Kochi formerly known as Cochin, is a city in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the most popular tourist destination for both domestic and international visitors to Kerala and is among the most visited tourist destinations in India. MICE tourism, LuLu Mall, the Wonderla water theme park, and the metro nature of Kochi city were the main aspects for attracting more domestic tourists.
Popularly known as the Queen of Arabian Sea, the city also flaunts one of the finest natural harbors of the world and was the centre of the world spice trade for many centuries. Old Kochi (presently called West Kochi), loosely refers to a group of islands which comprise Willingdon Island, Fort Kochi, Mattancherry etc. The city derives its name from the Malayalam word Kochazhi meaning small lagoon.
As you walk down the stone slabs that lead to the base of the Athirappilly waterfalls, a mysterious serenity overcomes you. It is Kerala’s most famous and largest waterfall at over 80 ft high. The sight of the water crashing onto the ground leaves you with a sense of wonder at the sheer power and magnificence of nature. Located around 63 km from Thrissur district, it is a perennial picnic spot for people in the area and beyond. Its surrounding greenery is perfect for walks and picnics with loved ones. Lying at the entrance to the Sholayar forest ranges, it is a part of the Chalakudy River which calls the Western Ghats its home.
Barely 5 km away is another family favourite, Vazhachal Waterfalls. These waterfalls became famous for not just their view but the endemic species found in the surrounding dense forests. Researchers have found four endangered species of the Hornbill here, the only place they thrive in the entire Western Ghats. Ornithologists attach great significance to this location and bird watchers can come across many rare and vibrant species in these parts.
Munnar rises as three mountain streams merge – Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. 1,600 m above sea level, this hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. One of the most sought after honeymoon destinations in Kerala, Munnar is replete with resorts and logding facilities that fit a wide rage of budgets. Sprawling tea plantations, picturesque towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji. This flower which bathes the hills in blue once in every twelve years, will bloom next in 2030. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2,695 m.
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. Spreads across the entire district are the picturesque plantations and hill towns that nestle beautiful trails for treks and mountain walks.It is one of the oldest tiger reserves in the country and the forests of Periyar is embellished by the presence of endangered species including White Tigers.
The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake, and is part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres is a favourite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist’s paradise. Egrets, Darters, Herons, Teals, Waterfowls, Cuckoo, Wild Duck and migratory birds like the Siberian Stork visit here in flocks and fascinate all visitors.
An enchanting backwater destination, Kumarakom offers visitors many other leisure options. Boating and fishing facilities are available at the Taj Garden Retreat, a sprawling old bungalow-turned-resort.
Waterscapes, the backwater resort of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation has independent cottages built on stilts, set amidst coconut groves offering a panoramic view of the backwaters. Holiday packages involving houseboats and traditional Kettuvalloms (rice barges) offer great experiences.
Affectionately nicknamed the ‘Venice of the East’ by travellers from across the world, Alappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty. Embraced by the Arabian Sea in the west and a network of lakes, lagoons and freshwater rivers criss-crossing it, this backwater country is home toa vibrant animal and avian life. By virtue of its proximity to the sea, the town has always carved out an exclusive place for itself in the maritime history of Kerala.
Renowned for its boat races, beaches, marine products and coir industry, the singularity of this land is the region called Kuttanad. A land of lush paddy fields referred to as the ‘Rice Bowl of Kerala’, it is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level. This once prosperous trading and fishing centre is nowadays a world renowned backwater tourist destination.