Kerala has an endless list of tourist destinations that will interest any traveller. Renowned for its scenic locations and natural beauty, Kerala is sure to enchant any nature lover with its hills, backwaters, beaches, waterfalls and wildlife. The state also has a rich heritage and thriving culture one can explore by visiting the various forts, palaces, museums, monuments and pilgrim centers. Both natural and manmade brilliance await you at every turn.
Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) city is the capital of Kerala. It is situated on the southern tip of Malabar coast in Peninsular India. It stretches along the shores of the Arabian sea for a distance of 78 kms and an area of 2192 sq kms. Trivandrum, is famous for its enchanting tourist spots including internationally renowned beaches like Kovalam, historic monuments with Gothic architecture, lakes and backwaters, unexplored mountain ranges etc. The city enjoys a notable position in the tourist map of India. The main attractions are Padmanabhaswamy temple, The Napier Museum, Zoological Park, Observatory, Sree ChitraArt Gallery, Happy Land Amusement Park, Vizhinjam Rock cut Cave, Veli, Akkulam Boat Club & Shanghumukham Beach.
Kovalam has three crescent shaped beaches separated by rocky outcroppings. Shallow waters stretching for hundreds of metres are ideal for swimming. The beaches have steep palm covered headlands and are lined with shops that offer all kinds of goods and services.
The larger of the beaches is called Light House Beach for its 35 metre high light house which towers over it atop Kurumkal hillock. The second largest one is Hawah Beach named thus for the topless European women who used to throng there. It was the first topless beach in India. Topfree bathing and parading is banned now except in private coves owned by resorts. Visitors frequent these two beaches. The northern part of the beach is known as Samudra Beach in tourism parlance. A large promontory separates this part from the southern side. Samudra Beach doesn't have tourists thronging there or hectic business. The local fishermen ply their trade on this part. The sands on the beaches in Kovalam are partially black in colour due to the presence of ilmenite and thorazite. The normal tourist season is from September to May.
Kanyakumari takes its name from the Kumari Amman or Kanyakumari Temple, situated in the town, on the sea-shore, the very confluence of the three water-bodies - Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.
The Kumari Amman or the Kanyakumari Temple, located on the shore, is a Shakti Peetha dedicated to a manifestation of Parvati, the virgin goddess who did penance to obtain Lord Shiva's hand in marriage. The temple and the adjoining ghat, situated overlooking the shore, attract tourists from all over the world. The sparkling diamond nose-ring of the deity is said to be visible even from the sea.
On two rocky islets just off the shore, southeast of the Kumari Amman temple, are the Vivekanda Rock Memorial, built in 1970, and the gigantic 133 feet statue of Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar, one of the biggest statues in Asia. One of the rocks called Sri Padhaparai is said to bear the footprints of the virgin goddess. Swami Vivekananda is said to have seated on this rock in deep meditation. Also on this rock, there is a Dhyana mandapam, an area for meditation. Ferry services are available to reach the memorial.
The Gandhi Memorial has been built on the spot where the urn containing the Mahatma's ashes was kept for public viewing before immersion. Resembling central Indian Hindu temples in form, the memorial was designed in such a way that on Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, October 2, the first rays of the sun fall on the exact place where his ashes were kept.
Varkala is the only place in southern Kerala where one can find cliffs adjacent to the Arabian sea. These tertiary sedimentary formation cliffs are a unique geological feature in the otherwise flat Kerala coast, and is known among geologists as Varkala Formation and a geological monument as declared by the Geological survey of India. There are numerous water spouts and spas on the sides of these cliffs.
A famous beach resort, Varkala is also famous for its 900 year old Janardana swami temple which is an important Vaishnavaite shrine in India and is referred to as Dakshin Kashi (Benares of the south). The temple is located close to the Papanasam beach, which is considered to have holy waters which wash away sins, and is also an important Ayurveda treatment centre. The temple has an ancient bell removed from a shipwreck, donated by the captain of the Dutch vessel which sank near Varkala without causing any casualties.
Another major landmark in Varkala is the Sivagiri Mutt, established by the great social reformer Sree Narayana Guru. The hill-top mausoleum of Sree Narayana Guru is one of the most famous monuments in Kerala. The adjacent hills house the East-West University of Brahmavidya and Sree Narayana Gurukulam. Another important feature of Varkala is the now dilapidated Varkala Tunnel, part of the TS Canal, which was an important waterway during pre-independence times.
Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey, is a town in Alappuzha District of Kerala state of southern India. A town with picturesque canals, backwaters, beaches, and lagoons, it was described as the List of places known as Venice of the East by Lord Curzon. It is the administrative headquarters of Alappuzha District. Alleppey has a wonderful past. Though the present town owes its existence to the sagacious Diwan Raja Kesavadas in the second half of 18th century, district of Alappuzha figures in classical Literature. Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala with the unending stretch of paddy fields, small streams and canals with lush green coconut palms , was well known even from the early periods of the Sangam age. History says Alappuzha had trade relations with ancient Greece and Rome in B.C and in the Middle Ages, as well as with other parts of India. Alappuzha has a lighthouse, which is a major tourist attraction. The white sand beach is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the sea and sun.
Vagamon is a cluster of small small hills which is nera to Peermade. Very scenic palace where lakes and geen meadows invite lots of tourists. It is a place for paragliding activities also.
Kumarakom is a tourist village in Kottayam district, Kerala, India. It is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala. It is a unique experience that will beckon the visitors time and time again as there are several activities for visitors.
The Bird Sanctuary can be visited by canoes, which can be arranged with local fishermen at the entrance to the sanctuary. A two-hour rowing canoe trip is quite cheap, and is best undertaken in the evening or early morning to avoid the afternoon sun. House boats or speed boats can cover longer distances but cost more to hire. Taj Garden Retreat the first modern tourist resort in Kumarakom is established in the Victorian two storied bungalow built by Alfred George Baker in the year 1881, on huge pieces of Teak wood rafters packed in mud as a base. This house on the lake at Kumarakom was the house of four generations of the Baker family, for over hundred years. The bird Sanctuary and the two storied Bungalow built by Mr.A G Baker on the muddy land are places of interest for tourists from all over the world. The bungalow still remains grand but silent reminder of an age and people whose hard work cannot be erased by time.
Kettuvallam is a house boat widely used in the Indian state of Kerala. These have thatched roof covers over wooden hulls. The traditional kettuvallam is mainly used for promoting Kerala tourism.
Boats in a variety of shapes and sizes have traditionally been the main means of transport of men and materials in the Kerala Backwaters since olden days. In particular, the house boats were used to ship rice and spices and other goods between Kuttanad and the Cochin port. It was a three-day affair those days. A standard house boat, which could be about 100 feet long, can hold up to 30 tons, and that is as much as three big lorries can. For the royalty these boats even became comfortable living quarters. It was the important mode of transportation in coastal Kerala just because of its accessibility to the most remote areas. However, the scenario changed. Motorized road, rail and air transportation scored over the slow and staid country boat, with people opting for speed.
It took the vision and enterpreneurship of a couple of enterprising young men to refurbish one of these leviathans, hoisting on to it a wooden super-structure incorporating a huge bed room, a toilet, a kitchenette and an open balcony. The ancient houseboat with a modernized interior became a hot favourite with tourists. As the houseboats glide over the Kerala backwaters at a leisurely pace, the sights are new, the sounds are new, and every sensation is new every passing moment. The tourists, with foreigners in large numbers, have helped not only to revive the good old kettuvallams but even make it popular.
Situated in kerala, close to the Kerala - Tamil Nadu border town - Kumily, it is located about 257 km (160 miles) from Trivandrum, 114 km from Madurai Airport, 185 km from Cochin International Airport and 114 km from Kottayam railway station. The sanctuary is famous for its dense evergreen, semi-evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savanna grass lands. It is home to herds of elephants, sambar, tigers, gaur, lion-tailed Macaques and Nilgiri Langurs. The Periyar Wildlife sanctuary is spread across 777 km² (300 sq. miles), of which 360 km² (139 sq. miles) is thick evergreen forest. The Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar 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. Thekkady is considered a heaven for natural spices such as black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and clove.
Munnar is a town located in the Idduki district of India's Kerala state, situated in the south Western Ghats of South India the name Munnar usually refers to the whole tourist area of the Idukki District of which the town forms only a small part.The name Munnar is believed to be derived from the Tamil and Malayalam words Munu (three) and aaru (river), referring to the town's strategic location at the confluence of the Muthirappuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly rivers. The Munnar panchayat in the Devikulam block is the largest panchayat in the Idduki district having an area measuring nearly 557 km². Essentially a pass ; the area around Munnar is surrounded by vast jungles and remains wet and cold during most of the year. The entire area of Munnar officially belongs to the government of Kerala ; though the Poonjar royal family (its pre-independence owners) have made claims to the contrary. Sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes, trekking and holiday facilities make Munnar a beautiful hillstation.
The natural scenic beauty of Wayanad and its rich natural resources offer several opportunities for adventure tourism. The hills rocks and valley which make the very unique character of Wayanad provide a lot for catering to the ever increasing demand for adventure tourist.
The ancient temples, churches, mosques, synagogue and palaces and above all the birth place of Sri Sankaracharya provided a great deal of interest for the archaeologists and historians in particular and all tourists in general. The city of Kochi known as the "Queen of Arabian Sea" has one of the finest natural harbours in the world. From time immemorial, Arabs, Chinese, Dutch, British and Portuguese sea forces followed the sea route to Kochi and left their indelible impressions on the town.
Guruvayoor is one of the most sacred and important pilgrim centres of Kerala. Its main attraction is the Sree Krishna Temple. This historic temple is shrouded in mystery. According to belief, the temple is the creation of Guru, the preceptor of the Gods, and Vayu, the God of winds. The eastern nada is the the main entrance to the shrine. In thechuttambalam(outer enclosure)is the tall 33.5m high gold p;ated Dwajasthambam(flagPost). There is also a 7m high Dipastambham(pillar of lamps), whose thirteen circular recepatacles rovide a truly gorgeous spectacle when it. The square Sreekovil is the sacred sanctum sanctorum of the temple, housing the main diety. Within the temple there are also the images of Ganapathy, Lord Ayappa and Edathedattu Kavil Bhagavathy. Only hindus are allowed inside the temple.