Colorful Kerala is an enchanting kaleidoscope full of breathtaking surprises. The equable climate, serene beaches, tranquil stretches of backwaters, lush hill stations and exotic wildlife, waterfalls, sprawling plantations and paddy fields made it as one of the sought after tourist destinations in Asia. To a tourist, Kerala offers one of the best beaches in the country at Kovalam and one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries at Thekkady.
Kerala, the surreal tropical paradise, is truly enigmatic and beautiful. The state of Kerala sits in sharp contrast to the rest of India with its highest literacy rate, women outnumbering the number of men, newspaper readership among the highest in the world, world-class health care systems and being the most developed society in India. This petite state synonymous with wellness is popularly referred to as the ‘Land of Ayurveda’.
With the Arabian Sea in the west, Western Ghats towering 500-2700 meters in the east and a network of 44 rivers cutting across the state, it is Kerala’s unique geographical features that make it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia. The state is divided into 14 districts, all of which offer unique combinations of – shimmering backwaters, bio-diversity hotspots, tropical forests, golden sand beaches, historic monuments, Wildlife Reserves et cetera. Cosmopolitan Magazine, in apt recognition of the state’s romantic charms, rates Kerala as one of the top 10 love nests in India.
The state stays abreast with other developed nations of the world. The proactive policies has helped catapult the state into one of the major IT hubs of India, on par with that of Bangalore and Hyderabad. Watch dazzling kaleidoscopic visions of a landscape painted with many shades of green unfold before your eyes as you travel from one end of the state to the other. Kerala is, beyond the power of words to say it, a lovely destination, or to be more precise, the loveliest of all destinations in India. Sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of this timeless land.
- Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls, Idukki
The Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls are located between Neriamangalam and Adimali around 10 km on the Kochi – Madurai Highway. The Cheeyappara Waterfall cascades down in seven steps. This is also a great place for trekking. Valara has a chain of waterfalls surrounded by thick green forests. Waterfalls can also be accessible from Munnar, around 42 km on Aluva-Munnar Rd.
- Blossom Hydel Park
Immerse yourself in the gift of nature at the Blossom Hydel Park, located around 3 km away from the Munnar Town, towards the old Munnar. This exotic piece of land has fresh flowers, Muthirappuzha river, lush green landscape, embracing migratory waterbirds, and mountain butterflies, that attracts tourists from distant cities and abroad. This park is a part of the Sylvan hill resort of Munnar and is located nearby beautiful Muthirappuzha River and misty Kannan Devam hill Tea Estates. It has a vast stretch of landscaped mounts, gardens, artificial waterfalls & lawns that offer a wide range of facilities to make visitors feel relaxed and rejuvenated all at a same time.
- Flower Garden
Munnar Floriculture Centre, popularly known as Munnar Rose Garden, is a beautiful garden with hundreds of rare varieties of flowers and herbal plants. With large tea plantations in the background, this is place is definitely worth a visit for everyone who enjoy flowers.
- Photo Point
Photo Point Munnar is a very attractive destination. Photo point is also known as shooting point. It’s very close to Mattupetty Dam and it’s surrounded with woods and has a small stream that make for a picture perfect location. This is an ideal spot for picnic, Featuring dense tea plantations, woods, small rivulets and rolling hills make this an excellent spot to spend a day.
- Mattupetty Dam
Nestled inside the hills of Munnar and very near to the Anamudi peak lies Mattupetty, the hill station at a height of 1,700 m. Mattupetty is located 13 km away from Munnar. Here you can enjoy the greenish valleys and feel the fabulous climate around. The main attraction of Mattupetty is the dam and the lake here.
- Eco Point
This is a very beautiful place in Munnar, which got its name from natural echo phenomenon situated at a scenic lake bank. When you scream at here, you will be hearing your voice returning to you. Placed at an altitude about 600 ft, Echo Point is located 15 km away from Munnar, on the way to Top Station.
- Kundala Lake
Kundala is a picturesque place, about 20 km from Munnar on the way to Top Station. It is at a height of 1700 meters above sea level. It is located at a distance of 20 kilometeres from Kundala dam. In Kundala, cherry blossoms appear twice in a year. The famous Neela Kurunji flowers which bloom once in twelve years, bloom in the hills and valleys around Kundala Lake.
- Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam national park is spread over an extensive area of 97 sq km along the crest of Western Ghats in the high ranges of Idukki district. Located 15 km from Munnar, it is one of most important tourist destinations in Kerala. The national park is managed by the Kerala Department of Forest and Wildlife, Munnar.
- Tea Museum and Factory
Munnar is perhaps the choicest of places to preserve and showcase some of the exquisite and interesting aspects on the genesis and growth of tea plantations in Kerala’s high ranges. With special emphasis to Munnar, and to the delight of tea lovers and tourists, Tata Tea recently opened a Tea Museum which houses curious, photographs and machineries, each depicting a turning point that contributed to a flourishing tea industry. The museum set up at the Nallathanni Estate of Tata Tea in Munnar is a fitting tribute to the toils and rigours of its pioneers, who showed utmost determination and were resolute in their efforts to transform Munnar into a major plantation center of Kerala.
- Kumily Local Market
The best buys in Kumily are, of course, the spices. The spices of Kumily are famed for their aromatic flavour and for their culinary value. Commonly sold in compact, transparent packets, their aroma and freshness make them an irresistible buy. Various products made with spices like spice chocolates, spiced preserves and specialty teas and coffees are also available.
- Spice Plantations
There are many factors that make the plantation experience a memorable one. For some, it could be the unassuming beauty of the tiny flowers of the cardamom that grow at the base of the plant; for others, the tantalizing aroma of cinnamon or cloves, and for some others, the cool breeze that lovingly strokes the green plantations and everything in it. Apart from being enjoyable, these plantation tours give tourists an insight into the growing, harvesting and processing of spices. The peeling and drying of cinnamon, and the painstaking task of hand-pollination of vanilla can be observed on such trips.
- Elephant Ride
The elephant ride through the jungle, organized by the Forest Department, is an unforgettable experience. Not only is it a great option to observe the wildlife, it is also guaranteed to be a fun experience. As you make your way through the jungle on top of a tusker, you will, most likely, feel like one of the kings of yore out to survey his hunting ground.
- Periyar Tiger Reserve
The Periyar forests of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India. Spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunities for treks and mountain walks.
- Boating at Periyar Lake
Enjoy boating along the scenic Periyar Lake and experience its vast calmness .The stark, skeletal remains of the trees that protrude from its waters give the area a primeval look. The mists that swirl ethereally over the water in the early morning heighten this impression. The scenic Periyar Lake in the middle of the sanctuary is a great place for boating and watching the elephants frolic.
- Varkala Beach
Location: 51 km north of Thiruvananthapuram city in Thiruvananthapuram district and 37 km south of Kollam, south Kerala. Varkala, a calm and quiet hamlet, lies on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. It has several places of tourist interests like a beautiful beach, a 2000-year-old Vishnu Temple and the Ashramam – Sivagiri Mutt a little distance from the beach.
- Varkala Light House
Varkala Lighthouse is a much acclaimed tourist hotpot located near the popular Varkala beach. Visitors to this beautiful beach hardly miss the opportunity to explore this standing epitome of British architecture. Overlooking the turquoise water of majestic Arabian Sea on one side and the cool and calm backwaters on the other, the lighthouse attracts sizeable visitors who come here to explore this renowned historic structure and experience the adorableness and the calmness draped in its surrounding environment.
- Varkala Aquarium
Varkala Aquarium in Varkala is a perfect place to go on a date with your kids. Your kids will get to know more about the aquatic creatures and you all will have a gala time. Not just kids, but even adults can enjoy visiting this incredible place. Built as a spiral ram, the place is perfect to spend an hour or two and kill your time doing something fruitful.
- Papanasam Beach
It is a famous destination in Kerala. The Papanasam beach is also known as Varkala beach. This beautiful beach provides you with a peaceful atmosphere. You will find a long cliff, which is bordered by shops, tall coconut palms, resorts, guest houses and hotels. It is mainly famous for beautiful sunsets.
The beach is divided in two parts. In the southern area of beach, most of the Hindus come to perform the rites, after the death of their close ones. Northern area of beach is the tourist part. The Papanasam beach is also known as a religious destination in Kerala. It is believed that holy water from this beach has curative properties and it washes away the impurities in the body.
It is a great place to refresh and relax with family and friends. This place offers great accommodation facilities as well. Numerous people visit this place every year to enjoy the pristine beauty.
- Alleppey Lake
Ideal place for boating, Alleppey Lake is a place full of romance and natural beauty. Best place for honeymooners around the year. Take a romantic boat ride on a lake and you will be happy to spend time with some unforgettable moments together.
- Alleppey Beach
Alleppey beach is a tourist attraction in Kerala. Beach has an old pier which extend to sea is over 150 years old. Alleppey beach host many events annually like Alleppey beach festival, Sand art festival and many more.
- Alleppey Museum
The Revi Karuna Karan Memorial Museum in Alleppey town is a befitting memorial to a man who besides his first passion ‘coir’, also possessed a special interest in collecting classic works of art; old and rare; varied and inspiring. Located on the National Highway-47 passing through the town of Alleppey, near the powerhouse bridge, the museum has literally enhanced the interests of visitors to the ancient trade town of Alleppey, also famous for its backwaters and beaches.
- Kumarakom Vembanad Lake
Kottayam is a vast network of canals which empty into the great expanse of water called the Vembanad Lake. The lake, an enchanting picnic spot and a fast developing backwater tourism destination, provides boating, fishing and sightseeing experiences that are truly exhilarating. The Kumarakom Tourist Village offers houseboat cruises and holiday packages. The serene lake comes alive during Onam with a spectacular water regatta – the snake boat races. It is indeed amazing to watch oarsmen, at least a hundred in one boat, slice their way through the waters to the fast rhythm of their own full throated singing.
- Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Kumarakom bird sanctuary, spread across 14 acres, has an interesting variety of birdlife. If you are a bird enthusiast, visit the sanctuary between June and August, the breeding season of resident wetland birds such as Indian Darter, Little cormorant, different species of egrets and herons, white ibis, several species of kingfishers, etc. Between the months of November and May, the bushes and woods of the sanctuary play host to some rare migratory birds. The Vembanad lake body attracts waterfowl like pin-tailed duck, garganey teal, spot-billed duck, birds of prey like osprey, marsh harrier, steppe eagle, etc. Bird lovers can also take a boat trip to the nearby Kaipuzha Muttu, Pathiramanal, Narakathara, Thollayiram Kayal and Poothapandi Kayal to watch local birdlife and migrants which could easily be more than a hundred species.
- Fort Cochin
To explore the historic town of Fort Kochi, there is no better choice than setting out on foot. Relax, breathe deep and come out in cotton, soft shoes and yes – a straw hat. At each and every nook of this island steeped in history, there is something amusing awaiting you. It is a world of its own, retaining the specimens of a bygone era and still proud of those days. If you can smell the past, nothing can stop you from walking through these streets.
- Mattancherry Palace
Built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi, the Palace was renovated in 1663 by the Dutch. The palace with a Bhagavathi Temple in the central courtyard is built like the typical Kerala style mansion – the Nalukettu – the home of the aristocracy, nobility and upper classes, with four separate wings opening out to a central courtyard.
- Jewish Synagoge
Fort Kochi, the place not far away from the city of Kochi can ideally be termed as a cultural melting pot of Kerala. This small geographical entity is perhaps unique in the world due to its cultural representations. Be it for people from other parts of India or those from far off lands like those in the Middle-East and Europe, Fort Kochi at various stages of time in the past welcomed them all to settle down and lead a life in harmony with the native folks.
- Jewish Street
It’s almost a walk down the lanes of antiquity. The Jew Street is lined with shops that sell curios, antique pieces of crockery, carved wooden furniture, bronze and brass sculptures, remnants of traditional houses, and jewellery. The antique sellers of these streets are the descendants of a fast dwindling population of Jews who settled down here in AD 52. Every piece that they sell has its own tale to narrate – of a palace or a home of the nobility, of travels across many lands and ages.
- Marine Drive
Marine Drive in Kochi, is a popular hangout and this scenic stretch offers a spectacular view of the backwaters and the Kochi Harbor. Shopping malls, cinema halls, restaurants, cafés and supermarkets line the drive. The Rainbow Bridge and the International Tourism Boat Jetty Complex are other attractions here.
- The Zoological Park
One of the first zoos in India, the Zoological Park in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala, was established as early as 1859. A reptile house with different species of snakes and a vulture house are also located within the premises. Plastic is banned inside the park. The park is open daily from 0900 to 1815 hrs. It is closed on Mondays.
- Napier Museum
Napier Museum and Natural History Museum are situated in the Museum compound, right in the heart of the Thiruvananthapuram city, near the zoological park. Napier Museum built in the 19th century, this Indo-Saracenic structure boasts a natural air-conditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. The Japanese shadow play leather figures, used to depict the epics of Mahabharata and the Ramayana, are very interesting.
- Sree Chithra Art Gallery
The Sree Chithra Art Gallery near the Napier Museum was opened in 1935 by the then Maharaja of Travancore, Sree Chithira Thirunal, displays rare collection of paintings by Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich; exquisite works from the Mughal, Rajput and Tanjore schools of art. An oriental collection consisting of paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali offers a visual treat and are a tribute to the art and culture of these countries. The collection also includes unique copies of Indian mural paintings from pre-historic times down to the 18th Century.
- Pathmanabha Swamy Temple
Located inside the East Fort in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of the State of Kerala in India is the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This temple is a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture. The history of Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple dates back to 8th century. It is one of the 108 sacred Vishnu temples or Divya Desams in India. Divya Desams are the holiest abodes of the Lord Vishnu that are mentioned in the works of the Tamil Azhvars (saints). The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu, reclining on Anantha, the hooded Serpent.
- Light House Beach
The 35 m lighthouse at Kovalam is perched atop the palm-covered Kurumkal Hill jutting out on to the sea. Visitors can climb the spiraling staircase inside to the top of the red and white tower and enjoy a spectacular view of the surroundings.
- Hawa Beach
Hawa beach or Eve’s beach lies opposite to the Light house beach. Many tourists claim it to be the most beautiful among the beaches in Kovalam. The exquisiteness of this Kovalam beach is enhanced by the stack of palm grooves which reward a unique elegance to this place. The beach in the early morning is found crowded with native fishermen who rely completely on the sea for their living. Chanting and singing of these people in their local language along with the cadenced waves create a great acoustic treat for the visitors here. Hawa beach is separated from other beaches by the foreland of Edakkalu. From here, you can get the majestic view of sunset at its apex grace. After the sun sets, the calm cove of waters in the beach provides a visual charm of moonlit nights.
- Poovar Island
Located 12 km south of Kovalam in Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala, Poovar is an isolated but spectacular beach. It is situated close to the Neyyar River estuary. A trading port in its early days, it is today an important tourist destination.
- Sucheendram Temple
Located almost midway between Nagercoil and Kanyakumari Suchindram is a very famous pilgrim center. At just 7 kms from Kanyakumari Suchindram is famous for the Thanumalayan Temple. Thanumalayan Temple built in the 17th century and is famous for its sculptures and is known for its quality of workmanship.
- Vivekananda Rock
An impressive memorial to Swami Vivekananda has been built on a rock situated some 400m offshore. In fact, there are two rocks side by side projecting out of the sea. The rock is approachable only by boat which provides a pleasure cruise into the sea.
- Kanyakumari Beach
Kanyakumari is located at the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula; its former name was Cape Comorin. The Kanyakumari beach is a beautiful sight with multi-coloured sand. The beach here does not really offer one the opportunity to sunbathe on soft golden sands, or to frolic in the waves either. The seashore is rocky and dangerous, and there is a manmade wall running along it. People are warned to stay off the rocks, and when if someone ventures out of bounds, he or she is quickly and severely reprimanded by a watchful policeman. There is a lighthouse from where one can get a panoramic view.