10 Places to Visit in Kerala – Southern State of India
Kerala, the God’s Own Country is rightly said so as it has several attractions for the travelers who are simply pulled to its unending panoramas from around the world. This lovely southern state of India is counted among the Top 10 Beach Paradises of the World by leading global travel service providers. Kerala is a favorite tourist destination of South India and is known all over for its pristine beaches, enchanting backwaters, hill stations and Ayurvedic tourism.
Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed at the present day Kozhikode town of Kerala in 1498. Dutch, British and Portuguese fought several wars to get possession of the prized territory of Malabar Coast, which has great strategic, trade and tourism importance. The region has earlier been inhabited by Dutch and British settlers and there are several remnants of early European settlers that could be found in Kerala. The state boasts of the highest literacy rate in India with Ernakulam district registering the 100 percent literacy rate as per the census of 2011.
Kerala is also known for its luscious delicacies with Sadhya being the popular one that will be served to you on a banana leaf in a traditional way. The dish may have up to 24 items and is accompanied by desserts and savories. You can enjoy you memorable stay in beachside resorts in Kerala, luxurious hotels, houseboats etc. Options for homestay are also available wherein you will be living with a Kerala family and enjoying home cooked food all the while witnessing the daily life of the locals.
Here we are providing you a brief of the top 10 tourist attractions of Kerala that you must not miss during your visit to this beautiful region of India.
1.) Backwaters (Houseboat ride)
Kerala backwaters are the most popular draw for the tourists to this lovely beach destination. It is actually a maze of rivulets, estuaries, lagoons and streams that stretch to over 900 km, bypassing 6 coastal town of the state. Your trip to Kerala would always be incomplete unless you do not enjoy a pleasure houseboat ride in its enchanting backwaters. The view of the surrounding coastal areas and the rustic villages will be simply awe inspiring. You could see the flocks of ducks quaking in the waters. The best way to explore the ever captivating Kerala backwaters would be to enjoy a pleasure houseboat ride in them. Marine life of the region and colorful fishes moving across your houseboat will leave you amazed. Kerala houseboats are also very popular among the honeymooners who board in the specially prepared houseboats where they are offered the luscious meals along with flower beds, wedding cakes and candle light dinner.
2.) Munnar (Hill station)
The beautiful Munnar hill station has earned the sobriquet of being the Kashmir of South India due to its awe inspiring ambience and lush greenery all around. This erstwhile summer resort of the British has an elevation of 1600 m above the sea level. The rolling mountains, verdant valleys and vast expanses of tea, coffee, cardamom, spice and paddy plantations provide a spectacular view to the tourists. Neelakurinji flower is the specialty of Munnar that blossoms every 12 years. There are several trekking trails for the nature lovers and you can also enjoy mountain biking, boating and a lot more while in Munnar. There are colonial tourist bungalows that exude the old world charm for the travelers.
3.) Alleppey (Water Carnivals)
This beautiful backwaters destination of Kerala is officially known as Alappuzha. It is world famous for its Water Carnivals which are held every year during Onam festivities in the picturesque Vembanad Lake. World famous Snake Boat Race is held every year on the second Saturday of August in which hundreds of oarsmen participate, singing passionate songs all along. The snake boats are rowed by oars and each team may have 100 oarsmen, thus making it the only sport with largest team size in the world. Separate competition is held for women. Alleppey is a beautiful backwaters destination that attracts tourists from the far and wide. There is natural beauty all around and the aroma of spices could be felt everywhere.
4.) Wayanad (Natural beauty)
The natural beauty of Wayanad is largely untouched by human interference. In Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary situated at the heart of Wayanad, you can see a variety of exotic wild animals like spotted dear, Indian elephants, bison and lot more wandering carefree in their natural habitat. In the nearby Edakkal Caves, wall paintings dated back to 4th millennia BC have been found, indicating about the earliest human settlements of the region. The winding lanes of the thick Bamboo Forest would offer you an exhilarating experience. For the adventure lovers, Pakshipathalam, Muthanga and Edakkal have several trekking trails where one could spend hours amid the serenity of mother nature.
5.) Thekkady (wilderness)
Thekkady is best known for its wilderness and has so far been able to conserve its natural treasures from the march of modernity as the area is largely untouched by the advances of modern life. You can see elephants, deer and bears in their natural habitat here. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is the greatest draw for the tourists to Thekkady. The topography of the region presents a visual delight to the tourists and a perfect habitat for the animals and birds. Periyar Lake is the place where you would certainly love to enjoy the romantic view of the sunset against the backdrop of the serene waters of the lake and the rolling hills of the background. Guided tours are available for the tourists into the wilderness of Periyar where one can become close and personal with the wildlife of the region.
6.) Kochi (The lagoon country)
Popularly known as Cochin, this port city also serves as a gateway to south India for the tourists. It is also known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. There are several beautiful lagoons in Kochi where you can enjoy a lifelong memorable experience of sailing in a traditional thatched Kerala style houseboat. Bolgatty Palace is known for its luxurious and opulent interiors and great architecture. Jewish Synagogue is the only one of its kind in India and Santa Cruz Basilica is counted among the oldest churches of the region. Chinese Fishing Nets are a great attraction for the tourists and are found only in Kerala outside China. Backwaters merge here with seas that offer plenty of boating, fishing and water sports opportunities to the avid travelers.
7.) Thrissur (The cultural hub)
Also called Trichur, the beautiful town is also known as The Cultural Capital of Kerala. It is also famous for its various traditional dance forms including Kathakali that you can enjoy in its various dance theatres that you will find in plenty here. Thrissur Pooram is the most celebrated festival of the city in which hundreds of brightly decorated elephants also participate that are lined on either side of Vadakkunnatha Temple. It is a sight that will leave you amazed and amused. Vazachal and Athirappally are the two cascading waterfalls of Thrissur which are popular picnic destination. The waterfalls have been filmed in several South Indian and Bollywood movies. Guruvayur Temple is one of the popular pilgrimage destinations of the city. Nearby Anakkayam town presents a breathtaking view of the natural panoramas to the visitors.
8.) Kollam (Cashew Plantations)
Pronounced as Quilon by the early Portuguese traders and settlers, the town is a popular backwaters and hill station destination. Thenmala Hills are famous for their varieties of butterflies that come here from far off places. The region has bright and fragrant flowers and is also known for its rich cashew plantations. Facilities for mountain biking and rock climbing are also available in Thenmala Hills. First ecotourism project of Kerala was launched in these hills whose waters are believed to have medicinal properties. Thankasseri Lighthouse was built by the Portuguese sailors and it is one of the historical landmarks of Kollam.
9.) Vagamon (The land of meadows)
Vagamon is equally popular among the nature lovers and pilgrims. There are stretches of beautiful hillocks in the region which are interspersed with lakes, mountain streams and meadows all around. The region has a balmy atmosphere and is very popular as a weekend picnic destination. Soft mist covers the rolling hills in winters and you will surely be carried with the charm of its beauty. There are pine forests where you would love to mingle with your better half and spend hours in the lap of Mother Nature. Facilities for trekking and mountaineering are available for the nature lovers and enthusiasts. Kurishumala Church situated on a hill top is one of the greatest draws for the pilgrims to Vagamon.
10.) Agastyakoodam (Biodiversity)
Also known as Agastya Malai, the region is situated at the end of Western Ghats of mountain ranges. Agastyakoodam is famous for its rich biodiversity and is home to an exotic variety of plants, flora, fauna and avifauna which are unique to peninsular India. More than 2000 varieties of medicinal plants are found in Agastyakoodam, and most of them have found their use in Ayurvedic therapies. Adventure lovers can enjoy trekking in the wilderness of Agastyakoodam which will impress them with its exotic species of plants, birds and animals.
During your Kerala tour, you can enjoy several activities in Kerala like houseboat cruising, paragliding, scuba diving, snorkeling, jungle safaris, elephant rides, mountain hiking and a lot more. Good healthcare facilities are available for the tourists and the state is well connected with the rest of the world with international airways, railways and roadways. Kerala experiences tropical climate and heavy monsoon showers during the months of July to September.
Kerala is also known for its great temples and churches. Padmanabhapuram Temple is believed to be the richest temple of the world and statues of deities made of emerald, topaz, gold and other precious metals have been found in its coffers. The capital city of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) has several attractions for the tourists.
Visit Kerala to have a lifetime experience.