- Places to Visit
Kerala-'God's Own Country'-A slender coastal strip is shaped by its layered landscape: almost 600km of glorious Arabian Sea coast and beaches; a languid network of glistening backwaters; and the spice- and tea-covered hills of the Western Ghats. Besides its famous backwaters, elegant houseboats, ayurvedic treatments and delicately spiced, taste-bud-tingling cuisine, Kerala is home to wild elephants, exotic birds and the odd tiger, while vibrant traditions such as Kathakali plays, temple festivals and snake-boat races frequently bring even the smallest villages to life.
Cochin- Serene Kochi has been drawing traders, explorers and travellers to its shores for over 600 years. Nowhere else in India could you find such an intriguing mix: giant fishing nets from China, a 400-year-old synagogue, ancient mosques, Portuguese houses and the crumbling remains of the British Raj. The result is an unlikely blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and an English village grafted onto the tropical Malabar Coast. It’s a delightful place to spend some time and nap in some of India’s finest homestays and heritage accommodation. Kochi is also a centre for Keralan arts and one of the best places to see Kathakali and kalarippayat.Mainland Ernakulam is the hectic transport and cosmopolitan hub of Kochi, while the historical towns of Fort Cochin and Mattancherry, though well-touristed, remain wonderfully atmospheric – thick with the smell of the past. Other islands, including Willingdon and Vypeen, are linked by a network of ferries and bridges.
Munnar-South India's largest tea-growing region, are carpeted in emerald-green tea plantations, contoured, clipped and sculpted like ornamental hedges. Once known as the High Range of Travancore, today Munnar is the commercial centre of some of the world’s highest tea-growing estates. The majority of the plantations are operated by corporate giant Tata, with some in the hands of local cooperative Kannan Devan Hills Plantation Company (KDHP).
The hills around Munnar are home to a string of national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and viewpoints. For the visitor there's Metupatty Dam for Speed boating and Rose Garden, Tea Museum,Rajmala view point the highest point of Kerala(Note:Munnar - Eravikulam National Park Closed for 2 Months in a year due to the calving season)
Tekkady- South India’s most popular wildlife sanctuary, Periyar, also called Thekkady, encompasses 777 sq km and a 26-sq-km artificial lake created by the British in 1895. The vast region is home to bison, sambar, wild boar, langur, 900 to 1000 elephants and 35 to 40 hard-to-spot tigers. It's firmly established on both the Indian and foreigner tourist trails and has a typical boat cruise that doesn't scream 'wildlife experience', but if you dig deeper and do a trek led by a tribal villager, the hills and jungle scenery make for a rewarding visit. Kumily is the closest town and home to a growing strip of hotels, homestays, spice shops, chocolate shops and Kashmiri emporiums. Thekkady, 4km from Kumily, is the sanctuary centre with the KTDC hotels and boat jetty. Confusingly, when people refer to the sanctuary they tend to use Thekkady, Kumily and Periyar interchangeably.
Kumarakom- Kumarakom, 16km west of Kottayam and on the shore of vast Vembanad Lake – Kerala's largest lake – is an unhurried backwater village with a smattering of dazzling top-end sleeping options and a renowned bird sanctuary. You can arrange houseboats through Kumarakom’s less-crowded canals, but expect to pay considerably more than in Alleppey.
Poovar- About 16km southeast of Kovalam, almost at the Tamil Nadu border, Poovar is the gateway to a region of beaches, estuaries, villages and upmarket resorts that comprise the 'mini backwaters' of Kerala's far south.Numerous 'boat clubs' and operators along the Neyyar River or backwater canals will take you on 1½- to two-hour cruises through the waterways visiting the beach, bird-filled mangrove swamps and forested Poovar Island
Kovalam- Once a calm fishing village clustered around its crescent beaches, Kovalam competes with Varkala as Kerala’s most developed resort. The touristy main stretch, Lighthouse Beach, has hotels and restaurants built up along the shore, while Hawa Beach to the north is usually crowded with day trippers heading straight from the taxi stand to the sand. Neither beach could be described as pristine, but at less than 15km from the capital it's a convenient place to have some fun by the sea, there are some promising waves (and a surf club), and it makes a good base for ayurvedic treatments and yoga courses.