News, Articles and Travelogues kerala-must-visit-destination

If you are looking for a place filled with scenic beauty, a collage of art, culture and architecture, and a chest of rich heritage, history and culture, all you need to do is to plan for a holiday to the Indian state of Kerala, located on the southern tip at the Arabian Sea coastline.

Sadly a thorough and detailed guide on the best places to visit in Kerala is not available anywhere online. We decided to solve this with a killer blogpost on the different places to see in Kerala from North to South and from East to West, that are of interest to guests who visit Kerala.

Voted by National geographic as one of the ten paradises in the world, Kerala is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in India, and offers a plethora of tourist destinations to visit. The forty four rivers, vast lagoons and canals make up the famous backwaters. Just fifty plus kilometers from the coastline is the mighty Western Ghats, home to one of the largest and varied biodiversity.

It is home to different plantations like cardamom, coffee, tea, rubber and a wide variety of spices, and the rice paddy floors the valley across the state. After your very first visit you’ll understand why this long strip of land is often termed as “God’s Own Country”.

This blog lists over 50 different places to visit in Kerala and will help you choose where to go depending on your interests. Enjoy!

Categories

Historical Locations

Backwaters and Beaches

Adventure and Trekking Spots

Sightseeing Spots

Hill Stations

Art and Culture Spots

Wildlife Spots

 

 

Historical Locations:

 

Bekal Fort

Category : Historical Locations

(Nearest Airport is Mangalore and the nearest railway station in Kanhangad)

Located in North of Kerala on the Arabian sea coast in the district of Kasargod, Bekal Fort is the largest and the most preserved fort in Kerala. From the entrance this large fort is least impressive, as you walk into the forest you will be taken aback, the Arabian sea almost crashing to its feet.

places to visit in Kerala

It was built during the 1500’s by the local rulers Shivappa Nayaka of Bednore, who were the prime rulers who reigned the region after the fall of the Vijayanagara Kingdom. As years passed by they were used by the local rulers and kingdoms. Tipu Sultan (The tiger of Mysore) used this as a base to conquer the Malabar coast, after his death the fort was taken over by the British East India Company until India gained independence.

The watch tower located right at the center of the fort gives you an amazing panoramic view of the Arabian sea, that acted as a signaling house if at all there was an attack from the sea. The fort is constructed of laterite stones that were abundantly available locally. The fort has a zigzag entrance and a series of underground passages that lead to the sea, there are also water storage systems and an in house armory which the public do not have access. Today the fort is preserved by the Archaeological survey of India and has a nominal entrance fee.

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Kannur

Category : Historical Locations

This bustling town in North Kerala is a chest of history, culture, heritage and coastal beauty. Kannur was a prominent kingdom ruled by the Kolathiri kings. During the colonial invasion of the Kerala, there was very strong resistance from the people of Kannur. The invasion starting with the Portuguese, then the Dutch and finally the British, for all of them Kannur was strategically of prime importance. With rocky formations and estuaries, this beach town and the outskirts are very much scenically beautiful with long stretch of coconut groves are less crowded compared to the beaches of Central and South Kerala.

places to see in kerala - Kannur Fort St. Angelo

The Fort St. Angelo built by the Portuguese during the second visit of Vasco Da Gama in 1505 and is one of the very first fort in Kerala, this coastal fort acts as a monument today and is visited by many. Apart from the Fort, the Arakkal palace (the only Muslim kingdom of Kerala) is converted into a Museum for the visitors to have a glance of the History of Malabar. There are a couple of Beach homes at Kannur where you could enjoy the unspoilt pristine beauty of the beaches of Kannur in the best local manner.

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Thalassery Fort

Category : Historical Locations

The Thalassery Fort was built by the British East India Company in the year 1708 to establish a military stronghold in the Malabar Coast (North Kerala). Located on the coastal belt the Thalassery Fort overlooks the Arabian sea just like the Bekal Fort. The Fort played a prominent role and military administration during the Anglo Maratha Wars between Tipu Sultan and the British.

Thalassery Fort

The fort has underground tunnels and passages which were once used to store ammunition and spices that were stocked for trade and export. The St. John’s Anglican church right on the coast could be seen from the Fort, the church was built by Mr Edward Brennan in 1869 and acts as a small museum. The fort also exhibits a few of the old artillery of the colonial world. Today it has a beautiful garden inside the fort. Today the Fort acts as a reminiscence of the colonial era in the Malabar Coast.

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Beypore Ship Building Yard

Category : Historical Locations

The Malabar Coast (North Kerala) has a long history of maritime trade and with different parts of the world especially with the Arab world. The local rulers including the Samudiris gave prominence to Navy and shipbuilding has been an important industry for centuries. At a local village less than five kilometers away from Kozhikode (Calicut) city, the local men are indulging themselves into the art of making Dhows (Arabian boat) they are building ships with wood for the sheiks of the Arab world.

Beypore-ship-building-yard1

In the middle east owning a wooden Dhow is a symbol of prestige and an exclusivity of the rich. These Dhows are built at Beypore and sail to the middle east. The interiors are that of a modern Yacht and are operated with an engine just like modern vessels. It take an average of three years to build a Dhow and would cost approx. 400 million Indian rupees, just for the wooden structure.

This skill and art of building dhows is a traditional occupation and is carried forward through generations, the boat building yard is close to the Beypore harbor.

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Palayoor Church Built by St. Thomas

Category : Historical Locations

A visit to Palayoor church is more of unleashing history than a pilgrim center. The Palayoor church was the second church built by St. Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus Christ in 52 AD. The church is located close to the famous temple town of Guruvayoor.

India -Palayoor- Kerala

The church has different complexes, has a pond where he baptized local men, and a museum across the road that depicts more of history and biblical literature brought to Kerala during the eras of history. St. Thomas landed at the port town of Muziris during AD 52, he traveled and preached the gospel at many places in Kerala and Built seven churches in Kerala.

A visit to Palayoor church gives you more information about history and how Christianity reached the Indian sub­continent.

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Cheraman Juma Masjid and Museum

Category : Historical Locations

Cheraman Juma masjid is the very first mosque built in India in the year AD 629, instructed by a Hindu King ­ Cheraman Perumal. The king of the Chera Dynasty close to the old town of Muziris, had a dream where he saw the moon splitting into two halves, he called his advisers to know the meaning of the dream, for which no one had a satisfying answer.

Cheraman Juma Masjid

It was the traders from Arabia, who reached Muziris Port town, referred this to as the miracle performed by Prophet Muhammad of Arabia. The King set his sails to Arabia where he met the Prophet and embraced Islam. He sent letters to his ministers to build a mosque in his kingdom that gave way to the Cheraman Juma Masjid, however the King was not able to reach back, and he died at Salalah, Modern Day Oman. This gave way to Islam in the Indian sub­continent.

Today the Masjid looks very much like a modern building and a museum next to it where different items and literature of historical importance is being preserved. The Mosque is 30 Kilometers from Cochin International Airport.

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Edakkal Caves

Category : Historical Locations

Edakkal caves are two natural are prehistoric caves located in the district of Wayanad, 1200 meters above the sea level within the Western Ghats. The caves were once home to Neolithic men (B C 6000), it is believed that there had been a prehistoric settlement or a civilization that existed here.

Edakkal Caves

There are pictorial writings within the caves of the ancient man, the caves fall on the ancient trade route from Mysore to the Malabar Coast. Travelers who visit this rocky mountain will have to partially climb up rocks and hike to the top, from where the views are amazing. It is said that from the Top of the caves one could see the three States of South India– Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Today the caves are preserved and maintained by the Archaeological survey of India. Wayanad is always considered to be the adventure green stop in Kerala, hiking up these caves would be a thrill for the adventure lover in you.

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Dutch Palace and Synagogue at Mattancherry

Category : Historical Locations

Located at Mattancherry, few kilometers from Fort Cochin is the Dutch Palace and the Adjacent Synagogue. Two monuments that share a common wall and is the most visited moments in Kerala. Both of these monuments play an important role in the history of Fort Cochin.

Dutch Palace Mattancherry

-The Dutch Palace otherwise known as the Mattancherry Palace was the palace of the Raja (King) of Cochin Kingdom. The Palace was built and gifted to the Maharaja of Kochi in the year 1555. The century after that the Dutch made carried out renovations and some extension to the Palace after which the palace was known as the Dutch Palace. The Palace was built based on traditional Kerala Architecture and today functions as museum displaying the everything that was being used at the Palace by the Kings. The visit would be Glance to Kerala architecture, tradition, Royal life and arms. The palace is preserved by the Archeological survey of India.

-The Synagogue is a landmark of the Jewish community who were based in Cochin. The Synagogue is named as the “Paradesi Synagogue”, meaning Foreigners Synagogue, that means Synagogue of the people who have come from foreign lands. The Synagogue has a small room where it displays a pictorial description of the Jewish history in Kerala. The

Synagogue has the scrolls of the law, Belgian glass chandeliers, brass railed pulpit and the floors are the 18th century Chinese hand painted ceramic tiles. There is clock tower installed in the eighteenth century. There is a nominal entrance ticket and footwear is not allowed.

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St. Francis Church

Category : Historical Locations

The St. Francis church was the very first European church built in India in the year 1503, it was built by Portuguese with the permission of the Maharaja of Kochi. Vasco Da Gama died in Cochin during his third visit to the Sub­continent, he was buried inside the church and the mortal remains were taken to Lisbon 14 years later.

St Francis Church Fort Cochin

The church was conquered by the Dutch and finally the British before the Independent India. A cenotaph is built at the entrance of the church in memory of the local men who fell in world war I. Manually operated cloth fans are hung across the church which were used in the olden days. The church is visited by many and would evoke who are fond of history and the colonial rule in the Sub­continent.

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Chendamangalam Synagogue

Category : Historical Locations

Jews have a prominent role in the history of Kerala, being traders they connected the Indian Sub­continent with the world through the port town of Muziris. After the Second fall of the Temple of Jerusalem in AD 69, Jews migrated to many parts of the world and town of Chendamangalam close to the then Muziris was one place where they set up a colony and a Synagogue.

Chendamangalam synagogue Tripdayz

After a flood in the year 1614, most of them moved to the new harbor of Fort Cochin. The Chendamangalam Synagogue is 175 years old and acts as a reminisce of the initial Jewish settlements in Kerala and functions a museum today of Jewish history in Kerala. The synagogue is built based on traditional Kerala Architecture with a combination of western construction technology.

This place is a window to the history of the Jewish Diaspora in the Indian Subcontinent. The Synagogue is 20 Kilometers from Cochin International Airport.

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Marayoor Dolmens and Sandalwood

Category : Historical Locations

Marayoor is a small village located forty kilometers away from Munnar town towards Chinnar connecting Munnar and Coimbatore. The Village is has been in existence since the ancient stone age era. Marayoor is known for its vast expanse of Sandal wood forest and the dolmens, that have been in existence since ages.

Marayoor Dolemens

Most of the people here are of Tamil origin, it is believed that many people from Madurai (Tamil Nadu) migrated to Marayoor when the Madurai king was defeated by Tipu Sultan (Tiger of Mysore). These dolmenoids were burial chambers made of four stones placed on edge and covered by a fifth stone called the cap stone, there are a few preserved one for visitors to see.

In the outskirts of Marayoor, there are rock paintings found of humans and animals, specially inside the chinnar Wildlife Spots. The lakkam waterfalls a magnificent waterfall is on the way from Munnar to Marayoor.

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Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Category : Historical Locations

The Padmanabhaswamy temple is a famous temple situated in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. The temple is a combination of Dravidian and Kerala architecture. The Presiding deity is Lord Vishnu, reclining on Anantha ­ The hooded serpent.

padmanabhaswamy temple

The Temple is the richest temple in the world in terms of gold and precious stones assets stored in its secret vaults. The temple is believed to be built in the 8th century, and Marthanda Varma, the noted king of the Travancore Royal Family, elevated the temple to the present day status.

He dedicated the kingdom to Lord Padmanabha and rule the kingdom on behalf of him. The name Thiruvananthapuram literally means, the land of Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy. The temple stands close to the holy tank ­ Padma Theertham, which means “lotus spring”.

The temple has special dress code of wearing a dothy, an attire worn around the waist for both men and women and men should not be wearing a top. Entry is restricted to Non hindus.

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Thakalay Palace

Category : Historical Locations

The Palace of the Travancore Kingdom, the Thakalay Palace or the Padmanabhapuram palace is the largest wooden palace in Asia. This magnificent 16th century palace is an architectural marvel. There are many interesting things you could witness that of the Royal family and their lifestyle.

Padmanabhapuram Palace Thakalay

The Palace has been constructed based on Kerala architecture and has used most of the natural lighting. A visit will open up to the traditional and historical lifestyle of the kings, the 17th century murals, the medicinal bed, the earthen urns, enormous teak beams, belgian mirrors, hanging brass lanterns would look magnificent for the modern man.

You can avail the service of local guides and who can give you more detailed descriptions than just written content. The Palace is located in Tamil Nadu, close to Kerala border, however it comes under the administration of Government of Kerala.

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Sightseeing Spots

 

Teak Plantations of Nilambur

Category : Sightseeing Spot

teakwood forest conoli plot

Conolly plot is the first man made Teak Plantation in the world. The route to Canolli plot is through a large hanging bridge across the Chaliyar River. The Teak plantation here was initiated in the year 1846 by the then collector of Malabar Lieutenant Henry Valentine Conolly to have a steady supply of Teak wood during the colonial era in Kerala. This teak plantation spread across 5.5 acres of land has got the world’s highest Teak Tree and the third biggest in terms of girth.

Today this is being preserved by the Kerala Forest Department, there is also a Teak Museum setup by Kerala Forest Research Institute in the year 1995, and it is a house to the treasures of historical and scientific aspects of the Teak Tree.

Apart from teak, the museum also has a collection of over 300 butterflies, moths and insects found in teak plantations.

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Malampuzha Dam

Category : Sightseeing spot

Malampuzha Dam is a dam erected across the Malampuzha River, a tributary of Bharathapuzha the second longest river in Kerala. Malampuzha is the largest reservoir in Kerala, located in the Palakkad district with the Western Ghats in the backdrop.

Malampuzha Dam

The Beautiful garden on the other side of the dam with aquariums, fish ponds and beautiful sculptures are an attraction for many who visit Malampuzha. There is a ropeway atop the gardens gives out an amazing aerial view of the Gardens and the dam.

The dam is a prime picnic spot and a best option for day excursion from Palakkad.

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Anathavalam Guruvayoor

Category : Sightseeing spot

The famous temple of Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple receives Elephants as offerings and for devotees, this is something very auspicious. All of the elephants offered to the temple are being taken to Punnathoor Kotta, which was once the palace of the local ruler.

At-Anathavalam-Guruvayoor

Today Punnathur Kota is also known as “Anathavalam” that means, Elephant hideout. There are around sixty elephants housed here, trained, fed and maintained with all available resources. This would be the only one place where you could find so many domesticated elephant in one compound. The elephant center is maintained by the temple and there is a mahout training center also functioning here.

You can see elephants being fed, trained, bathed and taken around for rounds. At one side of the compound you can see an wooden elephant cage, where the naughty and the weak ones always go in. This would be an interesting place to drop in when you travel from North Kerala to central Kerala by road, the Palayoor church is very close by.

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Athirapally Waterfalls

Category : Sightseeing spot

Referred to as the Niagara of India, Athirapally waterfalls is a 80 ft waterfall on the Chalakudy river on the shola ranges between Chalakudy and Valparai, and is one of the most sought-after places to visit in Kerala. This mighty gushing waterfall is a treat to the senses and is a show off of nature’s might and power, and is one of the most well-known attractions in Kerala.

Athirapally Waterfalls

The waterfall is very located within the sensitive Sholayar ranges, home to the Great Hornbill – The state bird of Kerala. Other species of hornbills like the Malabar pied hornbill, Malabar grey hornbill, and the Indian grey are spotted in these forests.

The access to the waterfall is through a park where you get a glance from the top and can move further down towards the bottom of the waterfall where is misty and gives out an adventurous ambiance. In total Athirapally waterfalls is a treat to the senses and explains the magnificence of nature.

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Chinese Fishing Nets at Fort Cochin

Category : Sightseeing spot

Fort Cochin

The Chinese fishing nets set up on the banks of the backwaters in Cochin is a typical fishing method introduced by the sailors from China during the 14th century. It is a land based installation with the fishing nets extended to the waters. The installation is made of wood and bamboo poles and is operated by around six fishermen. The nets are sunk into the waters and then pulled up by pulling ropes connected to the pulley.

The fish that are caught in the nets are then collected. These are popularly seen in the backwaters of Cochin and Kollam. This ancient method of fishing is still carried out and an array for Chinese fishing nets could be seen from the Vasco da Gama square and walkway at Fort Cochin. These fishing nets would be the most photographed structure mostly due to its photogenic structure.

To get the best photographs you should be visiting here during sunset.

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Marine Drive and Broadway at Ernakulam

Category : Sightseeing spot

The Marine drive is a walkway at Ernakulam, the modern commercial side of Cochin (or Kochi), and is rated as one of the best places to see in Kochi. A tiled walkway is built throughout the banks of the backwaters. There are ample chairs to sit and enjoy the beauty of sunset with boats cruising through the backwaters. This is where the harbor cruise boats are halted and from where the guests are picked for an evening cruise until Fort Cochin and back. The extension of the Marine drive would be the Subhash Park which is a beautiful garden setup by the Corporation of Kochi.

Marine Drive Cochin

The Broadway at Ernakulam was one of the very first markets in Ernakulam. The street was supposed to be pretty much broad at the time of construction, as M G Road gained prominence; the Broadway relatively became a narrow lane. Whatever you require, everything is available at Broadway, textile, jewelry, apparels, electronics, souvenirs, spices, footwear and much more. The Broadway extends to the Ernakulam hill produces market on the bank of the Canal where rice from the paddy fields of Alleppey were brought in by huge rice barges. There existed a Synagogue here which is closed and is in very bad shape.

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Kodanad Elephant Kraal

Category : Sightseeing spot

Kodanad

The Kodanad elephant kraal is one of the largest elephant training centre located on the banks of the Periyar river, Just 20 kilometers from Cochin Airport. During the 1950 elephants were captured from the nearby forest of the Malayattoor forest range, they were then domesticated and trained by Mahouts. These elections were then used for festivals and other Temple processions, they were also used at Timber factories.

In the 1970 a ban came over capturing elephants from the forest comma since then the Kodanad elephant kraal has been functioning as an Elephant rescue and training centre. It is a beautiful scene to see all the elephants taken to the river bank for the morning bath. The small ones would be an excitement for Children to bath them and see them in very close proximity.

The Training center opens by 8 AM, and you can also see the Mahouts feeding the elephants.

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Kanthalloor Vegetable Gardens

Category : Sightseeing spot

Kanthalloor is a village located sixteen kilometers away from Marayoor, Kanthalloor is a dead end, after Kanthalloor it s thick shola forest. There is an old route developed by the British through the forest to Kundala, which is on the other side of the forest.

Kanthaloor Vegetable gardensidukki

Kundala is sightseeing and boating spot located on the way from Munnar to Top Station after Marayoor. Kanthalloor is a Tamil quarter, just like Marayoor the inhabitants of the Kanthalloor migrated from Madurai during the defeat of the Madurai King by Tipu Sultan. They came here and started agriculture, today they have large farms of Vegetables, Strawberry and passion fruits.

Most of the small shops sell strawberry and Passion fruit wines. There are numerous trek and hike options.

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Anakkulam

Category : Sightseeing spot

Anakkulam is a small village located close to the forest areas in the district of Idukki, 30 Kilometers away from Munnar town. Anakkulam is located at the forest borders where the Anakkulam river flows by marking the border between the forest and village.

Annakulam close to Ela Ecoland

Once in awhile elephants from the nearby forest come down to the river to drink water. When you go close to the river, you will see Bubbles coming out from the sand bed of the river. Locals believe that the bubbles contain elements of salt, which the elephants love very much, however this is not scientifically proved. Large herds of Elephants come down to the river and take turns to drink water. This is a very interesting scene to capture wild elephant coming so near to human inhabited areas.

In most cases, sighting this phenomenon would be difficult, you need to have a local contact in Munnar who would let you when the elephants come down to drink water. The location is very scenic and would be cherished by nature lovers.

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Cardamom Plantations of Thekkady

Category : Sightseeing spot

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Cardamom is considered to the queen of spices. The cardamom hills of the Western Ghats mostly concentrated at the Thekkady and Munnar is something very unique to Kerala. At Thekkady there are many spice farms that organize short spice trails where they explain more about the plant, the cultivation, the harvest and how these wonder spices reach the supermarket shelves in your town.

You also get to buy farm fresh spices from these spice gardens. Kerala has been historically known for spices like cardamom, pepper and nutmeg. There has been very strong marine trade relation and Kerala has always been known for its top quality spices.

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Thenmala

Category : Sightseeing spot

Thenmala is the first planned ecotourism destination in India. Thenmala is an activity based destination in towards south of Kerala in the district of Kollam. There are options for forest based activities, and other activities like cycling, trekking and mountaineering.

Thenmala

The “Palaruvi” waterfalls is located at Thenmala and is a known attraction here. There is a deer rehabilitation centre with a tree house close by from where you could see numerous deers grazing in pastures.

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Backwaters and Beaches:

 

Valiyaparamba Backwaters

Category : Backwaters and Beaches

Valiyaparamba backwaters

Just thirty kilometers south of the Bekal Fort is the Valiyaparamba backwaters is one of the most untouched and prominent backwaters in the North of Kerala. With lush coconut groves all through the banks of the backwaters brings in more charm to this waterbody, with a few houseboat operators, the backwaters could be explored country boats, motor boats and houseboats.

Fed by four rivers, Valiyaparamba backwater is pretty vast; the Valiyaparamba Island here is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Fishing and agriculture are the most common occupation here. Unlike the backwaters of Central Kerala, it is less crowded here and is ideal for the discerning traveler who has come to relax and enjoy the beauty of the backwaters.

For Accommodation, there are a couple of resorts located at Neeleswaram, the nearby beach destination.

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Muzhappilangad Beach

Category : Backwaters and Beaches

The longest drive in beach in India, located between Thalassery and Kannur on the National Highway 66 in North of Kerala. This 5.5 long drive in beach is most beautiful during the sunset when the reflections of the last rays of the day bring out a beautiful ambiance.  

Muzhuppilangad Beach

Towards South of the beach there is a Small private Island named “Dharmadam Thuruth” where people can walk to the island when it is low tide. The beach is typically a local attraction and many come here during evenings to enjoy the beauty of the beach. There are paved roads to the beach and one could see a long line of coconut groves that border the beach, just like most beaches in Kerala.

This place could be used as a stopover when coming down from Bekal to Thalassery or Calicut (Kozhikode).

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Cherai Beach

Category : Backwaters and Beaches

Cherai Beach is one of the most popular beach close to Cochin International Airport (26 Kilometers). The beach is a narrow strip of land with the backwaters on one side and the sea on the other side. There is a narrow coastal road that extends up to Kuzhupilly beach and further to Cochin.

Cherai Beach

It is a local picnic spot and is crowded during evenings, however Kuzhupilly is less crowded. An annual kite festival is conducted at Kuzhupilly beach. There are a few massage centres and bike rentals are available at Cherai. Towards North there is an estuary through which small fishing vessels move into the harbor, there are ample chairs where one could sit and enjoy the sunset.

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Kumarakom Backwaters

Category : Backwaters and Beaches

Kumarakom is small village located not far from Kottayam district headquarters in Kerala. The Village is an agrarian village on the banks of the Vembanad lake, the largest freshwater lake in Kerala. The village is visited by many tourists across the globe to enjoy the backwater village ambiance and the backwater culture.

Kumarakom has been repeatedly voted as one of the best places to see in Kerala.

Kumarakom Backwaters

Every household here has a boat. The fields are mostly of paddy farming and other vegetables mostly headed by local women self help groups. The climate is very much tropical and one could see houseboats and fishermen folks cruising and passing by. The Kumarakom bird sanctuary is located on the banks of the Vembanad lake at Kumarakom.

There are village tours offered by the Kumarakom responsible tourism council headed and promoted by the state tourism board. There are many backwater resort to enjoy a great stay in Kumarakom.

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Varkala Beach

Category : Backwaters and Beaches

This popular cliff beach close to the capital city of Kerala beautiful and has come of the best views atop the cliff. Very much popular among backpackers, Varkala is a mini goa with a lot of restaurants and shacks atop the cliff close to the beach. There are ample places for sunbathing, yoga and other beach activities.

Varkala Beach

A small group of people used to do surfing, there was paragliding activities available here, but not throughout the year. Varkala has a lot of budget accommodation options for backpackers, at the same time there are high end hotels also available. Varkala is ideal for the beach lover in you.

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Kovalam Beach

Category : Backwaters and Beaches

One of the most popular beaches in Kerala, the kovalam beach was one of the very first shallow beach that gained prominence in the tourism front for Kerala. The Travancore kings had their summer palace here where they used to treat their guests. Since 1930s the Kovalam beach has been a loved place for European travelers.

Kovalam Beach

A massive rocky promontory on one side of the beach has created a beautiful shallow bay with calm water making it idea for swimming and beach bathing. Catamaran cruising along with local fisherman folks is one interesting activity available here during the season. There are numerous resorts and hotels close by ranging from budget to the most luxury ones.

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South Kovalam

Category : Backwaters and Beaches

When we travel more towards the South of Kovalam towards Chowara, there are many small and large beaches that gives our amazing panoramic views of the beach, ocean and horizon.

South Kovalam

Of late there has been many resorts that offer short and long period ayurveda program that includes rejuvenation and wellness. There are even dedicated resort that welcomes guests who wish to undergo Ayurveda wellness and treatments on the coast of these tropical beaches. The facilities includes from those of normal budget resorts to top high end resorts.

If you are planning for a wellness vacation, a change to natural and quality lifestyle. You should be undergoing an Ayurvedic rejuvenation program in Kerala along with Yoga. In my opinion, it’s also one of the best places to visit in Kerala for honeymoon trips and vacays.

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Poovar

Category : Backwaters and Beach

While traveling more towards South of Kovalam, thirty kilometers away from the capital city is Poovar, a combination of backwaters and the seas making up an estuary. The location is amazing here giving out options to get into rivers, backwaters and the sea.

Poovar backwaters

There are some very interesting mangrove forests where you could explore the secrets of nature through a boating episode. Apart from boating through mangrove forests, there are options for backwater motor boating as well. There are a few good resorts where you could stay, relax and enjoy your stay at Poovar.

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Alleppey Backwaters

Category : Backwaters and Beaches

Alleppey is known for the backwaters and the backwater houseboat in Kerala. The backwater town located on the other side of Kumarakom is bustling town on the backwater banks. There is a canal that passes through the town from where more boat services start.

Alleppey Backwaters

Apart from small transport boats, you could find Shikar boats as well. Most of the houseboat operators are based out of Alleppey and has some of the most interesting boat cruise routes here in Alleppey. A houseboat cruise starts at 12 in the noon and ends next day morning at 9. The boat will be docked during night due to govt.

Regulations for fishermen. The famous snake boat races are conducted here every year at Alleppey and is organized every second Saturday of August. The weather also tends to be great at this time of year, and the backwaters of Alleppey is an excellent choice if you’re looking for places to visit in Kerala in August. Also, if you’re eager to go on a houseboat cruise, you should have Alleppey in your list of South Indian destinations.

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Mararikulam Beach

Category : Backwaters and Beaches

This quaint fisherman’s village got popular in recent times when a couple of resorts came up here. There is nothing like sightseeing, but the beaches here are more beautiful and has long stretches. One could enjoy the beach and the sea during sunset. There are options to get down at the beach during low tide.

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During mornings, you could see large fishermen folks coming back from the sea with their early morning catch. Apart from these there would be men on the shoes waving and casting nets for fish. The Arthungal church is close to Mararikulam, apart from being a quaint beach village, there are interesting cycling routes and coastal roads at Mararikulam. Enjoy the Sun Sand and Sea, that the best of Mararikulam.

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Wildlife Spots

 

Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary

Category : Wildlife Spots

The Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary comes under the Nilgiri Biosphere which is a larger biosphere and is extended to a larger forest area which is spread across the station of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Muthanga

The extensions of this forest are known as Nagarhole and Bandipur of Karnataka in the northeast and on the southeast by Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu. The Sanctuary is known for large herd of Elephants, Tigers, Leopards, Indian Gaur, Porcupines, and Deer. The Park comes under the Kerala Forest Department, for visitors the National Park offers short Jeep rides into the forest, handled by local licensed Jeep drivers.

Elephants are almost a sure sighting, especially during summers when there is water shortage and the wild beings come out of the forest.

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Silent Valley National Park

Category : Wildlife Spots

Silent Valley National Park

Silent Valley National Park is one of Kerala’s best kept secrets and the largest National Park in Kerala, eighty kilometers from the Palakkad District headquarters, the park can also be accessed from Tamil Nadu. It remains one of the largest tracts of tropical evergreen rain forest in this part of the Sub continent and is part of the Nilgiri hills.

It would be a jerky introduction to Silent Valley National Park as you approach in a Jeep through the partial mud roads. There are hikes offered through the forest at Silent Valley National Park where you get to see wide ranges of biodiversity. Flora and Fauna aside the national park has the river Kunthi (Kunthipuzha) running through it and it is central to the National Park existence and is the only source of water for the tribal inhabitants of the area.

The park is home to the Lion Tailed Macaque, which is an endangered species. Other inhabitants include Asian civet, Giant Malabar Squirrel, Panther and Manghoos, but sighting them through the very thick forests is not that easy.

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Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary

Category : Wildlife Spots

The Western Ghats is considered to be one of the top biodiversity spots in the world. The Parambikulam Wildlife Spots is spread across three hundred square kilometers, nestled in the Sungam hill ranges between the Anamalai hills and the Nelliyampathy hills.

Parambikulam National Park1

The location is picturesque and as you move through the loop roads through teak plantations, you will start to spot, deer, Indian Gaur and other wild beings en­route. There are around six indigenous tribes within the national park and most of them indulge in being guides for treks, hikes and other eco­tourism initiatives. The “Kannimara Thekku” Teak Tree, which is said to be Asia’s largest teak is located at Parambikulam, it has got a girth of 6.5 meters and is 450 years old.

The Sanctuary offers interesting accommodation options, treks, hikes, bamboo rafting and other ecotourism activities. The park can be accessed from both Kerala and Tamil Nadu and is located in the district of Palakkad in Kerala. This is surely not to be missed for the nature lover in you.

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Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary

Category : Wildlife Spots

The Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is the very first bird sanctuary in Kerala. This Bird Sanctuary is located on the banks of the river Periyar, covering an area of 25 square kilometre. It is considered to be one of the richest bird habitats in the Indian subcontinent.

Hornbill Thattekkad

The region is mostly covered with lowland evergreen forest, and his home to a rich variety of birds both native and migratory. Birders around the world come home to Thattekkad for birding activities. If you are birder, you should never miss to stay at Thattekkad to explore the numerous birding opportunities here at the Park.

There are very interesting accommodation options available at Thattekkad. The Park is located 45 kilometers away from the Cochin International Airport.

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Eravikulam National Park

Category : Wildlife Spots

The Eravikulam National park is a national park dedicated to protect and preserve the endangered species of Mountain Goat called as the Nilgiri Tahr. This is one of the most visited place by people who visit Munnar, and would generally tend to be very crowded.

Nilgiri Tahr Eravikulam National Park

The park is closed during the month of February and March considering it being the breeding season for the Nilgiri Tahr. The terrain is mostly of high grasslands and the shola forests, idea for the development of the Nilgiri Tahr. “Anamudi” the highest peak in South India is located inside the park.

The reserve was initially developed as a game reserve by the Kannan Devan Hill Produce Company and by 1971 the Govt. of Kerala took over the area and declared it as “Rajamala Wildlife Spots”. You need to take a ticket at the park entrance, a bus will take you inside the park where you could see the Nilgiri Tahr is close proximity.

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Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Category : Wildlife Spots

The Chinnar Wildlife Spots is located 50 kilometers north of Munnar after Marayoor on the way to Udumalpet and Coimbatore. A partial part of the road of 16 kilometers equally divides the sanctuary and you can mostly see Indian Gaur, monkeys, peacocks when passing by.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

The sanctuary falls on the rain shadow area of the Southern Western Ghats. There is an interpretation centre open close to the sanctuary gates that gives you a lot of information about the wild beings in the forest of chinnar. The forest department offers a lot of activities like treks, camping and stay in out post and tree houses inside the sanctuary, these treks are guided by forest guards.

Many have spotted tigers inside the forest at very long distances. This place would be ideal for someone who is interested in flora and fauna, hikes, treks and other forest related activities.

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Periyar National Park

Category : Wildlife Spots

Periyar National Park is a beautiful sanctuary located at Thekkady within the Western Ghats at Thekkady. The National Park is one of the 48 tiger reserves in India and has a special buffer zone inside the park. A reservoir is spread across the sanctuary which was developed as part of the Mullaperiyar dam.

Thekkady Periyar National Parlk

The Periyar National Park offers different forest oriented treks and hikes, that include Nature walks, green walks and bamboo rafting. These programs are offered by the forest department personnel based at the park. The programs are available to book online. Most of the treks are guided by poachers turned forest protectors.

Apart from these program, there is a 1.5 hour boating through the reservoir inside the park where guests could sight animals like Elephants, Gaurs, Sambar Deers, Wild Boar and many birds. Sighting wild beings is very much subject to luck.

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Adventure and Trekking Spots

 

Chembra Peak

Category : Adventure and Trekking Spots

Chembra Peak Wayanad

The Chembra is a peak in Wayanad within the Western Ghat ranges, 2000 meters above the sea level and is the highest peak in Wayanad. The peak is a Trekkers paradise, especially during monsoon the peak and the surrounding look amazingly mist filled.

Atop the peak there is a small heart shaped lake that does not even dry during the peak of summers. Trekkers would require to take special permission from the Forest Department of Kerala, and it would cost around INR 500/­ including a guide who will direct you until the top of the mountain. The Trek gives out some of the best opportunities for amazing photographs of the grasslands, the valley and the heart shaped lake.

The base camp is located Mepady, 8 Kilometers south of Kalpetta – The District headquarters. The district tourism promotion council offers leech socks and other trekking equipment for hire.

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Kolukkumalai Tea Factory

Category : Adventure and Trekking Spots

Kolukkumalai the highest tea factory in the world that follows organic cultivation practices and produces organic tea. The factory at Kolukkumalai still follows the orthodox method of tea production, which involves a 5 stage process.

Kolukumali tea factory

The machinery used are all of those installed in the year 1935, brought all the way from England. The estate is spread across three hundred acres of land and has around forty families working at the estate and factory. Mr. Mani, the guide at the factory takes you through the entire orthodox tea manufacturing process, explains and helps you take part in the process.

You will have a to hire a Jeep from Chinnakanal to the factory as normal vehicles do not reach the factory because of the road conditions, only Jeeps and tractors reach the factory.

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Meesapulimala

Category : Adventure and Trekking Spots

Meesapulimala

Meesapulimala is a Trekkers paradise and is the highest peak in Kerala that is open for Trekking, and is arguably one of the best places to visit in Kerala. Starting from Silent Valley tea estate, most of Meesapulimala treks are extended to a second day with a night camping at Rhodo Valley. Otherwise the Trek is possible with part of it in a Jeep and rest on foot.

The trek gives you some of the most stunning views in the whole of Western Ghats. The route would be Silent Valley Tea Estate, Base Camp, Rhodo Valley, Meesapulimala. The route is mostly Tea gardens, Eucalyptus forests, Grasslands, when the Neelakurinji blooms ­ one could see violet mountains enroute.

The Trek could almost done starting from Kolukkumalai Tea Estate which from on the other side of the mountain. In you have a love for adventure and trek, this hard trek route is one of the most interesting trek routes in the whole of Western Ghats, accessible from Munnar.

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Wonderla

Category : Adventure and Trekking Spots

If you are traveling to Cochin along with children, then Wonderla can be missed. The numerous water and land rides, wonderla would be a very interesting place for children and adults alike. Wonderla is located 20 Kilometers from the city center at Pallikara.

wonderla

The ticket price starts from INR 750 per adult and INR 600 per child, a child is identified based on height from 90 to 140 centimeters. The park opens at 1100 hours and closes by 1800 hours.

Make sure that you have a attire as per park rules and regulation, a synthetic or nylon make attire is recommended for water based ride, costumes are available for purchase inside the park for extra cost. If you are in Kochi along with kids, a day at Wonderla is going to be real thrilling.

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Hill Stations

 

Top Station Munnar

Category : Hill Stations

Top Stations

Top Station is on the eastern side of the Western Ghats and if forty kilometers away from Munnar town. This place was used by the British as a notable transshipment location for the Kannan Devan Tea company to Kottagudi by rope way.

Tea was brought here by an old railway system which got destroyed in a catastrophic flood in River Periyar in the year 1924. It got its name as an upper terminus of the Kundala Valley railway system operated to transport tea, it was also the upper terminus for the rope way that extended to Kottagudi in Tamil Nadu.

Tea was transported from there to Chennai to be exported to England. There are some interesting trekking routes from Top station and has one of the prime concentration of the popular neelakurinji flowers of the Western Ghats. Most popularly, Top station is known as a viewpoint and for short and long treks. Munnar is an ideal choice if you’re looking for places to visit in Kerala for 3-4 days.

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Kottakamboor Vegetable Farms

Category : Hill Stations

Further from Top station towards the old Munnar Kodaikanal route is Kottakambur, a dry tamilian village where you could find a lot of vegetable plantations. This is a scenic village and has a lot of remote tribal settlements closer to the forests. Most of the villagers are Tamilians, the village was supposed to be part of Tamil Nadu, which was exchanged for some land towards Kanyakumari.

The Women at the Veg Garden

There was this “Escape Route” built by the British during world war II for easy travel from Kodaikanal to Cochin Port. Today the route is closed and many use these as a trekking path and for Jeep off-roading. The road does not exist today as most of them are covered by forest, all that remains are just a few sign boards here and there enroute.

There are historians claiming that the place is being mentioned in during the sangam age literature and there is a river path from here to Palani in Tamil Nadu. Today it is a quaint village, that cultivates carrots, onion, potatoes, butter beans and much more.

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Ramakkalmedu

Category : Hill Stations

Located forty Kilometers before thekkady from Munnar, Ramakkalmedu is a hillock with some of the most stunning views of the farmlands of the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. Its a partial trek through rock mountain slopes and grasslands where you reach somewhere call on top of the world.

Ramakkalmedu

All you see around you would be lower than you. You can see a large sculpture of Kurvan and Kuruthi erected at Ramakkalmedu, they are historical character of the region. It is believed that Kuruvan showed the place to engineers to built the world known Idukki dam. It is a mythological belief that during “Threthayuga” Lord Rama reached this peek area with Lakshmana searching beloved Sita and wailed “Where are you Sita….Sita…”

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Gavi

Category : Hill Stations

Gavi is a village in Kerala located in the Pathanamthitta district and is part of the Periyar Tiger reserve. The village is located 28 kilometers from Kumily (Thekkady) and could be covered by a day excursion. The route is mostly covered in Jeeps and is very scenic and green.

Gavi

This place would be loved by nature enthusiasts and tourists equally. Enroute, there are chances to sight elephants and other wild beings. The village is very much under the Kerala forest department. There are basic accommodation facilities available at Gavi offered by the Kerala Forest Department.

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Art and Culture Spots

 

Visit a Kalari Centre in Kerala

Category : Art and Culture Spots

Kalaripayattu is a divine martial art form, a discipline, and the most ancient methodology of warfare that originated from Kerala. It is said that this martial art form travelled abroad to different parts of the world through travelers and traders, influenced other martial art forms like Karate, Kung Fu and Jiu­Jitsu of China and the far east nations of Modern world.

kalaripayattu

KalariPayattu is practiced in a Kalari, a field from where the topsoil is removed up to four feet, and at one corner there would be a presiding deity. This martial art form is practiced even today in Kerala, and it has a lot of followers from different parts of the world.

There are around 100 Kalaris in Kerala practicing Kalaripayattu on a daily basis. Apart from these there are theaters that showcase this martial art form with Sticks, swords, daggers and other weapons. Visiting a Kalari would be an eye opener to the world of techniques and disciplines of this ancient Martial Art form from Kerala.

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Kerala Kalamandalam

Category : Art and Culture Spots

Kalamandalam

Kerala is very rich in art and cultural performing art and Kerala Kalamandalam is an art Museum located at Cheruthuruthy close to Shoranur in the Palakkad district of Kerala. The art university supported by the Government of Kerala educates, trains and supports artists would would want to learn ethnic art forms in Kerala. This includes, dance forms, vocals, musical instruments, drama and other temple art forms.

The university was founded by the great poet Vallathol Narayana Menon in the year 1930. For visitors who wish to explore the university, there is a program named “Day with the Masters” where guests are taken around the museum to visit different art school and explain about each art form and the teaching methods. The program starts at 09 Am every day except the weekends and other holidays.

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Aranmula

Category : Art and Culture Spots

Aranmula 1

Aranmula is a village located on the banks of the Pampa river in the district of Pathanamthitta towards South of Kerala. The famous parthasarathy temple is located here on the banks of the Pampa river. The famous Aranmula boat race is conducted here. The Aranmula mirror has its origin here from this village, it is pure metal rubbed to get a perfect reflection and not silicon based mirror.

Special alloys of brass and silver are used to make Aranmula mirror ­ it is called “Aranmula Kanadi” in the local language Malayalam. Only a few families make these mirrors today, and are mostly sold as souvenirs. The Konni Elephant training centre is not far from here.

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Hope this blog post helps you to get a brief idea of the best places to visit in Kerala during your next visit to God’s own country.

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