For those who seek solace, the cluster of islands in the backwaters of Kerala provides just that and Kumarakom Backwaters happen to be one such place. Snuggled on the biggest freshwater lake in Kerala, Vembanad Lake is a heavenly abode. The stunning backwaters make it a delight watching birds like kingfishers, darters, and turns. It is a great place to have a peaceful village walk while the sun sets in the background to end with a Romantic candlelight dinner.
Located close to the bumbling town of Meppady and just 8 km south of Kalpetta, stands the highest peak of the Wayanad Hill Range- the Chembra Peak at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level. The Chembra peak offers a panoramic view of not only the entire Wayanad district but also a large chunk of Kozhikode, Malappuram and Niligiri districts. The peak, its surrounding lush greenery and the famed heart-shaped lake make it a paradise for travellers to explore.
The Silent Valley National Park, with its lush green forests and beautiful views of the rich flora and fauna, is a popular destination for nature as well as wildlife lovers all across the globe. Spread across an area of 89 square kilometres, the Silent Valley National Park is located in the Kundali Hills of the Western Ghats in Kerala in southern India. With its long, detailed history and the unique status of a rainforest, this national park is indeed a sight to visit. The well-planned Safari and the beautiful stop-overs around the park only make a trip to this part of Kerala more worthwhile.
The second largest lake in Kerala, Ashtamudi Lake is situated in the Kollam district. The lake runs over a length of 16 kilometres and covers almost 30% of the town of Kollam. Its name, Ashtamudi has been derived from two words 'Ashta' meaning eight and 'Mudi' meaning branch, thereby stating the fact that lake has eight branches. All the eight branches converge into a single channel that meets with the Arabian Sea. The lake is fed by the major river, Kallada. Coconut trees and palms surround the entire vicinity of the lake adding to its beauty.
Known For : Nelliyampathy Hills Nenmara Vallanghy Vela Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
With plenty of unexplored treasures, Nelliyampathy is a hill station located near the Kerala and Tamil Nadu border offering bounty of nature and lush green surroundings of tea, coffee and cardamom plantations. The town is also ornamented with a variety of flora, fauna and picturesque tourist attractions. A perfect place for eco-tourism and romantic holidays, the region comprises of peaks of altitude ranging from 500m to 1600m providing an incredible trekking trail for adventure buffs.
Best Time: October to March
With the Arabian Sea in the West and the pristine Western Ghats in the east, these backwaters are quite close to the beautiful Thiruvallam, Velli and Kovalam. There are many places in the streets of Poovar where you could negotiate and book houseboats. Don't forget to stop by the serene Lighthouse beach, Neyar river estuary and Pieta church. Thiruvallam backwaters lay around 6 km from Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. Sree Parasurama Temple in Thiruvallam is a highly revered place of religious importance.
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Situated in the Thalassery region of Kerala, Muzhappilangad is one of the largest drive-in beaches in India. Running parallel to NH66 formerly know as NH17, it is a major tourist attraction and garners a large number of foreign crowd. The beautiful drive in the beach of Muzhapillangad is the most popular activities pursued here. As you drive through the golden sands of the beach, the sunset and the view of the sea are unforgettable and awe-inspiring.
Valiyaparamba Backwaters serves as a major fishing centre in the region. This stretch of backwater is one of most scenic in Kerala. Being the lesser-know attraction in Kerala, Valiyaparamba Backwaters in Kerala is the best spot for peace lovers.
Overlooking the serene backwaters of Kerala is Marine Drive, one of the most popular hangout spots in the city of Kochi. It is a picturesque promenade with a walkway of about three kilometres and is a fantastic place to spend some time leisurely, either in the company of loved ones or even some alone time. The walkway of Marine Drive is filled with people during the evening who visit the place to have the view of the sun setting over the calm sea. Unsurprisingly, this is quite a popular destination for morning and evening walks as well.
Lying in the lap of the Banasura hills in the Wayanad district is the picturesque Banasura Sagar dam. Banasura Dam is the largest earthen dam in the country and the second-largest in Asia. The view of the sprawling reservoir from the top of the dam is breathtaking. Adventures like speed boating are readily available, and a trek up to the Banasura Peak is filled with streams, diverse flora, fauna, lush tropical green and majestic waterfalls. An earthen dam, also known as an embankment dam is created by placing mounds of clay, sand, rock or soil.
Known For : Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary Bhoothathankettu Dam
Located near Kothamangalam in Ernakulam on the northern bank of Periyar River, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is famous for its rich and varied birdlife. It is the first Bird Sanctuary in Kerala that was surveyed by Dr Salim Ali (the birdman of India), who also called it the richest habitat he has ever seen. This sanctuary came to light in the year 1983 on basis of recommendations made by this famous ornithologist. Spread over 25 sq.km, it shelters over 500 species of birds and rare birds such as Wayanad laughingthrush, rufous babbler, and white-bellied blue flycatcher.
Best Time: Throughout the year
Cherai Beach, which is one of the best-voted beaches of the state, is situated at a distance of 30 km from Kochi city. Its strategic location on the northern end of the Vypin Island in Kochi makes it a perfect merging point of the sea and backwaters. The surrounding greenery and the seashells present in different shapes and Chinese fishing nets add to the beauty of the sea. Its coastline alone runs for about 15 km and plays a distinguishing factor from all the other beaches.
Known For : Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary Golden Valley Mini Zoo, Ponmudi
Nestled in the lap of rolling hills of the Western Ghats, enveloped with tea plantations, lush green hills and valleys, waterfalls and streams; Ponmudi is a quaint little town in Trivandrum, Kerala. Trekking and mountain climbing on Agasthayarkoodam, the highest peak in the region is the most popular activity. To get the best of the two worlds, explore the wilderness of the Golden Valley and laze around along the freshwater springs and Kallari River. Don't forget to take a walk through the deer park and the Ponmudi crest.
Best Time: November to May
17 km off Thodupuzha lays this captivating Thommankuthu Falls, which is a seven step waterfall cascading down to form a pool. The location is best suited for trekking and rock climbing. Besides, facilities for many other activities such as boating, horse riding and fishing are also available.
Located 60 km from the Thrissur district of Kerala, Athirapally Falls is a marvellous cascade of frothy waters that makes its way from the Anamudi mountains of the Western Ghats. This 80 ft high and 330 ft wide marvel is the largest waterfall in Kerala and is often referred to as the "Niagara Falls of India". From here, the Athirapally falls flows through the verdant greenery of Vazhachal Forest toward the Arabian Sea, creating a spectacular vista of scintillating water, emerald jungles and azure sky.
Famous for its exquisite rock and wall carvings, the pre-historic Edakkal Caves are two naturally occurring alcoves located in the Wayanad district of Kerala. The caves measure at a massive length and width of 96 and 22 feet respectively and lie 1200 metres above the sea level. Owing to its precarious location, one needs to trek for one and half hour (around 4000 ft) to hit the cave entrance, and another 45 minutes to reach the mouth of the cave. The Edakkal caves are of historical and archaeological significance as it has carvings that date back to the Neolithic era, the late Stone Age.
The Muzzhapilangad Drive-in Beach at Kannur is one referred to with many superlatives- as the longest drive-in beach in the whole of India, as one of the cleanest beaches of Kannur and most importantly, as one of the best drive-in beaches that the entire Asian continent has to offer! Being Kerala's only drive-in beach, it attracts the attention of many tourists around the year. The whole concept of drive-in beaches is that you can drive right on the sandy shores of the beach- it is not very often that you get to drive along a 4 km long shoreline that offers an open road with no traffic and a stunning view.
Agastyakoodam, also known as Agastya Mala Peak is the second highest peak in Kerala with an extensive height of 1868 metre. Located within the premises of Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Agastyakoodam is part of the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve and boasts of surreal natural beauty. Nestled in Sahyadris of Western Ghats, the slopes of the peak are carpeted in purple hues of orchids. Home to diverse species of fauna and rare species of medicinal herbs, the region is a hotspot for avifauna and exotic birds. The spot is considered a haven for birdwatchers.