|Kerala is one of the smallest states in
the Indian union. Its area 38.855 square kilometers is just 1.3 percent
of the total area of India. The land of India comprises the narrow
coastal strip bounded by the Western Ghats n the east and the Arabian
Sea on the west. In the words of Sreedhara Menon “Its unique
geographical position and peculiar physical features have invested
Kerala with a distinct individuality.” Hence it has played a
vital role in the commercial and cultural history of India. Kerala
has been describes “as the favorite child of nature.”
Like Kashmir in the north, Kerala in the south is famous for its breath-taking
With its evergreen mountains, dense forests stately palms, swift flowing
rivers, extensive backwaters and blue lagoons, it looks like a fairyland.
This atmosphere of beauty and peace has nurtured religion and art
in Kerala and enabled her to become a precious gem in the necklace
of Indian culture.
|Indian poets of eminence have showered
their praises for the abundance of its peppers, the fragrance of its
sandal and the wealth of its coconuts. No part of India is so widely
known or has played so important a part in world history as Kerala.
|The commercial capital of
Kerala and the most cosmopolitan of its cities, Cochin has long been
eulogised as the 'Queen of the Arabian Sea'. This simple term does
not do full justice to the city's many charms which go beyond its
stunning natural beauty and long maritime history.Centuries ago, seafarers
and merchants from around the world called at Cochin to trade in spices,
seafood, rubber and coir.
|Much of their cultural influences have
rubbed off on the Cochin dtyscape. The unmistakable imprints of-lhese
influences are seen in many landmarks.
The ubiquitous Chinese fishing nets dotting the shoreline and backwaters.The
elegant Jewish synagogue at Mattancherry, built in 1568 by the prosperous
Jewish commuinity of the time. The St. Francis Church, constructed
by the Portuguese in 1503. The Santa Cruz Basilica, originally built
by the Portuguese, near the church. The Dutch Palace, built by the
Portuguese and gifted to the Raja of Cochin in 1557, and later modified
by the Dutch. The Bolgatty Palace, built in 1 744, by the Dutch and
now converted into a heritage hotel. Willingdon Island, created by
Sir Robert Bristow out of the material dredged for building the modern
Cochin Port. The Hill Palace Museum, once the traditional seat of
the Cochin Rajas, now converted into a museum complex.
|The sweeping network of canals honeycombing
Afappuzha has earned for it the sobriquet, 'Venice of the East'. Small,
low-slung country boats are the taxis of this region.
Nowhere else in the world will you find such a fascinating network
of canals and lagoons criss-crossing the centre of town, on which
thatch-covered country boats punt along .at leisure. The proximity
of lakes adds to the Venetian ambience.
|Alappuzha is well-known for its boat races,
houseboat holidays, and beaches.
The nimble-fingered coir workers provide an interesting sidelight:
soaking coconut fibre in pools of water, beating them with wooden
mallets and spinning them into yarns and ropes.Close to Alappuzha
is Kuttanad - the 'Rice Bowl of Kerala'. Probably the only place in
the world where farming is practised two metres below sea level.The
18th century Krishnapuram Palace (47 km) with the largest mural in
Kerala; the Krishna Temple at Ambalappuzha (14 km) and the Sri Nagaraja
Temple at Mannarsala (32 km) are other places of interest.
|12 km away from Kottayam
town, Kumarakom is the most important backwater destination of Kerala,
set on the banks of the Vembanad Lake. Kumarakom offers you an exciting
world of water-sport experiences like windsailing and waterskating.
You can even take a canoe into the lagoons and enjoy a spell of angling.
A. leisurely houseboat cruise is the best way to enjoy the traditional
Kerala village life.
|A short cruise takes you to Alumkadavu
which has a long tradition of building Kerala-style houseboats (kettuvalloms).
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary:-
The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, set on 14 acres of wooded land, is a
bird-watcher's paradise. The sanctuary is a favourite haunt of thousands
of migratory birds from across the world, including Siberian storks,
egrets, darters, golden-backed woodpeckers, night herons, kingfishers
and teals. The native birds include swater fowls, cockoos, owls and
|Wooded hills and rolling plantations of
tea and cardamom welcome you to Thekkady, internationally known for
its geomorphology and pristine beauty. One of the world's most celebrated
natural wildlife sanctuaries, this sprawling region is also known
for its large tiger reserve.
The sanctuary is centred around a 24.-sq km artificial lake formed
by a dam across the Periyar river.A boat ride across the lake offers
the best way to view wild animals in their natural environment.
|In fact, Thekkady is the only place in
India where you can watch and photograph animals at close quarters
from the safety of a boat. These nomadic tribes of wildlife include
elephant, the great Indian tiger, sambar, bison, spotted deer, leopard,
Malabar flying squirrel, stripe-necked mongoose, bear, and wild boar.
Birds like the Malabar grey hombill, grey jungle fowl and jungle myna
are also found here frequently.
|Perched 1600 km above sea
level, Munnar was once a hostile, animal-infested forest terrain.
Opened up and developed by British pioneer planters, Munnar has emerged
as one of the finest hill stations in India. It was once the South
Indian summer resort of the British Government.Munnar is located at
the confluence of three mountain streams - Chitrapuzha, Nallathanni
and Kandala. Top Station (32 km) is the highest point in the Munnar
town. Mattupetty (13 km) is famous for its Indo-Swiss Lifestock Project
with more than 100 varieties of high-yielding cattle.
|The velvet-soft grasslands and medows
at Devikulam (7 km) serve as idyllic picnic spots.The Eravikulam National
Park (15 km) is in Devikulam taluk. In the southern side of the park
is Anamudi. Towering 2695 metres above sea level, it is the highest
peak in South India. Rajamalai (15 km) is the natural habitat of Nilgiri
tahr (ibex), an endangered species of mountain goat.Marayur (40'km)
is the only region in Kerala with naturally growing sandalwood forests.
Marayur also has several underground caves (Muni/eras) with murals
and relics from the Stone Age. The Chinnar wildlife sanctuary (60
km), spread over an area of 90 km is located on the Tamilnadu border.
Most of the South Indian animals and birdlife are found here.The Kundale
tea plantation, surrounding a small lake, offers stunning views. The
High Range Club, charmingly colonial in style, is the haunt of the
local planting community
|A 1000-year old city of legends and royalty,
Trivandrum is the capital of Kerala. A long shoreline with world-class
beaches, a profusion of architectural landmarks, vast expanses of
blue-green backwaters and a rich cultural heritage make it one of
the most favoured tourist destinations. The Padmanabha Swamy temple
with its graceful fusion of Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture,
the Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum, Napier Museum, Sree
Chithra Art Gallery and the Kanakakunnu Palace are priceless treasure-houses
of period furniture, art collections and paintings.
|The Zoological Park, one of the best laid
out zoos in India, is set amidst gorgeous gardens, lawns and islets.
The animal life here includes a large collection of reptiles. The
Shanghumukham Beach and o the Veli and Akulam Tourist Villages are
Kerala at its natural best. The Science and Technology Museum, Priyadarshini
Planetarium, Biotechnology Museum and the Observatory are where pure
tradition turns futuristic.
km to the south of Trivandrum, Kovalam is one of the most beautiful
beach resorts in the world. The three crescent-shaped coves are ideal
for sunbathing, surfing, snorkelling, swimming and canoeing.
Vizhinjam: 1 7 km from Kovalam is Vizhinjam with
its well-known 8th century rock-cut cave and an aquarium with the
rarest species of marine life.
Thiruvallam is noted for its backwater rides and the 2000-year-old
Poovar: 18 km south of
Kovalam, Poovar is located at the Neyyar estuary. It is a typical
Kerala virgin countryside with a lovely beach nudging the palm-fringed
|Guruvayoor is internationally
known for its fabled Sree Krishna Temple, the fourth largest Hindu
pilgrim centre in the country.Legend has it that when Lord Krishna
left this world, his kingdom - Dwaraka was submerged in the ocean.
Guru, Preceptor of the Gods, and Vayu, Lord of the Winds, came upon
an icon of Krishna floating in the water. They saved it, brought it
to Kerala, and installed it at the place where the temple now stands
today. The deity is, therefore, locally known as Guruvayoorappan.
|The velvet-soft grasslands and medows
at Devikulam (7 km) serve as idyllic picnic The temple has an outer
enclosure (Chutfamba/amj in which is a Dhwajasthambam, a 35.5 meter
high gold-"plated flag-post. There is also a 7-metre high Deepa-sfhambam
(pillar of lamps) with 13 circular receptacles. When the lamps are
lit, the sight turns truly spectacular.The square-shaped Srikoil houses
the main deity. Within the temple premises are images of Lord Ayyappa,
Ganapathy and Edathedathu Kavil Bhagavathy. At Punnathur Kotta, 4
km from the temple, the Guruvayoor Devaswom maintains nearly 50 elephants
which are employed for service at the shrine.
|Wayanad is one of the districts in Kerala
that has been able to retain its pristine nature. Hidden away in the
hills of this land are some of the oldest tribes of people, who are
yet untouched by the fast pace of civilization. Wayanad is known for
its lovely mist clad hill stations, sprawling spice plantations, luxuriant
forests and rich cultural traditions. The leading tourist centres
of South India like Ooty, Mysore, Coorg, Kozhikode and Kannur are
around this hill station.
| Pakshipathalam: This
place can be accessed only be trekking. Rare species of birds can
be sighted from the watch tower of this bird sanctuary.
Lakkidi: Lakkidi, the gateway to Wayanad, is situated
700 m above mean sea level, at the crest of the Thamarasseri Ghat
pass. Lofty peaks, gurgling streams and luxuriant forests add magic
to the journey up the winding roads ti this hill station.
Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuaries: This sanctuary in
Karnataka State extends over an area of 634.39 Sq. Km. The park houses
diverse species of plant and animal life. It is about 40 Km from Mananthavady.
Visiting hours are 6 am to 8 am and 3 pm to 5.30 pm.
Pazhassi Tomb: Memorial of the Lion of Kerala - Veera
Pazhassi Raja, who organized the guerilla pattern of waterfare against
the British East India Company.
|Kozhikode was once the capital
of the powerful Zamorins. It was here at Kappad (16km) that Vasco
Da Gamma first landed in 1498. Later, the Dutch, the French and the
British came this shore to trade. Kozhikode still maintains its commercial
traditions, as cargo steamers visit the port even today. The town
is famous for its boat-building yard, timber industry and historic
temples and churches.
Vasco Da Gamma landed on these shore in 1498 for trade; there is a
pillar here to commemorate this event. The beach itself is a calm
haven, set amidst picturesque fishing villages and beautiful rock
Located at east hill, this museum is maintained by the state
archaeological department. The articles on display here include copies
of ancient mural paintings, antique bronzes, coins, temple models
and megalithic monuments. Timings - 10 am to 5 pm. Monday closed
This town is situated at the mouth of Beypore river. It was
one of the chief ports of Kerala and an important trade and maritime
centre. Beypore is also a major fishing harbour, and the boat-building
yard here is famous for its country crafts (Urus).
The picturesque dam sight has a crocodile farm and birds sanctuary
here. Boating facilities are also available here.
Famous for its trekking tracks, it is located, near Vythiri in Wayanad.
Trekkers start early morning from the second waterfall and climb uphill
through the pristine, evergreen dense forests populated with exotic
birds and wild animals to reach Vythiri by evening.