Top 10 Places To See And Visit In Kerala

Welcome to God’s Own Country! Kerala, a state in southern India, is a picturesque paradise that will captivate your senses and leave you longing for more. With its serene backwaters, palm-fringed beaches, lush greenery, and vibrant culture, this tropical haven offers a multitude of experiences for every traveler. In this article, we will take you on a journey to explore the top 10 places to see and visit in Kerala. From the enchanting hill stations of Munnar and Wayanad to the tranquil backwaters of Alleppey and Kumarakom, Kerala beckons with its natural beauty and charming attractions. Discover the rich cultural heritage at Fort Kochi and watch mesmerizing Kathakali performances. Get a taste of Ayurveda in the quaint town of Kovalam or indulge in thrilling wildlife encounters at Periyar National Park. Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, cultural immersion, or culinary delights, Kerala offers it all in abundance. Plan your itinerary and let Kerala work its magic on you. Join us as we unveil the top 10 places that will leave you spellbound in this enchanting destination.

The Backwaters of Kerala

Kerala is renowned for its beautiful and serene backwaters. These aquatic paradises are a network of lakes, lagoons, and canals, giving you a unique opportunity to interact with the local communities and get a glimpse into their daily life. The backwaters are spread across the region, each with its own set of attractions and experiences.

The most popular destination for exploring the backwaters is Alleppey, often referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’. Here, you can soak in the tranquility of the surroundings as you drift gently on a traditional houseboat. These houseboats, known locally as ‘kettuvallams’, allow you to observe the lush paddy fields, charming hamlets, and local fishermen at work.

Another notable destination is Kumarakom, located on the banks of Vembanad Lake, the largest in Kerala. This quaint village offers a perfect blend of scenic beauty and rich biodiversity. Here, you can discover a wide array of bird species at the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary or enjoy a leisurely canoe ride through the narrow canals Exploring the Hill Stations of Munnar and Wayanad.

Nestled amidst the Western Ghats, the hill stations of Munnar and Wayanad are a haven for nature lovers. Their verdant landscapes and cool, pleasant weather offer a refreshing break from the coastal heat of Kerala.

Munnar, often referred to as the ‘Kashmir of South India’, is renowned for its vast expanses of tea plantations. Here, you can visit a tea museum to learn about the history and processing of tea or embark on a trek to the Top Station for panoramic views of the rolling tea gardens. The Eravikulam National Park, home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, is another must-visit in Munnar.

Wayanad, on the other hand, is an enchanting blend of wilderness and culture. Its attractions range from the prehistoric Edakkal Caves and the picturesque Soochipara Falls to the Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can spot elephants, deer, and if you’re lucky, a tiger.

The Cultural Heritage of Kochi and Thrissur

Kerala boasts of a rich and diverse cultural heritage, and nowhere is it more evident than in the cities of Kochi and Thrissur. These cities are a melting pot of various cultures and traditions, offering numerous opportunities to delve into Kerala’s history and heritage.

Kochi, also known as Cochin, is a vibrant port city with a history dating back centuries. It is home to several historic landmarks like the Mattancherry Palace and the Jewish Synagogue. The city’s iconic Chinese fishing nets are a testament to its trading connections with China. Don’t miss out on the Fort Kochi area, where you can explore colonial-era buildings and visit St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India.

Thrissur, known as the ‘Cultural Capital of Kerala’, is famous for its annual Thrissur Pooram festival, one of the most spectacular temple festivals in India. The city’s rich cultural scene also includes the Kerala Kalamandalam, a renowned institution for classical performing arts. Here, you can witness traditional dance forms like Kathakali and Mohiniyattam being performed.

Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks in Kerala

Kerala’s diverse terrain is home to several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, each offering unique wildlife experiences. From observing the majestic elephants in their natural habitat to spotting the elusive tiger, these reserves are a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts.

Periyar National Park, located in Thekkady, is one of the most famous wildlife reserves in Kerala. It is well-known for its elephant and tiger sightings, as well as its scenic lake where you can enjoy a boat ride. The park is also a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 260 species of birds.

Another notable wildlife destination is the Silent Valley National Park. This pristine reserve is home to a plethora of endemic species and is one of the last undisturbed tracts of South Western Ghats mountain rain forests. Here, you can explore the dense forests through several trekking trails, making it an ideal destination for adventure seekers.

Exploring the Beaches of Kovalam and Varkala

Kerala’s coastline is adorned with numerous beautiful beaches, each offering a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences. Among these, the beaches of Kovalam and Varkala stand out for their scenic beauty and relaxed ambience.

Kovalam, located near the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram, is famous for its three crescent-shaped beaches – Lighthouse Beach, Hawah Beach, and Samudra Beach. Here, you can enjoy a leisurely swim, indulge in water sports, or simply relax under the shade of the palm trees. Kovalam is also known for its Ayurvedic centres, where you can rejuvenate your body and mind with traditional therapies.

Varkala, on the other hand, is known for its striking geological formation known as the Varkala Cliff. This cliff overlooks the Arabian Sea and offers breathtaking views, especially during sunset. The beach is also a pilgrimage site, with the 2000-year-old Janardana Swami Temple and the Papanasam beach, believed to purge one’s sins.

Visiting the Historic Sites of Fort Kochi and Bekal Fort

Kerala’s rich history is evident in its well-preserved forts and historic sites. These structures bear testimony to the region’s colonial past and offer a glimpse into its historic events and legends.

Fort Kochi, a historic region in the city of Kochi, is a treasure trove of colonial-era architecture. The region was under the possession of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British at different times, and each has left its mark. The most prominent landmarks here are the St. Francis Church, where Vasco da Gama was initially buried, and the Dutch Palace, known for its intricate murals.

Further north in Kasaragod district, you will find the majestic Bekal Fort. This 17th-century fort is the largest in Kerala and offers panoramic views of the Arabian Sea. The fort’s unique keyhole-shaped watchtowers and its surrounding beach and park make it a must-visit destination.

The Famous Kerala Houseboats and Ayurvedic Spas

One of the most unique experiences in Kerala is staying overnight in a houseboat, locally known as ‘kettuvallams’. These traditional rice boats have been transformed into luxurious floating hotels, offering a unique way to explore the backwaters.

These houseboats offer all modern amenities and serve delicious local cuisine, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the backwaters in comfort. As you glide along the serene waters, you can witness the rural life of Kerala unfolding along the banks.

Kerala is also known as the ‘Land of Ayurveda’. The state’s numerous Ayurvedic spas offer a range of therapies and treatments, from rejuvenation therapies to treatments for various ailments. The experience is not just about healing; it’s about complete wellness and relaxation.

Experiencing the Traditional Art Forms of Kathakali and Mohiniyattam

The rich cultural tapestry of Kerala is incomplete without its traditional art forms. Kathakali and Mohiniyattam are two such classical dance forms that originated in Kerala and are integral to its cultural identity.

Kathakali is a dramatic dance form that combines dance, music, and acting to depict stories from Indian epics. The elaborate costumes, colourful makeup, and expressive gestures make it a visual spectacle.

Mohiniyattam, meaning ‘dance of the enchantress’, is a graceful dance form performed by women. It is characterized by its gentle and rhythmic movements and expressive facial expressions. Watching these traditional dance forms is a mesmerizing experience and offers a glimpse into Kerala’s rich cultural heritage.

Conclusion: Why Kerala Should Be on Your Travel Bucket List

Kerala, with its diverse landscapes, rich culture, and warm hospitality, offers an array of experiences for every traveller. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, a foodie, or a wellness seeker, Kerala has something for you. Its serene backwaters, lush hill stations, vibrant cities, and pristine beaches make it a destination like no other.

Moreover, the state’s commitment to sustainable and responsible tourism ensures that your visit contributes positively to the local communities and environment. So if you’re planning your next vacation, make sure to include Kerala on your travel bucket list. You will return home with memories to cherish and experiences that will make you want to return.

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