The southern tip of God’s Own Country is home to the administrative and cultural hub of the State, Thiruvananthapuram. From a landscape naturally endowed with some of the most picturesque visuals possible along with culturally relevant holy sites that have thrived for more than a thousand years, this area has something for everyone. Young and old alike, all can experience their own slice of Kerala here, tailor-made to their individual preference. Listed below are some of the most prominent places of interest in the State capital.
Kovalam is an internationally renowned beach with three adjacent crescent beaches. It has been a favourite haunt of tourists since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Kozhikode, also known in English as Calicut, is a city along the Malabar Coast in the state of Kerala in India. It is the largest city in the region known as Malabar and was the capital of the British-era Malabar district. In antiquity and the medieval period, Kozhikode was dubbed the City of Spices for its role as the major trading point for Indian spices. It was the capital of an independent kingdom ruled by the Samoothiris (Zamorins). The port at Kozhikode acted as the gateway to medieval South Indian coast for the Chinese, the Arabs, the Portuguese, the Dutch and finally the British.
Adorning the northern hills of Kerala is the beautiful district of Wayanad, maintained by the District Tourism Promotion Council, Wayanad. This area is famous for its large amount of camping and trekking trails, breathtaking waterfalls, caves, bird-watching sites, flora, fauna and an overall plethora of magnificent sights. This area has been a tourist favourite over the years. People are especially delighted by the range of exotic products including spices, coffee, tea, bamboo products, honey and herbal plants available here. Kanthanpara Waterfalls is one hotspot in Wayanad that allures tourists from all over the world. Apart from these magnificent falls, Wayanad calls you to experience the stunning beauty of Karapuzha Dam, Pookode & Karlad Lake as well. If you are an adventure seeker, then Cheengari Rock Adventure Center is a must-visit place for you. Another must-visit place in Wayanad is the Edakkal Caves. The caves are two natural rock formations believed to have been formed by a large split in a huge rock. The carvings inside are extremely beautiful.