Kerala is one of the most alluring states in India where one can experience nature at its best and many places in the state remain untouched or are far away from the human settlements. The state flaunts its coastal line with a large number of beaches and also is home to a large number of hill stations.
Many places around the coastal line were once colonies of various other countries, for example, Fort Kochi was a Portuguese town and has left behind the heritage and culture in this town which can be seen even till this day. There are also many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks across various parts of the state.
The Periyar Tiger Reserve is one of the most important reserve forests in the state apart from the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, Silent Valley and many more. For a first-time visitor to the state the first picture which would come of Kerala in their minds is the backwaters of Alleppey.
The backwaters are spread across a vast area and there are many tiny islands across its course which can be reached only by boat and no other means of transport. Owing to this factor the place is also known as the Venice of the East.
We bring a compilation of 15 beautiful places to visit in Kerala which would for sure stand as a perfect example for the tag line of God's Own Country. Read on.
The Munroe Island is located in the Ashtamudi Lake where you would come across one of the best countrysides in Kerala. About two hours from the capital city of Trivandrum, the island offers you a peaceful stay in the highest order. One can take a boat ride through the canals and you would get a glimpse of coir weaving and toddy tapping.
The Asthamudi Lake is home to several mangrove species amongst which two are considered to be endangered. It is also home to a large species of migratory and resident birds which keep birdwatchers engrossed.
Cochin, also known as Kochi, has a lot of history to narrate as a trading port which is still active and has evidences of the past across various parts of the city. A ferry ride from Cochin alias Ernakulam to Fort Kochi would transport you to how a Portuguese colony looked like.
Stroll through the Jew Street and visit the Jewish Synagogue, also known as Paradesi Synagogue. Head to the Mattencherry Palace and to the sea side beach to catch the Chinese fishing nets and to the many old churches and monuments in the area.
The northernmost district of Kerala, Kasargod is home to virgin beaches, temples and forts. The town of Kasargod forms an excellent foundation to begin your exploration of the area. One amongst the major attractions here is the Bekal Fort which you can finish exploring in an hour or two. The fort has a water tank, tunnels, observatory and well kept lawns.
One can choose to relax at the beach right outside the fort after a tiring walk across the fort. Don't wrap up your visit without visiting the 9th Ananthapura Lake Temple which is considered to be the original seat of Padmanabha Swamy of Trivandrum and also is home to a vegetarian crocodile.
The city of Calicut or Kozhikode is paradise for both foodies and art lovers. The place is home to many famous personalities in the music industry and is also home to a large variety of yummy delicacies which starts with the Kozhikode biryani, halwa and much more.
Calicut was once a bustling trading port of spices which welcomed Vasco Da Gama, but at present the place is a midway stopover for those heading to Wayanad and Kannur.
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Beach lover? Head straight to the sands of Kovalam. The place was at one point of time a small fishing hamlet, but that is not the case today.
The place is a tourist hotspot and is filled with shops, restaurants and hotels. On the lookout for a panoramic ocean view? Then all you have to do is climb up around 157 steps which would take you to the observation deck of the lighthouse at the southern end of the beach.
The place also offers one speed boat rides, scuba diving and many more such adrenaline pumping water sports.
Kannur is the gateway to Portuguese forts, ancient temples, biryanis and the most important amongst all is to catch a Theyyam performance.
The ritual theatre dance finds its origins in this region and still continues to awe its spectators. It is an experience to witness first hand, for which one can head to the well known Parassinikadavu Madapura, also known as Parassinikadavu Muthappan temple where you can catch the live performance of the Muthappan Theyyam.
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Varkala tempts you with its sandy shores and bright blue waters. Most of the people stay around the city centre. The North and South Cliffs of the town draw large numbers of tourists.
One can find plenty of cafes and stalls which sell leather goods, silver jewellery and colourful clothes across the North Cliff.
One can catch a beautiful view of the sunset from here and also enjoy the waves of the sea at the Papanasam Beach.
Want to see how tea is made? Munnar is the best place to find out how it is made. The tea plantations here were started off by the British in the 1800s and it is spread across the hillsides of the town.
Visit one of the tea factories here and you could get a hands-on experience of making tea which includes plucking out the leaves, drying it and all the other processes.
One could sight the rare Nilgiri tahr when on a visit to the Eravikulam National Park. Also, you can choose to visit Kolukkumalai which is the highest tea plantation in the world.
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Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary
An hour's drive from Trivandrum and open throughout the year, the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the rare Nilgiri Tahr which has only a population about 2000 left in the wild.
The sanctuary is one of the oldest in Kerala and is part of the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with the Tahr, one can also spot bonnet macaques, Nilgiri langur, the endangered lion-tailed macaques, elephants, tigers and leopards.
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Periyar Tiger Reserve
The town of Thekkady is the entry point to the Periyar Tiger Reserve which is filled with the aroma of cardamom due to the large spice plantations all around the region. Follow the footsteps of the majestic tiger which makes it a more engulfing experience than other sanctuaries in the country.
The sightings of the tiger are very rare but you can experience something thrilling by accompanying the forest guards during their night patrolling.
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Want to feel the luxury of a houseboat on Kerala's famed backwaters? Well then head to Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha, which is located on the banks of the Vembanad Kayal or Lake which also happens to be the largest in Kerala and has many operators who offer peaceful rides across the lake. A stay in a houseboat would last for about four hours by gently moving across the waters.
The place is filled with coconut trees which form an arch-like structure and the only noises you would come across are the bird calls and the oars rowing in the water.
Make stops at the lakeside shops and have a taste of some mouthwatering fish fry and prawn curries which are made from the freshest catch.
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A district way up in the northern part of Kerala is Wayanad and is home to the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary extends itself to the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and also forms an important elephant pathway.
Hike up Chembra, one of the highest peaks here and be mesmerized by the sight of the tea and coffee plantations along with the tall bamboo trees, rice paddy fields and the slim betel nut trees.
Mararikulam is home to a secluded and beautiful beach which is known as Marari Beach or Mararikulam Beach. The beach is a breathtaking one with a zig zag strip of sand which is sandwiched between the deep green backwaters and the Arabian Sea.
The only signs which show human habitation are the occasional sightings of the hammocks tied between coconut palms and some shacks built up.
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Parambikulam Tiger Reserve
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is a 391 sq km protected reserve forest in Palakkad. The sanctuary is home to four tribes of indigenous people namely the Kadar, Malasar, Muduvar and Mala Malasar who are settled in six colonies.
The tiger reserve holds eco tourism activities at the buffer zones and avoids the core area. The reserve provides its visitors with a number of awareness camps on nature education.
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The capital city of Kerala, Trivandrum officially called Thiruvananthapuram offers good food and plenty of temples and museums for sightseeing.
Before you decide to start your exploration tracing the rich heritage, fill up your tummies with some yummy appams and stew from one of the local eating joints.
It is also home to the famed Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, which is the world's wealthiest temple. The vaults at the temple are said to possess antiques, gems and many more treasures which are worth millions. If you are looking for riches in the form of art, head to the Napier Museum and the Sree Chitra Art gallery.
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