Trips and Itineraries for Kochi
Kerala Calling-Discovering some alleys of 'God's own country': Thrissur, Munnar, Allepy and Kochi
An overnight bus journey to Kochi and on arrival we kindered souls decided to spend the last two days of our journey at Prem's homestay....
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Top Places To Visit in Kochi 211 Spots
Fort Kochi happens to be a small village near Ernakulam and is one of the most popular tourists destinations in the area. There are several attractions for one to visit here like the Chinese Fishing Nets. There are many things here that remind one of the glorious past. This place happens to be the first European settlement in India. There are several stalls here that serve up delicious local food that use the freshest of seafood. The place is beautiful and is liked by tourists for its calm and clean environment. One should make it a point to include this place on their list of places to visit in Kochi.
After a brief visit to the beach town of Varkala, we stopped by the historic city of Fort Cochin. The highlight of our daily explorations of the island sights was a sunset stroll along the oceanfront promenade, joining throngs of locals enjoying the vibrant colors and silhouettes of the massive Chinese fishing nets lining the shore. We spent our time exploring the historical sites of Ft. Cochin from Jew Town to 15th century Christian churches to Mattancherry Palace, the highlight there being a mural depicting a smiling Krishna keeping 8 milkmaids happy with his 6 hands and 2 feet.
Fort Kochi (Cochin) is an island of slowly disintegrating stone walls, crumbling shopfronts and well-tended churches, where every turn takes you down some new gloriously picturesque, narrow winding street. Chinese fishing nets was surely over hyped place to visit but worth a while for foodies if they want to taste the fish caught in front of them only.
I relied on the directions of rickshaw drivers and store owners to find my way on foot to the hostel in Ft. Kochi. I was encouraged to sit down in a handicraft shop and chat with the owner and his friend who, like me, quit her finance job to pursue other, less lucrative interests. I met the owner of an amazing cafe where I had my only two meals in Ft. Kochi. I bicycled through the streets and visited the Jewish sector of town, riding past the spice shops, the aroma of masala and chai so strong that I couldn’t help but sneeze. I spent less than 24 hours in Ft. Kochi but I absolutely loved the vibe. Everyone was nice and willing to help, even the shop owner in the Jewish sector who helped me unlock my bike after I kindly denied his romantic advances when we only had a five minute long conversation (him asking me all about my love life).
This is at Fort Kochi in Ernakulam. This is the place from where the Arabian,Chinese, Portuguese,Dutch and British traders would source spices from. The picture that you see shows the Chinese fishing nets. This is a very common scene at Fort Kochi and now very few of these are left. Apart from this, the other place that I would suggest visiting would be Mattancherry Palace,also known as the Dutch Palace. This was given to Raja [King] of Kochi by the Portuguese. I would suggest spending only half a day at Cochin.
This beach is located at a distance of 12km from Cochin. Fort Kochi is one of the few places that still exhudes a colonial charm. A wide variety of tourist attractions in Fort Kochi are located near the beach. The walkway of the beach has mini stores that offer many exciting things such as precious stones, as well as decorative items, and ornaments. If you happen to visit during the time of the New Year, you will also enjoy yourself ay the carnivals and celebrations that take place on the beach.
On our way to Kumarakom, we visited Fort Kochi. This is part of a handful of water-bound regions toward the south-west of the mainland Kochi, and collectively known as Old Kochi or West Kochi.Places worth visiting are the Chinese Fishing Nets, Naval Command Museum, the Beach, Synagogue and Churchs.
Taking a stroll in the Fort Kochi area, revealed around a dozen chinese fishing net lined on the banks of the sea. It was off-season so none of the fishermen were getting much of a catch in their nets. I decided to stroll on to the deck of one of the fishing nets and started clicking a group of fishermen tugging at their net. They were a group of 6 men, and in any other place I would not probably have strayed into a shed with 6 men. But these guys were really pleasant and happy to be pictured through my lens. So they asked me to join as well! And I said yes! After a lot of heave and ho, we managed to get the net up! Two of them helped me to tie the ropes as two others rushed to get a look at their loot.
Fort Kochi is basically the old and historic part of the new town, Ernakulam. Fort Kochi is dotted by several remnants of the colonial periods of Portuguese, Dutch and finally Britishers. Most of the accommodations in Fort Kochi were residential and administrative buildings of Portuguese, Dutch and Brit times which have been now converted to either home stays or budget to expensive hotels. Hence, most of these hotels bear vintage look in Fort Kochi. The streets are flanked by several modest cafes selling cakes, pastries, coffee, cappuccino and the yummy wafers of different flavours such as vanilla, chocolate etc.
Fort Kochi beach Way to Fort Kochi will make u feel different in every way, you will feel like travelling through a lushly green environment of Kochi and a sudden entry to Old Dutch place. On your way you will see many building still maintained in Old Dutch style. Early morning jogging beside fort Kochi beach will rejuvenate your soul. Try to reach there before sunrise. It is heavenly experience to view the Chinese nets in the beach against the background of the colorful sunrise moments. You can see lot of street artists in this part of Cochin, u will see graffiti work in walls near the beach. And if u are pure art lover then during December when Kochi Muziris Biennale takes place that’s the time to visit .it is an international exhibition of contemporary art held in Kochi. Kashi art café, dal roti and upstairs are few places you don’t want to miss if u are a foodie. Other places to see around fort Kochi beach are
Day 1 :I landed in Kochi International Airport which is almost 40 KMs from the Kochi city. I was so overwhelmed being in Kerala for the first time in my life. It took me few minutes to getting soaked myself into the land whether was weather was so awesome.I took an AC bus whose last destination was Fort Kochi. I would still advice you to use the AC bus from the airport even when it will take you through the entire Kochi City ( It takes almost 3 hours to reach Fort Kochi due to the traffic ) but it would be still better to have an 80 INR ticket rather than spending 800-900 INR in a private cab.I reached Kochi at 5:00 pm and fort kochi around 8:00. It was already dark and i went straight to my room which i booked before coming here.Fort Kochi has the concept of Home Stay. Traditional homes providing you rooms to stay. If you are alone then you would get a room easily for 500-600 INR.Fort Kochi is beautiful , in fact beyond beautiful especially at night. The deserted streets , buildings with Portuguese and Dutch architecture , dim street lights which would be surprisingly calm , beautiful churches , everything would contribute a lot to your felicity. You will surely feel that your day 1 was worth it ( even when you haven't seen anything yet ). You could go out for an evening stroll or for dinner , there are lot of places to eat , Kashi Cafe being the best.
After an amazing relaxed day in Alapuzzha, We left for Kochi. Kochi was like any other city, We went to Fort Kochi to chill. And no, Fort Kochi doesnt have a fort. The place is called Fort Kochi. We couldnt stay there for longer, We had to get back to Kidaganoor since our journey was to come to an end and we had to return the car. We reached Kidaganoor, returned the car and took the bus to Mepaddi, Wayanad.
Day 3 :- Fort KochiEither the route to Kochi isn’t great or there was a problem with the bus we were travelling the bus journey wasn’t very comfortable. It was delayed by more than 4 hours and the only respite was that we had a sleeper seat. The journey also made it very difficult to natures call. The construction going on in Kochi for metro rail made the last lap of the journey even slower. Even after reaching Kochi the destination was far. We took a local bus to Fort Kochi since I wasn’t aware of the jetty point.To point Kochi is made of 3 major islands and besides being connected by road they have boats which can ferry you around cutting the travel time dramatically.1.5 hours to 20 minutes.Inspite of all this we were in Fort Kochi by 12 .We kept our luggage at one of the homestays we have booked and headed immediately for lunch. We had already fixed a scooty for us for a day. After the lunch we roamed around in the small town which might not be more than 4 kilometres. Had awesome evening snacks in one of the cafes that lined the streets near synagogue.
My friend had planned the entire trip, and my first destination from the airport was Fort Kochi. It has a lingering effect of the European culture, with huge mansions, and small cafes, and mostly foreigners chilling at the beach. For a foodie like me, it seemed paradise. We had lunch in one of the cafes, which served delicious grilled fish cooked with coconut sauce, and Malabari style prawns. After a sumptuous lunch, we headed for the Kochi-Biennale, that was taking place at that time. I guess I was lucky enough to experience such a rich tradition of art and culture. Biennale is held every year, from December to March.The next part was one of the best parts of the entire trip~ a drive from Cochin to Kottyam.
We started from Bangalore on 7th Feb 2016 at around 8:45 am and landed at Cochin international airport by 9:45 am. As we were hungry we had our breakfast at Airport Food Court. The lady serving the dishes welcomed us by realizing we were tourist and new to the city and served the food with smile and warmth which i have never seen in any other city. We finished our food and went to airport bus stop. It was decided that we will not spent more on transportation and thus took bus to Fort Kochi (Runs every hour or half from International airport) Our Travel Cost Details are as mentioned belowTransportation Cost:Home to Bangalore Airport-Rs870/-Bangalore to kochi- Rs 1400 per person( We took flight because bus would cost us near about same and will consume more time. Trains were not an option for non availability and time consumed)Kochi airport to Fort Kochi –Rs 84Two wheeler (Access) Hire cost for three day-Rs 1050Petrol Cost-Rs400 (for approx. 270km)Fort Kochi to airport-84Cochin Airport to Bangalore-Rs 1400Bangalore airport to home- Rs 720Total Cost incurred on transportation=5058 per person+ 1 extra person(2960)We reached Fort Cochin at 12:30 pm and were heading towards the much talked tourist attraction of Fort Kochi " The Chinese Fishing Net" The sight of the Chinese nets, suspended in mid air and standing in line on the beaches,is breathtakingly beautiful. It is, undoubtedly, one of the most photographed sights in Kochi. Best time to visit is during sunset.
The hotel provided me with car rental service for going towards Fort Kochi, the next day. It is around 55-60 kms from Cochin airport to Fort Kochi and the drive is soothing too. I have opted for local coconut water while going towards Fort Kochi and trust me when you are at Cochin or should I say Kerala... you should never miss out on coconut water. After reaching at fort kochi, I shifted to Hotel Eighth Bastion- A CGH Earth Property.
After the long Kodai - Munnar trek, we learn about this small Jew town called fort Cochin. Buses from Munnar are available for Cochin. From Cochin one can board a local bus to Fort Cochin. We were lucky to find a hostel (Hostel by the Sea) at INR 500 per bed during the new years weekend. Walking down the lanes, one can see a lot of spice shops and traders whose origin may be traced down to the history of Malabari Jews being very prosperous in the spice trade. There is a functional synagogue in the Jew town which was shut by the time we reached. Please check the timings before going. Needless to describe Allepppey which is all so popular for its beautiful backwaters. Do not get looted by the shikara rides which costs around INR 800- 1000. Instead there is a Kerala state transport ferry office just where the boat rides start. I managed to get a 2 hrs long backwater ride just for INR 18. The still backwaters boat ride is something all should experience if in Kerala. 5. Ginjee Fort - Alamparai Fort
After landing in airport from Hyderabad, I took bus to Fort Kochi, as I have already spent a bomb on flights. This place has the Portuguese vibe to it and reminds you of Goa and Pondicherry. Everything makes you want to just roam around the streets for endless hours observing paintings and art on the streets, the art galleries, huge hundreds of year old trees in between the houses, amazing Kashi art Café and food and ultimate design of the place. We ate breakfast at Kashi Art Cafe and literally anything on the menu was fresh, perfect and amazing.
The Fort Kochi area is a must visit place. It has several cafes, shopping place, boutique hotels and an experience to witness Chinese fishing nets in operation.
Marine Drive may be a picturesque promenade in Kochi, Kerala, India. It engineered facing the backwaters, and may be a widespread resort for the native people. Ironic to its name, no vehicles area unit allowed on the walk. Marine Drive is additionally associate economically thriving a part of town of Kochi. With many searching malls it's as a crucial centre of searching activity in Kochi. Major alimentation joints, as well as Marrybrown, DiMark, coffee house area unit gift on the walk. The read of the setting and rising sun over the ocean mouth, and therefore the gentle wind from the Vembanad Lake has created Marine Drive a crucial holidaymaker destination in Kochi. Hundreds of individuals both natives and tourists throng the walk throughout the evenings. The walk starts from the tribunal Junction and continues till the Rajendra Maidan. There are many boat jetties on the walk. The walk has two contemporarily created bridges, the Rainbow bridge and the Chinese net Bridge.
Marine Drive A stroll along the long tree-lined coastal pathway that lines the backwater is well worth the time spent, especially late afternoon or dusk. The bustling backwaters, dotted with fishing boats, speedboats, ships, tankers and passenger boats, can be observed from this walkway that lines the coast.
Marine Drive is also known as the Shanmugham Road. It is one of the best tourist place to visit in Kerala. At night the lights from various ships focused at the harbor is breathtaking. The view of backwater is enjoyable and fun. The place is always crowded with tourists.
It is a picturesque promenade in Kochi, It is built facing the backwaters, and is a popular hangout for the local populace. Ironic to its name, no vehicles are allowed on the walkway. Marine Drive is also an economically thriving part of the city of Kochi. With several shopping malls it is as an important centre of shopping activity in Kochi. The view of the setting and rising sun over the sea mouth, and the gentle breeze from the Vembanad Lake has made Marine Drive an important tourist destination in Kochi. Hundreds of people (both natives, and tourists) throng the walkway during the evenings. The walkway starts from the High Court Junction and continues until the Rajendra Maidan. There are also several boat jetties along the walkway. You can go for short boat rides by evening which will have loud music and dance floor to move body to tune of the song. The walkway has two contemporarily constructed bridges, the Rainbow bridge and the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge. At night when light comes on it’s a spectacular view that one shouldn’t miss and also don’t miss the ‘Kuluki Sarbath’ a cool drink that u will get near the walkway of marine drive. I spend my time there till around 8.00 pm and headed back home. It’s a just one part of cochin for beach lovers. More places are there for culture lovers, historic place lover s and foodies.
Santa Cruz Basilica
Built in 1505 by the Portuguese, this place happens to be the oldest church in India and a heritage site in all of Kerala. The interiors are done in an Indi-Gothic style and the main altar was painted by a famous Italian painter called Antonio Moscheni. The place was given the status of a cathedral by Pope John Paul IV in the year 1558. This church was the brainchild of Dom Francisco De Almeida in 1505 who was the first Portuguese Viceroy. He sought permission from the King of Kochi and thus the church was built. It gets its name from the date 3rd May 1505 when the foundation stone was laid and that this day happened to be celebrated as the invention of the cross.
The original church, situated in Fort Kochi, was built by the Portuguese in 1505 and named as a cathedral in 1558. The British colonists destroyed the cathedral in 1795. The current structure was built in 1905 and raised to the status of a basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984.
St. Francis Church
India's oldest European Church. Vasco da Gama was buried here. and then his remains were later taken back by his son but the tombstone still remains.
2. Visit the first European Church built in IndiaGet well-versed with the history of Kochi by visiting the St Francis Church. Being the first European church in India built in 1503, this spot is at the centre to understanding the colonial history of India. Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama's body was originally buried here before it was moved to Lisbon in 1524.
Paliam Dutch Palace
The Museum is made out of the ruins of a palace, gifted by the Dutch to the Cochin king. The beautiful paintings depicting stories from Ramayana adorn the walls. The rest part of the palace records the history of the local kings/ kingdoms
The Dutch Palace was originally built by the Portuguese. Later, in 17th century, the Dutch modified it and presented it to the Raja of Kochi. Coronation of many Rajas of Kochi were held here. The palace has a fine collection of mural paintings depicting scenes from the Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. The palace is located in Mattancherry.
Chinese Fishing Nets
This is a very strange yet efficient method to catch fish and is used widely in Kerala. The place is also called Cheenavala and was brought along by the Chinese explorer Zheng when he paid the country a visit. Right from Fort Kochi to Vypee, one will be able to sight these Chinese fishing nets. They make for a great click and this is the best place for one to buy some fresh seafood. The coastline is dotted with shacks that sell fish and other seafood caught earlier in the day. One can have the local eateries prepare a tasty seafood dish as well. The sun can be brutal and so one is advised on carrying shades, an umbrella and do use lots of sunscreens.
Chinese fishing net is the place where you get to encounter various fishermen along with their nets. They have a unique style of catching fishes and they say that it's the chinese style if catching fishes, hence the name. They explain you how it is operated by charging few penny. During afternoon, one can head to the waterfront where the nets are lined in the shore and enjoy the seafood. Various stalls for food, toys, balloons, events happening are found there.
Hotels and Homestays in Kochi 31 Hotels
Weekend Getaways from Kochi
263 Kms from Kochi
Best time to visit - January,September,October,November,December
About 100kms west of Mysore, the hilly hamlet of Kodagu (formerly known as Coorg) is located in the evergreen highlands of the Western Ghats. This charming district beckons tourists with its spice gardens, cardamom forests and a sea of coffee plantations. Travel to Coorg for the wide array of adventure activities. Raft through the white rapids of the Barapole river, trek across the grasslands of the Kopatty-Kalugundi trail or quad biking through the Chevalara falls. For those seeking a more relaxed experience, fishing at the Valnoor and Bheemeshwari fishing camps or simply wandering through coffee plantations are some of the most sought after things to do in Coorg. The 17th century Madikeri Fort where the revered Tipu Sultan once held court, and the Omkareshwar temple are among the most famous attractions of the district’s headquarters in Madikeri. While you are here, also visit Namdroling Monastery in Bylakuppe, the largest Tibetan settlement of south India. Go here for a pleasant evening intermittent with monastic hymns, prayer bells and a motley of Tibetan handicrafts. Read More
So, I took off to Coorg along with my family because everyone of us needed a break from our usual monotonic routine. This is the time you must visit this place. It is at its best form during the monsoon season and if you don't have the wanderlust to travel to this place during this time, there's something wrong with you.It's completely covered in lush greens, a beautiful tropical scene to behold. This is the perfect time to fill your car's fuel tank and drive off to this pretty place because I swear the weather there at this time is absolutely gorgeous and not disappointing at all!
To those who do not know about Coorg, please note that Coorg is not at all a hill station in itself.It is a district named as Kodagu (Coorg) in the Indian state of Karnataka and has to offer many locations for sightseeing, and road trips in and around 80~100 kms of radius. We were not known to this as we went unplanned.I am writing this especially for all those travelers who do not belong to the region, and doesn't know much about the place. So that one can plan their trip to this beautiful place properly.
Rightly called, the Scotland of India, Coorg’s silent charm is a trekker’s haven. The trekking routes through tea and coffee plantations lead you to some of the most stunning destinations in the Western Ghats. The rippling of a white cascade at Bettigiri is music to ears as you pitch a tent here and prepare for bonfire and barbeque snacks.Best time for camping: March and April
Also known as the ‘Scotland of India’ this place has a lot to offer starting from activities to natural beauty and delicious cuisine. This is definitely one of the most opted for tourist places near Chennai within 500 kms with its exotic locations, luscious greenery and trekking options. The Coorgi Chicken curry is like heavenly food on the taste palette and historians also find fuel over here. September to May is the best time to visit this place.Distance from Chennai: 578-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Put those weekends to good use by taking these shorts breaks from Chennai. They rejuvenate you and almost give you a new lease on life. The land of the silk kanchipuram and spicy coconut dosas can get to one at times. It is during such phases when one needs to pack light and head off to a place that allows the unwinding of the mind and presents the weary bodied with ample options to relax. You could use the list of weekend getaways from Chennai to get away to. With so many places to choose from, you can never go wrong. You might want to plan ahead and visit the other places on the list. After all, a weekend off from city life could rejuvenate your spirit. If you have plans of just lazying around and reading a book, one of these places is just for you.Autumn has arrived. There is a slight chill in the air. However, deadlines at work and a hectic schedule at home have probably not given you the chance to take it all in. This calls for a short weekend trip away from the city - away from the noise, the stress and commitments. If you enjoy spending time with yourself, there are a few places near Chennai where solo travel is recommended. Pack light and set off without making an announcement. If you love travelling and you hail from Chennai, you couldn’t be in a better place. The city has so many nearby places to escape to that you’re never short of anything to do on a weekend.Plan your weekend itinerary to fit in some of the best short destinations that Chennai has to offer. If you’re looking for places near Chennai to escape momentarily from city life, these weekend destinations are the best to start with. They are a superb combination of history and architecture, fun and leisure.
At a distance of 237 km, this weekend getaway from Bangalore is officially known as Kodagu district. It's close proximity to the city makes it a desired weekend getaway from Bangalore. Coorg’s hills covered by forests, the coffee and spice plantations add to the beauty of the landscape. The town’s transportation centre is Madikeri – from where cars and buses converge with tourists.Adventure activities in Coorg includes trekking, camping, dirt biking, coffee plantations tours and exploring the wild side of nature in an excursion through its wildlife sanctuaries. The treks here are of moderate difficulty and thus meant for almost every one. The panoramic views from the top of the hills are mesmerizing. There are also a few old Buddhist and Hindu temples here. All of this make Coorg one of the most sought after places to visit near Bangalore within 300 kms.
Why go? Travel to Kodagu District, aka Coorg, to discover the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats at Madikeri. The trekking and camping opportunities near Madikeri have established it as an adventure hub for vacationers for years. Travel to this haven, where the incredible coffee plantations and numerous vantage points offer breathtaking views and make Madikeri an ideal getaway for every traveller.Things to do: The highest peak in Coorg is Tadiandamol. A day hike to this peak includes views of the rolling greens and fragrant coffee plantations, taking you right into the heart of nature.Budget tip for Coorg: Earn JPMiles as you shop online while prepping for your trip to Kodagu and redeem them later on flights.
3.Coorg: Coorg is a quaint little town located near Mysore and Bangalore. Carpeted with emerald green grass, Coorg is a sight to sore eyes and the gentle showers of monsoon do complete justice to this beauty. Glistening off the foliage like precious diamonds, the raindrops add a fresh crispness to this foliage-rich town. Famous for its delicious coffee, the intoxicating smell of the coffee beans will surely have you craving for a cuppa. The terrace gardens of Coorg, coupled with the mountains here they reside make Coorg a must visit monsoon destination of India.
After this unforgettable trip, I had to come back to the city life again. However, I made sure to visit some nearby places for rejuvenation. Over the weekend, an early morning ride to Nandi hills which is famous for catching up a beautiful sunrise scene, was all I needed. Past few weeks, I also explored Coorg, which is called mini Scotland of India. It’s characterized by lush green hills, a dense forest, and a pleasant weather. It’s a perfect location for tourism if you ask me. You get to see Coffee plantation, Dubare elephant camps, Rajaji Seat and Tibetian Monastery. My recommendation for you is to take a Homestay instead of a Hotel.
Amongst the places to visit in March in India, Coorg is one destination that should be on the very top of your bucket list. Sometimes referred to as "the adventure capital of Karnataka", this hill station is known to cater to all types of travellers, whether one wants to relax in the backyard of a coffee plantation or one is a serious trekker preparing to climb the Himalayas. With bustling rivers and paddy fields, Coorg makes for a wonderful destination to catch the last whiff of winters.Things to do: Whitewater rafting on the waters of Barapole. Trekking in the Brahmagiri range till the Tadiandamol peak. Quad-biking and other adventure activities in Kakkabe.Food: Some local favourites are pandi curry, a spicy gravy with chunks of pork, and kadumbuttu, dumplings made out of steamed rice.Weather: Average – 28 degrees Celsius. High – 34 degrees Celsius. Low – 22 degrees Celsius.Average Expenditure Per Head (excluding flights): Rs. 11,000 for 5 days.How to reach: Nearest domestic airport is in Mangalore (160km away). It could also be a good idea to take a flight till Bangalore, which is more easily accessible from all major airports, and then take an overnight bus or taxi till Coorg.For an extended guide on Coorg, refer to this trip.
188 Kms from Kochi
After 45 hours of gruelling train journey, we, four wanderlusts came to the capital city of God's Own Country. Our hotel was clearly visible by it's large glowing billboard from the platform. Hotel Highland could make a headline for it's brilliant Restaurant. Their overall service was also decent. Read More
After 45 hours of gruelling train journey, we, four wanderlusts came to the capital city of God's Own Country. Our hotel was clearly visible by it's large glowing billboard from the platform. Hotel Highland could make a headline for it's brilliant Restaurant. Their overall service was also decent.
Sightseeing- Zoo, Planetarium, Padmanabhaswamy Temple.Shopping City- Sarees, ChipsChecked in a hotel in eveningHotel Name- Jumayira Residency, Trivandrum. ( Rs.4000/- for 2 a.c. rooms.)Day 7 Kovalam
From Varkala, we took a bus to Trivandrum, our next destination. The capital of Kerala, its one the crowded cities in Kerala, situated on the west coast of India, and is bounded by Laccadive Sea to its west and the Western Ghats to its east. Like any other city, Trivandrum also has innumerable restaurants, which didn't fail to excite a foodie like me. Hotel Rehmaniya serves delicious beef, mutton and appam. Sneak into Hotel ZamZam for Malabari-style biriyani, and Hotel South Park for Onasadya, a typical Kerala recipe that will make your taste-buds go crazy!
Next morning we went to the main beech for breakfast and after strolling a bit on the beech we packed our bags for the next destination, Kolvalam. We reached Trivandrum by afternoon and checked in a hotel there. Then we headed to Kovalam which just 15 kms from there. Again quiet a descent beech by Indian standards but it was heavy crowded and we could not find any patch where we could just be alone. So we destined ourselves to enjoy the crowd. The sunset was quiet beautiful the best of all was yet to come.Day 7:- Trivandrum to Kanyakumari
On the D-day , we reached Trivandrum in the evening. The weather gods were happy and it was drizzling that time. We took a taxi from the airport itself and set course to Varkala. It took us almost 2 hrs to reach the place. Our guest house was located 5 minute off the main road. The location was perfect for a peaceful stay.It was a traditionally kerala house with a wide backyard, coconut trees, garden in front and so colorfully painted. I was just in love with the location of guest house and the ambience.The settings of the rooms were equally bright. One room with yellow ambience and other with blue.Equipped with mosquito nets and WiFi. Attached bathroom with hot water facility was also available.Pretty decent rooms. Ayurvedic consultation and treatment is also available.
The next day I woke up early at 5.00 am to get the view of sunrise at beach. I went along the rock path, which was already occupied by some people. The sight was really beautiful. We can be able to see the sun coming out slowly to spread the brightness.
Finally the day came when my most memorable trip had to end and boy! it was tough to leave such a beautiful state behind. The pizza night, station incident, the backwaters and the fresh aroma of the spice plantations, such were the memories of my trip.A Yahoo! answer to the question “Why is Kerala called God’s own country” turned up this: “Nestled between the pristine waters of the Arabian sea on the west and the lush Western Ghat mountains on the east, its intense network of rivers and lagoons, thick forests, exotic wildlife, tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters and a long shoreline of serene beaches make it a traveler’s paradise.”
Thiruvananthapuram… Day 1I landed in Thiruvananthapuram which is the capital city of Kerala. I had been told that it offers splendid palaces like Padmanabhapuram Palace and Kanakakunnu Palace, beaches like Kovalam, Varkala, Shankumukham and Azhimala, hill stations like Ponmudi and other attractions like Poovar at a stone’s throw. And so here I was with my family…absolutely looking forward to my stay here.Once a calm fishing village clustered around its crescent beaches, Kovalam is known as the Paradise of the South and is just 16 kms away from Trivandrum. We had already made our bookings in a resort situated here in Kovalam. True to its name Kovalam presents an endless sight of tall and graceful coconut trees. We enjoyed the views on our way.We were given a warm welcome in an absolute tranquil, beautiful, calm, pure lobby with soft incense fragrance flowing in the air! It could not have been better! It was an absolutely green place with small traditionally built cottages nestled among the tall and handsome coconut trees. The best part being that it is situated just on the long shoreline with a serene beach, clean and accessible only to the guests. It also is a destination for Ayurvedic health holidays and we were blessed to have an in-resort spa with such blissful facilities.The art-lover in me was completely enchanted with the artistically done restaurant. Bright paintings adorned the walls. Fresh flowers on each table were very welcoming and the best was the soothing Sanskrit mantras that played in the background making the atmosphere totally pristine.Kerala has an exotic cuisine and although we are vegetarians we were completely spoilt for choice by the chef. Kerala is known as the "land of Spices". Even the Kerala cuisine is known for its spicy and hot foods. Traditionally, in Kerala food is served on a banana leaf. Almost every dish prepared in Kerala has coconut and local spices. The unusual cuisine of Kerala brings to the fore the culinary expertise of the people of Kerala.After the gastronomical journey we set out for the lighthouse. The 35 m lighthouse at Kovalam is situated on top of the palm-covered Kurumkal Hill. Visitors can climb the spiraling staircase inside, to the top of the red and white tower and enjoy a spectacular view of the surroundings. The lighthouse offers an amazing view of the moon- shaped beach and the famous Vizhinjam mosque.After a great evening at the beach we were back to our cottage in the resort.At night the waves sang us lullabies and how I loved falling to sleep with that sound. In the morning they wished us good morning with a lot of energy and cheering.An awesome breakfast awaited us to treat our taste buds to some of the finest dishes of Kerala. The hospitality exhibited by the staff touched my heart.
Travel stories are incomplete without some great people that you meet along the way. I decided to couchsurf for the first 2 days of my trip. Jayakrishnan ("JK" as his loved ones call him) accepted my request and I landed at his house in Trivandrum. Rahul was already there. He was the other guy who was couchsurfing at JK's. Rahul has been into wildlife conservation since the age of 16. He took it up formally and now works with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and it's truly astonishing what he has accomplished at the age of 22. He has dedicated his entire focus on otters and their conservation in India. Once he spent 3 months in solitude in a tent on an island in the Ganges (Gangetic floodpain) to study the behaviour of otters and educating the villagers about their conservation.JK and his cousins, who I must add are absolutely fantastic hosts, took us out to, Sri Mulam Club, one of the oldest clubs in Trivandrum, where we met Balan Madhavan. He is a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) and an acclaimed wildlife photographer. He spoke at length to us and spoke his heart out; about elephants, about conservation, about photography, about humanitarian causes and about life. We discussed about the loss of habitat and nomadic routes of the elephants. He said, "If today an elephant wants to kill human beings, he has every right to do so for all the cruel things we have ever done." We sat in silence for a while, had our drinks and parted after exchanging phone numbers.Kerala is unlike any state I had visited. It is crazy green and there's abundant water everywhere. It has mountains, it has beaches, it has lakes, it has backwaters, it has thick forests, it is very clean, offers lip-smacking food; truly God's Own Country. The people are calmer and mindful of the fact that public spaces are truly public. I visited the Trivandrum and the Cochin railway stations and there wasn't any clamour or shouting. People were disciplined and the stations were very clean. some things else; jackfruits, coconuts, fish and beef are ample.Trivandrum, as a city, seemed very royally humble; green overlay, clean roads, vintage buildings in white, windowless buses and a knack for rains. It's neither crowded like the metros, nor are the roads crammed with cars. Public transportation is great and the buses are not overcrowded. In fact, I travelled extensively in KSRTC buses and never faced any issue of delay or discomfort. Moreover, there are a considerable number of food-joints that offer you brilliant food 24X7.
Eravikulam National Park
101 Kms from Kochi
Best time to visit - April,May,June,September,October,November
This national park is the breathtaking home of a plethora of precious flora and fauna, and lies along the Western Ghats. Considered the magnum opus of Kerala, the park provides magnificent panoramic views of tea plantations and rolling hills blanketed in mist. The grasslands protect the endangered Nilgiri Tahr and harbour several other species of animals, birds and butterflies, including a new species of frog that was discovered recently. Eravikulam park becomes a sought after destination when the hill slopes get veiled by a carpet of blue, a miraculous phenomena caused by the flowering of Neelakurinji, which blooms only once in 12 years. Anamudi, translating to elephant's forehead and located within the park, is the highest peak of South India and its might and height of 8,842 ft can be enjoyed from a distance at Rajamala, from where the endangered Nilgiri Tahr can also be observed. The park provides a number of safaris for convenient and safe tourism around the park. The Kurinji Trail, which follows through misty tracks of protected animals and flowery grasslands, is a must for trekking lovers. Another famous but charming spot is the Lakkom Waterfalls, which provide an enchanting view along with an eco-shop cafeteria to eat at. Close to these falls is a log house, which offers comfortable accommodation with complimentary food and the much desired solitude and peace amidst the lap of nature. Read More
261 Kms from Kochi
Best time to visit - January,February,March,July,August,September,October,November
Once the seat of the Maharajas of Mysore for six centuries, Mysore is now the third most populous state of Karnataka. But not much as changed in terms of its cultural ambiance and heritage, hence deeming it as the cultural capital of Karnataka. This city is popular for its year-round pleasant climate, silk, sandalwood and many majestic palaces, such as Lalitha Mohan Palace, Jaganmohan Palace and the most visited and grand one being the Mysore Palace. To get an exclusive insight into Mysore's culture, Folklore Museum would be the best place, where a plethora of carved wooden figures, ceremonial headdresses, vibrant masks can be seen along with puppet shows depicting Hindu mythological stories. Mysore Zoo is perfect for animal and nature lovers while the Regional Museum of Natural History serves those interested in ecological history. For those looking for unwinding strolls or simple relaxation, Karanji Lake and Kukkarahalli Lake are the best to visit, preferably early in the morning or evenings. More attractions include Brindavan Gardens, Railway Museum and St. Philomena's Church. Cauvery Arts and Crafts emporium is renowned for an array of silk sarees, carved sandalwood, wooden toys and inlay work, whereas Devaraja market is ideal for a more local shopping experience. Restaurants such as Hotel RRR Restaurant, Malgudi Cafe, Vinayaka Mylari, Sapphire and Anu's Bamboo Hut cater to popular local and international cuisines. Mysore comes alive during the 10-day festival of Dussehra, celebrated in October, when one can witness the entire city bedecked with lights, colours and music, making Mysore a memorable visit. Read More
The distance from Ooty to Mysore is 130 kms and the road from Ooty to Mysore passes through Madhumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Bandipur Tiger Reserve. The road is really awesome and full of thrill as it passes through dense forests and there are many animals crossing points also. Because we had enough time thus we decided to take a safari in the dense forest of Madhumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. Madhumalai Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in Tamil Nadu while Bandipur Tiger Reserve is situated in Karnataka. Bandipur Tiger Reserve is also a good place for wildlife lovers. After that we continued our journey by heading towards Mysore and in the evening we reached Mysore. Tariff's for Hotel: Starting from ₹1000/- per room (Non AC) Starting from ₹1500/- per room (AC) Mysore is one of the most popular tourist destination in Karnataka. It is also known as "Palace City" of India. There we visited Mysore Palace, Lalitha Mahal Palace and Chamundi Hills. Mysore Palace is one of the best palaces in India. The Palace shows us the lifestyle of our kings that how they lived such a royal life. It is a must visit palace. Lalitha Mahal is also a royal palace with a good architecture. After visiting Chamundi Hills, we left Mysore and then started our journey towards Chennai. The distance from Mysore to Chennai is 480 kms. After a smooth drive of 8 hrs we reached Chennai in the late night.
The Mysore Palace is breathtaking and is en route to Madumalai National Park. Hence a stopover to see the palace is must. If anyone is interested...its the best place to buy silk saris.
As far as majestic history goes, there are not many places that can trump Mysore, often referred to as the 'City of Palaces'. The Mysore Palace built by the Wodeyar Kings is a place where perhaps one can locate how Mysore became as culturally rich as it is for the Wodeyar Kings were great patrons of art and culture, allowing various forms, crafts and styles to flourish and grow in a way that they still exist and temper the way the city is today. However, this is not all, Mysore is not just a place of cultural but also natural beauty. Located at the foot of the Chamundi Hills it has numerous lakes like Kukkarhalli and Karanji. The Chamundi Hills are also important because atop them is located the Chamundeshwari Temple, one of the most important religious sites in Mysore.
Mysore, formerly a Princely State, until the Independence of India in 1947 is filled with Royal beauty. It was once a region with flourishing art and culture under the royal and mighty kings. Also called as the "City of Palaces", Mysore's beauty can be seen through its rich architecture and its majestic palaces that stand tall today. Passed form the Vijayanagar Empire to the Wodeyar family (that lives here even today), Mysore has always been occupied by Royalty.
After the break, we reached Mysore recharged and our first stop had to be the street side dosa stalls serving up the famous south Indian dish ‘masala dosa’. With hot, freshly made dosas in our laps we sat on cold stone steps looking out on the magnificent 1927 Silver Jubilee Clock Tower now lit up by spotlights. The next morning we made our way to visit our first Catholic church in India, St. Philomena’s Cathedral. The cathedral has some beautiful stained-glassed windows and it was very interesting how inside the locals had Indianised the church. From the cathedral we caught a rickshaw and made our way towards the gate of the Maharaja’s Palace. Continuing through the palace the interior never ceased to amaze with huge hallways, massive swinging chandeliers and a kaleidoscope of mirrors, stained glass and sparkling walls that when reflected in the mirrors seemed to continue forever.
We won't be able to start riding from the outset, but will initially have to take a shuttle bus to battle the traffic on its own terms. Once we get to riding, the route for the day is overflowing with culture, which is quite expected for India! We ride past mango orchards, nurseries, paddy fields and temples and make the first stop at the Big Banyan Tree. This gigantic tree is about 400 years old and spreads itself over 3 acres. after a stop here, we move onto the small town of Channapatna, where toy-makers make handmade toys in their small factories. Before this, we stop for a typical Kannadiga cuisine at Kamat Lokaruchi. Channapatna owes its toy-making heritage to the King Tipu Sultan, who first introduced this otherwise Persian art. The small highway town is lined with bright shops showcasing horses, beads and sundry toys. We again use shuttle to reach the cultural capital of Karnataka, Mysore.
164 Kms from Kochi
Best time to visit - May,June,September,October,November
This renowned hill station once housed the Madras Presidency during the British Rule and possesses many remnants in the form of regal looking bungalows, such as the Stone House, The Ootacamund Club, Government House and Fernhill Palace. This along with the tall pine trees in the green areas almost makes you believe you are in old English country. Ooty is also home to some of the most breathtaking lakes in the country, such as the Avalanche Lake, Emerald Lake and the popular Ooty Lake. For some adventure, one can hop on the Nilgiri Toy Train and enjoy a ride through the blue mountains, winding through dense forests, dark tunnels and valleys from Ooty to Coonoor. Ooty is heaven for nature lovers and a trek through the Mukurthi National Park will be etched on your mind for years to come, offering a stunning panorama of carpet like green hills, home to the tallest peak of the Nilgiri Range, several wildflowers and beauties such as the Nilgiri Tahr, Bengal Tiger, Indian Elephant, Leopard, Bonnet Macaque, Mouse Deer, Otter, Small Indian Civet and many more. If you still want more, you can take a mesmerising walk through the charming 19th century Government Botanical Gardens. Ooty's beauty can be explored more adventurously with everything from horse riding to hand gliding and mountain biking, all arranged by various resorts. Avid readers will be overwhelmed to visit the 19th century Nilgiri Library, sheltering around 25,000 books and hosting many events to promote reading habits among all age groups. Chocoholics should place King Star on the top of their itineraries for purchasing a plethora of delicious homemade chocolates. More delicious food from vegetarian, cafe to non-vegetarian cuisines can be enjoyed at popular places such as Quality Restaurant, Earl's Secret and Willy's Coffee Pub, which also has a commendable library for one to delve into while enjoying their drink. Witness Ooty come alive in the month of May, with its vibrant boat races and flower shows, hosted across the town.Read More
This is among the few places I visited before I fell in love with travelling. Ooty is a 255km drive from Bengaluru. Bengaluru itself is a beautiful place and you don't need too much reasons to visit. What adds to the experience is this hill station. One can travel from their personal car or hire a car. Other than car, buses are also easily available.
As there were no 1-bedroom apartments available for the next day, we were allotted a couple of hotel units (it's essentially room + bathroom). We explored the area a bit in the morning before the amazing continental breakfast at Ascot. We reached the clubhouse after a bit of a climb and discovered a number of hidden gems there, including a 6-player Carrom board. The pencil sketches made by the previous guests were really interesting - it was almost homely.
The journey to Ooty was by far the most memorable road trip I have had yet. And the fact that we rented a vehicle (and not hired one with a driver) made the experience so much better. From cruising on the well maintained roads to trying to find an inexistent road and retracing our path by about 4-5km, we experienced it all. We discovered during this experience that the people in the small towns here feel really happy to help others out - never before had I seen anybody so enthusiastic about guiding us towards our destination, be it a lady carrying vegetables home or a pan-shop entrepreneur! Our ascent to Ooty finally began at about 5.45pm after we finally found a small restaurant where we stopped for tea. I dreaded the ghat section because I was really prone to carsickness as a teen - however this time was something different. We rolled down the windows and took in the freshest air possible, sang along with the songs on the phone, cracked jokes, enjoyed the beautiful scenery outside, observed the fluffy clouds, looked out for monkeys, and finally witnessed the sun take the rest of the day off. The most interesting part of this journey was seeing the buses travel up and down the slope - for a bus, the speed at which the drivers drove was just insane, and the way they navigated at the blind turns was nothing less than a work of art. By the time we reached the Club Mahindra Derby Green Resort, it was dark. We missed a couple of turns and ended up adding an additional half hour to the duration of our journey.I always look forward to staying at Club Mahindra - I love every bit of the experience, especially their hospitality (they go to extra lengths to ensure that our stay is comfortable) and the amazing food. On arrival we were greeted with hot towels, honey herbal tea, and sandalwood paste. The slightly-sweet hot tea complemented the chilly Ooty evening, and the untimely rain helped in quickening our journey from the reception to the 1-bedroom apartment (which also had a kitchenette!). The bandh interestingly proved to be beneficial for us - our room got upgraded owing to the fact that one of the guests cancelled at the last moment! We had a hearty dinner at restaurant Ascot. We were spoilt for choice when it came to dinner, as there was every cuisine we could possibly want. With minds full of eventful experiences, and tummies full of amazing food, we finally retired to our mini-apartment for the evening.
Adorned in Colonial charm, Ooty is a delightful hill town cradled in the beautiful Nilgiri Hills. The charm of the hill station lies in its laid-back luxurious grace, a surreal destination to rejuvenate in a picturesque setting and the perfect place to visit in May in India. With enthralling sights of the Doddabetta peak and the Tiger hill, Ooty is mesmerizingly graced by waterfalls and lakes. Pretty cottage dot the back alleys, and tea plantations on hill slopes add to its scenic beauty, along with terraced botanical gardens and flower cultivation.How to get there: Well-connected by roads. Coimbatore is the nearest airport and Mettupalyam is the nearest railway station.
After travelling such a long distance we finally reached Ooty . Crossed a small market area , few hotels and then went uphill . After crossing tea factory it appeared as if we have entered forest area. I became skeptical about the place but my thought changed completely after reaching the the resort - Sinclairs Retreat . Glimpse of the city from this place was so enticing . Entire city appeared like little sparkling stars in the sky.
Ooty or the Queen of the Nilgiris, which is also known as the Blue Mountains, is one of the most fascinating hill stations in south India. Located in the Western Ghats at a height of 7,500 ft, Ooty boasts of prolific vistas, tea and coffee plantations, clear lakes, hills and stunning valleys.Ooty is where the Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats submerge to become one. One can encounter rare species of flora and fauna here and the roads in Ooty are often surrounded by huge Eucalyptus trees and forests that seem to end at infinity.Ooty has always been an allurement for the people in south India but now it attracts tourists from the world over. This Ooty itinerary is your one stop guide to answer all the questions that you might have as you plan your next weekend getaway to Ooty.
So, on our last day we decided to ditch the Doddabeta peak and head to avalanche lake. On reaching avalanche, there was no road that lead to the lake. We had to find a trail in the forest ans trek down the mountain to reach the lake. So we parked our two wheeler side by the road, and found a trail. We had to be careful as we feared the wild bisons and the snakes. On reaching down, we found a beautiful lake surrounded by forests. All that you can hear is the wind, the sound of the water flowing and the birds chirping. The calmness one can get at this particular place is on a whole new level. People who really want to destress and escape reality should visit these places untouched by the tourists. The lake is deep though. And the fresh air you get is unbelievable. After spending one full hour at the lake, we had to climb back and came back to Ooty. We had our lunch and boarded our bus at charing cross at about 6PM. We reached chennai the next morning. The whole trip was unforgettable. The best way to de stress and escape. And we really escaped reality and had nice stay in all these places. The best way to explore any place is to hire a vehicle and explore and just loiter around the city. The beautiful part was the view between these destinations. The journey was more beautiful than the destination.
137 Kms from Kochi
Best time to visit - January,February,March,September,October,November,December
A major city and commercial hub in Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore offers not much in terms of touristic attractions unless you're on your way to Ooty or any of the Nilgiri hill stations. Although some places might make for really interesting stopovers, such as the Kovai Kutralam Falls, Vaidehi Waterfalls and Thoonakkadavu Lake. For a taste of knowledge, there's the Gass Forest Museum, which is a natural history museum, or pay a visit to G.D. Naidu Industrial Exhibition, a science and exhibition centre which has a lot to exhibit in terms of innovation and science. The city is home to innumerable temples, some of them being Marudamalai and Velliangiri hill temple. Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park makes for an interesting visit for nature lovers. Places such as Shree Annapoorna, Junior Kuppanna and Anandhas Quality Vegetarian are well known for their Indian dishes.Read More
"Let's do that again!", the five of us vowed as we returned home to Coimbatore. Twenty-four hours earlier, we were upset that we had only one day of our semester holidays in common. Wanting to make the best use of that one day, I decided to give my friends a taste of Vattakanal. It is a small town a few kilometers form Kodaikanal. I had fallen in love with this place during my last visit, the previous year.So we left Coimbatore at 5 in the morning (one hour later than planned) in my Maruti Suzuki Swift ZDi. Construction work on Pollachi Road made making up for lost time impossible and gave us quite an off-roading experience. We had to tolerate bad roads till we reached Palani.(Tip 1: Consider the condition of the roads while planning your trip. This rule applies to any road trip.)
From Coimbatore, my place of interest to visit was ISHA yoga center and Adiyogi statue. I just enquired about buses & took a bus to Gandhipuram busstop, from where I got a bus to ISHA yoga center ie; Bus no. 14D which in turn passed through station from where I took bus to Gandhipuram...this is what happens when u r new to a place and don't know the local knowledge;)
Having finished the remainder of my assignment during the connecting Indigo flight, I was relieved. It was heartening to see the coconut plantations from the airplane window as we began our descent at Coimbatore. A little while later we were greeted by the tropical South-Indian weather as we made our way to the baggage claim. Since the Zoomcars request processing time is approximately three hours (we had booked the vehicle at 9am), we found ourselves with a little less than two hours to kill. My sister joined us in the meantime, and we had a short breakfast comprising of ready-to-eat noodles and ice-creams from the general store outside the airport. Little did we know about the adventures that lay ahead of us!After getting picked up by the Zoomcars representative, we headed to their nearest depot. Having completed all the formalities, we found ourselves driving to the Adiyogi Statue twenty minutes later. We had been looking forward to visiting since we saw the unveiling ceremony on TV, and our trip to Ooty was the best opportunity we could possibly think of. Google Maps had become our best friend, as the hour-long journey to the statue was really eventful - we found ourselves passing by fields of coconut trees, and small patches of land blooming with yellow and orange marigolds. A couple of bridges and a few narrow roads later, we found ourselves at the entrance of the parking lot.
Here it goes.. our road trip in the state of Tamil Nadu . This was my first core south trip so i was really excited to see the city ,people around and the culture . For few km we crossed various small towns and then ghat section started from Mettulapalam which was around 40kms from Ooty . I was enjoying the zig zag roads, lovely greenery and super fresh atmosphere .
We planned a day trip to get away from Coimbatore and since Ooty is so near by, we couldn't wish to have a better getaway place. But, we planned to do something different.. we didn't wanna roam. we just wanna enjoy the climate and the view through out the day. so, we went to Metupalayam on a bike and then to Conoor via a bus. The bus journey was pleasant in itself. We got a train from Conoor to Ooty. We were totally surprised by the views and the climate. And once we got down at Oort, we just the train back to Conoor and then to Metupalayam as well. Even though the Trip between Metupalayam and Conoor is more popluar( due to use of Steam engines), the other travels were peaceful and entertaining as well. A must try if you want a getaway from the city for a day.
A city where everyone from Tamilnadu aspires to settle. Known for its Moderate climate, Coimbatore was supposed to take Bangalore's place. Coimbatore has lots of places to visit
So next day I was all charged up and woke up early to take a bus to Coimbatore. It was a funny sight – I almost missed the bus and the whole bus station was shouting and whistling at the bus driver to stop it while I was running behind it with a backpack on my shoulder. I finally managed to board it and after a while occupied the seat right in the front next to the conductor. A cup of filter coffee and several dosas later I reached the Coimbatore airport where I met Pankaj who had just flown in from Mumbai.
It was time to scoot back to Tamil Nadu and reach Coimbatore. This place is a great place for foodies. Do try the filter coffee and #Mysore pak in the city and you will be left craving for more. The city is close to the hill station Ooty. The roads are amazing and the environment pretty hospitable.