Kerala - the land of spices, mysticism, ayurveda and exotic beauty, has countless fabulous destinations spread across its terrain. Though each of these myriad destinations offer kaleidoscopic visions of picture-postcard natural splendor, we have painstakingly selected a few must see destinations from the many popular destinations of Kerala. The list is thoroughly revised and refined to include only the not-to-be-missed travel hot-spots.
Sugary-golden sand under your feet, lush coconut groves gently swaying in the wind, azure waters shimmering in the tropical sun, the blue skies dotted with cotton candy clouds – these are some snapshots of Kerala’s beach paradise Kovalam. Kovalam, rated as one of the most spectacular beach paradises in India, lures hordes of tourists from across the globe. This naturally sheltered beach is ideal for swimming and for indulging in water sports. This is indeed an ideal beach escapade to relax and pamper yourself under the tropical sun.
Kovalam has three gorgeous crescent shaped beaches lying close to each other videlicet Hawwa, Light House and Samudra. Kovalam came into limelight with the advent of the hippy era in the 70’s – characterized as the age of flowers, rock n roll music, drugs and sexual revolution. During this period, Kovalam emerged as one of the most popular haunts for the hippies who came seeking enlightenment. Now Kovalam plays host to a different crowd, those who come to slip into the realms of quiescence and relaxation.
Kumarakom is the place where the surreal charms of Kerala come alive in its labyrinthine backwaters, waterfalls and spectacular landscapes. Kumarakom comprises of a cluster of petite islands scattered across the emerald backwaters of Vembanad. These islands offer a perfect venue to experience the bucolic charms of Kerala countryside and its unique water-based lifestyle. Backwater cruises along these tranquil waters in a houseboat is a must-must have for any tourist visiting Kerala.
Kumarakom is an ornithologist’s delight, with its world-famous bird sanctuary spread across an area of 14 acres. The sanctuary is a safe haven for a large number of birds including the endangered Malabar Hornbill and plays host to the migratory birds in winter. Experience one of the most indelible vacations in the beautiful backwaters of Vembanad complete with a houseboat cruise.
Cochin –Colonial legacy
The seaport city of Cochin (Kochi) is set along the spice coast of Malabar. The city offers a bewitching combination of gorgeous beaches, tranquil backwaters, historic monuments, palaces, museums and dramatic landscapes. The populace of this ancient port town is of a diverse mix - Cochini Jews, Syrian Christians, Malabari Mappila Moslems et cetera all adding to the ethno-religious blend of Cochins population. This enchanting city brewed by the hands of history, offers contrasting pictures with sleepy colonial parts in the Fort Cochin and the cosmopolitan urban side in mainland Ernakulam.
Cochin is aptly honored with the title of “The Queen of Arabian Sea”. The harbor, considered to be one of the best natural harbors in India, has played host to an array of seafaring traders including the Chinese, Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch and finally the British. Each of them has left their marks in this historic town, the famous Chinese fishing nets brought here by Chinese traders in the 13th century from the courts of Kublai Khan has become a hallmark of the city.
Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary
Discover the veritable essence of Kerala’s well kept wilderness secrets at Thekkady.
Thekkady is one of the last safe havens for the endangered Indian tiger, now a protected species on the verge of extinction. Thekkady is rich in scenic beauty, bio diversity and is home to a large variety of wildlife. The landscape here is dotted with tropical forests, exotic spice plantations, tea gardens and beautiful lakes.
The Periyar Tiger Reserve at Thekkady is one of the best tiger reserves in India. Thekkady is a prime hub for eco-friendly tourism promoted with local participation. The place offers a wide array of avenues to quench your thirst for adventure and for enjoying safaris, tiger trails, plantation tours et cetera. Thekkady offers a perfect escapade into the laps of Mother Nature.
Munnar Hill Station
Munnar meaning “three rivers” is located at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. This quaint town is located at an altitude of 1600 meters above the sea level away from the heat and buzz of urban life. The mist covered rolling hills, exotic plantations, colonial remnants, panoramic views, and pristine wilderness all add to the exquisite beauty of this charming little town. Munnar also boasts of the highest peak in South India, Anaimudi at an altitude of 2695 meters above the sea level.
This idyllic hill station was the summer resort during the British Raj. The town still proudly retains its old-world colonial charms in much the same way. Munnar has colonial townships, wildlife sanctuaries and tribal hamlets located at close ranges. Kerala’s only natural sandalwood forest is found near Munnar. Munnar is an ideal place to take a time-travel back to the times of the British Raj with a climate akin to that of English summer.
Silent Valley Evergreen forests
Silent Valley national park is located at the heart of the Nilgiris Biosphere, sprawling across a fascinating 90 sq. km area. Surrounded by the Attappadi, Palghat and Nilambur forest divisions, this untamed land of tropical wilderness is acclaimed to be the only remaining evergreen forest in the Western Ghats. The forest still remains pristine and devoid of human intervention primarily due to its remoteness and inaccessibility.
Every year researchers identify new species of plants and birds in this untouched wilderness. This beautiful tropical terrain with undulating mountains and lush greenery is also an ideal place to spot some of the most rare and endangered animals and birds of Western Ghats. The region is home to the rare Lion Tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Tigers, Leopards, Indian Bison, Elephants, Bears, Squirrels and a wide variety of deer. The breathtaking panoramic views of the valleys with silver cascades and perennial wild rivulets will stay etched in the minds of the visitor forever.