Tourist Destinations in Kerala

MUNNAR

Munnar's mesmerising greenery, mountain scenery, calmness and cool refreshing air attracts honeymooners and tourists throughout the year. It is a weekend hideout location for domestic tourists during summer season. Munnar is a commercial centre with one of the world's best tea estates. There are about 30 tea plantations in and around Munnar. Among these, majority of the plantations are owned by Tata Group's Kannan Devan Tea Estate. A visit to Munnar can witness the nurturing of tea in plantation to the process of manufacturing and packing.

The region in and around Munnar varies in height from 2,000 meters (6,562 ft) to 2,600 meters (8,530 ft) above mean sea level. Munnar enjoys a salubrious climate. The temperature ranges between 10 °C (50 °F) and 0 °C (32 °F) in winter and 8 °C (46.4 °F) and 16 °C (60.8 °F) in summer. The tourist season in Munnar is from August to May. However, even the monsoons are lovely with many streams and rivulets in the area and post drizzle the dew drenched tea gardens looking majestic and heavenly enshrouded in light mist. >> more

THEKKADY

The very sound of the word Thekkady conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations. The Periyar forests of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India. Spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunities for treks and mountain walks.

Thekkady is situated at an altitude of 900-1800 m above sea level and with a rainfall of 2500 mm/ year. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across 777 km² (300 sq. miles), of which 360 km² (139 sq. miles) is thick evergreen forest. The Wild Life Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaiperiyar Dam across the Periyar River adds to the charm of the park. The greatest attraction of Periyar are the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake. >> more

KOCHI / COCHIN

Kochi (colonial name Cochin) is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, hailed as 'God's Own Country'. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala. This lovely seaside city is flanked by the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. Its proximity to the equator, the sea and the mountains provide a rich experience of a moderate equatorial climate.

Cochin's maritime history brought Arabs, Chinese, Dutch, British and Portuguese to its shores, who came looking for spices, camphor, sandalwood, gold and silks. These traders brought with them the culture and technology of other lands, making Cochin a potpourri of culture and religion. Much of Kochi lies at sea level with a coastline of 48 km. The city has an estimated population of 650,000, with an extended metropolitan population of over 1.6 million, making it the largest urban agglomeration and the second largest city in Kerala. >> more

ALEPPEY / ALAPPUZHA

Alleppey is one of the most important tourist centers in the state, with a large network of inland canals earning it the sobriquet "Venice of the east". These large network of canals provide Alleppey its lifeline. Alleppey was one of the busiest centers of trade in the past with one of the best known ports along the malabar coast. Even today it retains its charm as the centre for Coir carpet industries and prawn farming. Alleppey the ideal headquarters for backwater tourism as well as for visits to the lovely church filled town of Kottayam, and the town of Aranmula, famous for its historic Aranmula Snake Boat Race which is an annual event.

Alleppey is also known for its spectacular snake - boat races held on the second Saturday of August, every year. This competition - the Nehru boat race takes its name from India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who inaugurated in 1952. It is excitement all around as snake - boats , each manned by over a hundred oarsmen, cut through the waters like wind. The event is a tremendous success with tourists and the local population alike.

The boat cruise along the backwaters of Alleppey give one first hand experience of the life style; toddy tapping, fishing for small fry, Coir-making, prawn farming etc., which remains more or less unchanged over the years. >> more

KUMARAKOM / KOTTAYAM

Kumarakom is a popular tourism destination located near the city of Kottayam (16 kilometres), in Kerala, India, famous for its backwater tourism. It is set in the backdrop of the Vembanad Lake which is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Kerala. The landscape basically consists of a cluster of island villages in and around the large "Vembanad Kayal" backwater body (which is also, incidentally the largest in Kerala), with a plethora of branched bodies all lined by beautiful, thick, lush and peaceful greenery. A large number of coconut trees line the horizon to add the perfect tropical touch to the landscape.

Kumarakom is home to a wide variety of tropical flora and fauna. An important point of interest is the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, where a significant number of bird species are known to make migratory visits. The park area covers around 15 acres and functions under the aegis of the government of Kerala. Originally, developed as a rubber estate by the English colonial enterpreneurs, it was formerly known as the Baker estate. One of the important migratory species is the Siberian crane. Other tropical species such as the egret, heron, waterfoul, ducks, moorhens and kingfisher are commonly found. There is a small island, Pathiramanal or Midnight Sands which is worth a visit for its natural beauty. >> more

VARKALA

An unhurried affair with the sun and sand, sea and cliff! Varkala will refresh your mind, touch your heart, and reach your soul. It'll rekindle your spirit and renew your vows. In a magnificent topographic twist, laterite cliffs stand guard over the beach at Varkala. The Papanasam beach, whose holy waters are believed to wash away sins, is a famed Ayurveda treatment centre, and a perfect setting for a twilight romance. Gently swaying coconut palms and fishing craft add magic to the coast. Tiny restaurants and souvenir shops provide interesting diversions. The mood is quietly festive, and the ambience, eclectic.

A two thousand year old shrine the Janardhanaswamy Temple stands on the cliffs overlooking the beach, a short distance away. Varkala offers excellent accommodation facilities for tourists and is fast becoming a popular health resort with many Ayurvedic massage centres.

Major attractions: Beach, mineral water springs, the Sivagiri Mutt and a 2000-yea- old Vishnu Temple. >> more

KOVALAM / THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Kovalam is an internationally renowned beach with three adjacent crescent beaches. It has been a favourite haunt of tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing.The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse. Sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes and catamaran cruising are some of them. The tropical sun acts so fast that one can see the faint blush of coppery tan on the skin in a matter of minutes. Life on the beach begins late in the day and carries on well into the night. The beach complex includes a string of budget cottages, Ayurvedic health resorts, convention facilities, shopping zones, swimming pools, Yoga and Ayurvedic massage centres.

The City of Thiruvananthapuram has interesting places to see like the Napier Museum, the Sri Chitra Art Gallery, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Ponmudi hill station etc. SMSM Institute, a State owned handicrafts emporium, is the ideal place to pick up ethnic curios and other articles. >> more


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