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.
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.
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.
The Papanasam Beach (also called as Varkala Beach), which is ten kilometers away from Varkala, is renowned for a natural spring. Which is considered to have medicinal and curative properties. A dip in the holy waters at this beach is believed to purge the body of impurities and the soul of all sins; hence the name ‘Papanasam Beach’.
A two thousand-year-old shrine the Janardhanaswamy Temple stands on the cliffs overlooking the beach, a short distance away. The Sivagiri Mutt, founded by the great religious reformer and philosopher Sree Narayana Guru (1856 – 1928) is also close by. The Samadhi (the final resting place) of the Guru here attracts thousands of devotees every year during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days – 30th December to 1st January. Sree Narayana Guru propagated the ideology: “one caste, one religion and one God”, in a society torn by the taboos of caste system.
Varkala offers excellent accommodation facilities for tourists and is fast becoming a popular health resort with many Ayurvedic massage centres.
A popular tourist destination in India which is famous for its unique sunrise and sunset point , the 41-metre (133 ft) Thiruvalluvar Statue and Vivekananda Rock Memorial off the coast, and as a pilgrimage centre. Lying at the tip of peninsular India, Kanyakumari is bordered on the west, south and east by the Laccadive Sea. It has a coastal line of 71.5 kilometres (44.4 mi) stretched on the three sides.
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.
Accommodation facilities for tourists at Kovalam range from five star hotels to budget hotels and the choice of food available at restaurants and cafeterias range from Continental varieties to South Indian delicacies.
Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, is just 16 km away from Kovalam and getting there is no hassle. But if you are on holiday it is better to stay in Kovalam and visit the city. The city of Thiruvananthapuram has many interesting places to see like the Napier Museum, the Sri Chitra Art Gallery and the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The SMSM Institute, a State owned handicrafts emporium, is the ideal place to pick up ethnic curios and other articles.
The temperature is equable throughout the year and the three hour drive from the city is justified once the valley comes into view. One can always stopover at the breath-taking Kallar River on the way, which flows parallel to the road in the opposite direction, with the picturesque Meenmutty Waterfalls only a little distance ahead. A large number of cottages and resorts have come up in the area. The tree house view tower is another great place to visit. Ponmudi is indeed a rising hotbed of tourist activity. A hill so close to the city, yet nestled so near the protective arms of the sea.