Variety is the spice of life. And tourism in Kerala is a fine example. From the serene backwaters and misty hills to ancient architecture and impressive wildlife, God’s Own Country offers a truly diverse travel experience.
How do you pick the best? If you have 10 days for a Kerala tour, we suggest you do ‘The Famous Circuit’ covering Kochi, Munnar, Alleppey and Thekkady. Here’s our favorite Kerala Itinerary:
The commercial capital of Kerala, Kochi (Cochin) has always been a major centre of commerce and trade with the Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and the British. A walk through the cosmopolitan city of Kochi – known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea – will delight you with beautiful remnants of foreign traders from bygone eras.
No list of places to visit in Kerala can exclude Kochi, considered among the finest of natural harbours in the world. Once an obscure fishing village, Fort Kochi was the first European township in India. Whether it’s the majestic Indo-European architecture or the picturesque Chinese fishing nets, Kochi offers a treasure trove of historical tales. The popular tourist spots include the Bastion Bungalow (1667), Fort Immanuel (1503), and Mattancherry Dutch Palace (1557).
The Bastion Bungalow
Fort Immanuel, Kochi
Mattancherry Dutch Palace Kochi
Thanks to its cool weather, lovely tea plantations, vivid flora and fauna, Munnar – situated 1600 metres above sea level – is the mainstay of Kerala honeymoon packages. Anamudi Peak, the tallest spot south of the Himalayas, is ideal for trekking. Mattupetty reservoir offers a delightful boat ride in the adjoining lake.
The other attractions include Top Station, the highest point in Munnar; Echo Point, situated en route to Top Station; Pallivasal Hydroelectric project, first of its kind in Kerala; and Eravikulam National Park, home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr.
Nilgiri Tahr in Eravikulam National Park
Counted among the best places to visit in Kerala, Munnar is renowned for the rare Neelakurinji (Strobilanthus), known to bloom once in 12 years. The blue flowers will transform the entire landscape, with its effervescent hue in 2017!
Neelakurinji Flowers are an Effervescent blue colour
The best place to experience the scenic backwaters of Kerala is Alappuzha(Alleppey), home to stunning lakes, canals and lagoons. After all, travellers call it the Venice of the East! It was once an important centre in the maritime history of Kerala. Today Alappuzha is famous for its boat races and backwater houseboat cruises. The place also boasts of the best Kerala beaches.
Boat Races are quite popular in Alleppey
Don’t miss the Vembanad Lake, surrounded by incredible paddy fields and coconut lagoons.
If you are a birdwatcher, head to Pathiramanal (Backwater Island) for glimpses of rare migratory birds from across the world. The Alappuzha Beach – with its 137-year-old pier – is a popular picnic spot.
A ride on the Kettuvallamsor boats with thatched roofs– earlier used to carry rice and spices – is an experience in itself.
Kettuvallam are of various sizes like the houseboat (shown here in picture)
Thekkady Tiger Reserve is one of the major attractions here
For those who love nature, wildlife and adventure, Thekkady – located at an altitude of 700 metres above the sea level –is among the most beautiful places in Kerala. The Periyar forests, the Tiger Reserve, and the Mullaperiyar Dam are the major tourist attractions, nestled between the forests of Western Ghats.
Home to the Asian Elephant, Bengal Tiger, Indian Bison, Sambar Deer, Leopard, Barking Deer, and more than 60 species of mammals, Thekkady promises a unique adventure.
Try a boat cruise in the Periyar Lake; look out for the Smooth-Coated Otter and the Mahseer, the endangered game fish of India.
Fancy getting transported to a new world? Soak in the sights and smells of the tea, coffee, pepper and cardamom plantations. All of these are areas adjoining the Tiger Reserve.
The tiger reserve is surrounded by Cardamom (in photo) and other spice plantations