A long strip of enchanting land tucked away in the south-west corner of India. The tall and exotic coconut palm dominated Kerala’s landscape, also its economy. It is said that the land derived its name from “Keram”- the coconut palm. Kerala is the land of rivers and backwaters. Forty four rivers cut across the state with many tributaries and branches. The backwaters form an attractive and economically important features of Kerala, and include lakes and ocean inlets which stretch irregularly along the coast offering hours of pleasant boating amidst enchanting scenery.
Kerala, the verdant paradise, over flows with many natural splendours mountains and valleys, lush paddy fields and lazy lagoons, hauntingly beautiful beaches and backwaters, generous yields of marine wealth and rich harvest of coconut.
As far back as the 3rd century B.C. Egyptians, Phoenicians, Chinese and Babylonians had trade relations with Kerala. In 1498, the Portuguese landed in Kerala. Later the Dutch, the French and the English were lured here by her wealth of ivory, teak and spices.
Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, is the key entry point to the state. It is the home to the administrative and cultural hub of the State, Named after Anantha, the thousand headed serpant of mythology, this is an ancient city with trading links that brought it into close contact with the rest of the world. From a landscape naturally endowed with some of the most picturesque visuals possible along with culturally relevant holy sites that have thrived for more than a thousand years, this area has something for everyone. Young and old alike, all can experience their own slice of Kerala here, tailor-made to their individual preference. Some of the most prominent places of interest are Akkulam Tourist Village, Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Kovalam Beach, Shankhumugham Beach, Aruvikkara Dam, Padmanabhapuram Palace, The Zoological Park, Veli Tourist Village, Ponmudi etc.
Once known as Quilon, Kollam has a host of other attractions. People love visiting the Ashtamudi Backwaters along with the Thenmala Ecotourism Centre, Palaruvi Waterfalls, Jatayupara and Alumkadavu. The area is home to some of the most ornate temples built in traditional Kerala style. These are important relics of Kollam’s glorious past. One can also go and relax at the nearby beaches, namely Kollam, Thirumullavaram and Thangasseri.
Blessed with a long coastline, it is the de facto leader of the cashew trade and processing industry in India.
Ernakulam is a dynamic location with luxurious shopping malls, myriad restaurants and majestic skyscrapers, with the metropolis of Kochi at its heart. Ernakulam is considered to be the urban face of God’s Own Country and is the cultural, political, commercial and industrial hub of Kerala. Consisting of several islands over which the city spreads, kochi has one of the finest harbours of the Arabian Sea coast. Some of these islands are Willingdon, Bolghatti, Gundu and Mattancheri. Another must visit places are the Dutch Palace and St.Francis’ Church.
Kottayam is famous for its rich heritage and literary tradition. It is renowned for its spice and rubber trade. Cradled by the backwaters and the Western Ghats, it is epitomised by its stretches of vast greenery, paddy fields and huge rubber plantations. From trekking hotbeds like Nadukani and Kottathavalam to the rare avian life on display at the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, this district encompasses everything that God’s Own Country is famous for. Well connected to the entire State, it is full of interesting historical and cultural locations that tell the tale of how the district was forged into its current form. The Shiva temple here has a dancing hall that is believed to be the best in the state.
A three hour ride from Kochi will take you to Munnar, a hill resort in the Western Ghatts. Tea plantations abound in its salubrious climate; there are lakes and streams, two Wildlife sanctuaries, and adequate mid-rung overnight accommodation.
Idukki is Kerala’s second largest district and has been blessed with numerous natural wonders. The high valleys and hill ranges of this landlocked region are fed by three major rivers – Periyar, Thalayar and Thodupuzhayar and their tributaries. Its forest still hosts many tribes and over half of the terrain is still covered with forests. People love going to the gigantic arch dam for getting its mesmerising view. Blessed with a wide range of trekking trail, each of them offers a spectacular view of the valley below and ranges above of Idukki. The place is also renowned for its exotic flora and fauna and one can come across many rare species while visiting Idukki. Periyar National Park, one of the finest game sanctuaries in the country is located in Thekkady. Here you will view wild elephants, wild boar, bison, deer and tiger.
Alappuzha has often referred to as the Venice of the East. Snuggled in the heart of Kerala’s backwaters, Alappuzha is criss-crossed by palm-fringed waterways and dotted with over a thousand houseboats. Known for its glorious beaches, calm backwaters, enthusiastic boat races and sumptuous sea food, this green and graceful pocket-sized tropical paradise is a popular tourist destination. Adding to its charm are the Ayurvedic spas and wellness centres strewn across the city, attracting those looking to ease their tired bodies and minds. Main attractions are houseboat cruise, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Krishnapuram Palace, Pathiramanal etc
The backwaters of Kerala, running parallel to the Arabian Sea, are one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Alleppey, or Alappuzha, is especially popular for its houseboat cruises. The tranquil backwater cruises in Kerala are a unique experience, be it short ones in small canoes or boats, which meander through narrow canals, or longer stays on luxurious houseboats, which let you float along the emerald waters fringed with palm and coconut trees, as the serene countryside glides by.
Spread over 14 hectare, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the banks of Lake Vembanad in Kottayam. It is a popular destination for birdwatching as migratory birds flock here in large numbers from Siberia and the Himalayas. The best season to visit the sanctuary is between June and August as it is the breeding season for wetland birds like white ibis, herons, egrets, little cormorants, Indian darters and kingfishers. Some other not-to-be-missed avian species are wood beetles, larks, flycatchers, parrots, teals, Siberian cranes, owls, water duck and waterfowls.
Perched on a small hill, the Krishnapuram Palace is surrounded by ponds, lawns and fountains. It has been constructed in the Kerala style of architecture with a gabled roof, dormer windows and narrow corridors, accentuating its grandeur. The complex also houses a well-landscaped garden that is home to a variety of flora, a Buddha mandapam that has been newly erected and a recently recovered statue of Lord Bddha. The palace is a protected monument under the state archaeology department.
Lying around 13 km from Alappuzha, the scenic and small island of Pathiramanal floats on the backwaters of Kerala. One of the best spots to watch rare migratory birds, it boasts around 50 species of exotic and 91 types of endemic birds. Some of the common birds one can sight here include common teal, pintail ducks, cormorant, night heron, darter, Indian shag, whistling duck, little cormorant and whiskered tern. The island is also home to many medicinal plants.