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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.
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
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.
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’.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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’.
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.
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.
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
Hill Stations in Kerala
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
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
between Pallivasal and Munnar, Attukal is known to be an ideal location
for trekking; the undulating hills and waterfalls provide a feast for
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.
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.
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
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
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 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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 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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
(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.
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
Airport – Trivandrum International Airport, 35 kms
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
Railway station – Thiruvananthapuram Central, 41 kms
Airport – Trivandrum International Airport, 42 kms
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
Some of the other forts and palaces in Kerala include:
Nilambur Kovilakkam, Malappuram
Shakthan Thampuran Palace, Thrissur
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
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.
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
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
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
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,
Vythiri Resort: Lakkidi P O., Wayanad 673576, Kerala Tel: +91-04936 256800 / 255366 Website: www.vythiriresort.com
Banasura Hill resort in Wayanad
This 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
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:
‘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.
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
‘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: email@example.com Website: http://www.nelpura.com
Evergreen Estate Bungalow in Mundakayam
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
George Abraham: Bungalows and Homestays, KP IX 340/A Pottamkulam Buildings, Koottickal Post, Kerala 686514, India Tel: +91 482 8284310 Mobile: +91 9447084310 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.evergreenestatebungalow.com
Glenora Homestay in Wayanad
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: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Poopally’s Heritage Home in Alappuzha
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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.
months from October to February are mild and pleasant; however the
higher reaches of the Western Ghats can experience very cold and chilly
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.
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
This 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
If confined indoors, visitors can rejuvenate themselves with a warm, healthy Ayurvedic massage that Kerala is famous for.
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
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.