Lush green tea plantations, serene winding backwaters and spice plantations are a few features that define Kerala as one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Popular as ‘God’s Own Country’ Kerala is a haven for travellers who come here to unwind in the salubrious climes, away from the concrete jungle. In a state where the topography ranges from cool hills to balmy sea beaches, Kerala is a sight for sore eyes. Here is a list of places which are a ‘must-see’ for all those visiting this tropical paradise.
The Backwaters of Alleppey
Alleppey or Alappuzha is best known for the world renowned backwaters of Kerala. The backwaters are a network of brackish canals, rivers and lakes that weave through half of the state of Kerala. One can cruise down the backwaters while enjoying the unique feel of the “Kettuvallams” or house boats which provide amenities including a taste of typical Kerala cuisine. For other curious travellers, there are several unique temples and churches which add more value to the picturesque beauty of Alleppey.
How to get there: The Cochin International Airport, located at a distance of 75 kilometres is the nearest airport to Alleppey. The airport is well connected to major cities in India as well as abroad.
Fishing nets of Kochi
Kochi is the cultural and economic capitals of Kerala. It’s a hub of tourist activity and attracts visitors from all over the world. From Chinese fishing nets to exotic spice cultivations, there’s a lot to feast your eyes upon in Kochi. This city is an amalgamation of various cultures which seek to endure even till date. There’s a surprise in every corner of Kochi, just waiting to be discovered.
How to get there: There are direct flights to Kochi from major cities all across India and the world. From the airport, the main city centre is about 29 kilometres away.
Thekkady is home to the popular Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. You can observe the elephants that roam around the sanctuary, explore the verdant green forests, take a boat cruise over Periyar Lake or take an elephant safari into the depths of the wilderness. Periyar is the perfect getaway for wildlife enthusiasts and for people who want to rejuvenate in the misty mountains of the Nilgiris.
How to get there: Thekkady/Periyar is located at a distance of about 165 km from Kochi (Cochin). Periyar Tiger Reserve and is well-connected to Kochi by roadways and railways. However, the best way to reach Thekkady/Periyar from Kochi is by car, a journey of about 4 hours.
A view over Munnar
Munnar is considered one of the most beautiful tourist places in Kerala. Situated on the Western Ghats, Munnar is evidently one of the highest producers of tea on the Indian subcontinent. The view of undulating hills as the touch the clouds in Munnar rejuvenates your mind and soul. The town is flanked by a narrow patch of the Arabian Sea and The Western Ghats on the other side which makes Munnar a unique getaway from the city life. Palm-fringed backwaters, scenic waterfalls, sunny beaches, misty mountains and gushing streams, Munnar has it all!
How to get there: The nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport, which is 110 kilometres away by road. From Cochin, you can hire a cab to get to Munnar. There are state-run or private buses, plying from various towns in Kerala and Tamil Nadu which are the best way to get to Munnar by road.
Thrissur was previously the capital of the Kingdom of Kochin, however, now it is considered the cultural capital of Kerala because of its spiritual, cultural and religious leanings throughout history. One can visit an array of beautiful temples and churches that become a hub of activity during the festive period in the city. When in Thrissur, you must try the delectable Vellayappam which is a type of a rice hopper, a speciality of the city.
How to get there: Thrissur does not have an airport. Thrissur does not have an airport. The nearest airport is Kochi Airport which is 95 km away from Thrissur. You can easily get regular trains to Thrissur from other major cities of the country. Also, there are tourist buses available to Thrissur from major cities of the country.Thrissur. You can easily get regular trains to Thrissur from other major cities of the country. Also, there are tourist buses available to Thrissur from major cities of the country.
Sink your feet into the warm sandy beaches of Kovalam. There are numerous coconut trees here as far as the eye can see, add to that prime resorts surrounding lush green vegetation and you’ve got yourself a popular tourist destination. Kovalam has gained popularity as centre of Ayurvedic healing in the past few years. So if you want to take a break and feel re-energized, Kovalam is your kind of getaway.
How to get there: The closest airport and railhead is Trivandrum which is 20 km away from Kovalam. One can hire taxi cabs or auto-rickshaws which are a great medium for transport in Kerala.
One of the prime hill stations in the south, Wayanad boasts of production of tea, coffee, cardamom, pepper and other spices. The region is populated with many natural marvels such as waterfalls, caves, lakes and dams which you are bound to enjoy the cool weather of Wayanad. Do visit Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to wildlife species like the Spotted Deer, Bison, Cheetah and Bears.
How to get there: The closest airport is the Calicut International airport, which is 87 km away from Wayanad. The closest railhead to Wayanad is at Nilambur road which is 53kms away. You can easily get buses to Wayanad from all major cities in the country.
The view of the Sea in Trivandrum
Otherwise known as Trivandrum, this city is the capital and presumably the most culturally affluent part of the state. Trivandrum has played host to a variety of rulers who have all left behind a mark over the city. Rapid development has not hindered the unique heritage in the form of the architecture and the culture that is still embodied by the city. The Kowdiar Palace, which was previously the official residence of the Travancore royal family, is particularly a must-visit in the city.
How to get there: Trivandrum is easily accessible by air, trains and national highways.
Much like Trivandrum, Kozhikode has been a habitat for multiple dynasties which have left their imprint on the city. Perhaps that is why Kozhikode is dubbed as the ‘City of Sculptures’. Kozhikode is also considered as the ‘City of Spices’ as it a major trading port of eastern spices. The district is famous for folk songs or ballads known as Vadakkan Pattukal. The sweet-meat street is a popular tourist hub and is a centre of marketing for many products that are locally produced in the region.
How to get there: Kozhikode is connected by all major airports in the world. The railway station of Kozhikode is well connected to other cities of India.
Kannur was previously a very important British trading centre in the south, hence much of the city still carries the aura of Colonial times which is mixed in with the local flavour of Kannur. You can explore St. Angelo Fort, walk along the Payyamabalam Beach, spot some wildlife at Aralam wildlife sanctuary or take a ferry ride over the Laccadive Sea. Kannur is a destination for everybody.
How to get there: Kannur international airport is still under construction; instead, you could take a train. There are trains plying to Kannur from all major cities in the country, and six daily trains connecting Kannur to the capital, Trivandrum.
Kerala is a treasure trove of places, once visited, it’ll always keep you coming back for more!