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Tourist Places To Visit In Kerala
Kerala is the land of tranquil mesh of backwaters and lakes, lighthouses and beaches, boats and palm trees. Here you will feel time shift gears and lull down its pace, sway with the coconut trees and lounge lazily on sands. There are just so many amazing tourist places to visit here in Kerala that one trip will fall short of covering them all. This southern state of India is a year-round tourist destination and why not? Kerala has the most ideal weather, some of the best tourist places to visit and a culture that just lets you melt in. Make your trip a memorable one in Kerala by making sure-shot visits to cities like Kochi, Munnar, Alleppey, Wayanad, Kumarakom and some more that are described below.
Alleppey is one of the most popular tourist places in Kerala, known for its gorgeous backwater tours, snake-boat races, (usually held in August every year), pristine beaches, and marine and coir products industries. Alleppey beach is a popular picnic spot for locals as well as tourists. We highly recommend a houseboat ride through the backwaters at sunset. We dare say it could be one of the most magical and cinematic experiences of your life. An interesting experience here is sampling the local alcohol - coconut toddy, which is usually served in a coconut shell itself. Hope you have the head to handle it!
Kovalam literally refers to a 'grove of coconut trees' and that's exactly what you can expect to find here. Swaying tall palms line the entire stretch of the moon shaped beach, well known for its clean and soft off-white sand. Kovalam is often hailed as the Paradise of the South because of its postcard perfect views. Seafood lovers can indulge in fresh meals of lobster, prawn and fish, curried or grilled as per your palate. A number of yoga and ayurvedic massage centres have also opened up, so you can be sure of a relaxed vacation.
Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake. Birds such as Egrets, Darters, Herons, Teals, Waterfowls, Cuckoos, Wild Duck and the Siberian Stork can be seen at the bird sanctuary located here. If you're a shell person, you will probably have a field day as there are large deposits of shells in the sand and shallow waters here. A few large resort chains have opened shop here so you can look forward to a luxurious stay. The soil in this region is extremely fertile making it a tropical paradise of mangroves, paddy fields and coconut plantations.
A must visit hill-station, Munnar adds diversity to the list of tourist places in Kerala. Munnar is marked by vast expanses of symmetrically cropped tea plantations, looming colonial villas, warbling brooks, refreshing waterfalls and beautiful weather all year round. You can enjoy a scenic hike or perhaps choose to cycle down the narrow, yet immaculately kept mountain roads.
The Periyar forests of Thekkady is one of the finest nature reserves in India, set high in the mountains of the Western Ghats, covering an area of 925 kilometers. A fine destination for long, undisturbed mountain walks, it is also home to the spectacular Periyar River. A morning barge ride down this river is a virtual Nat Geo experience! On either side of the river is dense forest with scattered open spaces. You'll be able to spot herds of bathing elephants, deer, wild boar, exotic birds and if you're lucky, even a tiger or two out on its morning jaunt.
The hidden hills of Wayanad are home to some of the oldest tribes yet untouched by civilization. Pre-historic engravings dating back to the Mesolithic Age have been discovered around this area. Wayanad is a bio-diverse region known for its sub-tropical savannahs, spice plantations, lush forests, and rich cultural traditions. A major attraction here is the Sentinel Rock waterfall, where people often go rock climbing. Another must visit is the Muthanga wild life sanctuary, which is the biggest reserve of wild animals in the Malabar region. You will have a chance to spot elephants, spotted deer, bison, tigers and wild bears in this sanctuary.
Kochi or Cochin is one of the major cities of Kerala, an old port that became the gateway for foreign merchants into India. With its British Colonial charm hanging thick in the air, architecture that is ancient and very beautiful, beaches and docks that take you back in time, Kochi is an awesome burst of sensations. Some of the most coveted tourist sites here are Fort Kochi, the famous Chinese fishing nets, Cherai Beach and Mattancherry Palace. Shopping for spices, coconut products and Kasavu sarees in Kochi is a must-do.
Thiruvananthapuram / Trivandrum
Thiruvananthapuram, also contemporarily known as Trivandrum, is the capital city of Kerala. Another city engulfed by the colonial charm, Trivandrum is adorned with stunning architecture, palaces and temples. The most famous palace is Kuthira Malika or Puthen Malika Palace that houses artefacts from the Travancore royal family and the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Other places of interest include Napier Museum, Vellayani Lake, Lighthouse Beach and Kovaam Beach.
Erstwhile known as Calicut, Kozhikode is a beach town in Kerala that has been a chill, relaxed vacation destination for tourists. Kozhikode has also been labelled the spice capital of India and for obvious reasons. Its vast shores and easy accessibly via water route made it a hotspot in spice trade. Today the place is famous for laid-back beaches, backwaters and dams. Some interesting places to visit are Kappad Beach, Payyoli Beach, Kappad backwaters, Kalipoika and Peruvannamuzhi Dam.
Varkala is a small coastal town in Kerala, located very close to Trivandrum. A low budget trip is best spent in Varkala, what with its stream of beautiful tranquil backwaters and temples that are hubs of religion and spiritual awakening. Some of the best shines here for visiting are Janardhana Swamy Temple, Sivagiri Mutt and Chirayinkeezhu. For beaches and backwaters you have the Kappil Lake and Thiruvambady Beach. Don't miss the Varkala Lighthouse and Varkala tunnel.
Periyar National Park
Periyar National Park, located in Thekkady, is one very popular national park, not only of Kerala but all of India. Most other national parks in the country open seasonally, but Periyar is open throughout the year. Even heavy monsoons don’t hamper safaris and tourism here. You must visit Periyar National Park for the wild elephants roaming around freely, and tigers found basking by river banks. For a unique experience go for elephant back safaris or boat rides on the lake.
Up until now you must have read a very touristy list of places in Kerala. Places that you would find on most other similar listings. This one though, is the kind of place that is off-track. If you don’t want the tourist chaos to surround you and still want the full Kerala experience then Kannur is your place — beaches, rituals, culture, weavers and massages. Absolute peaceful bliss.
Sargaalaya Crafts Village
Sargaalaya is a special designated village located in Iringal, established by the Kerala Tourism Department to promote local craft and craftsmen. It has won the national award for best rural tourism and exudes a rustic aura. Its pretty setup welcomes you into its folds and before you know, you are lost in the colours and crafts, weaves and wares on display. More than 400 artisans gather here in December-January to celebrate South India’s biggest handicraft fair. But if you are not here at this time, there will still be plenty wares for you. There are paddling and boating activities also available.
At a ride of 30-minutes down Kovalam’s coast lies the Poovar Island, home to beautiful water bungalows. You can get your Instagram-worthy Maldives experience right here, at less than half the prices and more open spaces. Tourists have not caught whiff of this place yet so you are rest assured to find less crowd. The quaint fishermen lifestyle here will slow the pace of your life too, and the houses on water will set a quiet, rhythmic beat to your holiday. Make sure to visit here for at least 2-3 days.
After all these beach and lake towns, here’s one that is landlocked. Idukki is known for its thick, green forest cover that encompasses in its lap tea plantations, factories, rubber plantations, wildlife sanctuaries and home stay-like bungalows. Since it is away from the sea, summers don’t scorch as hard and winters are quite cool, so you can visit at any time of the year. Eravikulam National Park is a must visit when here.
Touted as India’s own Mecca, Sabarimala is a temple town drawing the largest crowd in all of India. Second largest in the world. It is located inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve and is blessed by the cooling effect of Pampa River flowing close by. Lord Ayyappa is worshipped in the temple here and people from all walks of life, all parts of the country throng its gates. With the surrounding hills and forests, this is a peaceful place and one that must be on your itinerary when in Kerala
Bekal is a little town located on the Malabar coastline. With its fortress, which is the largest in all of Kerala, Bekal attracts a horde of tourists. And the backwaters, beaches and massage shacks galore makes its even more enticing. Winter months are pretty good here, and must be preferred for a visit.
Thrissur is the hub of Kerala’s classical arts. From performing arts to crafts and drama, religious sites to festivals — Thrissur is coveted by tourists from all over the world. The most important festivals here are the Onam Festival and Thrissur Pooram festival. Do also visit the Vadakkumnathan Temple when here.
Also called Palaghat, this little town is all about quaint sceneries and picturesque trails that open into the backwaters. Since Palakkad is located in a mountain pass of the Western Ghats, it is blessed with both maritime as well as mountainous landscape — so expect paddy fields as well as palmyras. Places to visit here include Palakkad Fort (dating back to 18th Century), Hanuman Temple, Viswanatha Swamy Temple (dating back to 15th Century), Kalpathy River, and Malampuzha Dam and rock garden. The Ratholsavam chariot festival is a coveted celebration here, not to be missed.
Nelliyampathy is a quiet hill station straddling the Tamil Nadu and Kerala border. Home to cardamom, coffee and tea plantations, Nelliyampathy is fragranced in every corner of its landscape. The lush green flora only enhances the beauty of its mountainous terrain. If you are looking for a romantic getaway or eco-tourism then this is the place. Treks, adventure, walks, festivals and relaxation abound here.