If you thought that Kerala is a hot and humid coastal state famous for mosquitoes even in winter, you’d be dead wrong. Kerala has more serene, cool hill stations and scenic backwaters that one gets to see anywhere. Kerala’s immensely blessed when it comes to natural splendor, a rich culture, fascinating traditions, and wildlife. Oh, and did we forget to mention the amazing beaches? Here are some of the best places to visit in Kerala this year.
Romantic Seaside Towns
If you’re looking for an amazing beach surrounded by high cliffs for that perfect photo opp, head to Varkala. People come here from all over the world to worship the sun, ride boats, surf and enjoy relaxing Ayurvedic massages. Varkala is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus, who believe that the sunset here can drive away one’s sins. Don’t forget to check out some of the top Kerala attractions such as the Janardhana Temple, Kappil Lake and Sivagiri Mutt.
Kovalam is an exotic, beautiful beach that’s famous for sunbathing and Ayurvedic treatments. If you’re here during December and January, do join in the traditional New Year celebrations. Enjoy a fabulous view of the whole city from the top of the lighthouse on the crescent-shaped beach, Visit the historic Vizhinjam mosque and Kovalam’s Samudra Beach and Hawah Beach. An interesting sight is the strangely shaped rock formations along the coast. Be sure to include Kovalam into your Kerala packages.
Marari is known for its beaches and for its fabulous backwaters. Blessed with a long stretch of white sand bordered by exotic palm trees and surrounded by sleepy fishing villages, Marari is the best cure for a restless soul. Take a boat ride on the backwaters overnight, and watch the fishermen line their boats along the coastline for dawn fishing. Stay at one of Marari’s beach resorts and enjoy the endless golden sands and warm sunshine.
Kerala’s Lovely Backwaters
Alleppey is so well known that Lord Curzon described this place as the ‘Venice of the East’. Rent a houseboat for the duration of your vacation and cruise the natural backwaters. Green paddy fields, fishermen with their nets, cute ducks, small chapels and water lilies will pass by. Enjoy a conventional Kerala meal served on plantain leaves. Don’t miss seeing the Arthunkal Church, Krishnapuram Palace, Chettikulangara Bhagawathy Temple, Pathiramanal, Marari Beach and Sri Krishna Temple in Ambalappuzha.
Kumarakom is a sleepy little hamlet located near the picturesque Vembanad Lake, famed for its rare plants, wildlife and exotic scenery. You can go house boating, rafting, fishing, sightseeing, bird watching and kayaking on the lake and the waterways. A walk through cool coconut groves, green paddy fields and mangrove forests is a definite treat. Sail over the Vembanad Lake and watch wild duck, egrets, teal, herons, waterfowl, cuckoo, and darters along with a variety of migratory birds. Visit some of the small islands nearby for a more thorough wildlife study.
The Ashtamudi Lake is the second longest lake in Kerala, stretching for 16 kilometers. Gift yourself a long backwater cruise from Ashtamudi to Alleppey. Explore the cluster of eight tiny islands named for Resident Colonel John Munro at the confluence of the Kallada River and Ashtamudi Lake. Enjoy the local crafts such as coconut husk netting, and the making of Chinese fishing nets.
Kerala’s Cool Hill Stations
Munnar is covered with green mountain slopes full of tea farms, where low-flying clouds scud along the misty valleys. Munnar was favored by the English colonials for tea farming and for its climate. Hike around the mountains and discover streams and waterfalls. Be sure to check out the Blossom Park, Pothamedu ViewPoint, TATA Tea Museum, Attukal Waterfalls, Kundala Lake, Top Station, Mattupetty Dam, Eravikulam National Park, Marayoor Dolmens, Anamudi and the Indo Swiss Diary Farm,
Wayanad is a calm, serene little place where over fifty different tribes live in harmony. Places to see will be the Banasura Sagar Dam, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Edakkal Caves, Lakkidi, Tusharagiri Waterfalls, Sentinel Rockfalls and Kalpetta. Be sure to take long treks on the hills and enjoy this blissful little hillside town. Not to miss is the heart-shaped lake you’ll find on the way to the top of the Chembara peak.
Thekkady is famous for the Periyar Wildlife sanctuary in the thick evergreen Periyar Forest. Here you’ll find elephants, bison, leopards, boars, sambars, tigers, gaurs and lion-tailed macaques. Sail a boat on the Periyar Lake, and ride an elephant in the jungle. Trek through the jungles from Moozhiyar to Thekkady, and spot an elephant or two.
Vagamon is a quaint little hill station located across the Idukki-Kottayam border. This place is blessed by nature; you’ll see endless green meadows, dales, tea plantations, gardens and perfect green valleys, Explore the mystic hills - Thangal Hill, Murugan Hill and Kurisumala and experience what true bliss is like.
Other not to miss place is Bekal, a beautiful hill station known for its famous giant keyhole- shaped fort and a pristine blue sea. There’s also Nelliampathy, one of India’s best hill stations, known for its amazing peacocks and natural beauty. Kozhikode is known for its historical, cultural, culinary and educational aspects. Malampuzha offers natural beauty and enthralling cultural experiences. Last but not the least; Thrissur is a cultural feast you don’t want to miss.
The author of Post: Neha