About Kerala

Kerala Tourism At A Glance

Languid backwaters, leafy coastlines, sprawling tea gardens, and coconut vendors at every corner to vanquish your thirst, Kerala, famously known as 'God?s Own Country', is a tiny sliver of paradise that is one of best tropical tourist destinations one can possibly look for. Whether you want to bask in the sun and sand of the palm tree-lined Kovalam beaches, or you want to take a hike to Munnar hill station, or even if you just want to walk down the bustling streets of Kochi, Kerala has everything on offer to take your pick from.

The land of simple and literate citizens, Kerala amuses you with its spectacular dance forms, music and handicraft. Named as one of the ten paradises of the world, Kerala is known for long palm tree beaches, beautiful rivers, pious inland waterbodies and a calm, green atmosphere. Apart from lush green and lovely hills of Wayanad and Idukki, beaches like Kovalam and Varkala and backwater destinations including Alleppey and Kumarakom are among few of the highlights of Kerala. Surrounded by coconut trees, the long coastline provides ample opportunity for fishing. The backwaters, wildlife sanctuaries, mountain ranges and beaches give you ecstatic pleasure, and the serenity refreshes your mind and body.

HOW TO REACH

Nearest Airport – Cochin International Airport

Nearest Railway Station – Ernakulam Town Station

PLACES TO VISIT

Munnar

The idyllic hill station Munnar - famous for its tea estates, exotic lush greenery and craggy peaks, is located in the Western Ghats, in the state of Kerala. It serves as the commercial centre for some of the world's largest tea estates. In addition, Munnar has many protected areas which are home to endemic and highly endangered species like the Nilgiri Thar and the Neelakurinji.

One of the biggest tea-plantation area of South India, Munnar is one of the most beautiful and popular hill-stations of Kerala. Situated on the banks of three rivers- Madupetti, Nallathanni and Periavaru, Munnar is also blessed with natural view-points apart from the tea-plantations. Munnar is divided into Old Munnar, where the tourist information office is, and Munnar, where the bus station and most guest houses are located. The Eravikulam National Park, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and tea plantations are its major attractions.

Alleppey

Extremely famous for its beautiful backwaters, the city of Alleppey in Kerala is also known for its beaches, temples and traditional boat races. This popular tourist destination also has some very well reputed Ayurvedic spas and wellness centres.

Dotting the coastline of the Arabian Sea, Alleppey (also known as Alappuzha) is the oldest planned backwater town of Kerala. This place is famous for its numerous rivers crisscrossing the Sea and is home to many canals, backwaters, beaches and lagoons. Alleppey is often referred to as the Venice of India. The backwaters coupled with houseboats and the tropical village life makes Alleppey worth a visit.

Kochi

Situated on the south-west coast of India, Kochi or Cochin is a bustling commercial port city with a trading history that dates back to at least 600 years. Called as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, the city is the financial, commercial and industrial capital of Kerala.

The city is marked by influences of Arabs, Dutch, Phoenicians, Portuguese, Chinese and the British city as well as that of the Indian rule of Chera Dynasty followed by rule of the Feudal Lords. A gaggle of islands inter-connected by ferries, this cosmopolitan town has upmarket stores, art galleries and some of the finest heritage accommodations. In a true vintage-meets-future fashion, pubs, restaurants, shopping hubs and futuristic stores crowd Ernakulum, Jew Town and Fort Kochi while palaces, beaches, temples and heritage sites marking their presence too.

Wayanad

Replete with enchanting waterfalls, historical caves, comfortable resorts and home stays, this popular town is famous for its spice plantations and wildlife.

Among the prettiest areas of Kerala, Wayanad has a multitude of options for its visitors. Part of a forest reserve, Wayanad is located on the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The entire region is completely green with hilly ranges and wildlife including Tholpetty in the North, Muthanga in the east bordering with Tamil Nadu, Kalpetta in the south, Mananthvadi in the north-west and Sultan Bathery (Sultan Battery) in the east. Walking through the sprawling spice plantations, taking that trek into the pre-historic caves and experiencing a resort holiday are one of the many thing you can do to get a taste of Wayanad. A great place to spot wild elephants, cool breeze, beautiful scenery, Wayanad is guaranteed to please your travel senses. Overall, a perfect weekend idea from cities of South India.

Varkala

Popular for its natural fisheries and springs, and the samadhi of Kerala's saint Sree Narayana Guru, Varkala is a coastal town with pristine beaches, hills, lakes, forts and lighthouses - all of this together makes this town a little paradise located on the uniquely formed Cenozoic sedimentary cliffs in Kerala.

Varkala in the Trivandrum region of Kerala is a lesser known but a complete and ideal tourist destination. Experience the freshness in air, untouched beaches surrounded by hills, springs and fisheries. One must visit the Papanasam Beach, Varkala Beach which offers a number of activities including paragliding and parasailing, Kappil Lake and lighthouses in the area. Varkala has a lot of architecture too, to attract tourists such as the Janardhana Swamy Temple, Anjengo Fort, Vishnu temple and Sivagiri Mutt.

Kovalam

An idyllic village along the coastlines of the Arabian Sea, Kovalam is most famous for its three pristine beaches with shallow waters and low tidal waves where one can go surfing, wooden and motorboat riding.The beach town of Kovalam has three famous beaches - Lighthouse beach, Samudra beach and Hawah beach, which together form its majestic rocky crescent. Kovalam essentially means a ?grove of coconut trees? and the little town is filled with these palms.

Kovalam shot to fame with its hippie epoch in the early seventies and still sees the influx of tourists from Israel and Europe. The Samudra Beach, Kovalam Beach, Hawa Beach and the Light house beach are the places from where Kovalam derives its beauty and attraction. Ayurvedic treatments are one of its most popular indulgences along with yoga, meditation as well as other cultural activities. Kovalam perhaps comes full circle as it is also a shopping destination given the rich spices, wooden statues and handicrafts that can make popular takeaways.

Poovar

Poovar is a lovely island with long stretches of glowing sand, serene surroundings and refreshing gentle breeze. It is a small rustic town situated 27 kms from Thiruvananthapuram with unspoilt, unexplored beaches and beautiful backwaters of Kerala highlighting the most striking features of the town.

The most beguiling Poovar Island in Kerala or the God's own country, is the abode of natural beauty. Known for its pristine charm, the island is flocked by peace-lovers. Also known as a fishing village, the tranquil island lies between the Arabian Sea and the Neyyar River. The point where the sea, river and the land meets is a rare find in Kerala and is a natural wonder.

Flanked by the Arabian Sea, Neyyar River and Kerala backwaters, you will find swaying coconut trees, banana vegetation, and a lot of other examples of flora and fauna. The island has golden coloured sand and the bewitching sunset gives a perfect background for a romantic date. Since the water is not suitable for swimming, there are no beach activities here. However a cruise to neighboring village amid the clear blue water is possible and could be an unforgettable experience. Poovar is mainly inhabited by the fishing community and it is an ideal getaway to explore the intriguing culture and traditions of the locals. An estuary located adjacent to the Poovar Island is an admiring natural wonder with only the sounds of birds chirping and waves roaring.

Kumarakom

Situated on the banks of Vembanad Lake, Kerala's largest lake, Kumarakom is a cluster of many small man-made islands reclaimed from the lake.

Part of the Kuttanad region, Kumarakom along withÊAlleppeyÊhave beautiful backwater areas and they collectively form the most important tourist centres of Kerala. Boating and fishing facilities are available at the Taj Garden Retreat, a sprawling old bungalow-turned-resort. Waterscapes, the backwater resort of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation has independent cottages built on stilts, set amidst coconut groves and panoramic view of the backwaters. Holiday packages involving houseboats, traditional Kettuvalloms (rice barges) offer great experiences. The Kumarakom bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres, is a favourite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist's paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teals, waterfowl, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian Stork visit here in flocks and fascinate the visitors.

Sabarimala

More than 30 million pilgrims visit the temple in Sabarimala annually, making it the largest in India and second largest in the world, after Hajj Pilgrimage of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Tucked amongst dense forests and gurgling streams, the temple town of Sabarimala on the Pampa banks named after the mythological character Sabari shelters the famous Ayyappa temple. People believe that Vishnu's incarnate Parasurama placed the Ayyappa Idol at the top of the mountain. More than 30 million pilgrims visit the temple annually, making it the largest in India and second largest in the world, after Haji Pilgrimage of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. However, women of age 12-50 years, during an active menstrual cycle are not allowed inside the temple. Also, do note that the temple opens only 2 months in a year. Trekkers also find joy in trekking up the lush mountain to reach the temple.

Kollam

Steeped in rich past, entangled with unique culture and attributed with nature divine, Kolam lies on the southwest coast of India and has many more hidden treasures troves to be explored. It is one of the oldest ports in Arabian Sea bustling with the activities since the time of ancient Rome. Chinese, Arab, Portuguese, Dutch and British, all have tried their hands on trading spices and cashew crops from this famous port. In fact till date, the place has retained its commercial importance especially being a largest producer and exporter of finest quality of cashews. Sitting deftly on the shores of Ashtamudi Lake, the town is highlighted with several temples and mosques while the serene and tranquil backwaters offers an unwinding experience of luxurious boat ride. Where the main town is buzzing with activities and hectic, the surroundings compliments it with just the chattering of waves, swaying of coconut palms, calm and green cashew plantations and rustic image of traditional villages. Perfect weather, delicious food and enchanting views of the town never fail to lure tourists from all around the globe. Bekal

Located on the wide expanse of the Malabar coastline, Bekal is famous for its forts, backwaters, and beaches. This town on the shores of Arabian sea is known for the natural beauty it is blessed with along with a number of tourist spots. A set of 45 caves called the Nityanandashram caves, the aqua park, temples and mosques are its major attractions. Other than this one can visit the Bekal Fort and Beach, Kappil Beach and Chandragiri fort.

Kozhikode

Formerly known as Calicut, Kozhikode was the Capital of Malabar during the Zamorin rule 500 years ago and is famous for its centuries old trade in cotton and spices with Jews, Arabs, Phoenicians and Chinese. Vasco da Gama had set his foot on the remote beach of Kappad in Kozhikode in 1498 and 'Discovered India' and established trade routes with the west. Kozhikode city continues to be a centre of flourishing domestic and international trade. Its contribution to all round development of the district in trade, commerce and economic development over the years is spectacular. Kozhikode city is the marketing centre for commodities like pepper coconut, coffee, rubber, lemongrass oil etc., produced in Kozhikode and the neighbouring districts of Wayanad, Malappuram and Kannur. Basking in the idyllic setting of the serene Arabian Sea on the west and the proud peaks of the Wayanad hills on the east, this district with the serene beaches, lush green countryside, historic sites, all combine to make Kozhikode a popular tourist destination filled with a warm ambience to fascinate a visitor.

Thrissur

Officially known as the cultural capital of Kerala, Thrissur is famous for fostering classical Keralan performing arts, religious sites and the renowned Onam festival, Thrissur Pooram festival and Vadakkumnathan Temple. Thrissur which has also been known as Trichur is from where Kerala gets a fair share of its festive glitter and dynamic and sound instances of classical arts. Thrissur is sure to cast a spell on you with its colourful chants ringing with a rich Keralan culture. The festivals celebrated here are the major attraction for tourists and a visit to Thrissur is incomplete without witnessing these. Other tourist spots in Thrissur include the Vadakkumnathan Kshetram Temple, Tomb of Shakthan Thampuran, Archaeology Museum, Athirapally Falls, Heritage Garden and many more.

Trivandrum

Offering an appealing blend of a strongly rooted heritage and a nostalgic colonial legacy, the city of Trivandrum has an exceptional vibe to it. Despite being the capital of Kerala, the city has, quite astonishingly, managed to keep itself far removed from the ruthless aura that generally surrounds a capital city. Built upon seven hills, this city has long since left the days when it was only used by seafaring explorers behind - today, Trivandrum is a swanky metropolis with a quaint urban charm and plenty of scenic places to visit. Proudly retaining its age-old cultural charm, Trivandrum offers a huge variety of sights including incredible museums, beautifully designed palaces, sacred temples and mesmerizing beaches, making the city one of the best tourist spots in South India.

The Padmanabhaswamy temple (also known as Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple), is a must-visit temple of India. Located in the heart of the city, the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and stands out for its striking mix of Keralan and Dravidian style architecture, showcasing a sublime artistic temperament. The 18-feet high idol of Lord Vishnu is awe-inspiring, and tourists throng this temple all year round to seek the blessings of and pay their respects to Lord Vishnu. Other famous temples in Trivandrum include the Attukal Bhagawati temple, the Aazhimala Siva Temple, the Karikkakom Chamundi Devi Temple, and the Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple.

If ancient history and culture fascinate you, then Trivandrum is just the place for you to visit. The city is home to a few museums such as the Kuthiramalika Palace Museum and the Napier Museum. The Kuthiramalika Palace Museum is situated close-by to the Padmanabhaswamy temple, and it gets its name from the 122 intricately carved wooden horses that greet all visitors. Renowned for its Travancore styled architectural features and its structural elegance, this museum houses priceless paintings, traditional furniture, and other collections of the royal family. The Napier Museum, located in the heart of the city, is a beautiful example of Indo-Saracenic architecture and is one of the most visited places in the city. The museum has on display a rare collection of archaeological and historical artefacts, as well as other ancient ornaments, and ivory and wooden carvings. Both these museums serve to provide valuable insights into Kerala?s rich legacy of culture and history.

Trivandrum is home to many idyllic beaches, the most famous of them being the Kovalam beach. With a long shoreline creating a spellbinding bay of calm water, breathtaking views of sunrises and sunsets, and eye-catching options for leisure, this beach attracts tourists for all the right reasons. Other beaches in the vicinity include the Hawa beach and the Shanghumukham Beach.

As with any other coastal city in Kerala, Trivandrum’s cuisine is dominated by seafood and local South Indian dishes with an abundance of coconut. Traditional meals are generally served on clean, green banana leaves, making the entire experience of eating a meal in Trivandrum a truly authentic one.

Nilambur

Enriched with raw nature, a unique blend of culture, exquisite art forms and shadows of colonial rule, Nilambur is located in Malappuram District of Kerala. Nestled at the bank of Chaliyar River in proximity to Nilgiri Range, this small town is popularly known as 'Land of Teak Plantations'. Blessed with vibrant shades of natural beauty, the region is clustered with exotic wildlife and showcases a vivid illustrations of past through several royal residencies. Nilambur, covered under vast tracks of forest has many kind of wood mushrooming around other than teak. Venteak, rosewood and mahogany are the other few type of wood that flourish in the area. Pleasant weather is the last thread that makes this town a perfect destination for all kind of vacation makers.

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