Better known as God's Own Country, Kerala is a heavenly portrait splashed with myriad of enchanting hues. Situated in the southern tip of India, Kerala is caressed by the Arabian Sea in the western coast of India. It is a green Venice, but unlike Venice, where man has created most of the glory, in Kerala nature rules. This beautiful coastal state of India is the country's ambassador to the world of travel and tourism. From the lagoons & backwaters that meander through the enchanting landscapes, to the rich and colourful culture & heritage that weave a tapestry of tourism delights, Kerala is a dream holiday destination of India.
Kerela was celebrated as a 'Paradise Found' - one of the ten in the world, A perfect description for a land renowned as "God's Own Country". What adds to the charm of its backwaters, beaches, Ayurveda health holidays, hill stations, wildlife, festivals, monuments and vibrant art forms, is its amazing social development indices that are on par with the developed world.
The capital city of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram is a district surrounded by the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats. During the British period and till a few years ago, it was known as Trivandrum, a name that suited the English to pronounce. The city extends from latitude 8°29' N to longitude 76°59' E. The place is well connected to most of the other major cities of India through rail, road, and air network.
In Kochi (Cochin), dawn is not often a thing of breathtaking beauty, but just a careless smear of tinted light where sea and sky unite. Daybreak is full of indeterminate promise. A slow lividness at the mist-obscured harbor mouth meets the swelling untamed surge of the ocean. Cargo-laden barges and vallams or country boats move, ponderously slow, over the sprawling vastness of the Vembanad Kayal, Kerala's largest lake that spreads full bosomed and silver gray in the sultry sun.
The word Kottayam is a composition of the words Kotta (meaning fort) and Akkam (meaning inside). Kottayam is one of the exotic backwaters sites attracting tourists throughout the year. Being a mountainous region with scenic landscapes, backwaters, bird sanctuaries, temples and churches make this a place of tourist attraction. Lying below the sea level, some of its nearby places are also a treat to the eyes.
Kovalam, meaning "a groove of coconut trees," is just 10 km from the state capital of Kerala- Thiruvananthapuram. Kovalam is actually a combination of three small beaches. Among these, the southernmost beach, named Lighthouse Beach, is the most frequented beach in Kovalam. Earlier this beach of Kovalam was an anglers' paradise. It still has some small villages, just a few kilometres away, which belong to the fishing community. Gradually, this beach of Kovalam has been transformed to a tourist spot of great interest.
The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake, and is part of the Kuttanad region. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is spread across 14 acres is a favourite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist's paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teal, waterfowl, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian stork that live in flocks, in Kumarakom, are a fascination for visitors. The best way to watch the birds of the Kumarakom sanctuary is a boat trip round the islands.
The tourist destination of Palakkad, known as the granary of Kerala, is a land of valleys, hillocks, rivers, forests, mountain streams, dams and irrigation projects. Situated at the foot of the Western Ghats, Palakkad is the gateway to Kerala from the north. Palakkad derives its name from the Malayalam words Pala (the Alsteria Scholaris tree) and Kadu (forest), which goes to prove that this place was once a beautiful stretch of forests covered with the sweet-scented flowers of the Pala tree.
Calicut or Kozhikode is situated on the southwest coast of the Arabian Sea. Basking in the idyllic setting of the serene Arabian Sea on the west and mesmeric peaks of the Wayanad Hills on the east, this district has all the required ingredients to fascinate a tourist on holidays in Kerala.
Munnar is a small hill station set amongst the Kannan Devan Hills. One of the most popular hill resorts of India, Munnar is adorned with lush green surroundings, lakes, reservoirs, forests, and tea estates. The quiet environs of Munnar attract the traveler to relax in the lap of mother nature. Munnar also beacons the adventure-seeking traveler, who is interested in paragliding. It has some of the highest tea estates in the world.
Alappuzha (Alleppey) is one of the exotic backwater sites in Kerala. Washed by the Arabian Sea, interlocked by a number of canals and bridges, this tiny marketplace is also famous for its Nehru Trophy Boat Race held every year. Alappuzha attracts tourists not only by its natural beauty but also through its locally made coir products that are of a very superior quality.
Cannanore or more appropriately Kannur as it is known today is a place with a rich history right from the time of the Aryan migration. The word Kannur may have evolved from a village named Kannathur around which the modern town of Kannur grew.
A mere one and a half hour's road journey separates the beaches of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) from the invigorating climate of Ponmudi Hills. The name Ponmudi, a hill station so close to the sea, in Malayalam means golden crown.
Quilon (also Kollam) is a district encircled by Alappuzha in the north, Pathanamthitta in the northeast, Thiruvananthapuram in the south, Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu) in the east and the Arabian Sea in the west.
Nilambur is a beautiful town in the Malappuram district situated on the banks of the Chaliyar River. It is at a distance of about 70 km from Calicut and 100 km from Ooty (Uddagamandalam). Nilambur is a small sleepy town has a surprise in store for its visitors.
A relatively new destination in Kerala, Varkala is for those who prefer to do absolutely nothing while holidaying. Due to a spillover resulting from the over saturation of Kovalam, foreigners started coming to the town about six years ago. The trend that started as a trickle became a steady flow within two years. Today, there is a constant stream of visitors.
At the Mata Amritanandamayi Math in Amritapuri near Quilon, South Kerala, there is a beautiful temple that houses more than seven hundred full-time residents. The day dawns early in Amritapuri Ashram (monastery) located in the backwaters of Kerala.