Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Kerala Tourist Places

Kerala, a state situated on the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Named as one of the ten paradises of the world by the National Geographic Traveler,Kerala is famous especially for its ecotourism initiative Its unique culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demography, has made Kerala one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Until the early 1980s, Kerala was a relatively unknown destination, with most tourism circuits concentrated around the north of the country. Aggressive marketing campaigns launched by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation—the government agency that oversees tourism prospects of the state—laid the foundation for the growth of the tourism industry. In the decades that followed, Kerala Tourism was able to transform itself into one of the niche holiday destinations in India. The tag line Kerala- God's Own Country was adopted in its tourism promotions and became a global superbrand. Kerala is regarded as one of the destinations with the highest brand recall.
 
 
 
About The State
 
Kerala, a state in Southern India is known as a tropical paradise of waving palms and wide sandy beaches. It is a narrow strip of coastal territory that slopes down the Western Ghats in a cascade of lush green vegetation, and reaches to the Arabian sea. Kerala borders the states of Tamil Nadu to the east and Karnataka to the north. It is also known for its backwaters, mountains, coconuts, spices and art forms like Kathakali and Mohini Attam. It is the most literate state in India, and a land of diverse religions, where you can find Hindu temples, mosques, churches, and even synagogues. With world class tourist sporting options, ayurvedic spas and treatments, eco-tourism initiatives, a large number of visit options ranging from beautiful high altitude blue mountains to pristine rain forests to golden sun-sand beaches and an enormous range of accommodation, Kerala has much to offer the visitor.
 
 History
Large parts of Kerala were not subject to direct British rule. Malabar was a district of Madras Presidency under direct British rule, but Tiruvithamkoor (Travancore) and Kochi (Cochin) regions were autonomous kingdoms ruled by Maharajas during the period of the British rule in India, and were known for their progressive attitude which resulted in various welfare reforms, particularly in the areas of education and health care.
Kerala was the place in India where European colonization first started. The Portuguese were the first to discover a direct sea route between Lisbon and Kozhikode in Kerala, and this marked the beginning of European colonisation in the country. Soon the Dutch, French, Italians and British were all lured by the wealth of spices and silk, and came with the intention of forming colonies. The defeat of the Dutch by the Travancore Army at the Battle of Colachel, and the decline of Portuguese Empire and French problems in Europe, resulted in the British gaining the full influence in country, and the annexation of the Malabar region into the British Madras Presidency.
However, the Kingdoms of Cochin and Travancore remained independent with little interference from the British, and they were staunch allies. After the independence of India, the Kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin choose to accede into the Indian Union, and were later merged into a single State of Travancore-Cochin. With the linguistic reorganisation of States, the Malayalam-speaking regions of Malabar and Travancore-Cochin were integrated into the State of Kerala on November 1st 1956. This realised a united Kerala, a dream held since the partition of the ancient Kerala Empire of Cheras in the eighth century. Today, people in Kerala live a largely traditional lifestyle, and much of the rich culture and heritage of the region is well-preserved.
November 1st is celebrated as Keralappiravi (Birth of Kerala) Day (also observed as Malayalam Divasam or Malayalam Day).

Climate

Kerala, being very close to equator, has a tropical climate. Kerala experiences heavy rains almost throughout the year, and is one of the wettest areas on the earth.
Kerala has three distinct seasons:

  • Summer lasts from from mid-February to mid-May. The tropical sun is really hot and temperatures can go up to 35°C in the afternoons.

  • The monsoon is in place from mid-May until early September. The North-East Monsoon winds bring heavy showers.

  • Winter is mild and lasts from about mid-October to early February. Heavy rains occur from the last week of September until until early November, due to the retreat of the South-East monsoon. There is no snow in Kerala, although it is quite cold and misty in the mountain regions.

When in Kerala, carry an umbrella no matter what time of the year it is. You can be caught in a sudden shower in summer which will leave you drenched if you are unprepared. The Kerala sun coupled with high rate of humidity can be unforgiving in the summer months.
 
 
Culture

 
Unique to Kerala, the Malayalee culture is derived from ancient Tamil-Dravidian practices combined with Arya-Indian culture, with influences from China, Japan, Arab countries, Portugal, Holland and even from the British. There are a lot of Tamil-Sanskrit elements, resulting in many unique practices and customs. Each community in Kerala has its own unique Malayalee culture which will not be found anywhere outside Kerala.
The Buddhist influence brought Ayurveda into a prominent position as well as Kalaripayattu (Kerala's traditional martial art). While religious beliefs and its associated myths & legends are well rooted in the Malayalee psyche, the influence of communism and the Kerala renaissance has resulted in separation of religion from the daily routine of life.
Kerala architecture has lot of Tibetan-Chinese influence, due to its seclusion from other parts of India when the Western Ghats prevented Tamil influences. Most of the buildings have gabled, tiled roofs and a heavy use of wood with prominent slanting windows and ornamental flora designs. The Sree Padmanabhapuram Palace near thuckalay in kanyakumai, is a classic example of this style.
Dance, music, drama all have distinctive styles. Dances and music often attract large crowds.
A good way to experience the entire arts and culture of Kerala in one place is at the Annual Kerala State School Art Festival, normally held in December or January. The location changes between various district headquarters on a rotational basis. This was constituted by the government as a competition amongst school children to promote Kerala arts and culture. This is Asia's largest festival according to the Guinness Book of records, with more than 82 art forms show-cased during its ten day duration.

Dance


  • Kathakali. Kerala's celebrated classical ballad with use of large costumes and elaborate make-up. It is a dance drama, noted for wide range of characters, each character with special kind of costumes and make-up with special movements, particularly extensive expressions, refined gestures and innovative themes. The dance is accompanied with anchor playback music and precise drumming. The Kathakali Music is unique as it varies in accordance to expressions and reactions. Whilst traditional Indian epics constitute the main story-boards for the dance drama, many international versions like Shakespearian-Homer-Biblical works are now taken as themes.


 

  • Mohiniyattom. This classical artform of Kerala is a subtle and graceful dance performed by women in traditional costume. Most of the themes are poems, unlike other classical dances which have an emphasis on Hindu mythology.


  • Koodiyattom. An ancient form of theatre with a legacy of more than 2,000 years. This is very stylised Sanskrit theatre and recognised by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Most of the characters are noted for Sanskrit recitations and highly stylised movement, particularly eye expressions. Some parts of the stories are expressed only using the eyes.


  • Theyyam. This is a ritualistic rite performed in the temples of Malabar. It is an ancient tradition, whereby worship takes the form of performance, rather than formal worship. While dressed in Theyyam costume, peformers are considered Gods and Goddesses. There are nearly 41 various types of Theyyam, each noted for its different legend and stories. A visit to any Malabar temples during Theyyam season (Dec-Mar), is advised.


  • Chavittu Nadakam (Malayalam:ചവിട്ടുനാടകം). This is a highly colorful Christian classical art form originated in Gothuruth village,North Paravur, Kerala state in India. It is noted for its attractive make-up of characters, their elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the rhythmic playback music and complementary percussion. This art form highly resembles European Opera. Chavittu Nadakam is believed to be originated during the 16th century AD. This form of play is prevalent among the Christian community in the districts of Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur of Kerala.


  • Margam Kali  is one of the ancient group dance of Kerala practiced by Saint Thomas Christians.The Margamkali is a ritual folk dance in which twelve people dance around a traditional oil lamp (Nilavilakku). They represent the twelve apostles and Christ himself is represented by the lamp. They perform the dance wearing the traditional white dhoti and a peacock feather on the turban. Margamkali is essentially famous among the Syrian Christ of Kottayam and Thrissur districts of Kerala.

There are more than 14-15 various Dance forms, all indigenous to Kerala. A detailed check with locals or web search, may help you to identify some others.

Music

Kerala has its own indigenous music and orchestration.

  • Melam. This is a percussion ensemble, with several variants differing in the number of percussive instruments used, as well as the style of playing them. Melam is extremely popular and is s mostly used during temple festivals, when more than six hours of continuous playing is the norm. Melam attracts large crowds and creates wonderful notes. The Thrissur Pooram has the largest Melam, with more than 300 musicians in the ensemble.


  • Sopanam. This is Kerala's unique classical music; slow, graceful rhythms. Most of the original versions are poems, and the music is coupled with poetic expression and style. Sopanam is now limited to regular performances at temple events.


  • Mappila Songs. This music is associated with the local Muslim community. Traditionally, the songs were performed in Mappila Malayalam - a mixture of Arabic and Malayalam - and most tell stories of social systems and customs. Today, Mappila songs are popular amongst youngsters, using Malayalam lyrics. Mappila songs have a charm of their own as their tunes sound a mix of the ethos and culture of Kerala as well as West Asia.


  • Poems plays a pivotal role in Malayalam music culture. Kerala is extremely for its various famous poetic traditions and large number of poems of high literarly value. Aksharaslokam (Poem recitations) is a common sight in many village temple platforms and during festival times, where poets recites poems and challenge other poets to start their recitation with the phrase, the former has ended his recitation


  • Film Music. As elsewhere in India, film music is extremely popular, and Malayalam songs can be heard everywhere.

Martial art

Kalarippayattu (Kalari) is believed to be one of the oldest martial arts in world. It soon became a major weapon of war. Kalaripayattu has many styles, the best known being Northern Style and Southern Style. While former is focused on using various weapons, the Southern style uses powerful strokes with the bare hand. The knowledge of vital spots, known as Marma, on the human body helped Kalaripayattu warriors, make blows that can freeze or kill a person.
The British Government passed legislation banning Kalari, considering it a potential danger, and this resulted in a brief decline. Today, it is a popular sport and exercise option which gets international attention. There are many cultural centres which showcase Kalari techniques as well as schools in Thiruvanathapuram, Kottayam and many places in north Malabar.

Drama

Drama was once a very popular medium in Kerala, and played a large role in the spread of Communist ideology and the social renaissance of the region. Due to the popularity of television soaps and cinema, the popularity of live drama has waned. However, some high-end dramas involving technology and innovative themes are gaining popularity in major metropolitan areas. JT Pac in Kochi and Tagore Theatre in Trivandrum regularly features dramas, particularly English and other vernacular features. Thrissur is the hub of Kerala drama, with many theatres hosting regular shows. Thrissur also hosts the annual International Drama Festival of Kerala, attracting prominent dramatists, from across the world. Most Kerala dramas are performed in Malayalam, and the stories based on social realities. Some temples offer dramas as part of their Temple festival programs.


Traditional dress


The traditional costumes of Kerala are called mundu and neriyathu, for both men and women. Sarees and blouses form the traditional costume of Kerala women. Kerala Mundu is very popular in the state and is worn by many men. Its a special white/cream colour dhoti worn across the waist. The dhothi has a golden thread work as a strip running down from the waist to bottom, and the width of the gold thread determines the cost. It is an elegant costume, mostly used for ceremonial purposess. The women's Mundu Neriyathu is similar and has an upper shawl of same material. White colour is one of the most preferred in the state. Today different versions of Mundu and Neriyathu with different colours and motiffs is available.
 





What To Do
 


Kerala is a long state by virtue of its geography and its advised to check individual cities and regions, to know local sightseeing attractions, restaurants, hotels etc.
Due to its unique geography, Kerala gets rain for at least 7-8 months of the year and the forests are classified as rainforests. There are many opportunities to trek, camp and see wildlife.
 

Backwaters

 

Meandering through the coastal areas of Kerala is a 900 kilometers (560 miles) long intricate network of lagoons, lakes, canals, estuaries and deltas of several rivers that flow into the Arabian Sea. This is a natural phenomenon, as major rivers and streams that flows within Kerala drain themselves into backwaters regions, resulting in creation of several small land strips, lagoons, islands etc, which opens to sea at few areas. Thus backwaters are one of the largest fresh-water sources and rich in marine habitat as well as adds to natural beauty.




Thiruvallam
The stunningly beautiful and serene stretch of the Thiruvallam backwaters in Kerala is temptingly close to Thiruvananthapuram for the tourists to visit and enjoy a heavenly time.The backwater destination of Thiruvallam makes a great one-day tour. The renowned canoe rides makeThiruvallam apopular backwaterdestination with thetourists.


Kasargode
On the Kerala seacoast, the backwater destination of Kasargode offers mesmerizing trips to the enchanting Chandragiri and the vivacious Valiayaparamba. Situated on the Chandragiri river, the former is renowned for its chain of forts. The latter provides breathtaking views of the backwaters.The boat cruises to and from Kasargode backwaters,Kerala,will never fail to enchant the vacationers. While on the Kasargode backwater tour in Kerala,the visitors can halt to visit the well-preserved Bekal Fort which is of archaeological interest. The Pallikere and the Kappil beach at Kasargode are excellent spots for relaxation and rejuvenation.The idyllic backwater ride also provides a gateway to the tourists to get a feel of the rural life in Kasargode district of Kerala.
Scenic LocationKasargode situated in north Kerala is a beautiful backwater destination. Known for rice cultivation, coir processing and lovely landscape, it has the sea to the west and the Western Ghats to the north and east. Cruise options are Chandragiri and Valiyaparamba. Chandragiri is situated 4 km to the southeast of Kasaragode town and takes tourists to the historic Chandragiri fort. Valiyaparamba is a scenic backwater stretch near Kasaragode. Four rivers flow into the backwaters near Kasaragod and there are many small islands along these backwater stretches, where birds can be seen.



Kollam
The town Kollam on the Ashtamudi Lake is renowned for being the gateway to the beautiful backwaters of Kerala.The tourists have the option of going for a backwater tour or cruise that commences from Kollam in Kerala. The backwater tour from Kollam to Alappuzha happens to be the longest cruise in Kerala.This town Kollam is famous for its cashew crop. Kollam (earlier known as Quilon) was one of the leading trade centres of the ancient world, eulogised by travellers such as Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo.


Thangasseri Fort

Kollam is also the starting point of the backwater waterways in Kerala. The famous Ashtamudi Kayal in Kollam, known as the gateway to the backwaters of Kerala, covers about 30 per cent of Kollam.The 8 hour house boat ride from Kollam to Alappuzha is the longest cruise in Kerala backwaters and is a delightful ride with a view of the scenery landscaped by lotuses and water lilies all around.The historic Thangasseri Fort near Kollam, which is situated 71 km north of Thiruvananathapuram, is a major tourist attraction around the backwaters of Kollam.


Alappuzha
Alappuzha is an alluring town with its lovely lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers.Referred to as the ‘ Venice of the East’, this town is laced with a network of canals and is famous for its boat races, houseboats, beaches, marine products and coir industry. Alappuzha is home to some diverse animal and bird life too. The rich crop of bananas, yams and cassava is yet another feature of Alappuzha.Alappuzha is a fine backwater destination in Kerala. Kuttanad, in the heart of the backwaters of Alappuzha, owing to its richness of paddy crops, is referred to as the rice bowl of Kerala. The half hour journey by speedboat or by houseboat cruising in the backwaters of Alappuzha,Kerala,to the nearby island of Pathiramanal will reveal the range of rare migratory birds that fly from various parts of the world to this spot.



Thiruvananthapuram
The extensive backwaters of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala present a beautiful kaleidoscope of the dynamic scenery. One of the best ways to enjoy your trip is to go on the Thiruvananthapuram backwater tours. The traditional houseboats called "Kettuvallams" are available for a tour on the scenic backwaters of Thiruvananthapuram. The meandering waterways of Thiruvananthapuram lined with lush green vegetation with the blue sky as the backdrop is no less than paradise on earth.A long shoreline with secluded internationally renowned beaches, historic monuments, backwater stretches and a rich cultural heritage provide Thiruvananthapuram district some of the most enchanting picnic spots.
Peaceful ride.
Sail on the calm backwaters of the 200 square kilometer stretch of crystal clear lakes and lagoons in Thiruvananthapuram. The only sounds that you will hear while sailing are the chirruping of birds and the gushing water as the houseboat sails on the placid backwaters. The main backwater areas of Thiruvananthapuram are Veli,Thiruvallam and Aakkulam boat club.These areas are the best places to go on houseboat rides on the Thiruvananthapuram backwaters. The Thiruvallam backwater has a temple dedicated to the founder of Kerala, Parashuram. One can also enjoy some water sports that are provided at these backwaters for tourists.

Kumarakom
If you are planning to spend some cherished moments in the lap of nature, then the sparkling backwaters of Kumarakom would be the ideal touring destination for you. Kumarakom backwaters in Kerala is an enamouring site with its exotic bio network, sounds of nature and scenic beauty.The backwater destination of Kumarakom lies about 16 km off Kottayam, in Kerala. Kumarakom is a clump of small islands on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala which offers one of the most attractive backwater destinations of Kerala.
The Vembanad Lake is one of the most prominent fresh water lakes in Asia and is interlaced by the mesh of streams, distributaries and other small creeks of water forming the interesting backwater destinations. Lovely white lilies and mangrove vegetation are the typical features of Kumarakom backwaters. You can also find crabs (karimeen) in the water besides other kinds of biodiversity like planktons and colorful insects floating in the water.


Ernakulam
Ernakulam, Cochin or Kochi, the Queen of the Arabian Sea is a major tourist attraction that has crowds trooping in hordes to enjoy the plush and majestic backwater rides along the kayal or lagoon that promises to be an idyllic experience for the holidayer.

A trip to the lush backwaters of Kochi is a feast for the tired mind and body. It is the haven of vintage architecture, lip-smacking delicacies and pure solitude. The Wellingdon Island is a popular tourist haunt that is a must visit on a cruise to the Kochi backwaters.

The Bolgatty Island also claims huge footfalls primarily due to the Bolgatty Palace Hotel. It is a relic of the Dutch Empire dating back to 1744. It has been a major retreating haven for the golf freaks as it houses the only teeing ground of Kochi. Besides the boat ride and boat cruises in the backwaters of Kochi, you can also saunter down the Goshree Bridge that connects Vypeen and Ernakulam.


Veli
Veli Aakulam Lagoon or backwaters is at the confluence of the Veli Lake and the Arabian Sea. The backwaters can be explored at leisure with pedalboats and paddleboats.Veli backwaters is situated at a short distance from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. Even speedboats are available on hire. The Veli Tourist Village nearby offers picnic facilities to tourists.Here you can enjoy all kinds of water sports and dine at the floating restaurant.The backwater destination of Veli also provides the facility of an amusement park. The east end of the lake is flanked by two scenic hillocks.Veli backwaters is altogether an enjoyable tourist destination. The Veli Lagoon or Backwaters is near Trivandrum and Kovalam, which is just 16 km away.
Breathtaking view
It is an incredibly different experience to cruise in the Veli backwaters in country boats with full-fledged amenities, absorbing the beauty of Kerala villages. Veli in south Kerala is known for its panoramic backwater stretch, lush green paddy fields, highlands and beaches. The scenery flashes up vivid contrasts of the breath-taking green landscape and the deep blue waters. Boat rides, houseboat cruises and holiday packages are available for the tourists at nominal rates.The house boat cruises along the backwaters of Veli have become a rage among domestic travellers as well as international tourists.

Kottayam
Kottayam is a land of striking beauty with long stretches of serene backwaters, sprawling paddy fields, rubber plantations and a population of literate people and hence is cited as the ‘land of letters, latex and lakes’. It is bounded by the Western Ghats on the east the Vembanad Lake on the west. The famous Vembanad Lake marks Kottayam backwaters as a renowned tourist destination. The famous backwater cruises in Kottayam include sailing in Kettuvalams in the Vembanad Lake and the Punnamada Lake and viewing the mundane activities of rustic life of the locales while passing through the villages. Boats of varying sizes and shapes are available in the big and small wharfs that are engaged in the backwater tours.
Places of interest
The Chandragiri backwater cruises at Kottayam offer boat tours to the nearby islands and palm woodlets. The boarding point is Chandragiri Bridge which is located near the ancient Kizhur Sastha Temple. The varied places of interest in the backwater destination of Kottayam are: The Vaikom Shiva Temple, located 40 km away from the city, believed to be related with the legendary figure- Parashurama. Other temples are the Temple at Ettumanoor, and the Temples of Perunna, Vazhappally. You can visit the other pilgrim centres of Mannanam, Sabarimala, and Bharananganam in Kottayam.

Kozhikode
The Kozhikode backwaters are a promise to the tourist; the promise of a holiday on historic lands, on serene waters, with a view of the plush blue green landscape and the exotic flora and fauna of the region. The Kozhikode backwaters is a stretch of lucid cool waterways in the Kozhikode district of Kerala. The easiest route to Kozhikode would be through the nearest airport at Karipur, 23 km from Kozhikode city. Daily flight services to national destinations such as Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and international places such as Sharjah in the Middle East maintain easy access to this much favored tourist destination. Kozhikode backwaters are easily accessible by road and rail links from the major cities in Kerala and in India.

 

 
 
 
 
 
Kerala Backwaters Boating
 
 
 
 
 
Your holiday in the kaleidoscopic Kerala will be bewitching with the balmy beaches and the breathtakingly beautiful backwaters. Though it will be the private boat trip along the backwaters that will make the tour complete. The ‘kettuvallams’ or the traditional houseboats offer the best possible accommodation. The slow yet steady sail along shallow, palm-fringed lakes and narrow canals is mesmerizing
 
 
 
 
 
The backwaters of Kerala have a unique ecosystem - freshwater from the rivers meets the seawater from the Arabian Sea in the backwaters in Kerala. Many unique species of aquatic life including crabs, frogs and mudskippers, water birds such as terns, kingfishers, darters and cormorants, and animals such as otters and turtles live in and alongside the backwaters in Kerala. Palm trees, pandanus shrubs, various leafy plants and bushes grow alongside the Kerala backwaters, providing a green hue to the surrounding landscape. You can see the amazing flora and fauna of the backwaters in Kerala, while on Kerala tours with Kerala Backwater
 
 
 
 
 
The fisher folk and people who live along the backwaters in Kerala have a unique relationship with the Kerala backwaters. The backwaters in Kerala are the source of the local people's livelihood. The fish caught from its waters, the paddy, coconut and other crops harvested along its banks, the boats they build and use to transport them across the labyrinthine backwaters in Kerala, are all an integral part of their traditional way of life. You can see the traditional lifestyle of the backwaters in Kerala on tours to Kerala.


Mountains

 
 
The mountain ranges in Kerala consisting of the highland area of the Western Ghats, exude an exotic charm. Rising to an average height of 1520 m, the tropical forests of the ghats house rich and unique flora and fauna. The high ranges and hill stations are the favourite spots of nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.Expansive plantations of tea,coffee,rubber and fragrant cardamom and other spices for which Kerala is famous for,are cultivated on Much of Keralas exotic appeal is centered in these highland areas of the Western Ghats. Ideal places for adventure tourism and trekking,the fresh mountain air, the mist clad hills and a panoramic view make them worthy of a visit.Places like Munnar in Kerala produce an exotic species of flowers that bloom once in twelve years.the slopes of these hill station
 Hill stations in Kerala offer tourists an opportunity to spend their vacations amidst clean and fresh air of the hills. Some of the more popular hill stations in Kerala are those of Mattupetty, Munnar, Nelliyampathy, Palakkad, Ponmudi, Wayanad, Idduki, Kannur, Kasargod and Kozhikode. Here you can see the milky waterfalls, mighty rocks, lakes, and hill-plantations. The scenic beauty of these Kerala hill stations cannot be defined in words, it is best experienced in person.
Munnar
Green and surrounded by the serenity of spectacular hills, the beautiful hill station of Munnar in Idukki district of Kerala, redefines nature like no other place does. The picturesque hill station of Munnar is one of the most popular tourist destinations of India, drawing a wide variety of people with the lure of her scenic landscapes. Thus, whether you are a newly wed couple planning a honeymoon in Munnar hill station or just want a holiday in Munnar hills with your family, this mountainous district promises to charm!
Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands of this hill station is the Neelakurinji. This flower which bathes the hills in blue every twelve years, last bloomed in 2006 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.
Tea plantationsMunnar is situated at a distance of 70 km from Idukki and is 1600 meter above the sea level. This hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in south India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala, from where it gets its name.
The high ranges of Munnar were earlier known as the Kannan Devan Hills, named after a certain Kannan Devan, who was the landlord in the Anchanad Valley on the eastern side of the district. The principal crops cultivated in the hill station are Tea and Coffee.


Silent Valley
One of the prettiest hill stations in India, Silent Valley is a must visit while planning a trip to Kerala. The Silent Valley hill station is also one of the most important national parks and wildlife sanctuaries of India, with its natural beauty being the perfect background for the comfort of a number of rare species of flora and fauna. Much of the natural charm of the hill station of Silent Valley is still well preserved today, with the scenic landscape of the Valley also being home to a number of aboriginal tribes mainly led by the Kurumbar Tribes, who make the tour to the Silent Valley hill station even more special for the traveler by displaying their rustic charm.
 The Silent Valley national park is one of the last undisturbed tracts of South Western Ghats consiting of mountainous rain forests and tropical moist evergreen forest in India. Contiguous with the proposed Karimpuzha National Park to the north and Mukurthi National Park to the north-east, it is the core of the Nilgiri International Biosphere Reserve and is part of The Western Ghats World Heritage Site, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster under consideration by UNESCO.
 

Devikulam

 
Literally meaning "the pond or lake of the Devi", Devikulam is a small hill station in the state of Kerala where the possibility of getting mesmerized by its sheer scenic grandeur is a rule rather than an exception. The town is situated in the Idukki District of Kerala, 1800 metres above sea level & 16 Km from Munnar. This idyllic hill station of Devikulam with its breath-taking locales, velvet lawns and the cool fresh air is famous for its softly gushing waterfalls that cascade from steep heights and the unique flora and fauna.Legend has it that Sita of the Ramayana fame came here and bathed in the waters of the lake in Devikulam hills. The lake draws many tourists not just for its sacredness but also the curative powers of its mineral water.Other than the beautiful scenery, Devikulam hill station also offers opportunity for mountaineering, hill climbing and nature trekking, not to mention of it being a popular picnic spot.

Added attractions


Sita Devi lake in Devikulam hill station, as it is now known, is a definite must for spiritual & physical rejuvenation. Not far away from the lake is the spectacular Pallivasal Waterfalls that is frequented by picnickers. For the animal lover in you, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary near the hill station of Devikulam offers a chance to see elephants, sambars, leopards, and gaurs in their natural habitat.


Thekkady With serene countryside, rich plantations and dense forests, the hill station of Thekkady is veritably enchanting. The cool scented air of the western ghats divulges the unexplored beauty of the place. Thekkady has distinctive flora and fauna especially the birds that differentiate it from other sanctuaries across India. The smell of the spice-scented plantation envelops the hill station. The scenic abode of the hill station of Thekkady offers a multitude of tourist destinations. Thekkady is located in Idduki district of Kerala at an altitude of 700-900 metres above sea level. The climate in Thekkady is tropical and the best time to visit the place is between September to May. The mean minimum temperature is 16 degree Celsius and the mean maximum temperature is 31 degree Celsius.

Nelliampathy
Located at a distance of 52 kms from Palakkad, the cool hill station of Nelliampathy, nestling atop the majestic Western Ghats , offers a breathtaking view of the misty mountains and enchanting valleys interspersed with sprawling tea, coffee, cardamom and orange plantations. The bracing climate and green magic of nature enhances the exhilarating experience at Nelliampathy hill station. For a vantage view of the spectacle, one must visit Seethakundu, where a 100m high waterfall provides an added attraction.

It offers a fantastic view of the valley below, a wide-angled vision of one-third of the entire Palakkad area. A forest range 75 kms from Palakkad, the Nelliyampathy hills comprise a chain of ridges cut off from one another by valleys of dense evergreen forests and orange plantations. The height of the hills ranges from 467 metres to the tallest peak Nellikkotta or Padagiri looming at 1572 metres. Nelliyampathy has immense trekking potential. The community hall at Kaikatty provides a good camping ground for trekkers.
VythiriVythiri, environed by the lofty Western Ghats, is a hill station of bewildering beauty situated in the northern Wayanad district of Kerala. This mesmerizing place lures tourists for its mist-enveloped soaring peaks, olive foliage, copious spice and rubber plantations, tea and coffee gardens, evergreen rain forests with diversified flora and fauna, spell-binding white foamy waterfalls, sparkling streamlets and romantic stays at tree-top houses and resorts.

Vythiri hill station has a renowned wildlife sanctuary and the serene ambience is sometimes interrupted by the resonating sound of wild animals and birds. Situated far from the dirt and grime of the city, the hill station of Vythiri rejuvenates your tired senses. This charming rocky land is elevated 1300m above the sea level, just above the Thamarassery Ghat and is located at about 100 km from Kozhikode.

Vagamon
Vagamon, nestled in the laps of the Western Ghats, is an enticing hill station of Idduki in Kerala. The vista of mist-clad pinnacles of the blue-brown hills, the rocky terrain clad in lush green vegetation and the wild multi-colored blossoms that sway in the breeze will surely take away your breath. Inhale the fresh air coupled with the heady aroma of spices from the nearby plantations. While you ascend the stony serpentine paths leading towards the hills you will feel a slight shiver as the cool breeze caresses you and drifts away. The hill station of Vagamon, encircled by a string of thee hills Kurisumala, Murugan Hill and Thangal Hill, is a placid place with inexplicable beauty and offers all sort of activities from pilgrimage to nature trails and deluxe resorts. Vagamon hill station is also the site of great religious and spiritual activities.

 

The Vagamon Hills is located at a height of 1,100 meters above the sea level. It lies in the district Idukki, about 151 km south-east of Kochi, 60 kilometers from Kottayam and 100 kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Flowering plants of various colors and species are found in this hilly region. Thorny shrubs and long grasses grow in the lower altitudes while evergreen trees are found in the higher altitudes of Vagamon hill station. While you indulge in the nature trails in the woods of Vagamon, you get to see the untamed buffaloes, strange- looking birds and insects and huge elephants bathing and lounging in the small waterbodies.


Ponmudi
Ponmudi in Trivandrum district is a beautiful hill station located at a distance of 61 kilometers from the city. An unexplored destination, Ponmudi, Kerala is a scenic and tranquil spot located atop the hills and is a must visit destination for travelers to this part of the city. The place is located at a height of 600 meters above sea level and is called the Golden peak. Ponmudi hill station is a welcome break from the hustle - bustle of the city life and one can relax without being disturbed, in the lap of mother nature.

For all adventure seekers, Ponmudi hill station offers many adventure sports like trekking, rock climbing, mountaineering, etc. One can go on long leisurely walks along the meandering roads that wind up the hill. This beautiful hill station offers a scenic view and it also has natural springs that help keep the valley lush green. The hill station of Ponmudi also has tea gardens that make it a picture perfect location. The view from the cottages and resorts up the hill at Ponmudi is breath taking and it feels as though time has left this place untouched.

Attappady
Located on the north eastern section of the Palakkad district on the northern portion of the state of Kerala, also known as “God’s Own Country”, is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Kerala, the beautiful hill station of Attappady. Attappady hill station is surrounded by lush green, undulating hills.Covering an area of 827 sq. kms, the best time to visit Attappady is from September to May.
Located amidst the picturesque slopes of the Western Ghats, the pristine beauty of Attappady hill station is further accentuated by the many rivulets of the Bhavani River, which murmur softly as they flow along the several twists and turns of the mountainous terrain of the one of the most uncorrupted hill stations of India.Attapaddy hill station is spread over an area of 827 sq. kms and has the largest tribal settlement. Located 38 kms from Mannakkad, the place consists of mostly hilly highland terrain, fed by the tributaries of the River Cauvery.


Pakshipathalam
A trekker’s paradise and one of the most uncorrupted hill stations of India, the pristine beauty of the quaint hill station of Pakshipathalam located in Brahmagiri hills of Wyanad district promises to sweep you off you your feet.Situated around 7 kms to the north eastern portion of Thirunelly, Pakshipathalam hill station can only be reached by trekking. A haven for several rare and exotic species of birds and animals, the lush, green deciduous forests spread across the hill station of Pakshipathalam were once the meditating area for countless rishis or saints of ancient India.

Located at an altitude of 1740m above sea level, the temperature at Pakshipathalam varies between 15 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celcius.The best time to visit the hill station is from September to May.
 
Forest Parks






Kerala, the land of mountains, rivers, lakes, waterfalls and backwaters, has numerous national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The enchanting green forests with elephants, tigers, wild dogs, sambars, gaurs, leopards, as well as many exotic species of reptiles,land and water birds offers a wonderful sight to the tourists.Some of the reputed forest zones such as Silent Valley are located in Kerala.
 Kerala, the naturally green state in India, with a plethora of greens with thick undergrowths and verdant forests, a temperate climate and so many natural sources of water, provide the perfect habitat for the growth of wildlife. Naturally there are many wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala that have been developed to look after and preserve the wide variety of birds and animals in the wilderness of Kerala. The Kerala Wildlife sanctuaries are major tourist attractions where people from all over the world come to catch a glimpse of some rare species of animal or bird and some stunningly beautiful nature spots.

 

There are treks that can be taken along with nature trails and nature walks along the green pastures of the sanctuaries. The visitors can also go on wildlife safaris, on jeeps or elephants, and watch the wild animals in their natural habitats in the interior of the wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala. There are a number of wildlife sanctuaries and bird sanctuaries in Kerala, which constitute a repertoire of natural wealth for the state.
Wayanad
The Wayanad wildlife sanctuary is located 18 km east of Sultan Bathery. It actually spreads into two regions of Kerala - Cannanore in the north and Calicut in the south. An intrinsic part of the Nilgiri Biosphere, the Wayanad wildlife sanctuary of Kerala is joined to two other wildlife parks - Nagarhole and Bandipur of Karnataka on the northeast and Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu on the southeast. The sanctuary was formed in the year 1973 and was brought under the Project Elephant in the year 1991-92.. Occupying an area of 345 sq km, the Waynad wildlife sanctuary happens to be the second largest one in the state of Kerala.
The sanctuary is separated into two disconnected parts known as the Upper Wayanad wildlife sanctuary (Tholpetty) in the north and Lower Wayanad wildlife sanctuary (Muthanga) in the south. The area in between the two parts was orginally a forest region, though it is now occupied by plantations. Till date, a number of dispersed human settlements can be found in the sanctuary area.The term Wayanad literally means land of swamps. A visit to the sanctuary offers tourists a chance to witness the efforts made by the management to conserve the biological reserve of the park. The scenic beauty and the variety of flora and fauna also keep the visitors busy and entertained.


Periyar
Periyar wildlife sanctuary is located in Kumily, in Idukki district of Kerala. Set amidst the mountains of the Western Ghats at the border of Tamil Nadu, the Periyar wildlife sanctuary covers an area of 777 sq km out of which 360 sq km forms the core area. The park is one of the most renowned and famous sanctuaries in entire south India and can also be termed as the pride of Kerala. The history of the park states that as early as in 1895, a dam by the name of the Mullaperiyar was constructed across the Periyar River giving birth to the Periyar Lake.
 

In 1934, the Maharaja of Travancore appointed S.C.H. Robinson as the first game warden and it was his recommendation that converted the area around the lake into a sanctuary by the name of Nellikkampetty sanctuary. In the year 1966, the sanctuary was consolidated with the forest department and the Periyarwildlife sanctuary was created. The sanctuary was finally declared a Tiger Reserve in the year 1978, a few years after Project Tiger was actually initiated. Also, in 1991, the park was brought under the Project Elephant. 


This lake today covers an area of 26 sq km and is a major source of water for the resident animals and birds. Moreover, the beauty of the lake is also soothing for visitors. The park was earlier also known by the name of Thekkady wildlife sanctuary. The best time to visit the Periyar wildlife sanctuary is between the months of September to June. During the period from February and May sighting of animals becomes easier as the waterholes inside the forest areas dry up forcing the animals to come upto the lake to quench their thirst and wet their bodies. Thus animal sighting is enhanced between these months.Kumarakom
The Kumarakom bird sanctuary is located at a distance of 16 km from Kottayam town, in the village of Kumarakom. Covering an area of 14 acres, the Kumarakom bird sanctuary is a delight for the lovers of birds. It occupies the area on the banks of the Vembanad lake and offers its visitors a glimpse into the Keralas natural beauty. The sanctuary is actually a paradise for those who wish to escape from the maddening rush of the city life and be with nature as well as themselves for a while.

The best time to visit the park is between the months of June and August. However if migratory birds are high on the list on a visit, then November to March is just perfect. It is during this period that the migratory birds flock in huge numbers to reside in the park for a while.The landscape of Kumarakom bird sanctuary is replete with mangrove forests, green paddy fields and coconut groves. Blooming lilies enhance the beauty of the park and attract a number of visitors.



Birds, the prime attraction of Kumarakom bird sanctuary, are large in number. Fluttering their wings and singing their mellifluous tunes, they keep the environment of the park alive. For tourists to the park, it is heartening to see so many species of birds together in a single trip. The local population of the birds in the bird sanctuary at Kumarakom include Waterfowl, Cuckoo, Owls, Egrets, Herons, Water Ducks, Parrots, Teal, Larks, Flycatchers and Wood Beetle. The Siberian Cranes are widely famous amongst the migratory birds in the sanctuary.

 

Idukki
The Idukki wildlife sanctuary, Kerala is covered with forests of teak, marshes, bamboo and other grasslands. This sanctuary is considered to be one of the richest and most extensive forest belts in peninsular India. The Idukki wildlife sanctuary is spread over an area of 77 square kilometers. The Idukki wildlife sanctuary stretches over the taluks of Udumpanchola and Thodupuzha in the Idukki district, in Kerala.

The Idukki wildlife sanctuary came into existence in the year 1976. The perfect time to visit the Idukki wildlife sanctuary is during the months of December to April. Elephants are seen in this wildlife park mainly during the dry season. The Idukki wildlife sanctuary has a rich bio diversity, and rich avifauna. This wildlife park is situated very close to the Idukki arch dam.
 

Heritage site

 

If you are on a wildlife tour to the Idukki wildlife sanctuary, you can get an opportunity to see various species of snakes such as the cobra, krait and the viper. This wildlife sanctuary also houses a number of birds such as woodpeckers, black bulbuls, jungle fowls, laughing thrushes, mynas, kingfishers and pea fowls. Like any other wildlife sanctuary in Kerala this wildlife park at Idukki also presents a perfect spot for a wonderful weekend getaway.


Shendurney
Imagine the thrill of encountering a herd of barking deer darting past you or watching the leisurely gait of some elephants. If you are the adventurous type waiting to spot Vipers and Pythons then you should be packing your rucksack to Shendurney wildlife sanctuary. Located 70 kms from Kollam, Kerala, and situated on the banks of Shendurney river, the wildlife sanctuary can be approached from the Kollam-Shencotta Road.
 

Though the best time to visit the Shendurney wildlife sanctuary is from March to July and later in the year from September to November, if you are a wild life enthusiast, no scorching sun in the summers or the heavy down pour in the monsoons is going to stop you from catching the prowling animals in your binoculars. To be more comfortable you should be carrying light clothes during the summers and a raincoat definitely in the monsoons.

Rocks and ravinesThe wildlife sanctuary at Shendurney is a green valley of splendid forests, situated on the banks of the Shendurney River. Steep and rugged peaks surround the sanctuary, which is dotted by several breathtaking ravines. Gaurs and Elephants which are seen in plenty are the main attractions of Shendurney wildlife sanctuary.On the northern side of the wildlife sanctuary is Palaruvi, a beautiful picnic spot. In the tropical evergreen and mixed deciduous forests at Shendurney, are found a variety of animals.The wildlife population at Shendurney sanctuary is rich in flora and fauna and includes animals such as Elephants, Gaurs, Barking Deer, Cobra, Viper, Python and the Indian Porcupine.
Thattekkad
Occupying an area of 25 sq km, the Thattekad bird sanctuary is located in the Ernakulam district of Kerala. Designed by a famous ornithologist, Dr Salim Ali, the Thattekad bird sanctuary is home to a large number of bird species like Bee-eater, Sunbird, Shrike, Black winged Kite, and the Night Heron. There are also around 28 species of animals and nine varieties of reptiles.Plenty of insect life also abound.Located near Kothamangalam of Ernakulam district on the northern bank of Periyar River, Thattekad bird sanctuary can be reached from Kochi airport located about 71 km from the sanctuary. If you travel by train, the nearest railway station is Aluva that is 48 kms away.

Peppara
Located 50 kms north east of the capital city of Kerala,ie Thiruvananthapuram, the Peppara wildlife sanctuary is home to Tiger, Panther, Wild Dog, Lion Tailed Macaque, Elephant, Gaur, Sambhar, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Wild Boar, Nilgiri Langur, Malabar squirrel etc. The bird species seen here include water birds like Darter, Little Cormorant, Pied Kingfisher and Egret. Apart from these, numerous variety of snakes including the King Cobra and Python are frequently spotted in the park. The highlight of the wildlife sanctuary at Peppara is the 13 tribes of adivasis that still reside inside the park premises.
Constituting the catchment of the Peppara dam across the Karamana River, the area around was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1983 because of ecological significance. A part of the Paruthippally range, Peppara wildlife sanctuary constitutes a part of the Palode reserve. It covers an area of 53 sq. kms.


Aralam
A delight to the nature lovers, the Aralam wildlife sanctuary in Kannur district is situated on the slopes of the Western Ghats of Kerala. It is the best combination of forest and mountains. The elevation gradually increases from 50 meters to 1145 meters. The highest peak over the Aralam wildlife sanctuary that rises to a height of 1145 meters is known as Katti Betta. A large number of birds are attracted by the spotless greenery in the Aralam wildlife sanctuary. This place also attracts numerous grass eating animals.

Established in the year 1986, the Aralam wildlife sanctuary has evolved a lot to become one a very popular wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. The majestic forests filled with trees and animals give a memorable experience of nature’s best blessings. It is a complete wildlife travel destination that is worth visiting.


Parambikulam
Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary reserves its own charm for the tourists. Covered with a thick growth of dense forest, it is a haven for wildlife and rare avian species. Ensconced between the Anamalai ranges of Tamil Nadu and the Nelliampathy ranges of Kerala, with several rivers flowing in the area, Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary is a paradise for wildlife lovers and nature gazers.Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary can be reached from the Coimbatore airport, which is about 55 km from the sanctuary. If you travel by train, the nearest railway station is Palakkad that is 125 kms from the sanctuary.
As you walk through the thick forests of bamboo strands, teak, rosewood and sandalwood, you will find the area is marshy, with scattered patches of grasslands. Parambikulam was once famous for its teak wood forest, but little remains of its past glory except the Kannimari teak tree, which is the largest in Asia. Neyyar
Neyyar wildlife sanctuary is the place to be for wildlife lovers and nature gazers. Nestled in the southeastern part of the Western Ghats, it is a sheer pleasure to visit this wildlife sanctuary amidst the picturesque landscape. Sprawled over an area of 128 sq km, the Neyyar reserve was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1958. The sanctuary has the impressive Agasthyakoodam Peak at an elevation of 1,890 meters and the reservoir extending over an area of 9.06 sq km.




As you walk through the thick tropical wet evergreen forest to the grassland patches, you will come across a spectacular array of flora and fauna. With the Kerala backwaters lying just beside, the Neyyar wildlife sanctuary offers you the rare opportunity to gaze at Indian Porcupines, Elephants, Nilgiri Tahrs, Barking Deer, Gaurs, Sloth Bears, Lion-tailed Macaques, Sambars, Malabar Squirrels, Tigers, Jungle Cats, Wild Boars and Nilgiri Langurs, to name a few. Rich in avian species and reptiles, you may also encounter Cobras, Vipers, Pythons, Rat Snakes, Flying Snakes and Lizards in the sanctuary.

 
 
 
Beaches
 


  

Kerala has a 600 km long shoreline dotted with some of the finest,internationally known, most charming beaches of the world, coconut groves, natural harbors, lagoons and sheltered coves.The beaches and shorelines of Kerala, washed by the pleasant tropical sun, are peaceful and pristine as ever and contribute to the attraction of domestic and international tourists.

Beaches of Kerala are at their best in Kovalam. Situated on the Malabar Coast, Kovalam Beach is full of swaying coconut trees and has gained fame with the sea surfers all over the world.Kerala is known throughout the world as one of the worlds best beach destinations. The beaches of Kerala are beautiful stretches of clean sand, fringed by swaying palm trees on one side and rippling waves on the other. You can have a memorable beach holiday on the beaches of Kerala. 

Visitors to Kerala beaches get to relax on the golden sands of the beaches of Kerala, or stretch out in the shade of the rows of palm trees along the beaches, drinking the refreshing juice of tender coconutand maybe undergoing an ayurvedic massage.Kovalam,Varkala,Marari,Alappuzha,Kappad and Bekkal are some of the popular beaches of Kerala.

Alappuzha
Alappuzha beach is quite a popular tourist spot in Kerala, known to provide relaxation. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is around 140 years old. Blessed with natures green beauties such as lagoons, vast lakes and numerous fresh water rivers, Alappuzha is a natural wonderland of Kerala state. The Alappuzha (Alleppey) beach is spectacular.Known as the Venice of East, with the Arabian Sea in the West and a large number of lakes and lagoons crisscrossing it, Alappuzha is one of the most beautiful districts in fascinating Kerala. Famous for a horde of things, Alappuzha stands out for its breathtakingly amazing beach. This beach along with its famous backwater houseboats and boat races attracts thousands of tourists every year.The beach is is one of the most popular picnic spots in Alappuzha.


Beypore


One of the prominent ports and fishing harbours of ancient times in Kerala, Beypore beach was once an important trade and maritime centre, lying just 10 km south of Kozhikode. The boat-building yard at this beach is famous for the construction of uru, a traditional Arabian trading vessel.Situated at the mouth of the Chaliyar river in Kozhikode district in Kerala, a unique feature of the Beypore beach is a bridge built nearly 2 kms into the sea, made up of huge stones piled together, making a pathway into the sea. Beypore is well connected, at a distance of just 11 kms from Calicut.

Bekal
The Bekal beach is one among the major tourist beach destinations in Kerala.It is as much famous for its scenic beauty as it is for the long historic fort that juts into the sea. The Bekal beach surroundings are excellent and the environment just right for relaxation and recreation.The Bekal beach is located 16 km south of Kasargode district on the National Highway – 17. The place is ideal for those who enjoy the combination of sun and surf. The Bekal fort beach that is located near the Bekal fort is a shallow one and along with the seas, it also provides a spectacular view of the Bekal fort. The Kanvatheertha beach near here has a large swimming pool-like formation in the sea itself which is a huge attraction for the tourists.
Cherai

 

One of the must visit places of Ernakulam district in Kerala is the Cherai beach. Bordering the nearby Vypeen Island, which is also an ideal location for swimming and the Bolghatty Island, famous for its palace of the same name attracts a considerable number of tourists every year.Cherai beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Kerala bordering the northern end of Vypeen Island, is located about 26 km from Ernakulam city, Kochi.

Clean and Beautiful

The place is a unique combination of sea and backwaters rimmed by lush green coconut palms and paddy fields. The backwaters are a combination of lakes, lagoons, canals and estuaries.The 15 km long golden beach of Cherai in Kerala is very clean, shallow and is ideal for swimming, surfing and sunbathing. The newly beautified 400 Meters of the main beach has a walkway and high mask lamps which make the beach enjoyable even at night. Trained security staff are present round-the-clock at Cherai beach, Kerala. The beach is very safe and tourists of all age groups can have a good time. The small and beautiful beach of Cherai in Kerala is studded with seashells of various hues and shapes. There is a park for children on the beach. Water scooters and speed boats are available for hire. One could catch an occasional glimpse of dolphins as they spring out and dive back into the water. The far end of Cherai beach,Kerala is lined with Chinese fishing nets which offer a pleasing view.






Kappad

Located 16 kms from the main town of Kozhikode, the Kappad beach is one of the most charming beaches of Kerala, also popular for its historic significance. After travelling around the coast of Africa by ship, Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer landed on Kappad beach on 27th May 1498. He landed with 170 men in 3 vessels after undergoing many weeks of travelling. A solitary pillar commemorates the event with the inscription, "Vasco da Gama landed here, Kappakadavu, in the year 1498". This opened up the famous sea route for trade between Europe and India and Malabar soon became the gateway of east.
Peaceful and serene

The pleasant, calm beach, Kappad beach in Kerala, locally known as Kappakadavu, is studded with rocks. An intriguing feature of this beach is a sprawling rock that protrudes into the sea and has a temple on it. The temple is believed to be 800 years old. Kappad beach is a small walk on the Korapuzha river, and even after 500 years, it remains untouched and unruffled, making it one of the most serene and peaceful beaches in Kerala, south India.




Kovalam
On the Malabar coast along the Kerala shore line is a small village, called Kovalam. This sleepy town suddenly came on the tourist map when its fabulous beaches were discovered.Today Kovalam has become one of the most popular beach hangouts in India. Kovalam means a grove of coconut trees and truly the coconut trees along the beaches gives it a ravishing look. The palm-fringed bays in secluded coconut groves, promise a relaxed stay. The boundless blue waters of the Arabian Sea and miles of white sands washed away by the surf at the feet of the stalwart palms and the rocky promontories, makes Kovalam a beach paradise. This marvellous beach destination is a tourists dream come true.
Kovalam has a sheltered natural bay with cool soothing palms and gentle waves. Where when you are tired of aquatics, swimming or sunbathing, you can explore the handicrafts, jewellery and cloth shops spread along the waterfront. Not to speak of the delightful sea-food fare including lobsters available at the beachside restaurants. The crescent-shaped beaches of Kovalam can be divided into three parts: The southern most beach, and the most popular, is the Lighthouse Beach. Further south on the beach one can have a spectacular view of the Vizhinzam mosque.
 


Tourist Amenities The middle beach is called Hawah Beach. Each morning this beach acts as a base for the local fisherman. The northern most beach, Samudra Beach, is least affected of all by the changing times.It is dotted with a few rudimentary wooden fishing vessels. In the evening the quiet atmosphere of the place is enlivened by Kathakali performances, the classical dance-drama of Kerala. This mellow Kerala coastal village of Kovalam was once a picturesque settlement built next to two palm-fringed coves enclosed by rocky headlands, and was the nerve centre of the hippie culture of the 70s.

Varkala
Papanasam beach at Varkala in Kerala is a perfect place to watch the sunset or relax gazing at the horizon. This beach in Varkala is covered with coconut palms and small restaurants that mushroom during the season. This beach is bordered by high cliffs. Right below this cliff is the 500 -metre stretch Papanasam beach of Varkala.

Compared to other prominent beaches, Varkala is fortunate in that it is less crowded, has fewer number of shops and beach sellers and still lesser amount of commercialization. Here one could swim, play cricket, volley ball and even manage to practise yoga.And If you are that lucky, you get a rare chance to sight a naughty dolphin off the sea-shore at Varkala beach.

Sacred place

Papanasam beach at Varkala is important for the Hindus. They come to drain the mortal remains of their dead relatives. Consigning the mortal remains of the dead relatives in the waters of a pilgrim centre is considered a sacred act by the Hindus, and it is a way for redemption from sins.This Hindu ritual also known as vavu bali is performed on the Varkala beach on the new moon day of the month of “Karkkidakam’ (Malayalam Era).

Fort Kochi
The beach destination of Fort Kochi is located 12 kms from Ernakulam city.A leisurely walk through the lanes of the city is the best way to discover historic Fort Kochi. An obscure fishing village that became the first European township in India, Fort Kochi has an eventful and colourful history. The town was shaped by the Portuguese, the Dutch and later the British. The result of these cultural interfaces are seen in the remains of the Indo-European architecture in the historic and beach destination of Fort Kochi.
The Chinese fishing nets that line the sea-front of the beach destination of Fort Kochi exhibit a mechanical method of catching fish by local fishermen in Fort Kochi. Said to have been brought from China by traders of Kubla Khans court, they are used at high tide by the fisherfolk off Fort Kochi beach.
Attractions Mattancherry is a man-made island near Fort Kochi created from the material dredged while deepening Kochi Port. It is situated between the main land Emakulam and the old town Mattancherry and separated by the backwaters. Willingdon Island is an important part of Kochi. The Govt. of India Tourist Office, the Southern Naval Command Headquarters, the Seaport, Naval Airport, Railway Terminus, Customs House, Kochi Port Office etc are all located in this island.
Bolghatty Palace is situated in Bolghatty Island, a narrow palm-fringed Island easily accessible from the mainland. The Palace was built by the Dutch in 1744. Later, it became the seat of the British Residency and today this has been converted into a hotel run by the KTDC.


Mararikulam
Right in the heart of the "spice coast", just an hour or so from Kochi and even less from aleppey is the most fabulous stretch of soft sandy beach of Marari fringed with palm, an idyllic retreat.This is the ideal beach destination of Mararikulam or Marari.Marari offers endless miles of superb sand beaches backed by swaying palms, virgin territory where you can experience the local charm and traditional Kerala hospitality at its best.

A pure and soft Mararikulam beach welcomes you into its warm embrace as you decide to spend your holiday tours on this strikingly beautiful beach in coastal Kerala, South India.Let your muscles relax to a cool and refreshing herbal oil massage as your body relaxes under the rhythmic movements of a skilled masseur’s hand, while you lie on the cushy sands of Mararikulam beach, Kerala, South India. Sip a tropical fruit and set out on a leisure walk towards the local fishermens village and experience a pleasure beyond description as you observe the traditional ways of the fisher folk. Life here is much the same as it used to be in the ancient times.


Thangasseri5 km from Kollam town, Thangasseri, the seaside village of historic importance has the ruins of an old Portuguese fort and churches built in the 18 th century. The Thangasseri lighthouse at the Thangasseri beach is open to visitors from 1530-1730 hrs.

The 144 ft. Thangasseri Light house, built in 1902, is a centre of attraction at Thangasseri beach.The Ananda Valleeswaram Temple here, attracts people on almost all days. The Pullichira Church was established in 1700 A.D. One of the oldest and most important Mosques in the town is the Chinnakkada Palli. The Thangal Kunju Musaliar College of Engineering, the first of its kind in the state, is at Kilikolloor, about 7 kms. east of Kollam town.Thangasseri beach destination is a popular holiday spot among visitors.


Historical monuments
 
On the northern end of Kerala stands Bekal, an impressive laterite fort overlooking the sparkling blue of the majestic Arabian Sea. To the south, in the nearby state of Tamil Nadu, lies the Padmanabhapuram Palace, a large wooden palace which was once the headquarters of a prominent princely state of ancient Kerala. In between, a large number of forts, palaces and other ancient monuments lie strewn on the land as silent reminders of its glorious past. Here we introduce to you some important monuments among them.


Bekal
Today, the Bekal Fort and its surroundings are fast becoming an international tourist Place.
 
Kasaragod is a beautiful town poised at the Northern extreme of Kerala State.16 km south of the town on the National Highway, is the largest and best preserved fort in the whole of Kerala, bordered by a splendid beach. Shaped like a giant keyhole, the historic Bekal Fort offers a superb view of the Arabian Sea from its tall observation towers, which were occupied by huge cannons, couple of centuries ago.
 
   
 
Near the fort is an old mosque said to have been built by the valiant Tipu Sultan of Mysore. Built by the rulers of the ancient Kadampa dynasty, the fort changed hands over the years to the Kolathiri Rajas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Tipu Sultan and finally, the British East India Company
stination and a favourite shooting locale for film makers. Bekal is also one of the five centres selected by the Government of India to be developed into a 'Special Tourism Area'.

Mattancherry Palace

Built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi, the Palace was renovated in 1663 by the Dutch. The palace with a Bhagavathi Temple in the central courtyard is built like the typical Kerala style mansion - the Nalukettu - the home of the aristocracy, nobility and upper classes, with four separate wings opening out to a central courtyard.
The double storeyed palace building which stands by the panoramic Kochi backwaters has an exquisite collection of murals collectively covering over 300 sq ft of its walls. The themes of these murals have been borrowed from the great Indian epics - the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha, and mythology and legends about the Hindu gods especially Guruvayurappan. Some murals depict scenes from Kumarasambhavam and other works of the great Sanskrit poet Kalidasa. Also on display are royal paraphernalia like weapons, swings and furniture which offer a glimpse of the lifestyle of the royal family.


Padmanabhapuram Palace
 A magnificent wooden palace of the 16th century, Padmanabhapuram Palace lies at the land's end of mainland India - Kanyakumari. An enticing ediffice to any lover of art and architecture this old palace of the Rajas of the erstwhile Travancore (1550 to 1750 AD) is a fine specimen of Kerala's indigenous style of architecture. The antique interiors are replete with intricate rosewood carvings and sculptured decor. The palace also contains 17th and 18th century murals. One can see: the musical bow in mahogany, windows with coloured mica, royal chairs with Chinese carvings, 'Thaikkottaram' or the Queen Mother's palace with painted ceilings, rose wood and teak carved ceilings with 90 different floral designs.
Durbar Hall of the palace has a with a shiny black floor specially made from a combination of egg white, jaggery lime, burnt coconut, charcoal and river sand, granite tubs to cool curd and buttermilk, secret underground passages, the King's bedroom with a four poster medicinal bed, mural paintings, pictures of Lord Krishna, hanging brass lanterns lit continuously since the 18th century, open air swimming bath, granite dance hall, Saraswathi (goddess of knowledge) temple, large earthen urns, room for scribes and accountants, carved figures on columns holding oil lamps, pooja (worship) rooms with jackfruit tree columns, fish carvings on the ceilings, enormous teak beams, Belgian mirrors and an outer cyclopean stone wall fitted together without mortar.


Mattancherry Synagogue
The synagogue at Fort Kochi, constructed in 1568, is the oldest in the Commonwealth. Destroyed in a shelling during the Portuguese raid in 1662, it was rebuilt two years later by the Dutch.
Mid-18th century hand-painted, willow patterned floor tiles from Canton in China, a clock tower, Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs, great scrolls of the Old Testament, ancient scripts on copper plates in which the grants of privilege made by the erstwhile Cochin rulers were recorded etc., are articles of interest here.


East Fort
The East Fort area in the Capital City of Thiruvananthapuram bears a lot of historic significance. The East Fort houses several magnificent palaces, palatial houses, and agraharams (Brahmin houses). Standing out is the Padmanabha Swamy Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Fort has stood witness to many events in the annals of the erstwhile Travancore Kingdom, and also to the development of the Capital City of Thiruvananthapuram.


Koyikkal Palace
The Koyikkal Palace, situated far of away from the city, was actually built for Umayamma Rani of the Venad Royal Family who ruled the land between 1677 and 1684. The palace is a double stroreyed traditional nalukettu with slanting gabled roofs and an inner courtyard.
Today, the palace houses a Folklore Museum and a Numismatics Museum set up by the Department of Archaeology. The Folklore Museum, a treasure house of quaint musical instruments, occupational implements, household utensils, models of folk arts etc., was set up in 1992. The exhibits here draw attention to the rich cultural background of Kerala. The exhibits include rare articles like Chandravalayam (not found in any other such museum in Kerala), a small percussion instrument used as an accompaniment while reciting the ballad Ramakathappattu (the story of Lord Sree Rama); and Nanthuni , a sweet sounding musical instrument made of wood and string used while singing the Onappattu and Nanthunippattu during Onam the harvest festival of Kerala.


Thangasseri Fort
(5 km from Kollam) Thangasseri or 'Dutch Quilon' as it was called was once a British enclave. Meaning 'gold village' in local parlance, this was the hub of a flourishing trade that used gold as currency. This seaside village of historic importance shelters the ruins of an old Portuguese fort and churches built during the 18th century. The famed lighthouse of Thangasseri which is 144 ft high, constructed in 1519 by the British.

Poonjar Palace
Royal collection of antiques, rock-cut lamps, sculptures etc. The Poonjar Palace is a glorious testimony to the regal opulence of a bygone era. Within the palace walls is an extraordinary royal collection of antiques and exquisite furniture including a palanquin, a droni (treatment bed) carved out of a single piece of wood for Ayurvedic massages, huge chandeliers, palm leaf engravings, jewel boxes, varieties of lamps, sculptures of Nataraja (the dancing Siva), grain measures, statues and weapons. A unique conch preserved here is taken out once a year for ritualistic purposes.

Shakthan Thampuran Palace
The Palace of Shakthan Thampuran located in the district of Thrissur is a landmark in the annals of the Perumpadappu Swaroopam, the former ruling dynasty of Kochi. The palace located in the heart of Thrissur town is a major attraction, especially for those with a special interest on rulers and dynasties. At the Shakthan Thampuran Palace, one can come across and understand several interesting and remarkable aspects of the erstwhile rulers of Kochi.


Thalasseri Fort
22 km from the land of the exotic art form of theyyam in the Northern district of Kannur is the small town of Thalassery. In this town stands an imposing historical monument - the Thalassery Fort.
The East India Company which had established its settlement on the Malabar Coast in 1683 built the monument as a testimonial of their colonial imperialism in 1703. The fort was once the nucleus of Thalassery's development.


Chennamangalam Synagogue
Kerala is one place in India, where the Jewish community made its presence felt in a strong manner. Their presence can be still felt in the port city of Kochi, where they are still involved in a variety of business activities. Among the prominent landmarks of the Jewish community in the region is their place of worship called synagogue. There were quite a good number of them in Kochi as well as in Kodungallur, an ancient port city not far away from Kochi.


St. Angelo Fort
3 km west of Kannur town, North Kerala. Fascinating view of a natural fishing bay and a sea wall projecting from the fort separating the rough sea and inland water.


Palakkad Fort
Also known as Tipu's Fort, Palakkad Fort was supposedly built to hasten communication between Coimbatore and the West Coast. In 1784 AD, after a siege lasting eleven days, the British Colonel, Fullerton stormed the Fort. It later fell into the hands of the Zamorin's troops but was recaptured by the British in 1790 AD. Martyr's Column, Open Air Auditorium called "Rappadi" are located in the spacious grounds of the Fort, now preserved by the Archaeological Survey Of India. There is also a Children's park on one of the sides of the Fort.


Cheraman Juma Masjid
The Cheraman Juma Masjid withstanding the ravages of time, stands tall at the Methala Village in Kodungalloor. This prominent heritage edifice was erected in 629 A.D and displays a magnificent conglomeration of conventional élan of the architecture of the land of coconuts and Arabic style. It is the ideal haunt for all the quiz and history buffs, for the Cheraman Juma Masjid is the first ever mosque to be built in India.



Water Falls

The forests of Western ghats are punctuated with large and small waterfalls that gurgle and splash down the mountain side. The wooded forests forests of Western ghats are hidden with cascading showers.
Kerala is a heaven for nature lovers. Abundant greenery ensures a continuing freshness for weary heart and soul. Along with the vast stretches of sea and river water, mountains and forests, the lakes and waterfalls of Kerala captivate the imagination of the incoming visitors. There are no less than 34 lakes in the state which can geographically be segregated into three categories. The first one is bordered by the sandbank and runs parallel to the riverbank. The second one has land on its front side while the third one runs almost perpendicular to the riverbank. Many of these lakes form excellent destinations for backwater trips in Kerala. The serenity of the lake water is tremendously calming. As opposed to this the thundering fall of waterfall (there are around 19 of them) seems to break the reverie in which the visitor has lost himself. Rushing down from a great height, the waterfall too present a breathtakingly picturesque beauty. It would not be wrong to state that the lakes and waterfalls of Kerala carry with them a magical quality that allures visitors at very first glance.


Vazhachal
Vazhachal waterfalls is located 68 km from Thrissur in Kerala, towards the east of Chalakudy, near the entrance of the Sholayar forest ranges.The beautiful waterfalls of Athirapilly,located 63 km from Thrissur and Vazhachal are 5 kms apart. Athirapilly and Vazhachal waterfalls are the two scenic and popular waterfalls on the edge of the Sholayar forest ranges. The Athirapilly waterfalls joins the Chalakudy river after plummeting down at a drop of 80 feet.
Scenic picnic spot Vazhachal is part of the Chalakudy river. Both the waterfalls with their cool, misty waters cascading down in the backdrop of the thick green forest and rocky terrain, are a scintillating experience to visitors.Athirapilly and Vazhachal waterfalls is one of the most sought after picnic spots in Kerala.


Palaruvi
The famous Palaruvi waterfalls is located at about 75 km from Kollam on the Kollam - Shencottah road in Kerala.The term Palaruvi – literally meaning ”stream of milk” in Malayalam - is one of Keralas most picturesque waterfalls, cascading down a height of 300 feet. It is a favourite picnic spot for visitors from all over south India.The journey to Palaruvi waterfall through the dense tropical forest is a spellbinding experience.
Scenic Surroundings The mist-clad blue hills and green valleys surrounding Palaruvi waterfalls form a stunning backdrop to the milk-white burst of foam whose muffled roar resounds through the otherwise tranquil virgin forest around Palaruvi waterfall in Kollam.The nearest railway station to Palaruvi waterfall is Kollam,at a distance of about 75 km.The nearest airport to Palaruvi waterfall is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, located at about 72 km from Kollam town.


Thommankuthu
If you are a nature lover or an adventure seeker, Thommankuthu waterfall destination is just the right place in Kerala. 20 km away from Thodupuzha, this site draws the attention of several tourists. The exhilarating beauty of Thommankuthu waterfalls captures the heart and soul of every traveller. Thommankuthu waterfall near Thodupuzha in Kerala is a beautiful seven-step waterfall offering salubrious weather conditions. Amidst verdant foliage, this shimmering waterfall is a perfect place to spend time in the lap of nature. Thommankuthu waterfall tours will allow tourists to savor the wild beauty of forest and stream. If you are looking for an adventurous vacation, Thommankuthu waterfall tours offer all the adventure you can handle.


Meenmutty
Cascading over three stages and falling from a height of over 300 meters, Meenmutty is the tallest waterfall in Wayanad,Kerala. A long days trek through the million shades of green will take you to the spectacular Meenmutty waterfall. The murmurs of the river follow your footsteps through the forest all the way to the falls. The force of water striking the dark rocks and splashing high up, to shimmer in the sun’s rays is breath- taking scenery. The Meenmutty waterfall is situated at the triple point where two other districts Malappuram and Nilgiri join Wayanad in its beauty.
Several Waterfalls Meenmutty Waterfalls is situated in Wayanad District,Kerala and is 12 km east of Meppadi. It is a spectacular fall cascading in three tiers, from a height of more than 300 m. A trekkers paradise,Meenmutty waterfall has the distinction of being the second largest waterfall in Kerala. Nearby interesting waterfall destinations are Kanthanpara Waterfalls, Sentinel Rock Waterfall and Soochipara Waterfalls. It is well connected by road with Kalpetta.



Thusharagiri
Snuggled cosily in the Western Ghats of Kerala are the gurgling waterfalls of Thusharagiri. Meaning the snow capped mountains.Thushargiri waterfall destination exhibits a unique kinship between the land and water. The three waterfalls comprising Thusharagiri on the backdrop of the Western Ghats provide an exhilarating and spellbinding sight to the visitor.
The best roar of Thusharagiri waterfalls can be enjoyed from September to November. The waterfall with its gentle spray is sure to soothe every eye. The cascading waters of the waterfall slide past with surfy smiles. Two streams originating from the Western Ghats meet here to form the Chalippuzha River. The river diverges into the three waterfalls creating a snowy spray which gives it the name, Thusharagiri. Three Falls Of the three Thusharagiri waterfalls, the highest waterfall is the Thenpara that falls from an altitude of 75 metres.



Kaalakkayam
To reach the waterfall destination of Kaalakkayam from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, one has to come via Palode, which is about 35 kms from the capital city. From Palode take a deviation to reach Peringamala. Take a right turn from Peringamala to reach Kurissadi via Idinjaar, 12 km away. Since there are no signboards leading to Kaalakkayam falls, from Kurissadi, one may seek local assistance to reach the spot of the waterfalls.
In and around the Kaalakkayam waterfalls, it is an ambience that defies words. The waterfall is part of the Mankayam stream that originates in the Agasthyavanam forest in the district. A pool formed at the base of the waterfall is indeed worth a dip and the cool water simply enlivens your body. While attempting to cross the stream to reach the waterfall, one needs to watch the steps, as there are moss covered rocks, which are quite slippery at Kaalakkayam.


Aruvikkuzhi
Aruvikkuzhi waterfalls is a beautiful picnic spot located 18 km from Kottayam town, and 2 km down a mud lane from Kumarakom.Here streams snake through the landscapes that house fascinating rubber plantations and the gushing waters make gurgling noises that are a treat to the ears. The waterfall at Aruvikkuzhi is a major attraction, splashing down the mountains from a height of 100 ft.


Adyanpara
Located in the Kurumbalangode village of Nilambur taluk in Malappuram district, Adyanpara is famous for its waterfalls and the splendor of the wooded jungle surrounding it. This cascade is a spectacle of unrivalled grandeur. The wild beauty of Adyanpara comprising the waterfalls and the splendour of its lush surrounding jungles is a rare treat for the eyes and heart of the travellers.
Nestled in the land of perennial springs and lush green mountains, Adyanpara, the cascading waterfall in the Kurmbalangod village of Nilambur taluk in Kerala, attracts a wide variety of exotic as well as migratory birds regularly and is rich in wildlife. It is a charming and picturesque picnic spot amidst nature’s bounty.

Athirapilly
Athirapilly waterfalls, a very popular and scenic picnic spot located near Chalakudy township of Trichur district in Kerala, presents a stunning visual extravagance to visitors. The twin waterfalls of Athirapilly-Vazhachal are situated on the edge Sholayar forest ranges, just 5 kms apart.This shimmering cascade of silvery water, falls from a height of approximately 80 mts to join the Chalakudy river below.
The Athirapilly falls are located amidst dense forests and the entire region looks ‘picture-perfect’ in every way. You will first catch a glimpse of the waterfall as you drive along the road leading to the falls. You can have a spectacular view from the top of the Athirapilly waterfalls when you walk through the rock pathway that leads from the main entrance. And for those with an adventurous streak, there is a third fantastic view from the bottom of the Athirapilly waterfalls which can be reached with a little bit of trekking on slippery mountain trails. It’s a beautiful trail and you can relish the water from the falls sprinkling all over you. The view of the entire landscape at Athirapilly is amazing.


Panieli Poru
Although not a popular waterfall destination in the exact sense of the word, water and rocks together make for a picturesque scene at Panieli Poru, a little known spot on the eastern tracts of Ernakulam district. Situated along the Malayattoor forest tracts, 20 km from Perumbavoor, the place casts an enchanting spell that mesmerises the visitor. The Periyar gushes along the rocky terrain here.The rivulets of the Periyar, having separated upstream, join hands at the spot and continue the onward journey. The flowing water makes a symphony along with the chirping of the birds in the nearby forest. It is indeed an alluring locale for those who have a love for natures splendour.
Panieli Poru waterfall is a tourist spot in the Ernakulam region of Kerala, India caused by a natural bottleneck in the flow of the Periyar River due to rock formations.The river, which is shallow and wide until just before the rock formations, is forced to flow through some narrow crevices in the large rocks and to flow over shallower rocks, which increases its momentum and creates a great deal of turbulence. Nevertheless, this turbulence will not be visible on the surface.
 
 
 
House boat
 
 

The God's Own Country offers an array of prime properties set in the finest spots of Kerala's theme destinations. Sprawling mansions set in lovely locales-exotic islands, .luxuriant game reserves...on hill sides, by beaches, backwaters.... presents an exotic ways to experience Kerala. Designed to give you a feel of the heritage of hospitality this land is renowned for. Offering you a spectacular view of its natural splendour. And a taste of its spicy richness. With a subtle blend of the traditional and the luxurious, these properties are destinations by themselves.
The Kerala houseboats that cruise these emerald waterways are an improvisation on the large country barges which were an essential part of the land's ethos in days gone by.  There used to be an entire clan of artisans who were involved in kettuvallom construction. Today, an innovative holiday idea has restored these majestic representatives of a unique culture and with them their makers.

The houseboats of Kerala have become one of the most exciting tourism products in India.   Today there are A/c and Non A/c house boats with with Deluxe and Luxury facilities.  The houseboat holidays of Kerala are increasingly becoming popular with domestic as well as international tourists.  Consequently, the number of houseboats plying the backwaters of Kerala have increased dramatically.


Kerala Parks and Gardens
 

 

Parks and Gardens have a history of their own and have existed since time immemorial.These green areas not only add to the beauty of a place,but they also help to conserve nature as well as serve as refreshing picnic spots/sanctuaries housing specimens of tourist interest.One can get to bask in the glory of nature and rejuvenate himself in these elaborate gardens and parks that are found aplenty in Kerala.Artificial parks and gardens are also becoming part of the metro lifestyle throughout Kerala.

The extensive Malampuzha Gardens located on the outskirts of Palakkad town is the most popular tourist park in the state.There is a huge irrigation dam built across the Malampuzha river.Pleasant boat cruises are possible on the large lake, nestling in the foothills.
 The Silent Valley National Park, located in Palakkad district,and spread over an area of 90 sq. km, preserves some of the country’s last substantial stretch of virgin tropical evergreen forests. This park represents one among the spectacular biodiversity spots in the Western Ghats and houses some exotic species of flora and fauna that include more than 100 species of orchids and rare animals like the slender loris,gaur and lion tailed macaque.
There are also reptile parks,bird sanctuaries and other wildlife centres besides artificial parks and gardens present in Kerala that add to its greenery and enhance the beauty of nature.


Malampuzha
The Malampuzha garden is located 10 km from Palakkad town.This famous picnic spot, which comprises a dam and beautifully landscaped gardens comprising lawns and meadows with a lot of innovative tourist attractions such as musical/dancing fountains, lights, etc is situated on the lower hills of the Western Ghats. There are frequent buses to this place from Palakkad.Very many movie song and dance sequences are shot here frequently.
The passenger ropeway made available here is the first of its kind in South India. Road train trips for a joy ride can also be availed in the garden from morning till evening. The telescope tower can also be utilized by the visitors for detailed observation.
The reservoir at Malampuzha offers enchanting boating and fishing facilities for travellers. Pedalboats, rowboats, water scooters and motorboats can be hired from 1000 - 1800 hrs. A well maintained swimming pool, a fresh water aquarium, a snake park and a childrens park are added attractions at Malampuzha.


Thumpurmuzhi
Thumpurmuzhi garden is situated in between the Dream World and the Silver Storm, two popular water theme parks in Thrissur district of Kerala. The place arrests the attention of the tourists with its garden, beautiful and a classic waterfall. It is a perfect break point in your journey to Athirappilly Waterfall.
Athirappally Waterfalls is situated 78 kms from Kochi (Cochin), and located at the entrance to Sholayar ranges.This waterfall is an appealing picnic spot affording to the onlookers one of the most bewitching sights. Athirappally Falls is about 80 feet high and located in the forest area. Combined with the greenery, it infuses freshness into any tired soul. The Athirapally Falls join the Chalakkudy River after plummeting down a drop of 80 feet.



Palakkad
Fantasy Park, a leading water theme park located about 10 km from Palakkad town in Kerala, is equipped with state of the art world class rides, pools, attractions and many more children’s and elders’ attractions.You could try out a ride in the raging water tubes that defies gravity, or take a plunge down on the towering slides, or brave the waves, have an exciting sea bath at the large wave pool, or plummet down on a sheet of water from high altitude on the mountain slide, or enjoy a heavenly shower under the falls !
Fantasy park has one of the largest wave pools in Kerala, which can give you some thrilling moments in your life.Fun and frolic couldn’t get any better here.The food court is all set to pamper your taste buds with mouth – watering delicacies. Apart from many wet and wild water thrills, the water world of Fantasy Park also offers entertainment for all ages. Super Splash, Super soakers, Water blasters, Speed sliders, Harakiri, Zip Zap Zoop, Striking car, Para Trooper, Dragon Coaster, Pirate Boat, Tora Tora, Water Merry Go Round etc can as well be enjoyed by adults.

The nearby attractions around Fantasy Park are the, Kallekulangara Temple where “a pair of hands" is worshipped as the main deity; SilentValley National Park constituting tropical rain forests, the Cholannur pea cock sanctuary at Mayiladumpara, and the ten step Meenvallam Waterfalls.
There is also a planetarium featuring the truly fascinating world of Stars, Planets, Galaxies, Deep Sky objects and is a very effective means of teaching students and visitors about stars, planets, astronomy and space science.



Cheruthony
Hill View Park is situated midway between Idukki Arch Dam and Cheruthony Dam in Idukki district. It is spread over an area of 8 acres and offers a scenic view.The park has a natural water body at the hill top, and pedal boating facility is an attraction. A herbal garden and a childrens play area are the amusemnets in the park. Visitors can view wild elephants in their natural habitat.
True to its title, it offers a panoramic view of a larger area than one can experience from any high mountain park. Scenes of wild elephants in their natural habital enthrall the visitor. This park is situated adjacent to both Idukki arch dam and Cheruthony dam. Spread over an area of eight  acres of land, this aesthetically designed park is a must visit destination for tourists. The herbal garden is aesthetically and aromatically appealing and children can play around in the special section. A visit to this park makes Idukki visit a memorable one.
Nadukani is an ideal place for one-day picnickers. As the very name indicates, this park offers a panoramic view of the a large area of the nearby districts. A two-storied pavilion makes an ideal place for enjoying the landscape and beauty of nature.

The 7 steps waterfall here is a much loved picnic spot. At each step there is a cascade and pool beneath. Thommankuthu nearby is an ideal place for adventure tourism.The Periyar wildlife sanctuary at Thekkady and Vagamon are ideal excursion centres.



Alappuzha
The long sandy beach is quite clean, and has a garden, an open air stage where cultural events are conducted and a walkway artistically lined with plants and seating arrangements for people to sit and enjoy the view and the sea breeze.
On the southern side of the beach lies the Vijaya park with a toy train and bicycle facility for children. There is another park known as the Seaview park and both these parks have boating facilities. Visitors to the beach can also see the old lighthouse located nearby, a major tourist attraction which was built by Captain Hugh Crawford in 1862.

The Seaview park in the vicinity of the Alappuzha beach offers assorted boating facilities on hire basis and has a swimming pool. Four seater and two seater pedal and row boats are available here.Photography and videography are strictly prohibited here.
The Vijaya beach park located on the southern side of the Alappuzha beach is mainly for children. Kids could take a ride in the toy train available or the bicycles provided by the park. A nominal boating fee is also charged for a stipulated time.Video and camera permits are also charged.


North Paravur
Shantimadom Agro Farm is located at North Paravur in Ernakulam District. It deals in producing high yielding varieties of medicinal plants, tree saplings and ornamental plants. Cultivation of medicinal plants and tree saplings form the major activities of the farm. With more than 1,00,000 mother trees, the farm reproduces high yielding varieties of fruit tree saplings, ornamental plants, medicinal and herbal plants which can be used in medicines, fairness creams and for commercial purposes. The farm also sells high yielding seeds of vegetables and bio-fertilizers.

The famous herb Pathimukham (Caesalpinia sappan) which is used as an ingredient for making dahashamani (herbal drinking water mix) in Kerala is available here.From the range of mother trees available here, high yielding hybrids of fruit trees, ornamental plants, medicinal trees and herbs are developed, which have commercial value both in India and abroad. Modern beauty and cosmetic aids are manufactured from their extracts. The superior quality vegetable seeds available here and the biodegradable fertilizers are quite eco-friendly on all counts.

The farm serves to facilitate the farmers’ income by helping them to cultivate high yielding fruit trees and medicinal plants and marketing the products across Kerala, India and around the globe. The farm also updates itself with technological inputs and after sales services and back up for the benefit of the farmers.The farm helps in promoting ayurveda in the state by preserving rare medicinal herbs and plants.


Silent Valley
There exists in India, a tropical evergreen rain forest with an unbroken evolutionary history of 50 million years. Steep escarpments and ridges on all sides ensured that this plateau remained unsullied by man, thereby preserving its rich bio-diversity. The multi-layered canopy harbours a variety of plant and animal species, many of them hitherto unheard of by Science. A new frog genus supposed to be of the Jurassic era was discovered in the year 2003. It is no wonder then that scientists have described Silent Valley as ‘the richest expression of life on Earth’.
Silent Valley is a virgin, fragile forest, nestled in the mountain folds of the Nilgiris in Southern India. In God’s own country, Kerala, Silent Valley is surely God’s own abode. It has etymological connotations to the absence of noisy insect cicadas that are generally abundant in tropical rain forests, although now, cicadas form an integral part of the forest. The local names of the valley and the river that flows through it, resurrect the grand tale of the Mahabharata. In the local lingo, Silent Valley is called Sai-randhri-vanam (synonymous with Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas) and the river is called Kunthipuzha (synonymous with Kunti, mother of the Pandavas). This has been declared as a National Park recently.
Cut-off from civilization and commercialisation, Silent Valley is an ideal destination for nature lovers, researchers and gutsy trekkers. Undulating mountains and lush greenery greet the eye at Silent Valley. View from the watch tower at Sairandhiri is panoramic and the entire valley below appears to be a wavy green enormous carpet. A silver line that runs through is the Kunthipuzha.

Kanjirappuzha
Kanjirappuzha Dam is a scenic location at a distance of about 60 kms from Palakkad in Kerala. Beautifully landscaped, with water fountains, streams and a fairytale garden, the Park attached to the dam offers a nice escape from the bustle of the city.The dam is a fascinating one enveloped by hills with an evergreen forest lying behind the reservoir, a frequently visited place by the tourists. Three islands in the reservoir are specially recognized as tourist attractions. These islands are the best places to visit for perceiving the beautiful marine life including the commercial species of fish grown by the Fisheries Department.

This lake of the dam lies in a single stretch. An evergreen forest, the Vettilachola, provides the backdrop to a lake surrounded by hillocks. During the rains, the mist-draped mountains create a picturesque landscape.The place also offers plenty of attractions nearby.


Malakapara
Located in Ernakulam District of Kerala, Malakapara Tea Gardens is 51 km from Athirappilly Waterfalls on the Anakkayam-Valparai route near Chalakudy. Malakapara tea gardens offer adventurous family safaris through the deep forest and the Western Ghats. It is harmonized with lots of hairpin curves. Along the route, one can spot some good wildlife. Kothamangalam is a nearby town.
For the adventurous kind, a family safari through the deep forest and high ranges (Western Ghats) complemented with lots of hairpin curves takes you to the fascinating sculptured beauty of Malakapara tea Gardens just 58 km from the fascinating riverside resort Riverok Villas.

Some of the nearby tourist locations are: Vachumaram, an ideal lake formation in the midst of the forest, 20 km away from Malakapara. A tourist will never want to miss the scenic natural beauty of this place.Charpa falls is another place with its enchanting waterfalls which plunges on to the road during the monsoon, a rare sight to watch. You could enjoy and get drenched in the wayside shower. Anakayam, about 24 km away, is a cascading waterfall where everyone wants to take a dip in the water and take photos with nature to keep as mementoes of the dream holiday of their life time.(24 Km).


Thiruvananthapuram
Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram is the capital of the Indian state of Kerala and the headquarters of the Thiruvananthapuram District. It is located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland. Referred to by Mahatma Gandhi as the "Evergreen city of India", the city is characterized by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills and busy commercial alleys.
The Kumaranasan Park is actually a well maintained public square full of green landscaped lawns in front of the Senate building of the Kerala University.Some time back, there was a public furore that parks and statues in the city were “disappearing” under a blitz of advertisements by political parties, mass organizations etc, marring their beauty and serenity. At the Asan Square in front of the University Senate Hall, the statue of Kumaranasan and the greenery of the surrounding park had till recently, been virtually shut out by a collage of advertisements creating an eye sore around the area. Now thankfully these advertisements and hoardings have been banned in and around the public parks and gardens of the green city and the beauty of Kumaranasan park has been restored.


 

 

 

 
Religious attractions
 

 

 


 Kerala is famous for its religious harmony. Keralites are very religious people and religious functions dominates all walks of life. However religion donot make the final word in anybody's life here, thus its an very open society for debate and discussions about religions.




The temples of Kerala are dedicated to various gods and goddesses from the Hindu mythology. An architectural delights, these temples are carved in the traditional style. Some of the significant temples in Kerala include the Padmanabhaswamy temple, Vadukkumnathan Temple, Vaikom Temple, Chottanikkara Temple, Mannarshala Temple, Ananthapura Lake Temple and the Ambalapuzha Temple. These temples reflects the religious fervor of people of Kerala.
Kerala temples find expression in a mixed medium of stone, brick, laterite and wood this unique approach to temple building resulted in a distinctive form of architecture, laying stress on sanctity, simplicity and a prevailing naturalism which marked the worship in temples. The earlier temples of Kerala were primarily for Shiva and Vishnu or their manifestations (Krishna, Parasurama, Rama, Vamana). Swayampradhana shrines to Ganesha, Kartikeya are of later origin.
The history of Kerala dates back to the Cheras of the third century BC. The temples of Kerala are referenced in the works of the Tamil Alwar Saints and the Nayanmar Saints. Kulasekhara Alwar and Cheraman Perumaal (one of the Nayanmaars)belonged to the Cheras of the ninth century AD. There are several works on temple architecture written in Kerala during the 15th and the 16th centuries.
 
Major Temples in Kerala
 
Padmanabhaswami Temple at Tiruvananthapuram
The majestic 18-feet-long idol of the principal deity at the sprawling Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple is found to have been covered in gold and invaluable precious stones, spurring an unprecedented swell in the flow of devotees to the centuries-old shrine here . The chance discovery on the idol of Anantha Padmanabha -- Lord Vishnu in reclining posture on the Serpent Anantha -- was made during a restoration work of a part of the idol made of 'Kudusarkara' mixture processed with several costly ingredients, including ayurvedic herbs, and inlaid with 'Salagramam'. The idol is said to be a rare one, as 'Salagramam' is not normally used in Kudusarkara idols.
 
 
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple - Women's sabarimala
The Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, one of the ancient temples of South India, is popularly described as Sabarimala of the Women, as women form the major portion of devotees. The Goddess in the temple of Attukal is worshipped as the Supreme Mother, creator of all living beings and the mighty preserver as well as destroyer of them all. The pilgrims from all over the country, who visit Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple and worship the Lord, do not consider their visits complete without the visit to the shrine of the supreme Mother Attukalamma. Vishnumaya took the incarnation of Bhagavathy to annihilate the evil and protect the good in the world in the present Era namely Kaliyuga.
 
Ayyappan Temple at Sabarimala
Kerala is a land of temples; perhaps the best known pilgrimage destination in Kerala is Sabarimala, high up in the Sahyadri Mountains (Western Ghats). Sabarimala Sri Dharmasastha Temple is the most famous and prominent among all the Sastha Temples. It is believed that "Parasurama Maharshi" who retrieved Kerala from the sea by throwing his axe, installed the idol of Ayyappa at Sabarimala to worship Lord Ayyappa.
The pilgrimage begins in the month of November and ends in January. The temple attracts pilgrims not only from the southern states of India, but also from other parts of the country and abroad.
 
 
Chettikulangara Temple at Puthupalli
Chettikulangara Sree Bhagavathy Temple, Chettikulangara, Alappuzha district. Chettikulangara Bharani is an important festival of this temple dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali. The festival is held on the Bharani asterism in the month of Kumbham, according to the Malayalam calendar. The temple draws large crowds of devotees for this colourful festival.
 
Chotanikara Bhagawati Temple at Chotanikara
The Chottanikkara Bhagavathi Temple is known all over Kerala as an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. Tradition has it that worshipping in the temple over a prolonged period cures many illnesses. An array of oil paintings adorns the wall of the vimana (towered sanctuary) of the temple. The festival of Navaratri (see Festivals of India) is celebrated with great pomp and fanfare in the temple.
"MAKOM Thozhal" (worship on the Makom day) is the most important festival of the temple which is celebrated in the month of Kumbham. (Feb / March) It is believed that Bhagavathy in her full attire gave darsan to Vilwamangalam Swamiyar on the Makom day and appears on the same day every year for giving darsan to the devotees in her special appearance. The Bhadrakaali at Kizhukkavu is believed to exorcise evil spirit from devotees, after conducting bhajanam.
 
Ettumanoor Mahadevar Temple at Ettumanoor
Mahadeva Temple at Ettumanoor is located 13 km away from Kottayam town.The 'Ezharaponnana' and 'Kedavilakku' of this temple is famous. Myths have it that the Pandavas and the sage Vyasa had worshipped at this temple. The arattu festival of this temple is celebrated on a grand scale on the Thiruvathira day in Kumbham (February-March) every year. Large number of people flock to this temple on the 8th and 10th day of the festival when seven and half elephants(Ezharaponnana) made of gold (nearly 13 Kgms) will be held in public view. The temple, the wealthiest Devaswom in Kerala, has many valuable possessions.
 
 
Parassinikkadavu Temple
18 kilometres north of Kannur, on the banks of the Valapattanam river in a setting of great natural beauty stands the Shri Muthappan Temple at Parassinikkadavu.  Steeped in legend it’s a hallowed spot.  Open to all this is the only place where one can see the theyyam performed all around the year.
Visitors can also enjoy a boat ride with trees zooming around you; the wide river opening up to the blue expanse of the sea ahead. On the way to Parassinikkadavu Temple is the snake park.  The demonstration of snakes is held every hour at the snake park.
 
Siva temple -aruvippuram - Trivandrum
The idols in this temple where installed by Sri Narayana Guru."Sivarathri" festival,during which devotees observe fast and forgo the night's sleep and perform puja and adore Lord Siva,is famous here.
 
Tali Temple at Kozhikkode
About 2 km from Vadakara,this temple dedicated to Lord Siva built by the Zamorian Swamy Thirumulpad is a structure of the 14th century architectural excellence.'Revathy Pattathanam',the annual cultural event with its cognate intellectual features is indeed a discource in Sanskrit,the India's ancient and one of the world's forst languages.The temple celebrates an eight day festival every year.
 
 
Lokanarkavu Bhagawati Temple at Vadagara
At about 6km on the east of Vadakara,in the place called Memunda,this temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali,the Goddess of Bravery.Another example of a splendid architecture,the temple's walls,portray ancient paintings and carvings.The 41 day Mandala Vilakku festival is a famous here.
 
 
Sree Krishna Temple at Guruvayoor
About 29 km west of Thrissur,Guruvayoor also known as the 'Dwaraka of the South' is where this famous temple dedicated to Lord Krishna is situated.A belief says that this was created by 'Guru' and 'Vayu'.This is a popular pilgrim spot.
 
 
Sree Krishna Temple at Ambalapuzha
The ancient Sree Krishna Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna is situated 8 miles south of Alappuzha. This temple is famous throughout Kerala for the milk porridge, 'Palpayasam' served here. At Karumadi, near by, is an image of the Buddha, a relic of the times when Buddhism flourished in the State. It is also in this temple that 'Pallipana' is performed by 'Velans' (sorcerers) once in twelve years. Human sacrifice was conducted in ancient times. However, cocks have now replaced humans on the sacrificial altar.
 
Sri Rama Temple at Triprayar near Trissur
On the banks of a beautiful river near Thrissur in Kerala almost bordering the trunk road is a big temple dedicated to Sri Rama, which combines attractive location, traditional legend and superb architecture. In the dim past, this river is believed to have skirted the temple on three sides and hence the sacred place is called Thirupuraiyar or most popularly as Triprayar.
 
 
Tirunakkara Mahadeva Temple at Kottayam
This Temple,situated in the busy area of Kottayam is dedicated to Lord Siva.The legend has it that the idol here is 'Swayambu' and not installed.A10 day festival is celebrated annually.
 
 
Trikkara Temple at Trikkara near Alwaye
The Thrikkakara temple, located 10 kms north-east of Kochi, is considered to be the seat of famous 10 days Onam celebrations in Kerala. Thrikkakara is considered to be capital of the good asura (demon) King Mahabali, whose rule was prematurely stopped by Lord Vishnu in the diguise as a Brahmin boy, when the Hindu gods became jealous of the growing power of the generous and kind-hearted king. The Vishnu temple here is the only one of its kind to have Vamana (one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu) as the deity.
 
Thirumandhamkunnu Bhagavathy temple (Angadipuram)
This temple at Angadipuram,3 km on the west of Perinthalmanna is an important pilgrim centre,whose presiding deity is Goddess 'Durga'.In the months of March and April the annual festival,pooram is celebrated.
 
Kodungalur Bhagawati Temple at Kodungalur
Kodungallur Bhagavati temple is a unique temple dedicated to the goddess Bhadrakali. The temple is situated in the middle of a plot of land about ten acres, surrounded by banyan and peepal trees. The srikovil is facing north. The western chamber of the inner temple is the seat of Sapthamatrukas (seven mothers) who also face north. The idols of Ganapathi and Veerabhadra are also found in the chamber, one facing east and the other facing west respectively. The idol of bhagawati is about six feet high and made of wood, carved from a jack fruit tree. The idol has eight arms which carry various weapons and symbols.
 
 
Churhes
 
 Holy-Rosary-Church
Kerala is a land of religious harmony where Hindus, Christians, Muslims and other religions live together as a role model to the other states. The churches in Kerala really differ from other churches in India with respect to their style and architecture of their construction. The churches of Kerala are mainly classified into three main groups. They are 1) Roman Catholic Church 2) Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and 3) Protestants. Of these Malankara church is the oldest church and it has some of the oldest churches in the world. Roman catholic church also has some of the oldest churches with them. Many of these churches has turned into famous pilgrimage centers.
Amongst the most famous churches of Kerala there are several that are devoted to the Christ’s apostle St. Thomas. He is believed to be the father of Christianity in India. In 52 AD St. Thomas arrived at Cranganore, and established 7 churches and a chapel in Kerala (Kodungallore, Palayur, Paravur, Kokkamangalam, Niranam, Chayal, Kollam, and Thiruvankottu). Some of the famous churches in Kerala are briefed below.

Niranam St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church

 
This church is believed to have founded by St. Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, in AD 54.The present building, supposedly the fourth, was constructed in 1912 and was reinforced during the year 2000. Among the attractions at the church are a huge Cross made of granite, relics of St. Thomas, remnants of the old church, the golden cross, etc.

Kuravilangadu Marth Mariam Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church

 
One of the oldest churches of Kerala is the St. Mary’s Church Kuravilangadu, which was supposed to have been established in 105 A. D as per the tradition. It is believed by the Christian communities in Kerala that Mother Mary's first appearance in the world was in Kuravilangad. Our Lady appeared to a few children at Kuravilangad, who were tending their flock in the bushes. Mary asked them to build a church at the place from where a miraculous perpetual spring sprouted, a spring which exists even today. The children reported this matter to the elders and a church was built there.
The statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary kept at the side altar is unique. It is carved from granite and it is believed that it was brought from North India. This is a miraculous statue and the devotees call this statue "Kuravilangad Muthiyamma". The granite cross in a single block of 48 feet in front of the church was erected around 1597. The devotes offer coconut oil in the lamps at the foot of the cross. On first Fridays devotees stand in queue from early morning to late in the evening to offer oil. There is an ancient bell with the engraving in Syriac "Mother of God". Three bells were brought from Germany in 1911. There is a "perpetual" spring, believed to be miraculous. the old church and the eight tongued coconut scraper. Moonnu Nompu" is the main feast of the church.
 

Champakulam Kalloorkadu St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Church

Champakulam Kalloorkadu St. Mary's Forane Church (also called Champakulam Valia Palli) is one of the most ancient Syrian Christian Churches in Kerala and the mother church of almost all Catholic Syrian churches in Alappuzha District. It was formed from the Niranom Church founded by the Apostle Saint Thomas himself. By oral tradition, Champakulam Church was founded in AD 427. The open air Rock cross at Champakulam is one of the most ancient ones with clear documentation of its antiquity up to AD 1151. There are many archaeological artifacts found around the church about its history. Champakulam Church had very friendly relations with the Jacobite Syrian group and had a pivotal role in many ecumenical efforts in the eighteenth century. Mar Anthrayose - Kallada Mooppan was resident in Champakulam for some time.

Kallooppara St. Mary's valiyapally

Kallooppara St. Marys Orthodox Church is situated at the heart of a small village called Kallooppara, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala, India. It is one of the oldest and renowned churches in Kerala and a priced possession of Malankara Sabha. The church have a legacy of around seven centuries, keeping its tradition and culture intact without compromising on its religious values. The church is a perfect example of the ancient temple architecture and is an elegant representation of the beautiful shingled roof tops in the early Travancore style. The church has a splendid blend of beauty and science in it and is a mystery the way it has overcome all the challenges of time. The church which is the worshiping place of thousands has been a topic of research for many.
Even though there are no clear evidence for the origin and age of the church. It is commonly believed that the founding stone of the church was laid on Malayalam month Karkadakam 3rd of 515 (A.D.1339).
The church has been declared as the "Pilgrim center of St. Mary" on January 9, 2009 by His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Didimos Ist.The administration of the church is done by a governing body which is elected annually from among the church members.

St. Mary's Orthodox Syrian Cathedral, Thumpamon

St. Mary's Orthodox Syrian Cathedral, commonly known as '"Thumpamon Valiya Pally," is an ancient church located in Thumpamon near Pathanamthitta. It is the headquarters of the Thumpamon Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. It is an ancestral place of worship of the Nazarene Christians who had settled down in Thumpamon. The popular belief that the Nazarene Christian came and settled in and around Thumpamon about 1600 years ago. The church first was built in AD 717 and it is among the one of oldest churches in Kerala.
 
 

St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, Kanjoor

St. Mary's Forane Church, Kanjoor is an ancient church located in Ernakulam District. The church was built in AD 1001 and is one of the oldest churches in Kerala.
Kanjoor Church
Kanjoor is one of the most popular pilgrim centres in Kerala. People of all faiths and religions come to this pilgrim centre to pray ! I to Kanjoor Punnyavan.The Kanjoor Church is situated on the banks of the River Periyar. This beautiful village is endowed with green pastures and lush paddy fields and it has been attracting tourists from time immemorial. Every nook and cranny of the church breathes history and heritage. St Mary's Forane Church, Kanjoor is one of the most outstanding and ancient Catholic churches in Kerala. Built in the year AD 1001, this church is portrayed as the symbol of strong Christian faith and spiritual renaissance of Kanjoor. It belongs to the Archdiocese of Ernaku- lam - Angamaly and is about 3 km south of Kalady in the Aluva - Kalady route. This church has a fascinating Kerala Temple style, wonderful fresco painted walls and tall towers. The magnificent structure of the church is a gorgeous blend of Indian architecture, Persian design, and Portuguese artistry. The fabulous collec¬tion of ancient sculptures and paintings which adorn the sanctum of the church, are made from a combination of fruit pulp, rare plant leaves and gold dust.
The unique paintings on the main altar exhibit the Blessed Virgin Mother, the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity and the Presentation of the Lord in the Tem¬ple. The side wall contains the paintings on the offer¬ing of the Lord Abraham, Noah, Melchisedech, the Ten Commandments to Moses.The church has a rare antique and valuable collection of manuscripts, books and paintings which are eye¬catching. The granite cross made out of a single stone, the majestic and grandiose main door, the baptismal font made out of a single stone sculptured in the shape of a lotus, the epitaph in ancient round script (vattezhuthu), the ancient and invaluable documents written on the palm leaves (tholiyola) and many other antique properties chart the greatness of the church and highlight the cultural heritage and the noble Christian traditions that belong to Kanjoor over the years.The presence of Saint Sebastian, with his divine powers, makes Kanjoor a famous and important pilgrim centre. He is known as the Saint of Kanjoor (Kanjoor Punnyavan). There are a lot of incidents which illustrate the powerful and divine nature of the saint. One such incident happened when the ruler of the local kingdom Sakthan Thampuran visited the Puthiyedam Kovilakam during the annual feast of the saint was celebrated. Irritated by the uninterrupted firing of the saluting mortar (kathina vedi), he ordered that the mortars to be thrown into the river. At the time of the procession, all the mortars immersed in the water started firing. Startled by what happened, the Thampuran realized his mistake and came down to the church and paid obeisance to the saint. He donated the Elephant Lamp (Aana Vilakku) which is made of Pancha Loha (analloy of five metals).There was another incident when the Thampuran ordered that the Padippuro (gate house) of the church to be demolished. The very moment that the demolition of the gate house started, the elephant at the Kovilakam started destroying its padippura. On in¬quiring about this astonishing occurrence, he was informed that the Kanjoor Punnyavan had been offended by his action. As a sign of his repentance the Thampuran presented the perpetual lamp (Keda Vilakku) to the church. It is believed that to meet the expense of oil for the lamps, theThampuran permitted the church to possess the paddy fields of one hundred para, and made the land on which it was constructed tax free.
In 18th century Tippu Sultan during his invasion reached Kanjoor to destroy the church. The Sultan ridiculed their faith in the saint and shouted at the statue of the saint, "If this clay statue has divine powers, let it speak to me". The people prostrated before the saint crying out to protect them. Suddenly a voice came from the sacred statue, "Won't you allow me to rest?" Seeing this miracle Tippu retreated with¬out damaging the church. It is depicted on the walls in front of the church to commemorate this event.


Kaduthuruthy St. Mary's Thazhathupally

The stone is believed to have been laid for Kaduthuruthy St. Mary's Thazhathupally on 15 August 1009 A.D. This Church continued to be renewed from time to time. The present existing old church took its shape in 1590 with the characteristics of Gothic Art. “The altar of this church shows the excellence to which altar carving has ever reached.”

Aruvithura St. George's Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church

 
Aruvithura Church is located at Aruvithura, Erattupetta. The first edifice of the church at Irapeli was of granite stone after the manner of Hindu temples. It was rebuilt once or twice before the 16th century as it is reported. The ancient church was constructed and maintained by the Thengummoottil family until 13th centuary.. Towards the beginning of the 16th century a new church was built This 16th-century church was demolished in 1951, preserving the sanctuary with its vaulting within the right transept of the cruciform church to enshrine the statue of St. George, its second patron. Some believe the statue to be miraculous. This is a cruciform church in the Gothic style, facing to the west towards Jerusalem, and was completed in 1952.

St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, Kudamaloo

 
St. Mary's Church Kudamaloor is one of the ancient churches of the Syro-Malabar Rite. It is a Marian pilgrim center. It is situated 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) north of Kottayam town. "Alphonsa Bhavan" - the birthplace of Blessed Alphonsa is under this parish. Mannanam, a pilgrim center, where the tomb of Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara situates, is also under this parish.
The old church was built by King Chempakasserry on AD 1125.There is a legend associated with the establishment of this church. Once, the Chempakassery Rajah was about to start an important journey. When he entered into the cart, the horses stood stationary and many attempts failed to move them. The King had to postpone his journey. The King ordered the chief astrologer to find the reason behind his journey disruption. The astrologer found that the place where the horses stood was a battlefield. The King excavated the area and found many skeletons of many warriors. The King listened to the advice of the astrologer and he decided to establish a church and immigrated five Nasrani families namely, Mukkunkal, Chakkunkal, Palathunkal, Thekkedam and Vadakkedam and gave land and wealth these families. In addition, families like Alumkal, Thuruthumali, Perumali, Thayyil etc. also settled as a result of Christian immigration during the establishment of Kudamaloor church. Out of these families only traces of Mukkunkal and Thekkedam are around the Church of Kudamaloor and the rest all have disintegrated to various parts or have changed their family names after successive partitions, to worship. The present day Syrian Christians in this area are these immigrants.
The church is dedicated to "Mukthiamma" (Blessed Virgin Mary). The church used to have a pulpit built on a wooden elephant and the main beam is still decorated with elephant’s head; these features are very characteristic of the Hindu influence. The church is very famous for the rituals during the Holy week.
St. Mary,s Forane Church, Muttom, cherthala-688524; Alappuzha District
St. Mary’s Forane Church, Muttom, is situated in the heart of the Cherthala town in Alappuzha District. It is one of the most popular Marian pilgrim centres, in Kerala. Built in the year A D 1023 this Church is portrayed as the symbol of strong Christian faith and spiritual renaissance of Muttom, Cherthala. St. Mary’s Forane Church, Muttom, Cherthala, is one of the most beautiful and largest Church made under Portuguese artistry around A D 1600. The carvings in the altars with beautiful paintings which adorn the sanctum of the church, are made from a combination of fruit pulp, rare plant leaves and gold dust, are marvellous. A very large relief work of asension of Virgin Mary is rarest and cannot be seen anywhere. The statue of Mother Mary Immaculate was established in a shrine facing the road adjacent to the church. The statue is there since A D 1904 and a miracle happened in A D 1945. The presence of Mother Mary Immaculate, with her divine powers, makes Muttom a famous and important pilgrim centre. There are lots of incidents which illustrate the powerful and divine nature of the Vigin.People of all faiths and religion come to this Church to pray to Amma (the Virgin Mary). Everything seen here, wordlessly says the history and heritage. It belongs to the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly and is about 35 kilometeres from Kochi, Ernakulam and 22 kilometers from Alappuzha.
Other Activities in Kerala 
 
Adventure sports
 
  • Trekking is a good option. Lot of trekking options prevails in Palakkad and Kottayam districts, which are safer. Trekking in Idukki and Wayanad is also good, but is much more adventurous and not as safe. Do contact DTPC of these districts available at district capitals to know more about it. Kottayam mountains are the best for anybody to trek, whereas trekking at Iddukki is surely for the experts. Vagamon and nearby areas have lot of short trekking options.
  • Rock Climbing - Popular in the Munnar mountains, which are more rocky in nature and have cliffs that make for a real adventure. Areas near Poojnar in Kottayam also have options for rock climbing.
  • Mountain Biking - Popular in hill station areas, especially for racing. Ponmudi in Trivandrum, Munnar, Thekkady, Vagamon, and Nelliyampatty are main centres for mountain biking and racing.
  • Mountain Hiking - is also emerging as a popular sport, to conquer the largest peak of Western Ghats- Anamudi in Iddukki district. Many Mountain hikers go in search of tall peak points, for hiking options. Need to check at Iddukki, Palakkad and Kottayam districts.
  • Para gliding - Para gilding are available at Munnar and Varkala. A try is surely something you going to cherish, due to the natural beauty and the extreme thrill associated with it. Recently Vagamon has emerged as one of the popular centre for Para gilding, due to its less mountainous terrain and vast expanse of open space, coupled with scenic beauty. Recently it was chosen as permanent centre for Kerala Para-gliding Prix. ASSTA Kochi is one of the premier sporting agency in Kerala .
  • Canoeing: Canoeing is a favorite sport among the tourists of Kerala and among the local inhabitants of the state. A canoe is a small 2-3 seater boat which is rowed by the sailors. Canoeing expeditions are undertaken in Kerala by groups of tourists and such sashays are often arranged by tourist operators on request. One can find many canoe races among tourists in Backwaters of Alleppey.
  • Catamaran Sailing: A catamaran is small often wooden vessel with twin hulls joined together. Catamarans are usually set sail across the backwaters of Kerala nowadays motorised catamarans are in vogue along with traditional oar propelled ones giving the tourists of the state more variety to indulge in. Catamaran sailing can be seen in Alleppey and Kollam Beaches and limited usage in Kozhikode Barbour. The government discourages this, due to absence of safety measures, hence such sporting options must be done under personal risk.
  • Kayaking: Kayaking requires high levels of physical fitness. A Kayak is a small one or two man boat which the rowers actuate with twin paddled oars. Kayaking can be undertaken on rocky rapids (similar to white water rafting) or on calm sea waters. The backwaters of Kerala are extremely conducive to such sea kayaking. Kottayam and Alleppey Backwaters, particularly Vaikom has many good areas for Kayaking. Small rapids near Vagamon and Pala and Thenmala Eco-tourism village are centres of Kayaking.
  • Para Sailing: Parasailing is a water sport commonly indulged in Kerala's beaches and sea side resorts. This highly recreational sport is one of the primary adventure sports in Kerala's many beaches. Commonly seen in Varkala, Kovalam, Cherai beaches. Recently started in Kannur beach too.
  • Scuba Diving: Scuba diving is deep sea diving with an oxygen pack fitted to the diving suit so that the diver does not need to depend on any surface supplied equipment. The deep Arabian Sea off Kerala shores makes scuba diving a veritable pleasure sport. The rich underwater flora and fauna attracts the diver over the risks involved in the sport. Mainly done in Kochi Backwaters and Highseas area. This yet has not emerged as a popular sporting in Kerala, though its popular in nearby Lakshadweep seas, from the Kochi Cruisers.
  • Snorkeling: Snorkeling is a major tourist recreation at the beaches of Alappuzha, Kovalam and Varkala. It involved swimming at the surface of the deep sea equipped with a snorkel or a breathing tube and mask. It allows the diver to view the natural underwater bounties and the diversity of marine life.
  • Wind Surfing: Windsurfing is skimming the water face on a surfboard with a revolving sail. The skill of the surfer is tested in maneuvering the craft amidst the high waves and tearing winds. Windsurfing is a sport that rouses much interest in the numerous beaches that fringe coastal Kerala. This is not as popular as other sports, though at Kovalam and Varkala, one can find some wind surfers.
  • Oxen Racing:- Oxen racing is an adventure sporting, where the racer needs to drive two oxens tied to wooden boards and need to make 5 circles around the paddy field. This is a popular village-side sports, especially done before sowing season, to make soil ploughable, while providing an entertainment option. Traditionally tourists are not encouraged to take part in this sport, as it requires high level of skill and expertise, though recently many tour companies are catering this option to their adventurous guests.
  • Tree Climbing:- Tree climbing is an adventure sporting, similar to rock climbing. After rock climbing and surfing, adventure travellers are turning to tree climbing in Kerala. For tree climbing, age and fitness levels are not a bar. The tree climbing sub-culture involves bestowing every new climber with a name, Jenkins is called Treeman and Kovar goes by the name Tengu. Climbing equipment, including a seat and pedal unit, are provided for safety.



Sports
  • Much like elsewhere in India, lot of sport options exist in Kerala, mainly limited to Football, Cricket, Volleyball, Athletics. Malayalees are well-known for their passion for Volleyball and Athletics. Majority of great Indian Volley-ball players and famous athletes of which many are Olympians are from Kerala.
  • Play Volley-Ball at Kerala's beaches as many locals do play this in evenings. You can join them.
  • Soccer is a passion for majority of Malabar people who love to spend whole day and night in various Foot-ball stadiums. You can join with them for a round of soccer or cheer soccer teams while in their play.
  • Golfing is a good option, though a limited one. Traditionally Golf is considered as a Game for Rich in Kerala, hence one can find good Golf-Courses only in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. Trivandrum Golf Course is the Oldest Golf-course in Commonwealth and a very good place to play with holes. The Bolgatty Palace Hotel in Cochin has a private Golf Course for its guests, which was the traditional golf-course once used by British Residents and Nobles of Royal English Residency of Cochin. Recently Cochin Airport has opened a state-of-the-art 18 hole golf course, which is good place to play as well as learn Golf. Munnar has a golf course called High-Range Golf Club which is a scenic place to play. There are few small golf clubs in Iddukki and Kottayam districts, which are mainly limited to its members, though tourists may be allowed to pay at slightly higher fees.
  • Like elsewhere in India, cricket is the most hottest craze among youngsters and you can find most of them playing in very large open spaces and fields. Regular cricket tournaments are held in Kerala. Try a game with Bat and ball.
  • Indoor stadiums are common in most of the large metros and district headquarters. Most of the indoor games are played at many clubs and tourist recreation centres. The popular indoor games are Table tennis, Badminton and cards. Think of such options in these areas. Most of the hotels do have large swimming pools, which are good places for swimming. Else the Kerala Water sports complex in Trivandrum and Indoor Sports Centre in Kochi, provides olympic size pools for various water games.
 
 

Safaris

  • Jungle Safari. Kerala has many natural rain forests, with lots of unique flora and fauna. A trek in the forests of Kerala can offer a unique experience. Many forests are protected and to enter in any forest area, you require permission from Forest Office. Guards from the Forest Office may be required to accompany you due to presence of wild animals and to liaise with local tribespeople in some forests such as the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Malayatoor Forest Division, Silent Valley Rain forest in the Nilgiri Hills of Palakkad district, Wayanad forest division and Nilambur Teak forests. A request is required to be made at the Forest Headquarters in Trivandrum or Range Offices at the entrance of each Forest division. Entering forests without permission is an offence and punishable with charges of trespassing. Hunting and environmental disturbance is also an offence. You don't require Forest Guard protection services to enter Chalakudy Forest division a place very popular for use as a movie location. Agastyakoodam in Trivandrum is famous for high medical value flora. Nelliyampatty Forest division in Palakkad requires a prior check with local Range office or Forest office before proceeding. You need a Forest permit to enter any forest region and must assure that you do not offer anything to local tribespeople or disturb them in any way. Kerala tourism, in association with the Forest Office have organised some deep jungle safaris. Jungle lodges are available in outer areas of some of the forests. Check with KTDC or DTPC for more details
  • Elephant Safari:- If you are in Kerala, elephants safaris are one of the best way to keep amused. Riding on top of an 8 foot animal, will surely make you excited and thrilled. Elephant safaris are common in many tourist places like Thenmala Eco-tourist Village and at Kodanadu Elephant Training centre near Kochi as well as in Periyar Tiger reserve area.
  • Bullock Cart Safari:- An experience of being in olden days in this modern era. A must try option while visiting any village in Palakkad or in Kuttanad in Alleppey or any Malabar side village, can surely make you feel the common man's mode of transport of bygone era.
  • Nilgiri Safari:- A safari by foot over deep forests, mountainous terrain, plains at Nilgiris, to enjoy the sightings and sound of lonely Nilgiris mountains, enjoy the company of protected Tahrs and deers, mesmerised with the beauty of golden plains. Surely Nilgiri safari has all these to offer.



Ayurveda
  • Kerala is world famous for its Ayurvedic treatment. Due to tourist boom, light Ayurvedic Spas have became popular for light massages and pleasure treatments. However in case if you have any serious aliment it is recommended to go to any of the famous Ayurvedic hospitals.




Festivals



 Kerala is considered as land of festivals, with numerous festivals falling across the year. The national festival of Kerala is Onam, marking 10 day long festivities across the state, happening between August-September. Another big festival is X'mas due to large Christian population in the state, celebrated in grand zest in many cities, particularly in Kochi and Kottayam. All Muslim festivals are celebrated among the community in grand way, especially in Malabar where they form majority. Apart from major religious festivals, most of temples hosts annual festivals as part of anniversary celebrations, famous for large parade of decorated elephants, temple orchestration and fireworks. The most famous among them is Thrissur Pooram celebrated in the Thrissur town during April-May.
Other major festivals celebrated are Vishu (Malayalam New Year day mostly on April 14th), Thiruvathira (considered sacred for Hindu women celebrated during December) and Holy Easter Week. National secular holidays like Independence Day (August 15th), Republic Day (January 26th), Naval Week (December 1st week), Nehru Trophy Vallam Kalli (Snake-boat race in Alleppy on 2nd Saturdays of August) etc are celebrated in grand way in various cities.



 
Cruises
 
  • A cruise on the Backwaters of Kerala is a popular visitor pastime. Try getting a houseboat from either Kumarakom or Alleppy. An individual houseboat can be rented in 24 hour and 12 hour blocks. Rates differ according to the season and duration.
  • Boating in Akkalum tourist village in Veli (Near Trivandrum) as well as in Kochi Harbour, Kallai River of Kozhikode, Malampuzha Reservoir in Palakkad, Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady, Neyyar Dam (Adventure because of its crocodile infested area) in Trivandrum, Thenmala Eco-Village in Kollam and Astamudi Lake in Kollam; offers some good sightings in these areas as well as offers a good pleasure trip worth for an experience
  • Try using village canoe yourself in Canals of Kuttanad, Pathiramanal island, Changaserry, over Nila river in Ottapalam in Palakkad, Kallayi river in Kozhikode and Periyar river in Aluva. Its surely going to make you try again and again.
  • Speed cruise in Akkulam Tourist Village in Trivandrum as well as Sasthamkotta Lake in Kollam or Kochi backwaters is a good choice. Akkulam has a wide range of speed cruise from Jet ski to Water Scooters and Speed Boats as well as Banana Boats.
  • If you love adventure, try boarding any Fishing vessel, for a trip to High seas. Its something really adventurous. For more extreme adventurous person, a trip using traditional Fishing boat, is more thrilling due to use of narrow body boats without any machines, used by fishermen in coastal areas. You can experience the thrills of High seas.
  • Kerala Shipping Corporation has introduced Kochi Cruise, that have 2 type of cruises covering both Kochi Harbour Backwaters and nearby High seas. The evening cruise is the most interesting, due to the experience of cruising while at sunset and sightings of several dolphins in the Kochi Highseas.



Shopping


 

 Shopping is a national hobby in Kerala, with vast options in all metros. Do shop during Onam or Christmas seasons. Its going to be amazing rock bottom discounts, that make you mad with shopping. The best shopping during Onam is white goods and electronics, whereas its more of dress and jewelery shopping during Christmas, though you get discounts for all in these seasons.
To cash on Shopping Tourism, Kerala Government organizes Grand Kerala Shopping Festival

, that aims to transform Kerala into one-stop shopping destination. Special events, huge discounts and mega raffles are the key highlights of the event. The Mega raffles of 101 Kg of Gold as well as daily and weekly draws, on-spot scratch win cards and mobile SMS based prizes, do pull large number of tourists. Kochi is the key hub of the festivities, while other cities have themed activities and shopping options through participating outlets. Almost every shop has a sale, starting in December and ending in January.
Apart from regular shopping, consider the following in your shopping list, as made in Kerala items.

Souvenirs



  • A wide range of coconut shell products can be found in Alleppey, most of them hand-made.

  • While visiting Aranmula, a small town in Pathanamthitta, you will find for sale the famous Aranmula Mirror - a mirror made out of metal instead of glass, using a metallurgic formula which is a closely guarded secret. Very expensive option, but a truly unique souvenir.

  • A visit to any emporium will reveal a lot of handicrafts. Kerala is famous for its wooden crafts, brass items models of cultural icons like vallam (snake boats), urus (sailboats), elephants in temple festival style, artifacts like traditional jewel boxes and so on.

  • Showcase pieces like Nettipattam (The Caparison used for elephants) in Plastic mould and associated decorations like Peacock quill etc are popular with visitors. The God's Own Craft, an organization based in Kochi has popularised the sale of such pieces in plastic, helping visitors to carry them home, while retaining the traditional look and charm.
  • Coir wall hangings with beautiful pictures and fans made out of Lemongrass that makes natural scent while fanning etc

Fabric

  • Kerala's traditional Handloom cloth, Mundu and Neriyathu, can be purchased directly from weavers mainly in Chendamangalam near Kochi and Balaramapuram near Trivandrum.
  • Large stores in Kochi, Trivandrum and many other cities have good collection of worked sarees, Churidars, dress materials, salwar-suits, Indian men's wear like Kurtha-Pyjama etc

Oils and spices

  • Kerala, is well known for spices. Cardamom, pepper, cloves, turmeric, saffron and many others can be found when shopping in Kerala's bazaars. Some of the recommended spice markets are Broadway in Kochi and Chalai in Trivandrum. At Wayanad, Idukki, Pathanamtitta, Kottayam and Kozhikode you can find first quality premium spices from many authorised spice centres. These places are famous for value-added spice products like curry masala powders, ready-to-use spice powders, spice essences, extracts, spiced teas and coffee. Rare spice oils and concentrates used as bases for perfume and scents can also be found.
  • Many outlets sell unique natural cosmetic powders like mango, orange and papaya peel powder, turmeric powder. These and other spices, herbal powders and natural extracts are good for making face and body cleansing powders and soaps. Its worth to look around and investigate what is on offer.
  • Try buying some lemongrass oil, famous for its rare scent. It can also be used on the skin to discourage mosquitoes. There are more than a dozen oils in Kerala, famous for maintaining a healthy skin glow and reducing blemishes and acne.
  • Coconut oil is good to keep hairfall under control and nurture hair growth as well as for promoting a healthy glowing skin. Keralites put coconut into a multitude of varying uses. It is used as a high temperature cooking oil and scrapped powder and coconut milk is used in many local cooking styles. Roasted oil & virgin coconut oil are known to reduce cholesterol and are popular for good health. It is also used by expecting mothers for keeping their baby healthy.

Murals and paintings

Kerala is home to many famous national and international painters. The celebrated Kerala murals and oil paintings of legendary Raja Ravi Varma and many others, surely add more charm to your interiors. You can buy murals and paintings of all size and style, that fit to your budget, which is comparatively cheaper in Kerala.



What To Eat





 Kerala cuisine is distinctly different from food elsewhere in India. The major difference that one can easily notice are dominance of rice as staple food and popularity of non-vegetarian dishes. Unlike other parts of India, the Kerala society do not emphasis on any religious dietary taboos or restrictions. Thus various beef and pork dishes take a key position in Kerala cuisine without any societal taboos. Seafood gets a lion's share in typical Kerala's cuisine and lavish use of coconut (in form of coconut oil, coconut milk, powder or paste) gives a distinct taste. Since spices are abundant, one can find its lavish use in most of dishes, making many fiery hot. Pepper, Cardamon, Cloves, Ginger, Chilies are common to most of the dishes.
Food in Kerala tends to include a variety of spices and most of them are extremely fiery. Kerala also has its own fair share of famous vegetarian cuisines and normally only vegetarian foods are taken during festival days, particularly Onam. However Jains will find hard in vegetarian selections, as most of Malayalee vegetarian dishes comprises tubular and root based vegetables as well as lavish use of garlic and onions. Jains need to look out for Jain special food, normally available in key cities or near Jain temples.
Kerala's cuisine is divided into four basic regional styles, according to ingredient availability and historical influence:

Malabar, Central Travancore, Southern Travancore, and Central Kerala. Although all four styles can be found throughout the state, the food will be most authentic within each given region.
 
 




While you are pondering on what to eat in Kerala, we bring you the various types of food that are available in Kerala. Apart from the traditional cuisine, Kerala also offers a huge variety of food that includes Mughlai, Chinese, Fast Food, etc. While traveling, you will find many places for eating out in Kerala. The food is prepared in clean and hygienic surroundings and every flavor is taken care of by special chefs. Also check out various places to eat in Kerala.

Apart from street food, you will be surprised to find fast food joints in Kerala. This is the specialty of Kerala. Though it has maintained its traditional identity, it is also modern in its own way. You will find the most popular fast food joints in Kerala alongwith the local ones that offer their own variety of fast food and other snacks. Apart from the fast food joints, you can also find bars, pubs and coffee joints in most of the cities of Kerala. Given below are some places for eating out in Kerala.



      • Bimbi's Fast Food - Shanmugham Road
      • Chariot Beach Snacks Princess Street - Fort Cochin
      • Chinese Jade Pavilion Taj Malabar hotel - Willingdon Island
      • Kashi Art Café Snacks Burgher Street - Fort Cochin
      • Pandhal Multi Cuisine - M.G. Road, Ernakulam
      • Ramathula Hotel - Irimpichi Road and New Road
      • Sealord Seafood - Shanmugham Road, Ernakulam
      • Utsav Indian Taj Residency - Marine Drive
      • Appam & Stew - Cafe Magnet
        Masala Dosa & Coffee - Indian Coffee House
        South Indian Thali - Arya Bhavan
        Mutton Biriyani/Paratta & Mutton Curry - Azad Restaurants
        Puttu & Mutton Curry/roast/fry - Hotel Buhari
        These are must try in Trivandrum..




      How To Reach



      By plane
      There are three airports in Kerala, with flights to domestic and international destinations: Kochi(Cochin), Kozhikode, and Thiruvananthapuram(Trivandrum). The airports have several carriers operating international flights around the world. 
      • Cochin International Airport is the largest airport in the state, with regular flight connections to most of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka. Europe and US bound passengers need to transit in the Middle East or Mumbai, though chartered flights are common during tourist season, mostly from Europe. There are regular Flights to most parts of India.



      • Thiruvananthapuram International Airport has regular connections to major cities of India, as well as to the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka and Maldives. Charter flights for tourism from London, New York and Moscow operate to Thiruvananthapuram.


      • Kozhikode International Airport  is a major airport in Malabar with international connections to most of the cities in the Middle East.

      In addition Mangalore Airport and Coimbatore Airport  in neighboring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu respectively offers limited connectivity to Northern and Eastern districts of Kerala respectively.
      There are 20 to 25 international carriers offering flights to Kerala. Apart from international carriers, Air India, Air India Express, Jet Airways and Indigo offers international connections from the 3 airports. Domestic destinations accessible by direct flights from these airports include
      Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Agatti, Hyderabad, Mangalore, Pune, Goa and Delhi
      . There are daily, and some bi-daily flights, to most Indian cities from airports in Kochi and Trivandrum by all the Indian carriers. Kochi has Air-Cruise turnaround program with chartered services.
      Shuttles operated by KSRTC are available from airport to its respective city core and nearby towns. Taxis are the most popular for Airport-City connection.

      By train


      Indian Railways operates several trains to and from Kerala. More than 300 plus trains connect Kerala to all parts of India, including long-haul direct train services to cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Trivandrum Rajadhani, Ernakulam Durnoto, Kerala Express and Netravati Express are some of the most popular trains connect key cities across India.
      Log on to the Indian Railways booking site to book tickets online or you can walk up to any railway station to book tickets between any two destinations in
      India
      .
      Be aware that trains are the most popular method of transport and almost all trains in Kerala originate or terminate in
      Thiruvananthapuram or Kochi
      , and are usually heavily booked. Buy your tickets as early as possible. Another option is using Tatkal. You pay almost double, but have a chance of getting a seat. Tatkal is an emergency service, hence its booking is open just 24 hours before departure. Some travel agents have authorized booking quotas for certain trains.
      Recently, the luxury tourist train The Golden Chariot has introduced a South Indian Rail Tour, which includes many parts of Kerala. This is a good option for those who want to visit the South Indian states on as tight schedule. The train starts from
      Bangalore and covers Chennai, Pondicherry, Trichy, Madurai, Trivandrum, Alapuzha, Kochi and back to Bangalore.

      By bus

      Inter-state private and government buses operates between neighboring states. Usually the journey is performed in the night so that you can escape the heat of the day. The most common inter-state bus is Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC-Karnataka) with daily bus from most of Major cities of Kerala to Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore. Tamil Nadu State Bus like SETC also operates regularly from Kerala. Kerala's State bus- KRSTC-Kerala do have regular Ordinary bus to most of nearby places in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. KRSTC-Kerala also operates a few Volvo AC bus to Bangalore and Coimbatore.
      However Private bus players to operate more buses than Govt options. Most of them are well maintained. Kallada, Shama, KPN are the major bus players, though recently Raj National and few others have entered with Pan India operations. Kallada, KPN, Shama etc have regular buses to Bangalore, Chennai and many other places in Tamil Nadu as well as Karnataka on various times
      It is recommended that you consider booking long distance bus tickets on "air conditioned Volvo buses" operated by all operators as the quality of the other buses vary significantly.

      By road

       

      Kerala is well connected by National Highways and recently it was renumbered. Both numbers are used interchangeably:
      • NH 66 (Connecting Mumbai to Trivandrum via Western coastal side of Goa, Karnataka and almost all coastal cities of Kerala like Kannur, Kozhikode, Kochi, Alapuzha, Kollam
      • NH 544 (Connecting Salem with Kochi via Coimbatore, Palakkad, Thrissur )
      • NH 766 (Connecting Kozhikode to Mysore via Wayanad)(Earlier known as NH 212)
      • NH 85 (Connecting Kochi to Ramaeswaram via Munnar, Madurai)
      • NH 183 (Connecting Kollam to Dindigul in Tamil Nadu via Kottayam, Kanjirapally, Kumily and enters into Tamil Nadu at Kambam)(
      • NH 744 (Connecting Kollam with Madurai via Punalur, Shenkottai, Tenkasi)
      • NH 966 (Connecting Palakkad with Kozhikode) (Earlier known as NH 213)
      Most of the NH roads are two lane carriageways. Only NH 544 is currently 4 lane carriage with dedicated service roads. However its tolled highway. As vehicle density is very high in Kerala, accidents are common. You must be extra cautious while driving here.

      By ferry

      Kochi is a major cruise port and currently the most busiest cruise port in India. The port has International Cruise Facilitation Center and almost all major cruises that have global voyages have Kochi as port of call. All Lakshadweep bound cruises originate in Kochi and make return trips. There are also occasional tourist oriented cruises from Mumbai and Goa to Kochi
       


      Also private yachts and other sea going boats regularly call at Kochi Marina. A few cruises call at Trivandrum.
       
       
       
       

       Where To Stay



       
      Kerala offers a wide range of accommodations and home stays for the visitors of the land. The guests are offered a taste of luxury and this sojourn to God's Own Country is always a vacation that shall be remembered in dreamy, mystic tones. These hotels and resorts, built on traditional architectural lines, set like diamonds amidst the lush, green velvety landscape. Most hotels offer tourist assistance besides modern amenities and are elegantly furnished. Ayurvedic massages and healing therapies are offered by many of these resorts and other attractions such as elephant safaris and trekking / canoeing expeditions may also be arranged on request.
       
       




      The Hotels in Kerala comprise several categories of hotels that provide comfortable accommodation to the customers. The hotels of Kerala can be categorized into Luxury Hotels, 4 Star hotels, 3 Star hotels, Two Star hotels, One Star hotels and Budget class hotels. An important tourist destination of India, the hotels in Kerala is distributed in different parts of the state.
       
       

      Luxury Hotels in Kerala



      A Luxurious Stay In An Elegant Ambiance

      The Luxury Hotels in Kerala provide the tourists with an opportunity to stay in a royal style. Spread all over the state, the Luxury Hotels are equipped with quality infrastructural amenities for a comfortable and pleasant stay of the customers. Some of the renowned Luxury Hotels in Kerala include:

      Hotel Le Meridien in Kovalam

      A prominent Luxury Hotel, Hotel Le Meridian supports unique facilities of Ayurvedic Center, Meditation Hall, Private Boat Rides, Badminton Courts and Recreational Center

      Taj Residency in Kochi

      Taj Residency in Kochi provides the clients with a wonderful opportunity to bask in luxury and enjoy life in a majestic style

      Malabar Residency in Kannur

      Far from the maddening crowd, the Malabar Residency in Kannur is known for its serene surrounding and excellent accommodation facility

      Kerala budget hotels Category- A Comfortable Stay At Reasonable Costs

      Kerala has several budget hotels category that primarily accommodate tourists from upper middle and middle class. The budget class hotels provide the tourists with all kinds of facilities at affordable costs. Some of the well known budget category Kerala Hotels includes:

      • Hotel Samudra in Kovalam
      • Kadaloram Beach Resort in Kovalam
      • Punnamada Backwater Resort in Alappuzha
      • Aranya Nivas of Periyar
      • The International Hotel of Cochin
      • The Lake Village Heritage Resort of Kottayam


      Some of the other important Kerala Hotels are:
       
       

      • Fortune Hotel Welcome Group of Kozhikode
      • Quality Inn Presidency of Ernakulam
      • Alleppey Prince Hotel of Alleppey
      The well trained hotel staffs of Kerala Hotels provide the tourists superb accommodation and dining facilities.

      A stay in one of the hotels of Kerala is a glimpse into the royal world of Indian hospitality and the entire state is a tourist friendly paradise. The deep-rooted spiritualism and the Hindu philosophy "Athithi Devo Bhava" is taken to heart and adhered to.

       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

       
       




      Tips kerala



       Though Kerala is much safer than other parts of India, it doesn't mean that it is the world's safest place. Kerala has its share of criminals. Pick pockets are quite common in heavily crowded areas like buses, festival grounds and city shopping areas. Don't trust your hotel cleaning staff with your costly belongings. Also women are advised not to walk in revealing costumes. Nightlife is only available in major metro cities which too emerging. Take care not to roam in late quarters of night, especially alone.

         
      • Strikes, protest processions and hartal (voluntary closure of activities as protest) are common in Kerala, considering its high political awareness and socialist leanings. Tourists may get suddenly caught in hartals or road blockades due to protests which may make you stranded in airports or railway stations. All political parties announce the date and details of protests much in advance in leading dailies. So regularly follow leading English dailies while in Kerala, and keep buffer days. On hartal days, normally all forms of transport keep off from roads from morning till evening. So be prepared to walk to your hotel or wait in airport or railway station till evening. Alternatively, Kerala police operate free buses under police convoy to transport tourists and urgent passengers to important areas in major towns and cities.

      • To be on safe side, foreigners are requested to register and submit their itinerary at the Foreigners Registration Office (FRO). Likewise it's absolutely important to carry passport copies all the time, as after the Mumbai attacks, police security has been stepped up.

         
      • While in trains or buses, do not interact with lone strangers, or at least not more than normal, and it's absolutely important not to eat or drink anything which they offer. However, interactions with families are considered to be safer.

         
      • While boating insist on being offered life jackets. Many boat operators ignore Government regulation of statutory issuance of life jackets while boating, which could prove risky, as most of the Kerala's water bodies are deep.

         
      • Though Kerala does not have many touts or so-called Guides, a few people from outside state do encounter this problem at some tourist centres especially Hill stations like Munnar, etc. Do avoid them completely as many nowadays are small time thieves and crooks from other states who look for prey. Hence avoid them completely and say a firm NO.

      • Nudity in any form is frowned upon for both genders and the rule applies more especially to women. It's okay for men to be bare-chested in public, though it's not appreciated much except at the beach or rural areas. In beaches or rivers, women can wear swim-suits or covering towels around the body, but bikinis are a no-no. Though there is no gender segregation in beaches, rivers ghats or swimming pools, gender segregation is maintained in temple ponds and certain public ghats.

      • Though Kerala ranks highest in alcohol consumption, consuming alcohol in public is frowned upon. Even wine or beer consumption is also considered as liquor in Kerala, which too is frowned upon in public. However, privately it can be consumed. Women consuming alcohol is socially frowned upon, hence women entering into bars, etc., results in too much glaring. However, the recently opened public pubs / lounges and posh bars in premium hotels are a natural choice for women to consume liquor openly. But this choice is limited to Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.

      • Use bottled water, as tap water is not so safe even though it's purified, and stay in decent hotels even if you have to shell out some extra money. However recently homestays have been safe.

       
       
       
       

       
       
       


       



       





       

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