

Some of the more memorable homestays are offered by those who invite you into their homes to share a simply cooked home meal that has a regional flavour, particularly in smaller and remote locations that may not perhaps feature on a travel itinerary.

There are many popular homestay vacations on offer which are arranged through local tour operators and agencies.

Nelpura Homestay in Alappuzha

Homestays in KeralaThis ‘heritage homestay’, in a scenic location along the backwaters of Kuttanad, is 150 years old and belongs to a Syrian Christian Family, the Chackos. The couple are qualified professionals and work in local institutions but still find time to run and maintain the family farm, which consists of paddy fields and coconut groves. Very close to the River Pampa, the structure boasts a traditional Kerala granary (known as ‘nelpura’), with carved wood, tiled roofs and magnificent verandahs. Guests are offered plenty of fresh, home-cooked meals and other facilities and services. This is a great way to see the local backwaters, the famous St. Mary’s Forane Church and other places of interest.

Nelpura Heritage Homestay:
Edayady House, Monkompu. P. O., Alappuzha 688 502, Keralam (Kerala), India.
Tele: 0091 477 2702336
Cell: 0091 94474 73432
e-mail: info@nelpura.com
Website: http://www.nelpura.com

Evergreen Estate Bungalow in Mundakayam

At this modern estate, a visitor can get a taste of traditional plantation life in India, especially rubber. The bungalow, rather western looking compared to other homestays, belongs to the Abrahams, George and Anju and was built in the 1950s in typical Art-Deco style. The entire area is rubber country, midway between the coastal plains and the hills of the Western Ghats. The house is surrounded by tropical gardens and rubber trees and one can easily see how the family farmed here for generations making a living from the soil. The Pullakaya River, the colonial era planters’ club, the rubber factory are all fascinating visits. The food is distinctly home-made with a variety of mouth watering dishes personally prepared with ingredients farmed from the land.

George Abraham: Bungalows and Homestays, KP IX 340/A Pottamkulam Buildings, Koottickal Post, Kerala 686514, India
Tel: +91 482 8284310
Mobile: +91 9447084310
Email: staygeo@gmail.com
Website: www.evergreenestatebungalow.com

Glenora Homestay in Wayanad

Registered as an ‘approved premium homestay and farm tourism provider’, this homestay is the property of the Rajagopal family who believe in offering the visitor a quality experience at their home. This house is set amidst 90 acres of avocado, betel nut, coffee, ginger, guava, lime, pepper and other fruits and spices. It has three well furnished rooms and two cottages on stilts that overlook the plantation and put one on eye level with birds, thick foliage and the troops of monkeys that surround the area. Plenty of fun and leisure activities like sunrise trips, trekking, jeep safaris and hikes are arranged along with trips to the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and Meenmutty Falls.

Mr. Rajagopal: Glenora Home Stay, Padivayal, Vaduvanchal P.O., Wayanad District, Kerala 673581, India
Phones: +91 4936 217550, 217450
Mobile: +91 9447145448
E mail: mail@glenorahomestay.com / rajuglenora@yahoo.co.in

Poopally’s Heritage Home in Alappuzha

This homestay is a ‘Heritage Eco-homestay’ with centuries old Kerala architecture, carvings and woodworks in an idyllic village location along the backwaters of Alappuzha. The homestay belongs to Dr. Joseph Pooppally and is run with the help of family members. Situated in Alappuzha, this homestay is an ideal holiday retreat for a perfectly relaxed and quiet vacation and is also within proximate distance of sightseeing places and spots in and around Alappuzha. The owners do their best to give the surroundings an eco-friendly feel without using harmful insecticides and pesticides and composting kitchen waste naturally for gardening purposes.

The property is in a secluded area; its 3 acre land extent includes varieties of medicinal plants and herbs and fruit yielding trees. A great many bird species can also be spotted here.

Pooppallys Heritage Homestay: Ponga P.O., Pooppally Jn., Nedumudy, Alleppey, Kerala, India
Kerala: 0477 2762034, 0477 3290800
Karnataka: 0824 4277400 | Mob: 0934 357 5080
Website: www.pooppallys.com
Email: pooppallys@yahoo.com, mail@pooppallys.com, paul@pooppallys.com

There are many other economy, budget and homestay options in Kerala thanks to the abundant waterways and canals that dot the entire state. Most of these were old bungalows or stately plantation homes that have been converted to give visitors and guests a feel of the leisurely and laidback plantation and estate life that has long since almost vanished.

Things To Do in Kerala

Kerala is the sort of vacation destination where one can find plenty of ways and means to enjoy a holiday, given the wide variety of tourist spots and holiday destinations that the state provides. All one needs is a taste for enjoying the expected with the unexpected, the luxury with the basics, the chaos with the calm, the turbulent with the serene and come back refreshed in body, mind and spirit as if one has been reborn!

A spate of activities and features are on offer in a Kerala vacation. From a taste of abundant nature to the vast expanses of mountains and hills, the sandy beaches, the flowing backwaters, the cultural ethos of Kerala’s history and tradition, its temples, churches, mosques and other religious places; there cannot be a dull moment for the tourist in Kerala.

Culture in Kerala

For a tourist wishing to absorb as much of Kerala’s colourful culture and tradition, there is enough celebration and pageantry to see. The Thrissur Temple Pooram, the Aranmula Boat Race, annual elephant races, festivals and celebrations of saints at famed churches and mosques, the captivating dances, dramas and plays, distinctive music and percussion instruments, traditional dress forms etc. are a veritable treat. Besides these, old palaces and traditional homes that have been preserved and maintained as monuments and museums are a must-see on a holiday to Kerala.

Kerala: A Treat in the Midst of Nature

A seasoned nature lover and traveller has much to choose from in Kerala. The National Geographic Traveler Magazine hailed Kerala as ‘one of the ten paradises of the world’ and there’s more than adequate reason to justify that. The rolling Western Ghats covered with thick scrub forests and dense jungles with perennial rivers and streams of water frequently criss-crossing the entire landscape, is home to a stunning variety of plant, insect, bird and animal and life that is unparalleled anywhere in India. Many of the protected forests and reserves in Kerala were the first to be notified; the famed Project Tiger in the Silent Valley Ecosphere was initiated in the early 1970s to arrest the dwindling tiger population in the country. Thanks to such scene-changing measures, many threatened and endangered species thrive in good numbers in their protected habitats here.















Best Time to Visit Kerala

Kerala is known as a paradise for tourist because of its pleasant weather conditions throughout the year. However, as we know, the Indian sub-continent summers are pretty hot and humid, especially the coastal areas because of high humidity. But Kerala’s unique mix of beaches, backwaters, hills, plains, waterfalls, dense jungles etc. also mean that these places should be experienced in the seasons that are best. Hence, although the typical advice is to avoid summers, the rainy season and the winters, it may mean that tourists miss out on visiting these places in their natural settings. A waterfalls, if seen in full monsoon flow, is an unforgettable sight. Similarly, driving through a forest in the rainy season when the trees drip with water and the mists cover the hills is also a beautiful experience; of course, precautions have to be taken to avoid unpleasant experiences as is the case with any vacation or holiday.

Since the weather conditions and climate in Kerala is not very harsh or unbearable, any time of the year is suitable for a visit. For some people visiting the beaches during the mild winter months is ideal whereas for some others the hot summer months seem perfect to get a good tan.

The weather conditions in Kerala are classified into three main seasons which as summer, monsoon and winter.

  • Summers are hot and humid and extend from March to May.
  • The monsoon months are categorized by strong winds and heavy rains and fall between June and September.
  • Winter months from October to February are mild and pleasant; however the higher reaches of the Western Ghats can experience very cold and chilly conditions.

Summer in Kerala

Since October to February is considered the peak tourist season, visitors in the summer months may be pleasantly surprised to receive off-season discounts on accommodation, sightseeing and food. This season is perfect for holidays in the hillstations of Munnar, Thekkady and Wayanad.

For adventure travellers and tourists who wish to indulge in hiking, trekking, mountaineering, wildlife sighting and photography this is a good time of the year.

Monsoon in Kerala

Best Time to Visit KeralaThis season usually sees a low turnout of tourists, beaches are deserted and some areas may be unreachable as road conditions can become tricky. Hence hotels slash rates and offer more packages to attract tourists and visitors with extra services included like treatments and massages. However, of late, taking into account the interest shown by visitors to witness firsthand the monsoon scene in Kerala, many resorts and hotels have started offering ‘monsoon packages’ as a way of attracting tourists in this mid-season transit.

If confined indoors, visitors can rejuvenate themselves with a warm, healthy Ayurvedic massage that Kerala is famous for.

The many waterfalls in Kerala are worth visiting at this time. But bathing in the falls or swimming near the area may not be allowed for safety reasons.

Winter in Kerala

Kerala’s winters are generally mild with blue skies and the warm sun beating down. An ideal season to visit the beaches, backwaters, hill resorts etc. However, this is also the peak tourist season and, hence, it is advisable to book ahead and confirm arrangements to avoid disappointments.

Click Here to Read About Tourism in Thiruvananthapuram | Kochi | Ernakulam | Alappuzha | Kozhikode | Malappuram | Kottayam | Thrissur
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    James from Ahmedabad 85 Days ago

    Its a great list of Kerala tourism. I've already visited most of places which are listed in this article. Last 4 year, I continued visit Kerala and all time i booked my kerala tour package with Sreestours.com a Kerala's leading tours & travel operator.

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