When it comes to tourism, Kerala is one the most popular tourist destinations that attracts thousands of tourists each year. Located in the southwestern region of India, this state with an unbroken coast line along its entire length and with its natural greenery and picturesque surroundings, has been rated as ‘one of the ten paradises of the world’ and ’50 must-see destinations of a lifetime’ by National Geographic Traveller.
Blessed by Mother Nature, the abundance of backwaters, lakes, beaches and tropical greenery beckon every traveller to this beautiful serene land to enjoy the ambience of nature’s beauty. Families, newly weds, nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, choose this paradise for its serenity and natural scenic beauty; This state with the highest literacy and lowest child mortality rates, is one of most progressive states with diverse culture and a home to some of the best eco-tourism destinations in India.
Besides the famous Kovalam beach, hill stations of Wayanad and Munnar and backwaters of Alleppey and Kumarakom, here are some other best places to visit in Kerala including a few eco-tourism destinations:
Some Famous Hill Stations
Munnar – One of the famous hill stations situated at the junction of three rivers. The tea-planted hills with mist and special shades of green present a beautiful sight. Some places (Pothamadu, Pallivasal, Mattupetty, etc) near Munnar with striking landscapes, waterfalls, trekking trails, lakes and dams; and Top Station where the famous Nilkurinji blooms once in twelve years, enliven the surroundings and makes it an unforgettable experience.
Vagamon – Famous for Meenachil River, Thekkady, Ponmudi, Lakkidi, Vythiri, Idukki, Malampuzha and Mattupetty are some other locations that attract tourists in Kerala.
Some Lesser Known Hill Stations
Gavi: It is located in Pathanamthitta and is a perfect place for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Wildlife and bird watching, tree houses and spice garden, camping and safari in the forest are some other activities that attract tourists.
Athirapally: Situated in Thirussur, is known for its waterfall which has a total height of 82 feet. A scenic landscape and the beauty of the gushing Athirapally waterfall are best enjoyed in the monsoons. It is also a home to a number of animals and plants, including endangered species.
Ayyampuzha, Charalkunnu, Kalpetta, Thiruvambadi, Malakkappara, Vithura and Ranipuram are some other places to have a stress relieving vacation.
Nature walks, trekking, bird watching and other activities have attracted tourists and helped in promoting eco-tourism. Thenmala, Silent Valley National Park and Periyar Tiger Reserve are amongst the best eco-tourism destinations in Kerala.
Backwaters of Kerala
The backwaters of Kerala are famous for its interconnected rivers, lakes and canals. These lagoons are destinations all visitors enjoy with a cruise ride and a vacation at the magnificently created boat houses that ply the backwaters. The backwaters are also a home for a variety of aquatic plants and animals.
Alleppey, Kumarakom, Kollam, Kuttanad, Kasargod, Allappuzha, Munroe Island and Thiruvallam are some hot spots and important backwater regions.
Besides the crescent shaped Kovalam Beach famous for relaxing, ayurvedic treatment and massages, Varkala Beach is also one of the famous beaches situated in Thiruvananthapuram. It is the only region where one can see cliffs with unique geographical features due to their elevation on the flat surface of Kerala, making it a geological monument. This beautiful location attracts more people to its scenic beauty and to catch a glimpse of the beautiful hues of the setting sun. This amazing destination is one of the best reasons for Kerala to be known as God’s Own Country.
Other beaches to enjoy the scenic beauty: Bekal Beach, Khozikode Beach, Allappuzha Beach, Meenukunnu Beach, Chavakkad Beach, Kappil Beach and Cherrai Beach.
A Few Forts
Fort Kochi, located in the city of Kochi, is one of the best sightseeing places in Kerala with the European inspired architecture and planning. Other major attractions are its beaches and the sight of marvellous traditional fishing in the region.
Bekal Fort, situated in Kasargod, is the largest fort in Kerala spreading across 40 acres of land.
Bekal with its exotic beauty, serenity and magnificent view is among the top three honeymoon places in South India.
Other Places of Interest
Marine Drive, facing Kerala’s backwaters, is one of the most enchanting places with beautiful sunset and gentle breeze from the Vembanad Lake. The popular Rainbow Bridge and the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge offer surreal view of the backwaters.
Mattancherry Palace is one of the finest palaces of Kerala. The palace with Kerala murals and Hindu temple art was built by the Portuguese and reflects the 15th century architecture. It was renovated by the Dutch and is known as the Dutch Palace.
Malayattur is a small village in Ernakulam famous for Christian pilgrimage. It is famous because it is the place where St Thomas had fled to save himself from his enemies who were trying to kill him and believed to have prayed on this mountain.
Wayanad – Famous for the heart-shaped lake on the way to the top of the Chembara peak and wildlife sanctuary, Kanakakunnu Palace in Thiruvananthapuram, Periyar National Park in Thekkady, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (World Heritage Site) harmonized with Thoovanam Waterfalls, Eravikulam National Park in Idukki, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary and Edakkal Caves are some other places in Kerala that are popular.