7 Must-Visit Destinations in Kerala
They call it the God’s Own Country and the National Geographic’s Traveler Magazine has named it as “one of the 10 paradises of the world” and rightly so thanks to the Indian southern state’s breath-taking natural beauty, lush green landscape, rich flora and fauna, the multitude of rivers and an extensive shoreline. The state’s booming tourism industry and its keen sense of hospitality has clearly made it one of the most sought after vacation destinations across the world.
The Number of Destinations can be Overwhelming
Kerala is literally a tourist’s paradise and things can get quite overwhelming given the variety of destination choices leaving you with the dilemma of which places to visit and which ones to skip.
To put things into perspective; you have not truly experienced Kerala, if you have not visited the most sought-after destinations in the state. Here’s a list of 7 must-visit locations that deserve to be included on the itinerary of every individual planning a vacation in Kerala.
Where to Begin Your Sojourn?
The best place to begin your journey through Kerala is the state capital of Trivandrum which is located at the southern-most tip and then gradually make your way back to the northern end covering the rest of the state.
The State Capital of Trivandrum
No visit to Kerala is complete until you visit Trivandrum which incidentally is the best place to begin your trip. Home to Sri Padmanabha Temple which is the richest temple in the world, the state capital also has a lot of other attractions to offer such as boating on the beautiful Veli Lake or a trip to the Shankumugham Beach. However, the two hugely popular locales near Trivandrum are the Kovalam Beach and the Poovar Island.
Located at a distance of about 16 km from Trivandrum, the crescent-shaped Kovalam Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in south India. Divided into three distinct parts, the southern stretch of the beach is known as the lighthouse beach, the central stretch is called the Hawah, while the northern stretch is called the Samudra. You can enjoy the clean sandy beaches, pamper yourself to some ayurvedic massage and spa treatments or simply head for a catamaran cruise.
At a distance of about 30 km from Trivandrum, the Poovar Island is what fantasies are made of. The island is located at the mouth of a creek flanked by the seashore on one side and the backwaters on the other. It is the perfect holiday destination for those looking for some peace and tranquillity.
Backwaters – Alleppey
More than anything else, the thought of Kerala for many is synonymous with backwaters. Head over to Alleppey – the home of backwaters, canals and lagoons. A trip to this quaint little town will mesmerize you with its simplicity and the amazing way of life of the locals and their culture. A cruise along the picturesque backwaters or a night’s stay on the houseboat is what the place is immensely popular for.
Kumarakom is an alternative destination to Alleppey. Located near Ayemenem village, visitors get to indulge in backwater cruises, indulge in spas and massages, and enjoy the lip-smacking local cuisine. The mangrove covered lagoons and the serene ambience makes Kumarakom a perfect place to relax and unwind.
Literally heaven on earth, this picturesque hill station is a favourite amongst both honeymooners and regular travellers alike. One gets to see wide swathes of tea plantations spread across the hills. There is also a lake for boating activities and a dam. You can also visit the Eravikulam National Park and watch the endangered Nilgiri Tahr in its natural habitat on the Anamudi Peak which incidentally is the highest point in southern India.
The City of Cochin
No visit to Kerala should end without making a trip to the port city of Cochin. With its various attractions of historic and cultural significance, Cochin is a very popular destination amongst both foreign and local travellers alike. Fort Kochi and Mattanchery are the locations commonly frequented by tourists. Other locations of interest include the 400-year-old Jewish Synagogue, the Cherai Beach, St. Francis Church which is known to be Vasco De Gama’s burial site, the Dutch Palace that has relics and artefacts depicting the tale of Ramayana, and the Hill Palace in Tripunithura which is the largest archaeological museum in Kerala.