Unexpectedly Awesome Things To Do In Kerala To Unwind Differently

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Kerala At A Glance

Situated around 500km towards the south-west of Goa, Kerala is called God's Own Country, and with good reason. With trumpeting elephants, majestic temples, simple locals and surreal landscapes, things to do in Kerala present a spectrum of activities that promise you the time of your life.

It's a magical land where the healing touch of Ayurveda and the oldest form of martial arts originated. The state's backwaters are stunning and can be best explored on houseboats. National Geographic calls Kerala one of the 10 must visit paradises in the world, and a list of things to do in this state are surely surreal experiences straight out of a dream.

Best Time To Visit Kerala

The monsoon season, between June and August, is the best time to experience the lush green landscape of this tropical state.

Here's a list of things to do in Kerala that can help you explore some of the most majestic destinations in God's Own Country.

Photo of Kerala, India by Tripoto

1. Spend a morning at the the port town of Kochi

The journey into Kerala is best begun from the port town of Kochi. First on the list of things to do in Kerala is a visit to the 15th century Chinese fishing nets along the Malabar coast. Start your day by experiencing the sunrise and vibrant port life in the stunning west coast of India. The fast changing hues of the rising sun can be your introduction to Kerala's surreal beauty.

What to see: Chinese fishing nets, Mattancherry Palace, Pardesi Synagogue, Cherai Beach.

Where to stay: Kochi Marriott Hotel, Brunton Boatyard - CGH Earth, Fragrant Nature Kochi

Photo of Kochi, Kerala, India by Tripoto

2. Visit the first European Church built in India

Get 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.

Address: Opp. Post Office, St Francis Church Road, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001

3. Get a taste of culture at the Kerala Kathakali Centre

Visit the Kerala Kathakali Centre, located near the Santa Cruz Basilica, in Kochi to see some traditional Kathakali performances by graduates of the Kerala Kalamandalam University. Performances start at 6pm. To visit the renowned theatre for soul-stirring kathakali, music, martial arts performances and other dance forms would be an exceptional addition to your list of things to do in Kerala.

Timing: Kalaripayttu (Martial Arts) Show 4pm to 5pm; Kathakali Demonstration and Show 6pm to 7.30pm; Indian Classical Music Show (by special guest artists) 8pm to 9pm. Meditation classes also take place daily between 8am to 9am and yoga sessions happen from 6.30am to 8am and from 9am to 10.30pm.

Entry fees: ₹300 for Kathakali; ₹300 for Indian Classical Dance and Music and ₹250 for martial art.₹200 for meditation and ₹350 for yoga.

Photo of Kerala Kathakali Centre, KB Jacob Road, Fort Nagar, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala, India by Tripoto

4. Take a scenic drive to Munnar

Drive along the winding roads through the tea estates of Munnar and stop to take in some of the most breathtaking spots on the way. The Cheyyara and Valara Waterfalls are stunning pitstops on this drive. You can also take a drive to Abhayaranyam at Kaprikkad (3km from Kodanad) to visit the largest elephant orphanage in Kerala. There's no entrance fee to visit this animal rescue centre, but it is closed on Mondays.

What to see: See Nilgiri Tahr in Eravikulam National Park; take a hike to the Anamudi Peak; try mountain biking; rejuvenate with an Ayurvedic Spa; watch the Attukal Waterfalls; learn how to cook authentic Kerala cuisine from Nimi Sunil Kumar, who hosts cooking classes almost everyday.

Where to stay: Parakkat Nature Resort, Chandys Windy Woods, The Fog Munnar (Resort & Spa)

Elephant reserve and training centre. Image Credits: Aviva West

Photo of Munnar, Kerala, India by Tripoto

5. Visit the tea museums of Munnar

To get the best of the highlands of Kerala, visit one of the tea museums in the region. Kannan Devan Hills in the Iddukki district is the biggest and first tea museum of India. A visit to this spot will give you an authentic experience of Kerala's Western Ghats. Unlike other leisure activities, an excursion to the tea estate will be one of the best offbeat things to do in Kerala.

Timings: Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm. Closed on Monday

Entry fee: ₹75 per person for adults, ₹35 per person for children, ₹20 per still camera

Image Credits: Marcin Wichary

Photo of Kannan Devan Hills, Kerala, India by Tripoto

6. Explore the green valleys of Matupetty

Reach the quiet hill station of Matupetty, a famous hill-town in Munnar. The green valleys of Matupetty are in close proximity with the Anamudi Peak. Trekking and birding are some of the popular things to do here. Visit the Matupetty Dam and take a boat ride on the lake to experience a quieter side of Kerala.

Image Credits: Bimal KC

Photo of Matupetty Dam, Mattupetty, Kerala, India by Tripoto

7. Find the wild side of Kerala at Eravikulam National Park

The Eravikulam National Park is one of the most coveted wildlife hubs in the region for outdoor enthusiasts visiting Kerala. Spread over 97sq km, this destination is home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr and other rare species of animals, birds and butterflies. Once in every 12 years, the hills surrounding the national park turn blue owing to the blossoming of the Neelakurinji flower. On other days, the view of the tea estates surrounding the national park make it a hotspot for visitors in Kerala.

Timings: Monday to Sunday, 7.30am to 4pm. The park is open from April to January each year.

Entry fee: ₹95 for adults, ₹70 for children, for Indians. ₹380 per person for foreign nationals. Reservation fee ₹50 (Reservation counter 9 am – 3 pm at Information centre, Munnar)

Photo of Eravikulam National Park, Kannan Devan Hills, Kerala, India by Tripoto

8. Take a guided trek to the Periyar Tiger Reserve

The rich flora and fauna of the region has been a great attraction for visitors for many years. A chance to see the Great Indian Tiger is a great pull for travellers to this silent spot in the Western Ghats. You can take a guided jungle trek through the Periyar Tiger Reserve to observe and understand wildlife closely.

Timings: 6am to 6pm, all days. There are daily boat cruises, with one ride lasting 30mins. Timings for the same are are 7:25 am, 9:15 am, 11:15 am, 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm.

Price: ₹25 per person for Indians, ₹300 per person for foreign tourists, ₹100 per person for still cameras, ₹250 per person for video cameras. ₹275 for a boat ride through the park. Know more about this here.

9. Spend the night at a cottage overlooking Periyar Tiger Reserve

Reach the town of Kumily on the outskirts of the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Spend the night at a cottage overlooking the vast expanse of the lush green forest cover. Spending time at a homestay in the vicinity of the tiger reserve is the best way to stay close to nature and get educated about the natural beauty surrounding you.

Where to stay: This homestay is a great stay option.

Photo of Periyar Tiger Reserve, Mlappara, Kerala, India by Tripoto

10. Get ready for a rare beach experience in Alleppey

Spend your day exploring the Marari and Alappuzha beach. The beach experience in Kerala includes fun activities, such as camel safaris and participation in various sand art festivals. In addition to the beach visit, the list of thing to do when in Marari beach also includes a visit to the fishing village of Mararikulam. Check the official website for dates of the local festivals and plan your travel accordingly.

Where to stay: Treebo Palmyra Grand Suite, Bamboo Lagoon Backwater Front Resort, Bella Homestay

Image Credits: Swetha R

Photo of Alleppey, Kerala, India by Tripoto

11. Enjoy a houseboat cruise on the backwaters

To make the best of your evening when in Alleppey, take a sunset cruise on one of the houseboats. With appointed bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms, these houseboats are a great way to explore the meandering backwaters. Other places you can take houseboat rides in Kerala are Kumarakom, Kollam, Kottayam and Kasargod.

Where to stay: Xandari Riverscapes, Angel Queen House Boats, Pournami Houseboats

Image Credits: Augustus Binu

Photo of Unexpectedly Awesome Things To Do In Kerala To Unwind Differently by Tripoto

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