Attractions of Kerala - God's Own Country

Wildlife of Kerala


Culture of Kerala


CITIES OF KERALA

Kerala or the land of coconuts, as the name denotes, is tucked away in the southwestern tip of the Indian peninsula. This narrow impossible green strip of fertile land truly looks and feels like another country and is an experience by itself-a tropical paradise, amidst a 100% literate, cosmopolitan, yet friendly populace, who were beneficiaries of an odd trinity: progressive rulers, a strong school system and later Communist led governments. Renowned for its serene beaches, lush vegetation, mesmerizing backwaters, stunning mountains, spice perfumed air and an amiable culture that embraces Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism and Judaism, Kerala represents a microcosm of India and has been certified by the National Geographic Traveller as on of the 50 must -see places of a lifetime!

Kerala is celebrated for Kathakali; a complex and ritualized dance drama based on the ancient epics, the highly stylized martial art of Kalarippayat; and Ayurveda the primordial system of medicine that uses herbs and messages to treat a range of ailments. Kerala is one of the most progressive, literate and highly educated states in the country, yet has an easy-going relaxed atmosphere.


General Information

Area : 38,863 Sq.Kms; Capital: Thiruvananthapuram; Population: 34 million; Language: Malayalam; Literacy: 100%; Best time to visit: October to March; Airports:    Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin, Kozhikode.

Major Cities : Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam (Quilon), Alappuzha (Alleppey), Kottayam, Cochin (Ernakulam or Kochi), Thrissur, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod.

Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)

Kerala’s capital, the coastal city of Thiruvananthapuram (still widely and more commonly known as Trivandrum), is set on seven low hills, 87km from the southern tip of India.Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) was the capital of the kingdom of Travancore from 1750 until 1956,when the state of Kerala was created. Its name-formally readopted to replace”Trivandrum”-derives from thiru-anantha-puram,or ”the holy city of Anantha”,the coiled snake on which the god Vishnu reclines in the midst of the cosmic ocean.

Although it has few monuments as such, Thiruvananthapuram, as a window on Keralalan culture, is an ideal first stop in the state. The oldest most interesting part of town is the Fort area in the south, around the Shri Padmanabhaswamy temple and Puttan Malika Palace, while important showcases for painting, crafts and sculpture, the Shri Chitra Art Gallery and Napier Museum, stand together in a park in the north. In addition, schools specializing in the martial art Kalarippayat and the dance/theatre forms of Kathakali and Kutiyattam offer visitors an insight into the Keralan obsession with physical training and skill.

Arrival and tours

Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) is the main transport hub for traffic along the coast and cross-country. Towns within a couple of hours of the capital-such as Varkala and Kollam-are most quickly and conveniently reached by bus.

By air and train

From Thiruvananthapuram’s (Trivandrum) airport, there are Jet Airways, Indian Airways and Air India flights to Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kochi, Mumbai, Cochin, Madurai and Trichy.Kerala’s capital is well connected by train with other towns and cities in India. Tourist can travel to other part of Kerala by road.

Hotels in Thiruvananthapuram :Hotel South Park, Hotel Luciya,Hotel Horizon, Hotel Pankaj,Mascot Hotel, Hotel Jas,Hotel Ariya Nivas,Residency Towers, Hotel Chaitram,Hotel Geeth,Hotel Oasis, Hotel Paramount Park, Hotel Prasanth,Hotel Thampuru,Hotel Paramount Park, Hotel South Park.

Kollam (Quilon)

The magnificent town of Kollam is located 71 km. from Thiruvananthapuram. It is a thriving centre of State's trade and commerce and has been the centre of country's cashew trading and processing industry. It is one of the oldest sea port on the Arabian Sea and had flourishing trade links with the Arab, China, Greek, Roman and later on with Portuguese, Dutch and British. The early travellers mention the Kollam port as the largest in the world and its market as one of the finest in India. The majestic city hill turned into a major tourist centre with its splendid backwaters, beaches arid scenic beauty.

Places of interest

(1) Ariyankavu Hindu Pilgrim Centre (2) Ashtamudi Lake (3) Ochira Hindu Pilgrim Centre (4) Palaruvi Waterfalls (5) Sasthamkotta.

How to Reach : Nearest airport is at Thiruvananthapuram.Kollam is an important rail head. Well connected by road with other tourist centres.Tourist can travel by road to other major tourist destinations in Kerala.

Hotels in Kollam : Aquaserene, Ashtamudi Resort, Palm Lagoon, Sha International, Lake View, Hotel Sudarshan, Hotel Sea Bee.

Alappuzha (Alleppey)

Alappuzha, the ‘Venice of the East', has emerged as a major tourist attraction due to the amazing backwaters and renowned snake boat races.

Alappuzha Beach : The beautiful beach is popular among the locales as well as the visitors. . The Sea view park here has boating facilities.

Nehru Trophy Boat Race: The popular boat race is held on the second Saturday of August every year at the Vembanad Lake. It is today, the single most important tourist event of Alappuzha. Boats sponsored by different villages compete fiercely in the competition. The highlight of this prestigious event is "Chundan Vallam", these 130 feet long snake boats have about 100 rowers, 4 helmsmen, and 25 cheer leaders decorated with colorful silk umbrellas. Thousands of spectators from all over the world watch avidly from the banks. Tickets for the race are available on the day from numerous ticket stands on the way to the lake where race is held. The race is now repeated during the tourist season on the third day of the Great Elephant March in mid January, and is called as 'Tourism Snakeboat Race'.

The Alappuzha - Kollam backwater trip: The trips organized by ATDC. The journey begins at 10. 30 Am., and reaches Kollam at 6.00 pm. The boat passes through exotic locations and gives a close view of the countryside.

Mullakkal Rajarajeswari Temple : The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Rajarajeswari. The nine day 'Navarathri festival celebrated twice a year is of special significance. Another important festival of the temple is 'Thaipooyakavadi'.

How to Reach : The nearest airport is at Kochi (100 km).Alappuzha city has come on the railway map of India.Alappuzha city is located on the NH 47 and is well connected by road with all important towns of the Southern India. Tourist can travel by road to other major tourist destinations in Kerala.

Hotels in Alappuzha :Marari Beach Resort,Kayaloram,Coir Village Lake Resort,Alleppey Prince Hotel,Keraleeyam Ayurvedic Lake Resort, Hotel Royal Park, Lake Palace,Punnamada Backwater Resort. Pagoda Resort, Penguin Lake Resorts.

Kottayam

The backwater town is set on the foot hills of the Western Ghats. The beautiful town is a stronghold of the Christian community and is dotted with pretty ancient churches. It is an important trading centre of the State, especially for cash crops like rubber, tea, pepper and cardamom.Kottayam is also referred as 'the Mecca of Publishing Industry' in the Kerala State. It is home to many prestigious newspapers (dailies), magazines and periodicals in Malayalam and English. Benjamin Bailey, a Christian missionary in 1820 established the country's first printing press in vernacular (Malayalam) in Kottayam. The city is also the headquarters for India's second largest daily newspaper in terms of circulation, Malayala Manorma. It is published in Malayalam, and has circulation of around 8.2 million copies.Kottayam is also an ideal base to visit tourist centres like Pirmed, Munnar, Idukki, Thekkady, Emakulam and Madurai.

St. Mary's Church, Cheriyapally - The church houses exquisite murals and paintings depicting Biblical and non ­Biblical themes.

St Mary's Church, Valiyapalli - The ancient Syrian Christian church is believed to have been built in 1550 AD. The church has some ancient relics.

Thirunakkara Siva Temple - The temple is a good example Kerala style of architecture. The walls are decorated with interesting paintings. 'Phalguna Utsav', the annual festival is celebrated during March.

How to Reach : Nearest airport to Kottayam is Kochi.Well connected by rail and road. Tourist can travel by road to other major tourist destinations in Kerala.

Hotels in Kottayam : Lake Village Heritage Resort, Anjali Hotel,Vembanadu Resort, Hotel Green Park, Hotel Prince, Hotel Aiswarya, Hotel Sakthi, Hotel Aida, Hotel Nithya, Hotel Nisha Continental.

Cochin (Ernakulam or Kochi)

The venerable city of Kochi (long known as Cochin), is Kerala’s prime tourist destination, spread across islands and promontories in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and the backwaters. There’s a saying in Malayalam that a man who sees Kochi soon forgets his wife. So seductive is Kochi (formerly called Cochin before it got abbreviated to a sneeze, thanks to some linguistic jingoism) that it has long served to tempt voyagers and travelers form all over the globe. The successive influences of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British have coated Kochi in a shroud of cultural influences that add to the unique ambience, best exemplified by the fascinating samples of Indo-European architecture that dot the older parts of the city.

Places of interest

Dutch Palace : Built by the Portuguese and presented to the Raja of Cochin in1555 it was renovated by the Dutch during their short regime.

Koonan Kurishu Shrine : This small chapel in which the Koonal Cross stands is situated in the heart of the busy commercial center of Mattancherry.

Jewish Synagogue : Built in 1568,this building was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1662 and rebuilt by the Dutch two years later.

Gundu Island : The smallest island around Kochi, Gundu Island has a coir factory where coir is made into rope manually and carpets are manufactured by hand operated looms.

Fort Kochi : Lies 10 km from Ernakulam.

St.Francis Church : The oldest church constructed by the Europeans in India.

Dutch Cemetery : Lies at a short distance from St.Francis church near the entrance to the beach.

Santa Curz Basilica : This Roman Catholic Church has some very beautiful painting on the ceiling.

Chinese Fishing Nets : At the entrance of Kochi harbour, these nets are a fascinating sight.

Willingdon Islands : This is a man made island created from the materials dug while deepening the Kochi Port.

Bolgatty Islands : This is a beautiful island lying close to Ernakulam.Bulit by the Dutch in 1744, Bolgatty palace is situated here.

Shiva Temple : Situated in the center of the town the annual festival in the temple is conducted for eight days in January.

Hill Palace Museum : This is the largest archaeological museum of Kerala where sculptures, rare coins, old weapons, manuscripts and memorabilia from the Kochi royal family exhibited.

Arrival and tours

Kochi’s international airport is at Nedumbassery, near Alwaye (aks Aluva), 26km to the north of Ernakualam.There are two main railway stations-Ernakulam Junction near Jos junction in the heart of the town and Ernakulam Town, 4km further north. Cochin is connected by rail with major cities of India. The KSRTC central bus stand, beside the rail line east of M.G.Road and north of Ernakulam Juction, is for state-run long-distance services. Tourist can travel to other part of Kerala by road.

By Air : Cochin is connected by the air with Aggati, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Mumabi and Gulf Countries.

Hotels in Ernakulam (Kochi or Cochin) :Taj Malabar, Casino Hotel, The Trident,ATS Willingdon,Maruthi Tourist Home,Taj Residency, Hotel Sealord,Bolgatty Palace, Hotel Avenue Regent, The Renaissance, Hotel Rajmahal,Hotel Abad Plaza, Hotel Abad Atrium, Grand Hotel, Hotel Sarovaram,International Hotel,Bharath Hotel,Ganam Hotels, Hotel Woodlands, Fort Heritage, Hotel Fort House, Hotel Seagull,Le Meridien,Gokulam Park Inn International, The Wyte Fort,Cherai Beach Resort, Abad Metro, Hotel Yuvarani Residency.

Thrissur (Trichur)

 

The 'CulturaI Capital' of Kerala. The town is built around a hillock, crowned by the famous Vadakkunathcm (Siva) Temple, believed to have been founded by legendary Parasurama. The temple is a classical example of Kerala style of architecture and houses several sacred shrines. It is believed that Adi Shankaracharya spent his last days here. The major attraction is the Pooram festival, celebrated during April - May, the Elephant Umbrella competition is spectacular as beautifully decorated elephants carrying ceremonial umbrellas, takes the deity on a chariot around the main temple. Other interesting sites are the Zoo, Fort, Palace and Churches.

How to Reach : Nearest airport is at Kochi (60 km).It is connected by rail and road. Tourist can travel by road to other major tourist destinations in Kerala.

Hotels in Thrissur : Surya Ayurvedics, Kadappuram Beach resort, Cheruthuruthy River Retreat, Casino Hotel, Hotel Luciya Palace, Hotel Elite, Hotel Palace Tower.

Palakkad (Palghat)

Palakkad has played a key role in the cultural history of Southern India since time immemorial. It is located 79 km. from Thrissur on the Coimbatore - Thrissur highway and is a major railway junction of the State. Palakkad derives its name from Pala (Alsteria Scholaris) tree and Kadu (forest), as it is said the area was once full of Pala trees.

The Fort - The majestic fort was built by Hyder Ali of Mysore in 1766. It is one of the best preserved forts of the State.

Kalpathy Siva Temple - The famous temple is located on the banks of river Kalpathy. The annual car festival of the temple is held in November attracting devotees from all over the State. Vadakkunthara Siva and Ayyappa temples are the other important Hindu temples in the town. Palakkad town alone has 59 temples, 14 mosques and 8 churches.

Jain Temple - The important Jain shrine located at Vadakkanthara is one of the very few Jain temples in Kerala.

How to Reach : Nearest airport is at Coimbatore (55 km) in Tamil Nadu and Kochi (160 km).Palakkad is well connected by rail and road. Tourist can travel by road to other major tourist destinations in Kerala.

Hotels in Palakkad : Hotel Indraprastha,Rajah Health Acres,Sri Chakra International, Fort Palace Hotel, Hotel Rajadhani,Marhaba Residency, Hotel Green Park, Hotel Gazala,Hotel Ambady,Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort.

Kozhikode (Calicut)

Kozhikode, the erstwhile capital of powerful Zamorins, is a ­historical town with a hoary past. The charming physical features and prosperity of the town attracted travellers from all over the world. Chinese were the first to establish commercial I contact with Kozhikode. The famous traveller Ibn Batuta (1342 I - 47 AD.) notes: We came to Kalikut, one of the great portof the district of Malabar, and in which merchants of all parts are found-. Several other travellers who visited Calicut I (Kozhikode) described it as a notable emporium of India.

Kozhikode attained a position of pre-eminence in the trade of pepper and other spices, which made it India's emporium to international trade. Kozhikode still retains the glory and charm of the bygone era. The city continues to be a centre of flourishing domestic and international trade. It is also a marketing centre for commodities like pepper, coconut, coffee, rubber, lemon grass oil etc. .

Art Gallery & Krishna Menon Museum - Situated adjacent to the Pazhassi Rajah Museum, the art gallery houses paintings of Raja Ravi Varma among other collections. The museum has a section dedicated to the great Indian leader V.K. Krishna Menon, whose personal belongings are displayed here.

CVN Kalari Centre - The Kerala's martial art, Kalaripayattu, I is performed here. Special demonstrations can be arranged on request. Closed on Sundays. I

Dolphin's Point - One can watch the Dolphin's play from here in the early hours often day. The Kozhikode beach is a picture and serenity.

Mananchira Square – A new attraction in the heart of the city.Manan-chira Maidan, is the sublimation of the concept of a planned modern city. The historic maidan has been converted into an arcadia with beautiful trees and plants, artificial hills, sculptures, an open air theatre and a musical fountain.

Pazhassl Raja Museum : It is located at East Hill, 5 km. from Kozhikode. The museum contains copies of ancient mural paintings, antiques, old coins, models of temples, megalithic monuments like dolmonoid cysts, umbrella stones etc.

How to Reach : The Kozhicode airport is at Karipur, 23 km from the city.Kozhicode is well connected by rail and road. Tourist can travel by road to other major tourist destinations in Kerala.

Hotels in Kozhicode : Taj Residency,Kappad Beach resort, Fortune Hotel, Hotel Beach heritage Inn, Hotel Malabar Palace,Kadavu resort, Riverside Retreat, Hotel Regency,Calicut Towers, Hyson Heritage, Hotel Maharani,Asma Tower Hotel, Malabar Mansion

Kannur (Cannanore)

The historical town was formerly a major port area, the city is mentioned as "a great emporia of spice trade" in Marco Polo's travel records. Today it is known as the 'weaver city' due to the thriving handloom industry. It is also an important centre of cashew nut trading. The pleasant town with an excellent beach is dotted with many historical monuments.

St. Angelo's Fort - The formidable triangular fort built in laterite is a standing sentinel to the history of the region. Built originally by the Portuguese in 1505, it passed into the hands of Dutch (1663), Ali Raja (1772) and finally occupied by the British in 1790. Under the British many renovations were carried out and it became a major military base.

The fort faces the Arabian Sea and affords a splendid view of the palm fringed beach and Mappila bay (Fishing Harbour).

Payyambalam Beach - The long, quite and clean beach is located 2 km. west of the Kannur town.

How to Reach : Nearest airport at Karipur, Kozhicode about 93 km from Kannur.Kannur is one of the important railway station of Southern Railway.Kannur has good road network. Tourist can travel by road to other major tourist destinations in Kerala.

Hotels in Kannur : Costa Malabari,Malabar residency, Kamala Internatioanal,Sweety Internatioanl,Beach Pavilion Beach Resort, Hotel Meridien Palace.

Kasaragod (Kasargod)

Kasargod, the district headquarters is located 20km north of Bekal and 47 km south of Mangalore in Karnataka State. The Kasargod fort spreading in an area of five acres is believed to have been built by Sivappa Nayak in 17 th century.

Bekal : The tiny village in northern Kerala, 14 km south of Kasargod is poised to become an important tourist centre and health resort of the state. Its is known for the mighty fort, excellent beaches, backwaters and colorful festivals.

How to Reach : Nearest airport is at Mangalore (50 km) in Karnataka.Kasargod railway station is linked to several important towns. Kasargod has good road network. Tourist can travel by road to other major tourist destinations in Kerala.

Hotels in Kasargod : Hotel City Tower,Apsara Regency, Fort Palace, Fort Land Tourist Home,Bakel International. Nalanda Resort.

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