Places to Visit in Kerala

 

Kerala is probably one of the greenest places you will ever see. Kerala has got a lot of unique reasons to be called a paradise. A pleasant climate, sun kissed beaches, backwaters, hill stations, exotic wildlife, breathtaking waterfalls, Ayurvedic health holidays, enchanting art forms, magical festivals lot more.Traveler's come to see Kerala's wildlife sanctuaries, historic cities and temples. Stressed out urban dwellers rejuvenate themselves at the ayurveda spas and resorts in Kerala.



Alleppey
 

General Information about Alleppey (Alappuzha) 
Area : 1,256 sq. km 
Population : (1991 census) 1,990,603 
Temperature range : 18C -39 C 
Best time to visit : August to march 

Alleppey (Alappuzha) is a District of immense natural beauty in Kerala. Today, Alappuzha has grown in importance as a Backwater Tourist Centre, attracting several thousands of foreign tourists each year.It is also famous for boat races, houseboat holidays, beaches, marine products and coir products. It ia also known as the Venice of The East. For a total Alappuzha experience traverse the canals on small vallams (Boats) or anchor in the middle of the backwater lakes on a Kettuvallam (rice boat converted to cozy house boats) - spend the night under the star lit sky, listening to the splash of water on to the boat.

How to reach:-The nearest airport is Cochin, which is 95 Kms away. Alleppey is well connected by rail from all major places in India. Alleppey is well connected by Road also.

Prime Attractions of Alleppey:-

Pathiramanal:-This Island on the backwaters is a favorite haunt of hundreds of rare migratory birds from different parts of the world. The island lies between Thaneermukkom and Kumarakom, and is accessible only by boat. 

R-Block:-This area in Kerala is very famous for its backwaters and you can have very beautiful scenes of paddy fields. This is one of the places in the world where farming is done below sea level.This is a popular location in the Kerala tour. 

Alleppey Beach:-Alappuzha beach is one of the most popular spots in the district of Alappuzha. . The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 137 years old. There is also an old lighthouse, which is greatly fascinating to the tourists of Kerala.

Krishnapuram Palace:-Built by Marthanda Varma, it is at Karthikapally in Kayamkulam and is famous for its mural depicting the story of Gajendramoksham. In this 18-century museum you can see antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes. 

Boat Race:-Allappuzha Backwater is world famous for its Snake Boat Race. Boat Races usually take place at the time of Onam festival. 

Some of the important boat races are:
1. Nehru Trophy Boat Race (2nd Saturday of August) 
2. Payippad Jalotsavam (4th Onam Day) 
3. Champakulam Moolam Boat Race (July)

 

Cochin

General Information about Kochi (Cochin) 
Area : 83.52 sq. km 
Population : (1991 census) 5,64,038 
Temperature range : 35 C to 22.5 C 
Best time to visit : October to May 

Kochi (Cochin), the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala, has one of the finest natural harbours in the world. It is now Kerala's commercial center. It's also quite a tourist attraction and knows how to make a visitor feel at home. It is actually a loose agglomeration of townships connected by waterways. Its natural situation among the waterways and backwaters is quite lovely, and along with the Indian buildings are many remnants of the three colonial occupations (Portuguese, Dutch, English) that it has undergone.The Backwaters extend east and south of the harbour and contain tiny islands formed naturally over a long time by alluvial deposits from the rivers that empty into them.

How to reach:-Cochin Airport has a direct link with the major airports in India. There are regular flights to the metro cities and other major cities in India like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai Goa and Bangalore.

Prime Attractions of Cochin:-

Kumarakom (88 km):-This unique backwater destination situated on the banks of the Vembanad Lake is considered the gateway to the backwaters of Kuttanad. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a favourite haunt of migratory birds from across the world, which makes it a renowned bird watching centre. Kumarakom is also a centre for houseboat cruises.

Bolghatty Palace:-A Scenic island of Kerala , Bolghatty is famous for the Bolghatty Palace built by the Dutch in 1744 AD.

Dutch Palace:-Originally built by the Portuguese in the mid-16th century, the Dutch Palace or Mattancherry Palace is located at Mattancherry. It was presented to the Cochin Maharaja in 1555 AD and later taken over by the Dutch who carried out repairs and extended it further .

Jewish Synagogue:-The oldest synagogue in India, it was built in 1586 AD by the prosperous Jewish community whose links with Kerala began in Kodungalloor in northern Kerala.

Indira Gandhi Boat Race:-Indira Gandhi Boat Race is a grand fest on the rolling backwaters of Cochin. Conducted in the last week of December, it is a fitting finale to the Tourism Fair.

Aattachamayam:-The festival of Attachamayam is held on the Atham day of the Malayalam month of Chingam (August/ September), at the historical town of Tripunithura, near Cochin 

Cheeyappara Waterfalls:-The Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls are located between Neriamangalam and Adimali on the Cochin - Madurai highway. The Cheeyappara Falls cascades down in seven steps.

Chottanikkara Temple:-Chottanikkara temple, located near Ernakulam enshrines Bhagawati - the mother Goddess, one of the most popular deities in Kerala. Devi is worshipped along with Lord Vishnu. 

Cochin Carnival:-Cochin Carnival is a merry making feast observed during the last week of every year in Fort Cochin in Kerala. The carnival dates back to the Portuguese New Year revelry held here during the colonial days. 

Edapalli Perunal:-The feast at the ancient Roman Catholic Church of Edapalli Perunnal is situated on the National Highway (NH 47) between Ernakulam and Aluva. 

Kodungaloor Bharani:-Kodungalloor, 50 kms north of Cochin, was the ancient port town of Muziris or Crangannore. Goddess Bhagavathi is the presiding deity of the ancient temple here. 

Malayatoor Perunal:-The feast or the 'Perunnal' at the famous Catholic Church at Malayatoor is celebrated on the Sunday after Easter, in the months of March/April.

Santa Cruz Basillica Chruch:-Close to the St. Francis church, it is Roman Catholic Church, which was also built by Portuguese. It has a beautiful collection of paintings and a decorative ceiling.

St. Francis Church:-Built in 1503 by Portuguese Francisan Friars, this is the India's oldest European church. 

Thalassery Fort:-Thalaserry fort, located at a distance of 22 kms from Kannur constructed in 1708 AD was the military centre of the British.

 

Kovalam

General Information about Kovalam 
Area : 1414 Sq Km 
Population : (1991 census) 21,05349 
Temperature range : 35 C to 22.5 C. 
Clothing: : Light cottons 
Best time to visit : October to April 

A former fishing village, Kovalam is just 16 km away from Thiruvanantapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala's capital city. Kovalam is an evergreen and pleasant climatic beach resort. It is a dreamy place for tourists all over the world. Today Kovalam beach is known as the "Paradise of the South".With high rock promontory and a calm bay of blue waters, this beach paradise creates a unique aquarelle on moonlit nights. Over the past three decades, the place has been well developed, and now figures prominently on the world tourism map.

How to reach:-Nearest Airport - Trivandrum (20 kms). Nearest rail head is Trivandrum Central. Trivandrum is connected by rail with many important cities. Road Kovalam is connected by road with several tourist destinations within Kerala and India.

Prime Attractions of Kovalam:- 

Kovalam Beach:-The Kovalam beach situated 16 km, south of Trivandrum City, is one of the best beaches in India. It's a must see destination of India. On account of it's natural location, if affords facilities for safe sea bath. Kovalam consists of three successive small crescent beaches; the southern most known as Lighthouse Beach, is where most of the visitors spend their time. The beach is bordered with low cost lodging houses, and restaurants which offer adequate facilities, at affordable tariffs - ideal for a long stay. The light house on the promontory at the southern end of the beach, offers a spectacular view across to the Vizhinjam mosque. 

Padmanabhaswamy Temple:-This temple is one of the 108 Divya Sthalas of Lord Vishnu. Lord Padmanabha is in a reclining position here, and the temple is maintained by the Rajah's of the city. 

East Fort Ganapathy Temple:-Ganapathy Kovil is situated at Pazhavangady, near East Fort. Sree Ganapathy is the diety of the temple that is owned by the military. You can buy coconuts from the forecourts of the temple to be offered to Ganapathy.

The other popular temples are--Pazhavangadi, Attukal Bhagavathy,Hanuman Temple Besides, there are churches like--St.Joseph Church, Palayam Christ Church, Paslayam LMS Church,Palayam Lourdes Church, Near PMG Jn. Pentacostal Church and Mosques like---Charachira Jama Masjid, Palayam,Jama Masjid, Beemapally Mosque,Thampanoor Hidayuthul Islam Madrasa,Moyuddin Mosque, Vizhinjam.

 

Kumarakom
 

General Information about Kumarakom 
Area : 30 sq kms 
Population : 7000 
Temperature range : 37.80 C--16.10 C 
Best time to visit : June and August 

Kumarakom is a breathtakingly beautiful paradise stocked with divine mangroves and coconut groves, lush green paddy fields, gushing waters snaking through the dense forests and the magnificent delicate fluttering blossoms. 

How to reach:-Kumarakom in Kerala is just a few miles (16 km) from the nearest city, Kottayam. There are daily flights to Kerala where, as entry points, you have a choice of three international airports - Kochi (Cochin), Kozhikode (Calicut) and Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum). 

Prime Attractions of Kumarakom:-

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary:-This fabulous bird sanctuary is on the banks of the Vembanad lake house. An ornithologist's delight, this place is the favourite haunt of the migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal.

Backwater in Kumarakom:-Kumarakom slumbers on the banks of the famous Vembanad Lake. The Vembanad Lake with its majestic canals, streams and distributaries along its banks weave an intricate and enchantingly beautiful web.

Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls:-Pay a visit to the picturesque Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls . It is this beautiful picnic spot where streams tinkle as they make their way through the landscape and waters roar as they cascade down the mountains from a height of 100 ft.Pathiramanal (sands of midnight), This is an enchanting island on the lake, can be accessed by boat from here. This 10 acre island on the backwaters is home to many rare varieties of migratory birds from different parts of the world.

 

Munnar
 

General Information about Munnar 
Area : 26.2 sq .km 
Clothing : Warm Cloths and Rain Gear 
Temperature range : 25 C--0 C 
Best time to visit : August to March 

The Munnar, located about 5200 ft. above sea level is originally a comfort station among the hills built by the British planters. Munnar is only a three hour journey from the most happening city of Kerala, Kochi. It is a land with rolling hills, carpeted with green tea, tropical forest and has a treasure of plants and wildlife that do not exist anywhere else on the planet.

How to reach:-Munnar does not have an airport or railway station of its own. The nearest airport and railway station to Munnar is at Kochi, which is 130 km west of Munnar. Munnar is accessible by road from most of the towns in Kerala.

Prime Attractions of Munnar:-

Pothamedu:-Pothamedu is one of the major plantation hubs of Munnar. Views of coffee, tee, and cardamom plantations are excellent from this place. It is an ideal place for trekking and hiking amidst lush mountains, rolling hills, and breathtaking scenery.

Devikulam:-This idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool mountain air is a rare experience. The Sita Devi Lake with its mineral waters and picturesque surroundings is a good picnic spot. 

Pallivasal:-Pallivasal is situated around 8 km from Munnar. It has the distinction of being home to the first hydropower project in Kerala.It is a place of immense scenic beauty.

Echo point:-As its name suggests, the place has a natural echo phenomenon. Echo point is on the way to Top Station from Munnar.

Rajamala:-A precious but little-known place situated at a distance of 15 km from Munnar, Rajamala is home to almost half the population of Nilgiri tahrs (a rare mountain goat). In fact, the Eravikulam-Rajamala region is the natural habitat of this almost extinct species with around 1,000 of them staying here. Chitirapuram 
This small hill station exudes an old-world charm with its old playgrounds and courts, bungalows, and sleepy little cottages that point to its colonial past. Home of the Pallyvasal Hydel Power Project, this hill town is also famous to the tourists for its picturesque tea plantations.

 

Silent Valley
 

General Information about Silent Valley 
Area : 90 sq.km 
Temperature range : 39 C- 20.4 C 
Best time to visit : September to March. 

Silent Valley National Park located 40 kms from Mannarkkad in the Palakkad district, echoes with the sounds of teeming wildlife.The core of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the Silent Valley National Park is probably one of the most magnificent gifts of nature to mankind, a unique preserve of tropical rain forests in all its pristine glory with an almost unbroken ecological history. Thanks largely to its difficult terrain and remoteness, the extent of degradation is minimal in comparison with other sanctuaries.

How to reach:-Nearest airport is at Coimbatore, 55 kms.The nearest railway station is Palakkad, 75 kms.40 Kms From Mannarkkad, Kerala. 

Prime Attractions of Silent Valley:-

The park has a huge variety of wildlife, with over a 100 species of Butterflies and 400 species of Moths and other animals like the Ceylon Frog Moth, Great Indian Hornbill, the Nilgiri Laughing Thrush and the Lion-Tailed Macaque. The park has around 26 species of mammals and 120 species of avifauna, many of them considered endangered. Apart from these, there are 11 species of snakes, 19 species of amphibians, and nine species of Lizards in the park.There is a huge wild tree of Kattualying variety. It is hollow within and can hide at least 12 people in it.

 

Thekkady
 

General Information about Thekkady 
Temperature range : 29 C -18 C 
Best time to visit : September To May 

Thekkady - The very sound of the name conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hill and spice scented plantations. Here, in the crisp, cool air of the Western Ghats you will experience the most enchanting tour.

How to reach:-Nearest Airport Madurai(140 km) / Cochin is (190 km).Nearest Rail Station Cochin (Kochi) is 190 km / Madurai 145 km for trains to major cities. 

Prime Attractions of Thekkady:-

The Thekkady sanctuary is one of the best in the country for watching and photographing wild life. Notable among the denizens of Periyar are the tigers, the majestic Asiatic wild elephants and the distinctive Nilgiri langur with an all black body and white face.Other places to visit in Thekkady are Kumily,Murikkady,Pandikuzhi,Mangala Devi Temple,Chellarkovil.

 

Trivandrum
 

General Information about Trivandrum 
Area : 2,192 sq.km 
Population : (1991 census) 2,938,583 
Temperature range : 32.2 C - 26.6 C 
Best time to visit : September to may 

Trivandrum is the gateway to one of the most beautiful states in India-Kerala. Stretching along the southern coast of country with the backwaters of Arabian sea reaching deep into the verdant countryside, Kerala affords a fascinating experience. 

Trivandrum is sprawling over seven hills covered with English government buildings side-by-side local traditional wooden houses in this seaside capital city.True to its composite and cosmopolitan character, the capital city's attraction's run from museums, art galleries, temples and zoo's. With a seven stotreyed Gopuram, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the most famous site of the capital city.

How to reach:-Trivandrum is an International Airport. Air India, Air Lanka and Indian Airlines operates direct flights to Middle East, Sri Lanka and Maldives.Trivandrum is connected by rail to important cities like Mumbai, New DelhiJammu,Howrah, Madras etc.

Prime Attractions of Trivandrum:- 

Thiruvallam:-This serene backwater stretch, enroute to Kovalam, is famous for its canoe rides.

Aruvikkara Dam:-This picturesque picnic spot is on the banks of the Karamana river. Near the Durga Temple here is a stream full of fish that fearlessly come close to the shore to be fed by the visitors.

Museum Complex:-The Napier Museum: Built in the 19th century, the Indo - saracenic structure boasts a "natural" air conditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artifacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings.

Sree Chithra Art Gallery:-Located near the Napier Museum, this art gallery displays select paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich and exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art in India. The collection also includes paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali.

The Zoological Park:-One of the first zoos in India, it is located in a well-planned botanical garden.

The Kanakakunnu Palace:-The palace and its sprawling grounds are today the venue for many cultural meets and programmes.

Science and Technology Museum Complex:-The exhibits here are related to science, technology and electronics.

Shankhumugham Beach:-Just 8 km from the city, this is a favourite haunt of sunset watchers.

Observatory:-Located at the highest point in the city, near the Museum complex 60 metres above sea level, one can have a bird's eye view of the city from here.

Secretariat:-Built in the Roman architectural style, this is the centre of government administration in Kerala and houses the offices of ministers and the bureaucracy.

Veli Tourist Village:-This picnic spot, where the Veli Lake meets the Arabian Sea, offers boating facilities.

Akkulam Tourist Village:-A picnic spot with boating facilities, Akkulam is a place children flock to. It has a well equipped children's park and a paddle pool. There is a swimming pool for adults too.

Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave:-There are rock cut sculptures of the 18th century in the cave temple at Vizhinjam. The granite cave here encloses a one-celled shrine with a loose sculpture of Vinandhara Dakshinamurthi. The outer wall of the cave depicts half complete reliefs of the Hindu God Shiva with Goddess Parvathi.

Sree Mahadeva Temple:-Situated in Kazhakuttom, this ancient temple is believed to date back to the 14th century. Another old temple in the district is the Mitramandapuram Temple on the outskirts of the city.

Neyyar Dam:-A popular picnic spot with a watch tower, crocodile farm, lion safari park and deer park. Boating facilities are available at the reservoir.

Padmanabhapuram Palace:-The seat of the erstwhile rulers of Travancore, this splendid palace is situated at Thuckalai, on the way to Kanyakumari. This is a well preserved wooden palace, a glorious testimony to the traditional Kerala school of architecture. 

Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum:-The palace was built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma - the King of Travancore, who was a great poet, musician, social reformer and statesman. This rare specimen of workmanship in the traditional Travancore style of architecture also has exquisite wood carvings.

Agasthyakoodam:-Part of the Sahyadri range of mountains, Agasthyakoodam is the second highest peak in Kerala, at a height of 1890 metres above sea level.

 

Varkala
 

General Information about Varkala 
Population : (2001): 42273 
Temperature range : 33 C -25 C 
Best time to visit : September To May 

Varkala is must for those who prefer to do absolutely nothing while holidaying. Due to a spillover resulting from the over saturation of Kovalam, Varkala is a favourite with tourists who travel to Kerala. What makes the coastline of Varkala exceptional is its landscape. Towering cliffs that stand like silent sentinels, guarding the sparkling waters, back the beach. Highly unusual land formations, the sheerness of the cliffs, and the view from atop, simply astound the visitors.This is the perfect beach with a ayurvedic resort for all kind of ayurvedic treatments. 

How to reach:-Varkala is a peaceful town just 51km from Trivandrum international airport and 176km from Cochin international airport.

Prime Attractions of Varakala:-

The 2000 year old Janardana Swamy Temple and the Nature Centre are the two main attractions here. A dip in the holy waters of this beach is believed to purify the body and the soul of all the sins hence the name 'Papanashini (destroyer of sin)' for this shore. It is also the centre of Sivagiri Mutt, established by the great social reformer Sree Narayana Guru. 

Janardana Swamy Temple:-The Janardhana Temple was built during this period and many Hindu's still visit Varkala to this day, for this very reason. The main beaches and tourist area are located at the cliff top, which is about 7 minutes walk from the Temple. The 'cliff-top' is where most of the hotels and restaurants are located, overlooking the Arabian Sea.

 

Wayanand
 

General Information about Wayanand 
Area : 2,132 sq.km 
Population : (1991 census) 671,195 
Temperature range : 35 C-20 C 
Clothing : Tropical Cottons 
Best time to visit : August to may 

Wayanad is situated in an elevated picturesque mountainous plateau in Western Ghats. Providing a panorama of undulating mist clad hills and dales, Wayanad of Kerala is blessed with a unique geographical position.Luxuriant plantations of coffee, tea, cardamom, pepper and rubber are strewn all over the hills of Wayanad. Situated at a height of 700-2100 m above sea level, it is bound on the east by the Nilgiris and the Mysore districts of Tamilnadu and Karnataka respectively. Panorama, Manathavady and Kabini, the fast flowing rivers lend a unique beauty to the whole region. 

How to reach:-The nearest airport is Calicut.The district is well connected by a railway network.Wayanad's Headquarters, Kalpetta is linked by road to other towns in Kerala and there are frequent buses to Calicut.

Prime Attractions of Wayanand:- 

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary:-Established in 1973, the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is contiguous to the protected area network of Nagarhole and Bandipore of Karnataka and Mudumalai of Tamilnadu. 

Thirunelli Festival:-Thirunelli Festival is a two-day festival celebrated on Vishu day and its eve, in the Malayalam month of Medam (April) is the annual festival of Sree Thirunelli Devaswom at Thirunelli in Wayanad.
 
Lakkidi:-Lakkidi, the gateway of Wayanad, is situated 700 m above mean sea level, at the crest of the Thamaraserri ghat pass. Lofty peaks, gurgling streams and luxuriant forests add magic to the journey up the winding roads to this hill station of kerala.

Valliyoorkavu Festival:-Located high in the Wayanad Hills at Valliyoorkkavu, 3 kms from Mananthavady town, the temple is dedicated to goddess Bhagavathy.

Thusharagiri Waterfalls:-Snuggled cosily in the Western Ghats, are the gurgling waterfalls of Thusharagiri.Thushargiri exhibits a unique kinship between the land and water. 

Banasura Dam:-15 kms north west of Kalpetta, Banasura Dam is the largest earth dam in India. A vast expanse of crystal clear water bounded by blue hills on all sides, except one. Its an ideal picnic spot in Kerala.

Kalpetta:-This is where the headquarters of the Wayanad District are located. A stronghold of the Jains in the past, the famous Ananthanathaswamy Jain Temple is situated at Puliyarmala near Kalpetta.

Sentinel Rockfall:-Near Chooralmala, about 22 kms south of Kalpetta, it is a rivetting waterfall tumbling down a height of 20 m from a hilltop. The spot is ideal for rock climbing.