Kerala a southern Indian state famous for its stunning natural beauty, we can see the nature at its best in this state. Kerala is the land of coconut trees, backwaters, beaches, hill stations and much more. Kerala is one of the best beach and backwater destinations in India. Hill stations in Kerala located at the mountain ranges of Western Ghats. Arabian Sea on the western side of the state forms the stunning beaches of Kerala and backwaters adds the beauty of this charming place.
Munnar, Alappuzha, Kumarakom, Kochi and Thekkady are the highlights of Kerala. Munnar is the most popular hill station and tea plantation region in Kerala. Alappuzha and Kumarakom are the famous backwater destinations in Kerala, a boat cruise in the backwaters and enjoying the scenic landscapes is one of the main tourist attractions in Alappuzha. Kovalam beach in Thiruvananthapuram is one of the finest beaches in India.
Alappuzha also known as 'Venice of the East' is a popular backwaters destination of Kerala. It is a beautiful village of backwaters, Lake, Paddy fields and Canals. Kerala's largest freshwater lake called Vembanad Lake lies between Alappuzha and Kochi makes the place ideal for backwater tourism. A journey in 'Kettuvalam' also known as 'houseboat' in backwaters is a popular tourist attraction in Alappuzha. This floating cottage is constructed in a manner that provides the whole view of landscapes around you. Tourists can enjoy the travel in houseboat by watching the beauty of lake, paddy fields, canals, fishing, birds, greenery and village life on shore. The famous Nehru Trophy boat race is another attraction in Alappuzha. The boat race conducts on the second Saturday of August in every year at the Punnamada Lake in Alleppey. The rhythmic synchronized rowing of boats is a feast to the eyes grabs the attention of visitors from all over the world. Some other popular tourist destinations in Allappuzha are Pathiramanal Island, Marari Beach, Krishnapuram Palace etc.
Kumarakom situated in Kottayam district is another popular backwater destination in Kerala lies on the Shore of Vembanad Lake. Similar to Alleppey Kumarakom also has beautiful landscape filled with mangroves paddy fields, coconut trees, and water bodies like canals, lake, backwaters offers lots of sightseeing opportunities. Several resorts, homestays and hotels functioning at the lake shore provides tourist the facilities for houseboat stay, boating, fishing, yachting etc. Kumarakom is also one of the best place to taste some amazing variety of spicy sea-food made with coconut paste, tamarind, curry leaves. Kumarakom bird sanctuary, Aruvikkuzhi waterfalls, bay Islands drift museum are the other tourist attractions in the area. Kumarakom is best to visit in the months of September to February.
Munnar is a popular hill station in South India located in Idukki district of Kerala. It is situated 1600 meters above the sea-level, on the lap of Western Ghats mountain ranges. The hill station has lots of scenic places to visit in and around Munnar, the place is blessed with beautiful landscape of Gorgeous Waterfalls, rivers, undulating green hills, evergreen forests and wildlife sanctuaries. Munnar is also famous for tea plantation, tourists can see perfectly trimmed tea gardens at almost every place you visit. Popular tourist destinations of Munnar includes Eravikulam national park, Lakkom waterfalls, Mattupetty dam, Top Station, Kundala Dam, Attukad waterfalls, Nyamakkad waterfalls etc. From the Eravikulam national park visitors can see the panoramic view of Aanamudi the highest peak of South India. Also the national park houses several endangered species of animals, birds and plants. The hill station offers variety of activities like trekking, rock climbing, boating, horse riding etc.
4. Eravikulam national park
Eravikulam national park includes shola forests, grasslands, waterfalls and a wide variety of rich habitat. The park spreads over an area of 97 km² in Western Ghats in idukki district. The Park houses several endangered species of plants, animals and birds, it holds 133 species of birds, 101 butterflies' species, 48 species of mammals and 21 species of amphibians. This park is the habitat of Nilgiri Tahr an endangered wild goat, this mountain goat can occasionally be spotted at several places while trekking inside the park. From the park visitors can see 'Anamudi' the highest peak in South India, the Mountain View from the top is breathtaking. The national park becomes the hot tourist destination during the flowering season of Neelakurinji. Neelakurinji (Strobilanthus kunthianum) is an endemic shrub which flowers once in every 12 years. The Eravikulam national park will be closed during the breeding season of Nilgiri Tahr. The breeding season comes in February to April for every year. The national park is around 11km far from Munnar.
Thekkady in Idukki district is the best location for enjoying wildlife and take part in adventure outdoor tour activities. Thekkady is the place where Periyar national tiger reserve and wildlife sanctuary is located. The wildlife sanctuary spreads over 777 km 2 rich in wildlife and vegetation. Two major rivers of Kerala, namely Periyar and Pamba runs through the park, these water source inside the forest results rich habitat for wildlife. Certain regions of the national park is accessed by boating on Periyar Lake which is formed by Mullaperiyar dam built across Periyar River. Periyar Lake boating is exhilarating, visitors could see the wildlife surrounding the lake. Boat ride, Jungle hiking, bamboo rafting, elephant ride, trekking and jungle camp are the few guided Eco-tour programs conducts in Thekkady. Murikkady, Chellarkovil, Pandikuzhi, Anakkara and Mangala Devi Temple are the nearby tourist attractions of Thekkady.
Kovalam is a beach town in Kerala situated 16 km far from Trivandrum city. This beach town has three main beaches namely Lighthouse beach, Hawah beach and Samudra beach. The three beaches together form one of the international tourist destination named Kovalam. Boat cruise, swimming, surfing, sunbathing are the main coastal tourism activities at the beach side. Plenty of Ayurvedic resorts and Ayurveda spa center are located on the seashore of Kovalam, this wellness centers provide tourists quality healthcare in a tranquil atmosphere. Many hotels and resorts built right at seashore gives you breathtaking view of the sea. Green beauty of the place made by coconut trees lined on the shore, which exactly compliment the blue sky and cool breeze rustling through the coconut trees make Kovalam the perfect destination for picnicking and honeymooners. Plenty of Restaurants at the shore provides variety of cuisines and best seafood in Kerala.
Ponmudi is a hill station 55 km away from Trivandrum city. This hill station situated at the southern end of Western Ghats mountain ranges at an altitude of 1100 meter. Travel to the foggy hill station itself is a thrilling experience with lots of scenic views, visitors have to traverse around 22 hair-pin bends to reach the destination. At the summit one can enjoy the spectacular view of surroundings, a short trek to the adjoining hills is a nice experience. A watch tower is located at the hill top offers excellent view of the mountain ranges. Kallar River and Meenmutty waterfalls are the nearby tourist attractions of Ponmudi, visitors have to trek some distance through the forest to reach the Meenmutty falls. Kerala tourism Development Corporation runs a hill resort named Golden peak at Ponmudi, this is the only one accommodation available at this hill station.
Vagamon is a serene hill station situated at Idukki-Kottayam district border. It is one of the least crowded heavenly beautiful hill station in Kerala. Similar to other hill stations Vagamon also houses scenic mountains, hilltops, waterfalls, picturesque valleys, lush meadows and tea plantations. National geographic traveler has included Vagamon as one of the fifty most attractive tourist places to visit in India. Vagamon Pine forest, Vagamon meadows, Thangal hill, Murugan hill, Kurisumala, Vagamon Tea Lake, Kolahalamedu and Palozhukumpara waterfalls are the major tourist attractions of this place. This hill station is one of the adventure tourism spot in Kerala, providing activities like trekking, rock climbing, zip liner, paragliding etc. Vagamon is also one of the famous paragliding locations in Asia. This tranquil hill station lies at an altitude of 1100 meters. Stunning view of surrounding mountain ranges, cool weather, blue hills, alluring waterfalls and a spectacular view of greenery all around resemble Scotland that is why Vagamon is also called Scotland of Asia.
9. Bekal Fort
Bekal fort in Kasargod district is the biggest fort in Kerala built in 1650 AD. It is constructed on the Arabian Sea coast provides amazing views of the sea and surrounding landscape. The fort in circular structure of 130 feet height was made by laterite slabs portrays the architectural marvel of ancient times. The fort spreads over forty acres of land was built as close to the sea that the major portions of the fort directly touches the tidal waves. The special features of the fort are the zigzag entrance, the observation tower, water tank with long flight of steps, magazine for keeping weapons and ammunition, underground tunnels and many openings on the outer walls of the fort, all these features shows the brilliant defense strategy associated with the fort. Archaeologists have excavated many historical artifacts from the fort site shows the historical importance of the fort. Bekal fort is now managed by the Archaeological Survey of India. Nearby Hanuman temple and ancient mosque reflects the religious harmony existed in the region.
10. Banasura Sagar Dam
Banasura sagar Dam is the largest earthen dam in India situated at the valley of Banasura hills in Wayanad district. Banasura hill is the third largest peak in Western Ghats, a trek to Banasura hill is really enjoyable and adventurous. Surrounding lush greenery and the Banasura hill at the backdrop make the dam site extremely beautiful. The reservoir dotted with number of small islets looks spectacular. Boating around islets in the reservoir is a thrilling experience, and it's the major attraction of the site. Trekking through the forest and horse riding are the other tourist activities at this place. A small nature park, museum and Banasuramala Meenmutty waterfalls are the other attractions in the vicinity of the dam. Karlad Lake the third largest fresh water lake in Kerala is just few kilometers from the dam.
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