Kerala is a beautiful state in South India and has immense locations and options available for a photography tour. The state has different geographical peculiarities like a long coastal stretch, the Western Ghats, and well connected network of canals, lagoons and backwaters. Apart from these facets, the land is rich in culture, tradition and Art. These multiple facets together make Kerala a wonder place for Photography. I myself is an amateur photographer and I have traveled along the length and breath of the state. I am from Cochin and have been part of some photography workshops from where I got to know more about this art as well the science of capturing light! There are more than 15 unique locations within Kerala which has got potential for photographs that could compete for international contests. Let me take you to them one by one, this is just a guide, you can find more and more destinations and places if you really search the whole map of Kerala. Here are the 15 top locations for a photography tour of Kerala.
Starting from North Kerala, the Bekal Fort would be one interesting place where you could snap history, fort and coastal life. There are a lot of rock formations near to the key hole extensions of the fort to the sea, something like the Fort Aguada you see in Goa. The ambiance is wonderful and there is a beach close by the fort. In North Kerala, in the district of Kasargod close to Neeleshwaram there are backwaters and backwater estuaries where some good landscape scenes could be captured during the golden hours.
The Muzhappilangad beach is the only drive in beach in Kerala, the beach stretch is long enough to capture some amazing sunset photographs. This is a local picnic spot where people come down to spend their evenings. There is an islands close by where we could walk down during low tide (nothing interesting to photograph there).
The St. Johns church in Thalassery next to the Thalassery fort is an historic colonial church right on the beach or close to the sea. The church is white in color and was recently renovated by the Archeological survey of India. The church was built by Edward Brennen who landed up in the shore of the Malabar coast when their ship was wrecked. Its could be themed as architecture, Church on the shore, after all it is a small charming church on the coastline.
From Thalassery you can go to the hills of Wayanad, there are two wildlife sanctuaries, the Muthanga and Tholpetty wild life sanctuaries where you could spot wild beings like Elephants, Indian Guars and Sambar deers. There is Bird Sanctuary in the Kuruva Island where you reach the Island in a bamboo raft. The bird sanctuary is ideal for birders and wildlife photographers. Apart from this, photographers interested plantations and Colonial Estate Bungalows can visit the Parisons Estate Bungalow and the tea factory.
After Wayanad comes Calicut, where you can visit the SM Street for some street photography. SM Street is other wise known as Mittai Theruve, which means Sweet street. Close to Calicut is the Beypore ship building yard where you get to photographs of craftsmanship, wood work, Working men and a lot of colorful boats at the near by Harbor. There is a partially destroyed Sea Bridge at Calicut beach which looks nice during the evening golden hours with the sunset backdrop. There is a martial art school in Calicut where you could shoot the traditional Martial art form of kalaripayattu, practice sessions happen early in the morning and evening. These schools are there close to Cochin as well.
Next would be the Amazing Athirapally water falls within the shola forests of Western Ghats, often called the Niagara of the South. The water fall is almost 80 meters in height on the Chalakudy river. You get good shots from the top as well the bottom of the waterfall. Another interesting view point if form the Rainforest resort at Athirapally. They do not entertain visitors even for lunch so you need to find an option to get in there 🙂
Hundred Kilometers south of Athirapally water falls the old port town of Cochin. Fort Cochin has a lot of interesting colonial building, churches, cemetery, clock tower, Synagogue, beaches, mangroves and backwaters. Its an ultimate destination for street photography, the wall painting of the previous Muziris Biennale is still live here. Art and Architecture is also a theme here. To explore more of the backwaters of Cochin, try boarding a local boat that connects other islands, you get to see a lot of fishermen boats, large ships, the estuary looks wonderful if you get to have a ship passing by during the Golden hours. The two hundred year old classical drama of Kerala called the Kathakali is a photogenic event, short forms of these drams is conducted in small theaters in Cochin. It would be an hour of makeup and another hour of performance. There are a lot of chances for colorful photographs. Apart from Kathakali, other ethinic traditional dance forms are conducted here.
Not very far from Cochin is Andakaranazhi on the coastal road to Alleppey. In the early morning sessions you can snap a lot of fishermen coming back from the sea with their catch. This happens to be a large fish auctioning center during early morning sessions. The Andakaranzhi has a light house and is ideal for landscape shots. You can visit this place while staying in Fort Cochin.
The Kodanad Elephant Kraal is an elephant orphanage run by the Kerala Government. Here is where elephants who got into human spaces were taken and spend rest of their lives. In the morning, the mahouts take all these in house elephants to the nearby river periyar, where they are given a bath. This is another photogenic activity. The mahouts give them a good bath, that is when the baby elephant play around in the river 🙂 Close by is the Thattekkad Salim Ali bird sanctuary, Bird photographers and wildlife photographers could go for a hike in the sanctuary where they could spot some rare and exotic birds. It is always better to have a guide along with you while in the sanctuary, so that you don’t get lost 😮
Munnar, the tea county is the most known place for many photographers. The sprawling tea plantations are very much fond by young and amateur photographers. The road to Top station is scenic and is where you could click some amazing landscapes of tea gardens. Other interesting places would be Meeshapulimalai and the Rhodo valley trek – where one could snap the sprawling grasslands and the hilly peaks of the Western Ghats (Its is truly a wonderful location, believe me), Kolukkumalai is also a good place for some interesting landscape photographs. This is the highest tea plantation and tea factory in the world and they produce orthodox tea.
Not far from Thekkady is Gavi, a serene splendorous location with a lot Nature and beauty, there are a lot of streams, valleys, Jungles and amazing curved roads. Gavi also opens a chance for wild life photographers, elephants are common here. There have been bad incidents of elephants charging, so keep your limits. Your cameras would love Gavi, dont miss this place. Monsoon make Gavi more greener.
We move down to the backwaters of Kerala, Kumararkom is a backwater village where you could shoot, local life, backwater villages and agriculture. Best idea would be to take a backwater village tour organized by the Responsible tourism body operational here. They take you through the heart of Kumararkom where you witness what we call, the real local life. Another interesting place is the backwater town of Alleppey, board a houseboat (you get more space to move around in a houseboat, also try out different angles) and cruise through the narrow canals of the backwater where you get to see, local backwater life, people, paddy fields, children going to school, historic old churches and temples and a lot of boatmen in canoes. If you are visiting Kerala during the month of July – August, you can see a lot of snake boats, where hundreds of men would be practicing for the upcoming snake boat race held in Alleppey, called the Nehru trophy snake boat race.
The Beach of Varkala is apt for beach photography, The beach has got a big cliff where lot of hotels and restaurants operate. There are a lot of sunbeds at the beach, Some used to surf here, however the waves are not that great. This place has wide views of the Ocean, dolphins can be spotted at times.
The Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram (Capital city of Kerala), this would be only temple that would be ideal for a temple photography session. Photography is prohibited inside the temple, in fact only Hindus are allowed to enter and there is a dress code to be maintained inside the temple, men in dothi and women in saree. Kerala is in short of large temples and temple architecture as you see in Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu, the temples are large and there is so much to be photographed.
The Mangroves of Poovar is an interesting place, get on board a small boat to cruise around these mangroves. There is an estuary at Poovar where the backwaters connect the sea. The golden hours would be beautiful here.
Hope you got a brief idea about the immense photography possibilities in Kerala. If you wish to visit Kerala for a photography tour of Kerala. Please be in touch with us, you can contact us at email@example.com or post a query at Tripdayz.com We will be more than happy to help you out.