Tourist Places in Kerala - South India Tourist Attractions
Kerala, located on the Southwestern tip of India, enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Asia. Fondly referred to as ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala was selected by the National Geographic Traveller as one of the 50 destinations of a lifetime and one of the thirteen paradises in the world.
An equable climate, serene beaches, tranquil stretches of backwaters, lush hill stations and exotic wildlife are the major attractions of this land. A unique advantage of Kerala is that most of the destinations here are just two to four hour drive from the other.
Classical art forms, colourful festivals, unique cuisine are some of the cultural marvels that await travellers. Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine and Panchakarma, the rejuvenation therapy in Ayurveda have also helped Kerala to gain a pan-global reputation as a top of the line destination.
And in Kerala, the season never ends, thanks to the year-long moderate climate and numerous festivals and events.
How to Reach Kerala:
Referred to as God's own Country, Kerala is a major tourist destination in India and is well connected with other parts of the country. Also being a popular destination in India and the world tourism map, Kerala is well accessible by air, rail and road.
There are three airports in the state - Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. Thiruvananthapuram is also an international airport, connecting the state to many places in India and the world.
Thiruvananthapuram International Airport
• Domestic flights (direct): From/To: Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai
• International flights (direct): From/To: Colombo, Maldives, Dubai, Sharjah, Bahrain, Doha, Ras-al-Khaimah, Kuwait, Riyadh, Fujairah and Singapore.
Karipur Airport, Kozhikode
• Domestic flights (direct): From/To: Mumbai, Chennai, Coimbatore
• International flights (direct): From/To: Sharjah, Bahrain, Dubai, Doha, Ras-al-Khaimah, Kuwait, Riyadh, Fujairah
Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery
• Domestic flights (direct): From/To: Mumbai, Chennai, Goa, Agathi, Bangalore
• International flights (direct): From/To: Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Riyadh, Muscat
There are around 200 railway stations in Kerala connecting most of the places in the state to places in the other parts of India and inside the state. Long-distance express trains connect important places in the state to places outside Kerala like Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.
Road:An extensive network of metalled roads connects most of the places in the state. National highways 47, 17, and 49 connect Kerala with other parts of India.
Kerala at a Glance:
Kerala, a State in the Republic of India, has 14 districts or administrative divisions. The major cities are Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. There are three airports in the state which provide international and domestic connections.
Here is some quick information on Kerala which will be useful for travellers visiting the Kerala State.
Location : Southwestern tip of India.
Area : 38,863 sq km.
Population : 31,84,1374
Capital : Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)
Language : Malayalam. English is widely spoken.
Religion : Hinduism, Christianity, Islam
Time : GMT +5:30
Currency : Indian Rupee
Climate : Tropical
Summer : February - May (24 - 330C)
Monsoon : June - August (22 - 280C), October - November
Winter : November - January (22 - 320C)
Climate of Kerala:
The climate of Kerala is tropical monsoon with seasonally excessive rainfall and hot summer. Kerala doesn’t have distinct seasons. The region experiences two rainy seasons: The Southwest monsoon from June to August and the Northeast monsoon during October / November. From January to February, Kerala experiences pleasant and cool weather conditions.
The summer months from March to May are marked by high temperature and humidity. March is the hottest month with a mean maximum temperature of about 33°C. During the peak of rainy season in June and July, the temperatures would hover around 28°C. Kerala is extremely humid due to the existence of Arabian Sea towards its West.
The diversity of Kerala's geographical features of the state has resulted in a corresponding diversity in climate. The High Ranges have a cool and bracing climate throughout the year, while the plains are hot and humid.
The Southwest monsoon (June to August) is the principal rainy season, when Kerala receives about 70% of its annual rainfall. This rainfall as percentage of annual rainfall decreases from North to South. On the other hand, the relatively less Northeast monsoon rainfall as percentage of annual rainfall increases from North to South. In the local language – Malayalam, rainfall during Southwest monsoon season is known as Edavapathi while that of Northeast monsoon season is known as Thulavarsham.
The average level of annual rainfall is quite high when compared to other Indian states.
Experience in Kerala:
God's Own Country offers splendid options to make your holidays an experience of a lifetime. Here we present the specialties of this land for travelers to explore and experience.
Poorams, the annual festivals at the temples of North Kerala are splendid celebrations which follow the harvest season. Spectacular elephant pageantry and traditional percussion ensembles are the highlights of pooram festivals. Thrissur Pooram, the most popular among them has been attracting travelers from various parts of the world for the past several years. Other important poorams include the Arattupuzha Pooram, Peruvanam Pooram, Nenmara Vallangi Vela, Uthralikkavu Pooram, Pariyanampetta Pooram and Chinakkathoor Pooram.
Houseboat Cruise in Alappuzha, Kottayam and Eranakulam:
Present day houseboats are huge, slow moving exotic barges used for leisure trips, and are in fact reworked version of kettuvallams of olden times. The original kettuvallams were used to carry tons of rice and spices. A standard kettuvallam can hold up to 30 tons from Kuttanad to the Kochi port.
The kettuvallam or ‘boat with knots’ was so called because the entire boat was held together with coir knots only. Not even a single nail is used during the construction of the boat.. The boat is made of planks of jack-wood joined together with coir. This is then coated with a caustic black resin made from boiled cashew kernels. With careful maintenance, a kettuvallam can last for generations.
A portion of the kettuvallam was covered with bamboo and coir to serve as a restroom and kitchen for the crew. Meals would be cooked onboard and supplemented with freshly cooked fish from the backwaters.
When the modern trucks replaced this system of transport, some one found a new way that would keep these boats, almost all of which were more than 100 years old, in the market. By constructing special rooms to accommodate travelers, these boats cruised forward from near-extinction to enjoy their present great popularity.
Now these are a familiar sight on the backwaters and in Alappuzha alone, there are as many as 500 houseboats.
While converting kettuvallams into houseboats, care is taken to use only natural products. Bamboo mats, sticks and wood of the areca nut tree are used for roofing, coir mats and wooden planks for the flooring and wood of coconut trees and coir for beds. For lighting though, solar panels are used.
Today, the houseboats have all the creature comforts of a good hotel including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. Parts of the curved roof of wood or plaited palm open out to provide shade and allow uninterrupted views. While most boats are poled by local oarsmen, some are powered by a 40 HP engine. Boat-trains – formed by joining two or more houseboats together are also used by large groups of sightseers.
What is truly magical about a houseboat ride is the breathtaking view of the untouched and otherwise inaccessible rural Kerala that it offers, while you float! Now, wouldn’t that be something?
Ayurveda - harmony of body, mind and soul:
Ayurveda evolved around 600 BC in India. This new system of medicine stressed on the prevention of body ailments in addition to curing them. Followed by the Dravidians and Aryans alike, Ayurveda has been practised ever since. Today, it's a unique, indispensable branch of medicine - a complete naturalistic system that depends on the diagnosis of your body's humours - vata, pitta and kapha - to achieve the right balance.
Ayurveda believes in the treatment of not just the affected part, but the individual as a whole. Making it the natural way to refresh you, eliminate all toxic imbalances from the body and thus regain resistance and good health.
Kerala, the land of Ayurveda
Kerala's equable climate, natural abundance of forests (with a wealth of herbs and medicinal plants), and the cool monsoon season (June to July and October to November) are best suited for Ayurveda's curative and restorative packages.
In fact, today, Kerala is the only State in India which practises this system of medicine with absolute dedication.
Monsoon, the ideal time for rejuvenation
Traditional texts reveal that the monsoon is the best season for rejuvenation programmes. The atmosphere remains dust-free and cool, opening the pores of the body to the maximum, making it most receptive to herbal oils and therapy.
Kerala owes its transnational fame to this nearly 300 years old classical dance form which combines facets of ballet, opera, masque and the pantomime. It is said to have evolved from other performing arts like Kootiyattam, Krishnanattam and Kalarippayattu. Kathakali explicates ideas and stories from the Indian epics and Puranas.
Presented in the temple precincts after dusk falls, Kathakali is heralded by the Kelikottu or the beating of drums and to the accompaniment of the Chengila (gong). The riches of a happy blending of colour, expressions, music, drama and dance are unparallelled in any other art form.
Costume is elaborate with the face painted up. Great importance is laid on the Vesham or make-up which are of five types - Pacha, Kathi, Thadi, Kari and Minukku.
The pomp and magnificence of Kathakali is partly due to its décor, part of which is the kireetam or huge headgear and the kanchukam the over sized jackets, and a long skirt worn over a thick padding of cushions. The identity of the actor is completely mutilated to create a super human being of larger-than-life proportion.
Pacha Vehsam or the green make-up portray noble protagonists.
Kathi Vesham portrays villainous characters.
There are three types of bearded or Thadi Veshams.
"Vella Thadi" or White beard for superhuman monkeys like Hanuman.
"Chuvanna Thadi" or Red beard meant for evil characters.
"Karutha Thadi" or Black beard for the hunter.
Kari Vesham is used for she-demons.
Minukku (Prettying Up):
The "Minukku Vesham" is used for female characters and sages.
Mudra is a stylized sign language used to depict an idea, a situation or a state of being. A Kathakali actor enacts his ideas through mudras. For this the actor follows a systematic sign language based on Hastalakshana Deepika, a treatise on the language of hand gestures.
Kathakali orchestra is formed of two varieties of drums - the maddalam and chenda; the chengila which is a bell metal gong and the ilathalam or cymbals.
Students of Kathakali have to undergo rigorous training replete with oil massages and separate exercises for eyes, lips, cheeks, mouth and neck. Abhinaya or expression is of prime importance as is nritya or dance and geetham or singing.
Together with highly evocative facial expressions, the mudras and the music both vocal and instrumental, Kathakali unfolds stories from a bygone era in a lofty style reminiscent of the Greek plays. Kerala Kalamandalam is the prominent institution imparting Kathakali training in the traditional way.
Theyyam also known as Kaliyattam, is a ritual dance popular in North Kerala or the erstwhile Kolathunadu. Theyyam incorporates dance, mime and music and enshrines the rudiments of ancient tribal cultures which attached great importance to the worship of heroes and the spirits of ancestors. Of the over 400 Theyyams performed, the most spectacular ones are those of Raktha Chamundi, Kari Chamundi, Muchilottu Bhagavathi, Wayanadu Kulaveni, Gulikan and Pottan. These are performed in front of shrines, sans stage or curtains, by persons belonging to the Vannan, Malayan and other related castes.
Thudangal (the beginning) and Thottam (the invocation) are the introductory rituals of the Theyyam or the Thira, as it is known in south Malabar. The headgear and other ornamental decorations are spectacular in sheer size and appearance. Karivalloor, Nileswaram, Kurumathoor, Cherukunnu, Ezhom and Kunnathoorpadi in North Malabarare places where Theyyams are performed annually from December to April. At theParassinikadavu Sri Muthappan Temple in Kannur, Theyyam is preformed on all days.
Kalarippayattu, considered to be the mother of all martial art forms in the world, is a priceless asset to Kerala's heritage. An intricate blend of physical prowess, mindset, martial techniques and indigenous medical system, this form of armed, close quarter, hand-to-hand combat is unique to this State.
Kalarippayattu is both an art and a science, which has the ability to transform its practitioners to become adept in fighting techniques as in treatment modes.
Kalari means arena and Payat means skill training. This unique martial art form is taught in two styles; Northern and Southern, which were formulated by masters of yore. Kalarichikilsa, a medicinal system specialising in the treatment of wounds and bruises has its roots in Ayurveda.
The North Malabar region of Kerala is renowned for its legendary warriors whose heroic deeds are praised in the northern ballads, popularly known as Vadakkan Pattukal.
Jewelery in Kerala:
From time immemorial, people of Kerala have been fascinated by the charm of ornaments, especially in gold and silver. Majority of the traditional ornaments here are simple, bright and elegant designs making them suitable for all occasions. Jewels are often gifted as a token of love.
Gold is considered as an auspicious metal and Keralites have a special love forornaments in gold. One can find several jewellery stores selling traditional as well as most modern designs in all medium and big towns.
Elephants in Kerala:
Impressive elephant pageantry is an important part of the famous festivals of Kerala. Pachyderms are considered auspicious in the State. Elephants have an important role in the cultural life of Kerala. There is hardly any place in the world where elephants are loved, revered and groomed like Kerala. Several temples in Kerala groom one or more elephants for ritualistic purposes.
In olden times a ‘pet elephant’ was quite common in aristocratic families. Since elephants are inevitable for the festivals of Kerala, tamed ones are reared at several temples. In major temples pachyderms are also needed for some daily rituals.
Elephants are titled in Kerala as the State animal and treated with much respect.
The Guruvayoor temple in the Thrissur district of Kerala runs an elephant sanctuary where elephants donated to the temple by devotees are housed. Punnathoorkotta, the centre, attracts large number of pachyderm lovers and tourists.
Travellers to Kerala can also visit Kodanad and Konni, two villages where baby elephants are domesticated.
Tourist Places in Kerala - tourist place in kerala
There are many places of visit in Kerala like:
The capital of Kerala lies on the southwest coast of India. 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. 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. A quiet, neat and clean city, it has a rich cultural heritage too.
Kochi is a busy port city in Kerala. In ancient times most of the foreign sea travelers had been to Kochi and foreign influence is till date found in their lifestyles and architecture. The Vembanad Kayal, Kerala's largest lake that spreads full bosomed and silver gray in the sultry sun is in Kochi. 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.
Kayamkulam is a small village on the western coast of India in the state of Kerala. Washed by the waters of the Arabian Sea, the place is almost equidistant from Alleppey and Quilon, both of which connect the Kerala backwaters.
Calicut or Kozhikode is situated in the south Indian state of Kerala on the southwest coast of the Arabian Sea. The district extends from latitude 11°15' N to 75°49' E. 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.
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.
Munnar is a small hill station set amongst the Kannan Devan hills. It is famous for its 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 is one of the highest tea estates in the world.
Alappuzha (Alleppey) is one of the exotic backwater sites of India's southern state 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 or the snake boat race is held every year. The temperature ranges from 22 to 35°C in summer and 20 to 32°C during winters.
This group of islands in Vembanad Lake attracts thee tourists by the beauty of the swaying palm trees, green paddy fields, waterways. 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.
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. Or according to some it is a combination of Kannan (Lord Krishna), a deity in the Hindu pantheon and Ur meaning a place or an abode.
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.
Wayanad is situated in an elevated picturesque mountainous plateau in Western Ghats.
Thekkadi - The very sound of the name conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hill and spice scented plantations.
Quilon (also Kollam) is situated in the southwest corner of India in the state of Kerala. The district is 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. It extends latitude 9°28' and longitude 76°17' north.
Varkala is one of the famous beaches in South India. The Papanasam beach in Varkala is known for its mineral springs and rocky cliffs. 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.
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.
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.