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“Top 8” Places to Visit in Kerala – God’s Own Country!

God’s Own Country, Kerala needs no introduction. It is a favorite destination for kids and adults alike. One of the topmost honeymoon destinations in India, Kerala is full of natural beauty. Magnificent waterfalls, lush greenery, exotic beaches, wildlife reserves, breathtaking hill stations, gorgeous lagoons, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, unique cultural experiences, scenic nature, mouthwatering cuisine, ayurvedic treatments, water sports, colorful festivals and peaceful backwaters are some of the things which a tourist can experience in Kerala. It is truly a heaven on Earth. In this post, we shall list the top 8 places/tourist attractions/points of interest to visit in Kerala.

 1. Cochin

Known as the “Gateway to Kerala”, Cochin is an enchanting city where the Arabs, British, Dutch, Chinese, and Portuguese have all left their mark behind. Kochi is full of architecture, colonial bungalows, and historical sites. And, not to forget the famous Chinese Fishing Nets which have been in use for centuries.

We had one of the best breakfasts in Kerala at Little Kochi Cafe. We had ordered Nutella pancakes, club sandwich and carrot-ginger juice. Yum!! They even have dorms to sleep for backpackers.

We hopped on to a ferry from Kochi and visited Ernakulam (commercial capital of Kerala hosting the highest number of international and domestic tourists) for some spices shopping (Kerala is well known for spices).

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We bought cardamom, black pepper, homemade aloevera and saffron soaps, banana chips, coffee beans, tea powder, clove and cinnamon from Ramesh Masala Centre in Broadway, Ernakulam. Contact Details are +91 98471 24181.

Two delicious places to have dinner at Kochi are Pizza Italia, Kashi Art Cafe. We really enjoyed the food and ambience here. Highly recommended.

The best places to visit in Kochi are as follows:

  1. Chinese Fishing Nets – Living example of the city’s multicultural history and the traditional fishing practices of the local community.
  2. St. Francis Xavier Church – Historic landmark and one of the oldest European churches in India, with a rich cultural and religious significance.
  3. Cherai Beach – Known for its golden sand, tranquil waters, and scenic beauty.
  4. Fort Kochi Beach – Has a rich history and was once a major trading port for spices and other goods.
  5. Kochi-Muziris Biennale – International exhibition of contemporary art held every two years. The next edition of the Biennale is scheduled to take place from December 2024 to March 2025. It was first held in 2012 and has since become one of the most important art events in South Asia. 
  6. Vasco Da Gama Square – The square is surrounded by a promenade that offers beautiful views of the sea and the nearby harbor.
  7. Mattancherry Palace Museum – Portuguese palace popularly known as the Dutch Palace featuring Kerala murals depicting portraits and exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi.
  8. Kerala Kathakali Centre – Popular theatre to watch kathakali performances, classical music/dance, martial arts, puppet shows. Contact Details are 0484 221 7000/221 7100/221 5827.
  9. Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica – One of the most important and iconic landmarks in Kochi known for its stunning architecture and rich history.
  10. Kerala Museum – Showcases and preserves the rich cultural heritage of Kerala, including its art, history, and traditions.
  11. Thrikkakara Temple – One of the few temples in India dedicated to Lord Vamana

Trivia about Kathakali performances – It is one of the oldest traditional dance forms in the world involving elaborate makeup, bright costumes, intricate hand, body, facial and eye movement. We were glued to our seats throughout the hour-long performance. An absolute must watch. 

2. Kumarakom and/or Alleppey

Famous for its houseboats and lagoons, Kumarakom and Alleppey are ideal destinations for backwaters experience in Kerala. The beauty of backwaters is best experienced on a small boat/canoe which goes into canals and channels, dotted with coconut trees lined up on the banks on both sides. You can even stay at an aesthetically designed luxurious houseboat for a memorable experience. Treat yourself to a traditional Ayurvedic massage, which is bound to leave you feeling rejuvenated.

Oh, how we miss the boat ride on the calm backwaters during our trip to Kerala; golden sunset, rice fields, local women cooking fish in their homes, goats grazing in the paddy fields, vibrant fall colors, tall coconut trees on both sides of the lagoon, birds chirping in a peaceful environment, quaint country cottages, local boys practising for the snake boat race, picturesque villages and more! A boat ride with a loved one ensures a memorable time to be cherished forever. 🙂

One can even attend the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, which is one of the most famous and prestigious snake boat races in Kerala, and takes place in Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha district. It is usually held on the second Saturday of August every year as part of the Onam festival celebrations.

We had opted for a 4 hours tour of the backwaters in Alleppey with Mr Gireesh. He even allowed us to row the boat. How cool is that! His contact details are +91 86061 15389. 

We did some authentic Kerala silk saree shopping from Sunita Textile, Mullakkal, Alleppey. They are very reasonable and I still get wonderful compliments for my sarees. 🙂 Contact Details are +91 80860 25882.

3. Athirappilly

Located on the Chalakudy river, the magnificent Athirappilly is one of the most popular and picturesque waterfalls in Kerala, nicknamed ‘The Niagara of India’. It is arguably India’s best waterfall, and one of our personal favorites. It is 80 feet high, and the thunderous roar of the falls can be heard far far away. The spray is so strong that one gets drenched even when you are standing forty-fifty feet away from the falls.

4. Munnar

Munnar is a beautiful hill station, surrounded by tea plantations, mountain streams, waterfalls, winding lanes, rolling hills, home to the rare Nilgiri Tahr and more. It is a place to relax and enjoy the beauty around. Soak in the fresh mountain air, click lots of pictures, spend some quality time with yourself or whoever you are travelling with, go for short treks, finish reading that novel, draw a scenery and more is what Munnar makes you do!

You can even witness tea being picked by the local tea pickers and processed at a traditional tea factory, and try fresh tea straight from the gardens. Don’t forget to carry a bag or two for family and friends. 

Some other places to visit during your stay in Munnar are as follows:

  1. Anayirankal Dam & Lake, Mattupetty Dam & Lake – Surrounded by lush green tea gardens, the views of the hills and the valleys in the distance are breathtaking. Visitors can take a boat ride in the lakes and enjoy the serene beauty of the surrounding landscape.
  2. Top Station & Echo Point – Known for their scenic beauty and offer visitors a chance to experience the natural beauty of the region.
  3. Kolukkumalai Tea Estate – World’s Highest Tea Plantation. The estate is known for producing high-quality tea and offers visitors a chance to learn about the tea-making process.

Adventure enthusiasts can trek to Anamudi, the Highest Peak in South India, explore Eravikulam National Park, or go rock climbing and paragliding.

5. Kovalam

Kovalam is a famous beach with 3 adjacent crescent beaches (Hawah Beach, Lighthouse Beach and Samudra Beach) ideal for sunbathing, swimming, surfing, parasailing, and catamaran rides..

The main attractions to visit in and around Kovalam are as follows:

Vizhinjam Lighthouse – 35 metres tall red and white painted structure is a major tourist attraction for anyone visiting Kovalam. It offers spectacular views of the Lighthouse Beach, Eve’s/Hawah Beach and its surroundings. The lighthouse road is good for cycling and long walks in the evening.

Vellayani Lake – It is located around 11 km from Kovalam and there are boat services available to this freshwater lake which looks enchanting in the moonlight. 

Kovalam Art Gallery – Located on the Hawah Beach, this art gallery displays artefacts, paintings and artworks of ancient traditions and heritage culture by Indian and international artists. It attracts art lovers from all over the world.

Thiruvallam Sree Parasurama Temple – It is one of the most ancient temples in South India located around 6 km from Kovalam Beach. It is one of the major Hindu shrines in India and one of the most famous temples dedicated to Lord Parasurama.

6. Thekkady

Thekkady is home to Kerala’s famous Periyar Tiger Reserve. Though one really never sees any tigers there, it is a beautiful national park, home to huge tribes of elephants, bison and a large number of bird species.

Apart from the Wildlife Sanctuary, some other places to visit are as follows:

  1. Murikkady – Known for its picturesque tea and spice plantations.
  2. Abraham’s Spice Garden – The plantation offers guided tours that take visitors through the various sections of the garden, where they can see and learn about the different types of spices and herbs that are grown there.
  3. Kadathanadan Kalari Centre – A centre for the world-known traditional martial art Kalaripayattu.
  4. Mangala Devi Temple – The temple is dedicated to the goddess Mangala and is believed to be over 2000 years old. It is located inside the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and is accessible only by foot. Visitors have to trek through the forest for about 2-3 hours to reach the temple. The trek is quite challenging, but it offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. It is open to visitors only during the annual Chitra Pournami festival, which usually falls in the month of April.

Trivia about Kalaripayattu martial arts – It is considered to be one of the oldest surviving fighting systems in the world. The stunt performers are very skilled and put up a breathtaking display for the audience. It is a shame that they are paid so less, for the stunts that they do and the acts that they perform are so lightning quick, so skilful and so dangerous that one wrong move and the performer might lose a leg or even die. With swords, spears, javelins, two three and sometimes more performers take the stage and put on a fighting performance that could curdle many a heart.

7. Varkala

Perched almost perilously along the edge of 50 feet high cliffs, the temple town of Varkala has a naturally beautiful setting and the cliff-top stretch has steadily grown into Kerala’s most popular backpacker hangout areas. The beach, below the cliffs, is long and pretty and restaurants and cafes play music and stalls sell T-shirts, baggy trousers and silver jewellery. The town attracts a hippy crowd, and it is a great place to watch the days slowly turn into weeks. Evening walking along the beach, making sand castles and swimming in the water is what most people do here. 🙂

8. Trivandrum

Thiruvananthapuram/Trivandrum is the capital and the largest city of Kerala. It has a British colonial architecture and many art galleries.

Some of the best places to visit in Trivandrum are as follows:

  1. Napier Museum – Art and natural history museum, has a vast collection of artifacts, including bronze idols, ancient ornaments, and wood carvings, from various regions of Kerala. 
  2. Thiruvananthapuram Zoo – One of the oldest zoo in India, particularly known for its collection of rare and endangered species, including the Indian rhinoceros, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, and Asiatic lion.
  3. Kanakakkunnu Palace – A magnificent palace that was built during the reign of the Travancore king and is now a popular venue for cultural events.
  4. Kerala Science and Technology Museum – Features a variety of interactive exhibits and galleries related to science and technology.
  5. Koyikkal Palace – Showcases the history and culture of the region through a range of exhibits and artifacts.
  6. Kuthiramalika Palace – Also known as the Mansion of Horses, a beautiful palace built by the Maharaja of Travancore and features a unique architectural style and a collection of rare artifacts.
  7. Padmanabhaswamy Temple – Renowned Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu known for its stunning Dravidian-style architecture and its rich cultural significance.

If you know of any more beautiful places, do let us know in the comments below. Also, share your thoughts and views regarding this post. Ciao till the next post!

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