Wild Ind

KERALA: THE SERENITY OVERLOADED

Jane Austen wrote, ‘To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment,’ and Kerala is one such destination that not only rejuvenates but in a way cleanses one’s body, mind and soul.

Kerala is famous especially for its ecotourism initiatives and beautiful backwaters. Its unique culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demography, have made Kerala one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The state's tourism agenda promotes ecologically sustained tourism, which focuses on the local culture, wilderness adventures, volunteering and personal growth of the local population. Efforts are taken to minimise the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the natural environment, and enhance the cultural integrity of local people.

The major festival in Kerala is Onam. Kerala has a number of religious festivals. Thrissur Pooram, Attukal Pongala, Beema Palli Uroos, and Chettikulangara Bharani are the major temple festivals in Kerala. The Thrissur Pooram is conducted at the Vadakumnathan temple. The Chettikulangara Bharani is another major attraction which is conducted at the Chettikulangara temple near Mavelikkara. The Sivarathri is also an important festival in Kerala, celebrated in Aluva Temple and Padanilam Parabrahma Temple. Padanilam Temple is situated in Alappuzha district of Kerala, Parumala Perunnal, Manarkadu Perunnal are the major festivals of Christians. Muslims also have many important festivals. Annual festival Thirayattam is conducted sacred groves and village shrine of south Malabar region in Kerala.

The Paradise; Rich in Culture

Kerala has a rich cultural heritage. The cultural heritage of Kerala goes way back to ancient times. The contribution of Kerala to literature, music and arts of Indian heritage is unique and exemplary. Isolation of Kerala from the other parts of India by Western Ghats helped Kerala to retain its cultural heritage almost tom its original form. Its diverse culture is influenced by three main religions of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Exquisite sculptures, music and dance forms can be seen in the historic development of Kerala’s cultural traditions.

The traditions of kathakali and mohiniyattom are highly developed art forms that have developed from their folk origins into highly evolved classical dance forms. Other dance forms of Kerala are krishnanattom, mohiniyattom, thullal, koodiyattam, kolkkali, thiruvathirakali, kakkarishi nattakom, oppanna,and chavittunadakam. Panchavathyam, naadanpattu and many more music forms have evolved over the centuries in Kerala.

Exploring the Natural Bliss

1. Athirappilly Waterfalls: The Niagara Falls of India

As the biggest waterfall in Kerala, it lies in the border of Ernakulam District and Thrissur District in Kerala and is in a protected area. The parallel streams resemble Niagara Falls in the Monsoon season and so-called ‘The Niagara falls of India’.The area nearby the falls offers spectacular views of the Sholayar hills and the Western Ghats making Athirapally a beautiful tourist destination. You can choose a drive from Athirappally to the Vazhachal falls through the dense forest watching the wide variety of endangered Flora and fauna. There are also options for Daily Jungle Safari trips in Athirapally. The safari is organized by Thrissur District Tourism Promotion Council with Athirappally Destination Management Council and is very safe. The nearby spots to the waterfalls are best for short and safe trekking. The stream is good for swimming and one can enjoy the soft touch of the spray of water while in the stream. Rainbows are almost always visible in the waterfalls adding hues to the views.

2. Kovalam: beach town with a grove of coconut trees everywhere

Kovalam, one of the most popular beach destinations in Kerala located in Thiruvananthapuram is also called ‘the beach town’. The land is surrounded with three curve shaped beaches, the Lighthouse beach, Hawah Beach and Samudra Beach. The three beaches are separated naturally with heavy stone outcroppings adding more attraction to the view of Kovalam. If anyone wants to visit beaches in Southern Kerala, the usual choices are between Kovalam and Varkala Beach. The coastal beach town of Kovalam interests all types of visitors to its natural charm enriched with partially black soil, light house, and the attractive beaches. The westerners are more attracted to the land due to its shallow waters and low tidal waves. You can experience Motorboat ride, Surfing and Wooden boat ride safely at the Kovalam’s main beach, Hawah. All the beach sides are lined up with shops to serve you with handicraft products, souvenirs, money exchange, beachwear, variety foods etc. The shops and shacks complement more colours and life to the destination.

3. Munnar: Hill Station Famous for the Tea Gardens and Greenery

Munnar is the most popular hill station in South India and the best tourist place in Kerala to visit for 2 days. It has a unique view of verdant mountain slopes which are covered with about 80,000 miles of green tea farms like organic bedding over mountains which offer views of low-flying clouds and misty valleys. Munnar is usually cold and relaxed and gives you an incredible sensation, with the dense spray around you in the center of the organic tea farms. Munnar was once the summer season of the erstwhile English and English settlers found that the elevation, slope and alignment of the hills were particularly designed for the farming of tea. The modern end result is the lavish organic mountains decorated by tea gardens which is the sight to look out for in modern Munnar. There are also lot of waterfalls and hiking routes in Munnar for the adventure seeking guests. With its drowsy little bungalows, bungalows, old play areas and tea factories, Munnar is one of those unique hill stations in India with an old world colonial feel to the area.

4. Alleppey: Unique Backwater Destination in Kerala

Alleppey is well known for the backwater trips on houseboats and always comes on top among the best destinations to visit in Kerala with friends and check out in Kerala, simply because it is an exclusive encounter that you cannot get anywhere else on the globe. Alleppey was described as the one of the locations known as ‘Venice of the East’ by Lord Curzon. A houseboat vacation along the natural backwaters in Alleppey provides a chance to observe landscapes attractions like lavish paddy areas below the water levels, small chapels, fishing with netting, ducks in water, water lilies, etc. sure to remain etched in your mind forever and this is among the best places to visit in Kerala in October to December.
5. Thekkady: Best Wild Life Sanctuary in Kerala Periyar Wildlife sanctuary in Thekkady is a popular wild life sanctuary preserving various species of animals including elephants, tigers, sambars, gaurs and the very rare lion tailed macaques. The forest is situated on the banks of the lake, Periyar. Thekkady’s scenic beauty along with its wildlife has been attracting tourists and visitors from all over the world for years. The best tourist place in Kerala to see wildlife while doing a boat trip is Thekkady Lake. From the mighty Indian elephant to the Great Indian tiger to leopards, boars, bisons, deers, etc. Thekkady has it all that a wild life sanctuary has. The tourism department provides going up the right into the middle of the jungles either on feet or on top of elephants. If you want some more awesome adventure, you can take the path from Moozhiyar to Thekkadi via Gavi spinning through the thickest wooded miles of Kerala. Elephants are a common sight in Thekkady and boating is the favourite past time for most tourist who visits Thekkady.

6. Kochi: Enjoy the Blend of Modern City and Colonial Flavour from British, Arabian, Portugese and Chinese Eras

Cochin is in central Kerala and it is easy to get to most of the tourist places in Kerala from Kochi, the primary reason because of which Kochi is the starting point for most of the Kerala tour packages. Though the tourist destination is known as Kochi, it is a part of Ernakulam which is a beautiful district located on the coast of the Arabian Sea and must see place to go in Kerala. Ernakulam city is a modern city and the old part of the city is the Fort Kochi with a mix of British, Portuguese and Dutch cultures spread all across. Though Ernakulam is also known as Cochin, the latter is an interesting city in the district often known as the commercial capital of Kerala. Ernakulam is also titled as the ‘Queen of Arabian Sea’ as it is one of the finest natural harbours in the world. In the past, Dutch, Portuguese, Arabs, Chinese and the British have visited here and left their impressions in the town. Today, Ernakulam is as a booming metropolis city in Kerala with many industrial buildings and IT hubs taking shape in and around it. Just 8 kilometers away from the Ernakulam town is a historic place of Fort Cochin which has some beautiful impressions of the foreign heritage. Ernakulam is another and Mattancherry forms the third element. One can find old English, Dutch and Portuguese houses and buildings in both Fort Cochin and Mattancherry that take us back to those colonial periods. Besides those beautifully laden busy streets and shops, there are a few places in Fort Cochin as well as Mattancherry that attract tourists, mostly foreigners like Chinese Fishing Nets, Jewish Synagogue, Dutch Cemetery, Mattancherry Palace and so on.

7. Thiruvananthapuram: Capital City of Kerala with the richest temple in the world

Thiruvananthapuram which is the capital city of Kerala is a blend of serenity and city life. Thiruvananthapuram means The City of Lord Anantha is of historical importance and has many stories to unfold. Thiruvananthapuram owes a lot to Padmanabha Swamy Temple – for the charm, fame and the name. This huge temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu situates in the heart of the city, East Fort. A mix of Dravidian and Kerala architectural style, the Padmanabha Swamy Temple is the right place for art lovers as it holds many ancient stone carvings and mural paintings. The divine idol of Lord Vishnu reclining on the Serpent Anantha is yet another treat to the eyes. Being the largest and the most popular city in Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram has people from various parts of the state living here in social, religious and cultural harmony. Thiruvananthapuram has many breath taking locations, of which some must-visits are Kuthiramalika Palace Museum, Napier Museum, Ponmudi, Kovalam, Veli Tourist Village and Thenmala.

8. Wayanad: Land of Paddy Fields and Greenery

To know the greener side of Kerala, one must visit Wayanad which translates to the land of paddy fields in Local language Malayalam. It won’t be irrelevant to call it the ‘Green Paradise’ if you are planning for a sightseeing in Kerala. Calm and quiet, enriched with scenic beauty, tradition and wildlife, Wayanad is a blend of nature and heaven together and is one of the best places to visit in Kerala during summer. Wayanad is also famous for the richness it holds in the tribal heritage and agricultural abundance. Observing the lifestyle of over fifty tribes dwelling in this region will be a mind-blowing experience. The place is least populated when compared to other districts in Kerala, but the exoticness and landscape make it a must visit destination in the God’s own country. Wayanad all together has many exotic locations in and around the district like Edakkal caves, Banasura Sagar dam, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Lakkidi, Tusharagiri Waterfalls, Kalpetta, and Sentinel Rockfalls. Wayanad is a popular trekking destination in Monsoons and is a must visit destination in Kerala in July and August for adventure tourism enthusiasts.

9. Kumarakom: Little backwater hamlet with exotic scenery famous for houseboats where Arundati Roy’s famous book The God of Small Things is set

If you have craved to stay in a small village in Kerala for enjoying the backwaters, sipping on tender coconut water, tasting some authentic Kerala food and experiencing the warmth of fresh air, Kumarakom is the place you should be in when you travel to Kerala. Situated near the Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is a sleepy little hamlet with exotic scenery and rare flora and fauna which is one of the best tourist spots in Kerala to visit during monsoon as well. The place offers boating, house boat cruising, fishing and sightseeing. Canals, waterways and lakes decorated with lilies and lined with coconut groves, green paddy fields and mangrove forests will be quite tempting for any visitor to have a stress relieving vacation. Kumarakom is situated near to Ayemenem town where the popular book The God of Small Things was set is the most awesome position in Kerala (arguably) providing you the most delightful Kerala food. Sailing through the relaxed wealthy waters of Kumarakom in an experience in Kerala in itself. Spread across 14 acres, the sanctuary accommodates varieties of birds including teal, wild duck, egrets, herons, cuckoo, waterfowl, darters and also migratory birds. The place offers boat trip around the islands giving you a breath taking experience of watching the birds and the nature’s beauty.

10. Thrissur: Cultural Capital of Kerala famous for Pooram

Thrissur originally known as ‘Thirusivapperoor’ is the cultural capital of Kerala. Its cultural, religious and spiritual abundance has been historically recorded and is still preserved. The city is also denoted as the ‘Golden capital of Kerala’ because of the surprisingly high sales of gold happening here every year. In fact, there will be no other district in Kerala that would be doing consistently well in business over years. Talking about its cultural extravaganza, one must mention the mother of all poorams, the Thrissur pooram that is celebrated every year without fail. Held in April-May, Thrissur pooram is colourfully spectacular and pulls in a large number of tourists from all over the world to the city only to watch this festival.