Best Tourist Spots in Kerala


Best Tourist Spots in Kerala

Kerala is also called Gods own country. Kerala is an important Tourist destination inIndia. Kerala is closely linked with its commerce, which until recent times revolved around its spice trade. Celebrated as the Spice Coast of India, ancient Kerala played host to travelers and traders from across the world including the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British. Almost all of them have left their imprint on this land in some form or the other - architecture, cuisine, literature. Kerala has lot of Beaches, Hill Stations, Wild life Sanctuaries, Water Falls, Rivers, Dam, Sanctuaries, Pilgrimage, Tea Estates and Ayurvedic Medicines  and a perfect destination for Travel, Tourism, Holidays, Honeymoon, Art, Culture, Tradition, Health Care, Yoga, Ayurveda and Meditation, Hotels, Accommodation, Heritage, Art forms and People . Some very important spots are listed below… If you are planning to visit Kerala, make sure you don't miss any of these. 

KOVALAM Picture
Kovalam, meaning "a groove of coconut trees," is just 10 km from the state capital of Kerala- Thiruvananthapuram. Kovalam is actually a combination of three small beaches. Among these, the southernmost beach, named LighthouseBeach, is the most frequented beach in Kovalam. Earlier this beach of Kovalam was an anglers' paradise. It still has some small villages, just a few kilometres away, which belong to the fishing community. Gradually, thisbeach of Kovalam has been transformed to a tourist spot of great interest. Kovalam is an ideal place for a sunbath during the winter. Tourists to Kovalam can also experience the typical Kerala massage from the parlours available a few kilometers away along the Kovalam beaches.

VIZHINJAM
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About 2kms south of Kovalam, it is believed to be an ancient port. The Dutch and Portugese had commercial establishments here. It is being developed as a modern fishing harbour.
VARKALA
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Varkala is a seaside resort and spa. It is also an important Hindu center of pilgrimage. The final resting place of the great social reformer, Sree Narayana Guru, is near Varkala, atop a hill called Sivagiri. High cliffs with mineral springs rise majestically from the coastline. According to a myth, sage Narada was approached by a group of mendicants who confessed to having sinned. Narada threw his valkkalam (cloth made of the bark of a tree) into the air, and the place where it landed was subsequently named Varkala. The mendicants were directed by Narada to offer their prayers in the newly created place by the seashore. The place where they prayed for redemption came to be known as the PapanashamBeach(Papanasham means redemption from sins). The 2000-year-oldSreeJanardhanaSwamyTemple and theNatureCareCenter are the two main attractions here.

PEPPARA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY(50km from Thiruvananthapuram)
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This sanctuary spread over 53 sq. km on the Western Ghats, is accessible from Vithurai, which is on the way to Ponmudi. With its rich flora and fauna, Peppara, dotted with hillocks, forests and eucalyptus plantations, is emerging as a great attraction for wildlife enthusiasts.Located at about 50 km northeast of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city ofKerala, the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most beautiful wildlife sanctuaries of Kerala. 

VELI LAGOON
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Boat club attracts tourists by providing facilities for pedal boating , row boating , swimming on the placid waters of the veli lake. An exciting place for picnics, theVeliTouristVillage is built near the Veli lagoon fringed with greenery and easily accessible by road. Veli is located 8 kms from Thiruvananthapuram city. The village provides an excellent atmosphere for relaxing. A beautifully landscaped garden and facilities for swimming, boating, etc, on the placid waters of the lake attract hundreds of visitors everyday.The village is borded by Veli lagoon and Arabian seawhich makes it one of the picturesque location. The lagoon is separated from the sea by narrow sand bar. 

SHREE PADHMANABHA SWAMYTEMPLE
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The village is 30 Kms. South east ofCochin. Since there are no industries here, the village is free from all types of pollution. The main occupation of the villagers is making ropes with coconut fiber, mat weaving with leaves of wild-pineapple collecting sand from river-bed, fishing and farming 

KUTHIRAMALIKA
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(Puthenmalika)PalaceMuseum: (Open 0830 - 1230 hrs & 1530 - 1730 hrs. Closed on Mondays.) The palace was built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma - the King of Travancore, who was a great poet, musician, social reformer and statesman. This rare specimen of workmanship in the traditional Travancore style of architecture also has exquisite woodcarvings. The palace museum displays paintings and various priceless collections of the royal family and is located near the SreePadmanabhaSwamyTemple

NAPIER MUSEUM
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(Open 1000 - 1700 hrs. Closed on Mondays & Wednesday forenoons) Built in the 19th century, the Indo - Saracenic structure boasts a "natural" air conditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artifacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. The use of plastic is banned in the museum premises

SREE CHITRA ART GALLERY
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(Open 1000 - 1700 hrs. Closed on Mondays & Wednesday forenoons) Located near the Napier Museum, this art gallery displays select paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich and exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art in India. The collection also includes paintings fromChinaJapanTibet and Bali

ZOOLOGICAL PARK
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Open 1000 - 1700 hrs. Closed on Mondays.) One of the first zoos in India, it is located in a well-planned botanical garden. With huge trees like frangipani and jacaranda dotting the sprawling lawns and wild fowl swimming in the lake, it is like a small jungle in the heart of the city. A reptile house with different species of snakes is also located in the premises. 

KANAKAKUNNU PALACE:
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The palace and its sprawling grounds are today the venue for many cultural meets and programs. 

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY MUSEUM COMPLEX:
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A(Open 1000 - 1700 hrs. Closed on Mondays.) The exhibits here are related to science, technology and electronics.

SHANGHUMUGHAM BEACH
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Just 8 km from the city, this is a favorite haunt of sunset watchers. The beach is adjacent to the TrivandrumAirport andVeliTouristVillage. An indoor recreation club, the 'matsya kanyaka' (a gigantic, 35 m long sculpture of a mermaid) and a restaurant shaped like a starfish are some of the attractions here.ChachaNehruTrafficTrainingPark here provides opportunity for children to learn the traffic rules.

AKKULAM TOURIST VILLAGE
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(Open 1000 - 1700 hrs). A picnic spot with boating facilities, Akkulam is a place children flock to. It has a well-equipped children's park and a paddle pool. There is a swimming pool for adults too

NEYYAR DAM
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A popular picnic spot, Neyyar Dam has a watch tower, crocodile farm, lion safari park and deer park. Boating facilities are available at the reservoir.

AGASTHYAKOODAM
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Part of the Sahyadri range of mountains, Agasthyakoodam is the second highest peak in Kerala, at a height of 1890 meters above sea level. Teeming with wildlife, the forests of Agasthyakoodam abound in rare medicinal herbs and plants and brilliantly hued orchids. A bird watcher's paradise, this legendary mountain is accessible by foot from Kotoor, near Neyyar Dam, as also from Bonacaud. The season from December to April is advocated for trekking, for which a forest pass has to be obtained from the Wildlife Warden, Forest Department, PTP Nagar, Trivandrum.

PALARUVI WATERFALLS (75 km from Kollam town)
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Palaruvi which means "milky stream" makes its `milky way' down the rocks, falling from a height of 300 feet. The Palaruvi woods is a beautiful picnic spot. There are frequent buses to Ariankavu from Kollam. The PWD Inspection Bungalow and the KTDC Motel offer comfortable accommodation. 
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ARYANKAVU (70 km from Kollam town)
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Situated on the Kollam - Shenkottai road, Ariankavu is famous for the shrine dedicated to Lord Sastha. Mandala Pooja and Trikalyanam celebrated in the month of December are the main festivals here. 
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THENMALA (66 km east of Kollam)
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The area is covered by dense forest, rubber and tea plantations. An Eco Tourism Development Project is under implementation here. Thenmala is also a dam site.
 

KULATHUPUZHA (64 km from Kollam town)
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Situated on a forest range on the Thiruvananthapuram - Shenkottai road, Kulathupuzha is known for the Sastha temple. The Vishu Mahotsavam in April/May is the most important festival. There are frequent buses from Kollam to Kulathupuzha.The Thenmala railway station is just 10 km from here. 

ASHTAMUDI LAKE
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Kollam is situated on the banks of scenic and calm AshtamudiLakeLakeAshtamudiis one of the biggest Backwaters of Kerala. The gateway to the magnificent backwaters of Kerala and center of the country's cashew trading and processing industry, Kollam offers investors lot of potential. The eight hour boat trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is the longest and most enchanting experience on the backwaters of Kerala.

SHENDURNI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
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Shendurni Wildlife Sanctuary located 70 kms from Kollam, on the Kollam-Shencotta Road, is a green valley of splendid forests, situated on the banks of theShendurnyRiver. Steep and rugged peaks surround the sanctuary, which is dotted by several breathtaking ravines. On the northern side of the sanctuary is Palaruvi, a beautiful picnic spot. In the tropical evergreen and mixed deciduous forests here are found a variety of animals.  

SABARIMALA SREE DHARMA SASHTHA TEMPLEPicture
A well known pilgrim centre of Kerala, Sabarimala lies 191kms away from Thiruvananthapuram and 210kms away from Kochi (Cochin). The holy shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa is situated 914metres above sea level amidst dense forests in the rugged rerrains of theWestern Ghats. Lord Ayyappa is looked upon as the guardian of mountains and there are several shrines dedicated to him all along the Western Ghats. The festivals here are the Mandala Pooja, Makara Vilakku (December/January), and Vishu Vilakku (april). The temple is also open for pooja on the every Malayalam month. The vehicle go only up to Pamba and the temple which is situated five kms away from Pamba can be reached only by trekking. During the festival period there are frequent buses to this place from Kochi(Cochin), Thiruvanathapuram and Kottayam. The nearest railway station is Thiruvalla.


PANDALAM
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Pandalam is perhaps second only to Sabarimala, in sanctity and significance. Lord Ayyappa, the presiding diety of Sabarimala had his human sojourn as the son of Raja of Pandalam. It is believed that the Raja constructed a temple close to his palace on the banks of river Achankoil modeled on the Sbarimala shrine which is the present Valiya Koickal temple. Pilgrims usually wiorship here before proceding to Sabarimala. Three days prior to Makaravilakku, the chest containing Thiruvabharanam (the sacred ornaments of Lord Ayyappa kept here) is taken in a procession from Pandalam to Sabarimala. The nearest railway station is Chengannur

Chandragiri Fort
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This fort was built in the 17th century by Sivappa Nayaka of Bedanore. The fort has an ancient temple and holds a festival where the deity is taken to Thrikkanaya Temple at Bekal.

Bekal Fort 
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The Bekal Fort is the largest fort in Kerala that is located on a hilltop, giving a scenic view of the picturesque countryside.

Valapattanam
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Famous for timber trade, Valapattanam, situated about 8 k.m north of Kannur has a pride of place in the world map for its wood based industries.Valapattanam was once considered third in the world for timber operations. Having to depend only on imports of logs, the place today wear a deserted look with Western India Plywoods being the only exception.Azhikkal port, an all weather medium port, is situated very near to Valapattnam. 

Thalassery Fort 
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Thalassery Fort 20 Kms away from Kannur was built on 20th August 1708, on a small hill called Thiruvallappad kunnu. This fort was a formidable stronghold in the past. There are several important tourist centres in Thalassery. The Church built beneath the Walls of the Fort with funds left by the Master attendant Mr. Edward Brennen and the large mosque known as Odathil Palli atracts several people. The Thiruvangad temple other wise known as brass Pagode, is dedicated to Sree Rama, Sree Jaganath Temple is next in importance. This temple dedicated to Siva was consecrated in February 1908 AD by the great religious reformer Sree Narayana Guru. 

Ezhimala
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A place of historical importance Ezhimala ( Elimala) was the seat of Mooshika kings in the early periods. Ezhimala has found a place in the travelogues of Iban Bathutha and Marcopolo.Ezhimala is also considered to be a treasure chest of medicinal herbs, situated 286m, above sea level, it is a landmark to mariners, and is blessed with a long beautiful beach.The place is shortly going to find strategical importance in the Naval map of India. Ezhimala is situated 45 Km. north of Kannur. 

Sultan Battery Edakkal Caves 
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The two caves are located at a height of 1000 m on Ambukutty Mala near Ambalavayal. The New Stone Age pictorial writings on the walls of these natural caves at Edakkal are evidence of the civilization that existed in these regions in prehistoric times. The caves can be accessed only by a 1 Km trekking trail from Edakkal. Morning hours are the best time to visit the caves. Entry is permitted only upto 5:00 pm. 

Calicut Beach
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This beach is a favorite haunt of sunset viewers. Adding to its natural beauty is the old world charm retained in the old lighthouse and the two crumbling piers, each more than a hundred years old, that run into the sea. Entertainment facilities such as the Lions Park for children and the marine water aquarium are added attractions.

Kappad Beach (16 km from Calicut)
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This is the historic beach where Vasco da Gama landed on the 27th of May 1498, with 170 men in three vessels. A monument on the beach commemorates this historic event.The rock-studded beach is locally known as Kappakadavu. An interesting feature of the landscape is the sprawling rock that protrudes into the sea. The temple on the rock is believed to be 800 years old. 

Beypore (10 km south of Calicut)
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Located at the mouth of the Chaliyar river, Beypore, one of the prominent ports and fishing harbors of ancient Kerala was an important trade and maritime centre. Ancient Beypore was much sought after by merchants from Western Asia, for its shipbuilding industry. The boat-building yard here, famous for the construction of the Uru (the Arabian trading vessel), boasts a tradition of almost 1500 years. 

Pazhassiraja Museum and Art Gallery (5 km from Calicut)
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On display here are copies of ancient murals, antique bronzes, old coins, excavated earthenware, models of temples, megalithic monuments like dolmonoid cysts, umbrella stones etc. Adjacent to the museum is the Art Gallery, which exhibits an excellent collection of paintings by Raja Ravi Varma and Raja Raja Varma. 

Thirunavaya
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The land of ancient Mamankom, Thirunavaya is 7 kms south of Tirur. Situated on the banks of Bharathapuzha, it is a place of historical importance. In olden days, Mamankam was a grand assembly of the rulers. held once in 12 years, in which one among them was selected as the emperor of Kerala. it was an enormous trade fair also. The Mamankam festival was celebrated for 28 days with great pomp and pageantry where traders from outside came in ships and barges to Thirunavaya through Ponnani port. Thus the economical importance of Mamankam was high and hence the right to conduct and control it was important. 

Kottakkal (Centre of Ayurveda) 
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Kottakkal is a world renowned centre of Ayurveda. The Arya Vaidya Sala, established by P.S. Warrier the well known physician and social reformer is here. People from different parts of the world come for treatment. Art and culture also flourish in Kottakkal with the patronage of Arya Vaidya Sala.P.S.V. Natyasanghom has a unique place in Kathakali. A Kathakali school is run by the sanghom. Venkata Theva temple near the Arya Vaidya sala, is noted for Mural paintings. Kottakkal Pooram festival attracts thousands. Connoisseurs of music, art, culture and literature of the country, participate in the cultural mela organized in connection with the pooram. 

Nilambur (Forest area) 
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Nilambur is famous for its teak plantations. The oldest teak plantation of the world, the Conolly's Plot is just 2 Kms. from Nilambur town. The plot was named in memory of H.V. Conolly, the then Malabar District Collector, who was instrumental in raising the teak plantation in the entire Nilambur area. Sir Chathu Menon, a forest officer under Conolly, took up the hectic task of planting Teak. Chathu Menon was laid to rest in the Teak garden in Conolly's Plot. The oldest Teak Kannimari in the plot is a rare attraction. This plot of 2.31 Hectares, is beside the Chaliyar river at Aruvakode, where a country boat ferry is ready for visitors.

Parambikulam 
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Sprawled across 285 Sq. Km. the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is home to rare wild animals. It is also inhabited by quite a few hill tribes like the Malayars, Kadars and Muthuvans. Boating / cruising facilities are available at the Parambikulam Reservoir. The Rest Houses of the State Forest Department at Thoonakkadavu, Thellikkal and Elathode offer accommodation. A tree-house in the reserved forest area in Thoonakkadavu has to be booked in advance. 

Silent Valley National Park 
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This 9000 hectare national park is believed to be the sole surviving bit of evergreen forest in the Sahya Ranges. The peculiarity of the Silent Valley forest is that it is devoid of the chirping of cicadas. Vehicular transport is only up to Mukkali, nearly 24 km from the park. The rest of the way has to be covered on foot up to the source of Kunthipuzha which flows through the valley before merging with the Bharathapuzha (Nila). There is huge, hollow tree in the park which can hide at least 12 people in it. 

Malampuzha
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This famous picnic spot which comprises a dam and a beautiful landscaped garden is situated on the lower hills of the Western Ghats. There are frequent buses to this place from Palakkad. Malampuzha is one of the important tourist places in Kerala, located in Palakkad district just kms away Palakkad town. Malampuzha is situated on the lower hills of Western ghats. Major tourist attractions are Malampuzha Garden, Malampuzha Dam, Fresh water aquarium, Children park, Snake park, Telescopic tower, Rock garden,Passenger ropeway etc. 

Athirapally and Vazhachal Waterfalls 
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East of Chalakudy, near the entrance of the Sholayar forest ranges are the beautiful waterfalls of Athirapally and Vazhachal, 5 kms apart.

Kerala Kalamandalam
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Founded in 1930, this is a center for reviving, preserving and developing the traditional art forms of Kerala especially Kathakali. It is also one of the major tourist attractions in Thrissur. North of Thrissur, 29 kms away, near the Shoranur Railway junction is Cheruthuruthy, home of the renowned repository of the tradition of the Kathakali dance form. It is in this academy that the best of Kerala's Kathakali performers get their training. The institution also offers training in music, drama and other dance forms including Mohiniyattam, Koodiyattam and Ottam Thullal. 

Lakkidi 
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Lakkidi, the gateway to Wayanad, is situated 700 m above mean sea level, at the crest of the Thamarasseri Ghat pass. Lofty peaks, gurgling streams and luxuriant forests add magic to the journey up the winding roads ti this hill station.

Pookot Lake 
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This perennial fresh water lake, nestled among wooded hills, is the only one of its kind in Kerala. Boating facilities, a children's park, a handicrafts and spices emporium and a fresh water aquarium are among the tourist facilities available here. The lake is 3 Km south of Vythiri Resorts.

Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuaries 
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This sanctuary in Karnataka State extends over an area of 634.39 Sq. Km. The park houses diverse species of plant and animal life. It is about 40 Km from Mananthavady.

Thirunelly Temple 
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Surrounded by Kambamala. Karimala and Varadiga, the Thirunelly temple is a marvel of temple architecture. The shrine is shielded with 30 granite. The crystal clear waters of the Papanasini river running downhill adds to the enchantment of the place. 

Guruvayoor
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29kms away from Thrissur, this is also one of the most sacred pilgrimage centers in the state. The presiding deity is Lord Krishna. Legend has it that Guru, the preceptor of Gods and Vayu, the God of wind, created the temple.

Vadakkumnathan Temple
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This is one of the oldest temples of the state. Lord Shiva, the presiding deity, is represented by the "ling". Traditional Kerala style architecture, exquisite murals and carvings on the wall depicting stories from epics, are one of the major tourist attractions in Thrissur. Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter this temple.

Marine Drive
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Marine Drive is considered to be one of the most beautiful part of Kochy city. The marine walk is the main hangout for the local populace as the view of the backwaters and the harbour from here is excellent.Marine Drive is considered to be one of the most beautiful parts of the city. It is also called Shanmugham Road. The marine walk is the main hangout for the local populace as the view of the backwaters and the harbor from here is excellent. At night the lights from the various ships anchored at the harbor is just breathtaking.There are various buildings along the Marine Drive which are good examples of modem architecture with the notable one being Asoka Apartments on the southern end of the Marine Drive with a huge Namaste, the traditional greeting. 

Cherai Beach
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Cherai Beach offers a unique combination of sea and backwaters rimmed by lush green coconut palms. Children's Park A high-tech children's Park with Non-Conventional Energy Museum and Musical Fountain. The Children enjoy a lot with the facilities available here.The newly beautified main beach with the walkway adds to the charm and the High mask lamp makes the beach enjoyable even at night. Cherai beach is well known for the mouth lingering fresh sea food.The 10 kilometer long Cherai Beach is the best golden beach of Kerala and is rightly called “The Princess of the Arabian sea”. One should really feel the warmth of the golden rays of the sunset just in front of our resort. Dolphins are occasionally seen here. 

Bhoothathankettu 
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Built scenic dam site with boating facilities is situated in a vast virgin forest. It is a popular picnic sport with Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary near by. Bhoothathankettu is located 50 km north east of Ernakulam town, Kerala, India. Bhoothathankettu is situated amidst the lap of Mother Nature. The land is covered with forests which are home to migratory birds from around the world. There are lakes, mountains and the river Periyar which flows from Bhoothathankettu. It is heaven to nature lovers.

Munnar
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Munnar, one of the most popular and picturesque hill stations in India is situated 1600 to 1800 meters above sea level. Munnar is cradled in a valley hemmed in by hills. Many of its attractions are to be found on its outskirts, within a radius of 10 to 30 km from the town. Munnar is an old British Tea plantation town blending with the valley. Its thick foggy air suspended from above the tall red wood trees. Aromatic tea gardens, lush green forests and misty mountain peaks blend harmoniously in Munnar to create a blissful atmosphere that is hard to describe.Due to its beautiful surroundings and so natural, Munnar has been christened as 'Virgin Munnar', in the tourism and travel industry. Munnar is well known for tea plantations and beautiful hills. Increasing fame and the growth of visitors may soon account to deletion of this description. 

Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary 
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The Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary extends over the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola taluka of Idukki district. The Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 77 sq km and is about 450-748 m above sea level. It is one of the most beautiful and flora and fauna rich wildlife in Kerala.A land-locked district, Idukki is one of the most nature rich areas of Kerala. The Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary here spreads over an area of 77 sq km in the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola taluks of the district. Situated at an altitude of 450-748 m above sea level, this sanctuary occupies the forest land between the Cheruthoni river and the Periyar river. There is a scenic lake around the sanctuary, covered by an enchanting canopy of tropical ever-green and deciduous trees, and offers boat rides. 

CHINNAR WILD LIFE 
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Lying close to the plantations, in the rich jungles of Periyar in Thekkady is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves - the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread across 777 sq. km, of which 360 sq. km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geo-morphological diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors from all over the world. The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar river adds to the charm of the park. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of Periyar remains the large herds of wild elephants that come down to the lake's edge.

THEKKADY
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Lying close to the plantations, in the rich jungles of Periyar in Thekkady is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves - the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread across 777 sq. km, of which 360 sq. km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geo-morphological diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors from all over the world. The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar river adds to the charm of the park. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of Periyar remains the large herds of wild elephants that come down to the lake's edge. 

ANCHU VILAKKU
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About 22 km from Kottayam, this stone lamp post, a typical example of Kerala architecture, was built near the Changanacherry boat jetty by the renowned freedom fighter Veluthampi Dalawa. The Changanacherry market, one of the largest in Kerala, was also established by him. The five lamps on this post are lit using kerosene

PONJAR PALACE
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Royal collection of antiques, rock cut lamps, sculptures etc. The PoonjarPalace is a glorious testimony to the regal opulence of a bygone era. Within the palace walls is an extraordinary royal collection of antiques and exquisite furniture including a palanquin, a thoni – carved out of a single piece of wood – for Ayurvedic massages, huge chandeliers, palm leaf engravings, jewel boxes, varieties of lamps, sculptures of Nataraja (the dancing Siva), grain measures, statues and weapons. A unique conch preserved here is taken out once a year for ritualistic purposes. Near the palace is an amazing replica of the Madurai Meenakshi Temple. The walls of this temple bear sculptures that narrate stories from the Puranas (the legends of ancient India). However, the most fascinating thing here is the Chuttuvilakku (row of lamps) carved out on the stonewalls of the Sastha Temple nearby. Such rocks cut lamps are rare in India. 

VEMBANAD LAKE
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16 km away from Kottayam town, Kottayam is a vast network of rivers and canals, which empty into the great expanse of water called the VembanadLake. The lake, an enchanting picnic spot and a fast developing backwater tourism destination, provides boating, fishing and sightseeing experiences that are truly exhilarating. The KumarakomTouristVillage offers houseboat cruises and holiday packages. The serene lake comes alive during Onam with a spectacular water regatta - the snake boat races. It is indeed amazing to watch oarsmen, at least a hundred in one boat, slice their way through the waters to the fast rhythm of their own full-throated singing. 

KUMARAKOM BIRD SANCTUARY 
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16 km away from Kottayam the village ofKumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the VembanadLake, and is part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres, is a favourite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist's paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teal, waterfowl, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian stork that live here in flocks are a fascination for visitors. The best way to watch the birds of the Kumarakom sanctuary is a boat trip round the islands. An enchanting backwater destination, Kumarakom offers visitors many other leisure options. Boating and fishing facilities are available at the Taj Garden Retreat, a sprawling old bungalow-turned-resort.

PUNNAPRA
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A short distance from Alappuzha is Punnapra, a village which has gone down in history as the scene of a bitter and heroic fighting between the communists and Travancore State Police during the Punnapra Vayalar Communist uprising of 1946. 

EDATHUA CHURCH
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This church, dedicated to St. George is of special significance as it is believed that prayers and offerings here help in healing all kinds of mental disorders and other ailments. The annual feast is held from 5th - 7th May and attracts devotees from all parts of south India. The Church is just 24 kms. from Alappuzha.

CHAMPAKULAM CHURCH
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The St. Mary's Church is one of the oldest church in Kerala. It is said to be one of the seven churches established by St.Thomas. Tha annual feast is held on the 3rd Sunday of October. The feast of St. Joseph is celebrated on March 19th.

ARTHUNKAL CHURCH
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This christian Pilgrim centre near Sherthalai is 22 km.north of alappuzha. The St.AndrewsChurch here was built by Portuguese missionaries. The annual feast of St. Sebastian is held here in the month of January. 

MULLACKEL RAJESWARI TEMPLE
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It is dedicated to the Goddess Rajarajeswari. The nine day 'Navarathri' festival is celebrated twice a year and is of special significance to the people of Alappuzha. Another important festival of the temple is 'Thaipooyakavadi'.

ALAPPUZHA
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Alappuzha beach is one of the most popular spots in the district of Alappuzha. Its beautiful garden on the shore gives an exclusive sight. Imposing buildings of a colonial past overlook the shore. The pier, which extends into the sea is more than 140 years old and is a rare sight. Dense Palm groves at one end and an ancient towering light house at the other,VijayPark and Sea view park are all spectacular sights one should never miss. Boating Facility is available in both Parks.Facilities at the VijayaBeachPark: Boating, a children’s park with toy train and bicycles. Open from 1500 - 2000 hours. 

BACK WATER CRUISE 
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View the landscape beauty , monuments, temples,churches and industries of Alappuzha by cruising through its rivers,canals and backwaters.The starting point is from Alleppey and the finishing point is at Jetty.

BOATRACE
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Alappuzha district is proud of being the cradle of boat races. All the important boat races, namely the Nehru Trophy boat Race at Punnamada, the Payippad near Haripad, the Thiruvandoor, Neerettupuram, Karuvatta and Thaikkoottam boat races are held at different parts of the district during August-September Thousands of people from all parts of the world come and witness these races. 

KRISHNAPURAM PALACE
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Located at a distance of 47 km from Alappuzha on the way to Kollam, this palace was built in the 18th century during the reign of Marthanda Varma. This palace is noted for its typical Kerala architecture, with gabled roof, dormer windows and narrow corridors. Here you will find the famous mural kept in the western end of the ground floor, called ‘Gajendra Moksham’ which is the largest mural in Kerala. There is also a museum of antique sculptures, paintings and bronze articles in the palace.

KUTTANAD REGION
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The region is known as the 'Rice Bowl of Kerala'. It is perhaps the only region in the world where farming is done below sea level. The boat trip to Changanassery passes through this beautiful and fertile region. 

ARANMULA BOAT RACE
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The stretch of river Pamba at aranmula is the venue of the famous snake boat race. It is more a pageantry than a race. The snake boat is of an exrtra ordinary shape with a length of about 100ft. The rear portion towering to a height of about 20ft. and the front portion tapering gradually. The boat resembles a snake with its hood raised. the race is held on the last day of the week long Onam festival to commemorate the crossing of the river by Lord Krishna. The participants cheerfully row up and down the river to the tune of songs known as Vanchippattu.Vijnana Kalavedi at Aranmula imparts training in the traditional arts and crafts of Kerala.Kathakali, classical dances , classical music as well as Kalaripayattu (the martial arts of Kerala) are taught here.          Read more...

ARANMULA MIRROR
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Aranmula is also famous for its metal mirror. It is not made of glass but with bellmetal. This is a unique art which is not found any where else in the world. It is believed that a divine visitation inspired a widow of this village to discover a mysrterious blend of bronze which could be waxed bring into crystal clear mirror. The technique of production of this mirror is a closely guarded secret handed over from generation to, generation of craftsmen.

ARANMULA
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Aranmula is situated on the banks of the river Pamba, 10kms away from Chengannoor on the Thiruvananthapuram -Kottayam route. The Krishna temple here attracts a number of devotees and is an important pilgrim centre. The annual commemoration of the installation of the diety, Parthasarathy falls on the last day of the weak long celebrations to the Onam festival. A Snake Boat Race is held here as part of the festival during Augest/ September.

KONNI ELEPHANT CAGE
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Konni is the gateway to the forest bordering the district. In the past, wild elephants caught from the forests were brought here and put in wooden cages known as Anakoodu to be tamed and trained for work. Plans are a foot to develop a safari park here. It is situated 11kma away from Pathanamthitta. 

KAVIYOOR

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The temple here dedicated to Sree Hanuman Stands on a small hill and has been built in the gable style of architecture peculiar to Kerala. There is another rock-cut temple2kms away from the kaviyoor temple, which is great archeological importance. The temple has been assigned to the 8th century. A.D. , due to its close resemblances to the Pallava style. It is about 20 feet broad and the central shrine is a squire cell with a rock cut Sivalinga. The stone figures engraved in this temple are among the earliest specimens of stone culture. This temple is now preserved as a historical monument by the Archeology department. The nearest railway station is Thiruvalla. 

MANJINIKKARAPicture
The mortal remains of Mar Ignatius Elias 111, the Patriarch of Antioch who died during a visit to India is buried here. the tomb of the patriarch has become a popular pilgrim centre for Christians. It is located 6kms away from Pathanamthitta. 

KOZHENCHERY
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The religious convention known as the Maramon convention is held annually in February/ March on the river bed at Maramon near Kozhencherry. This is the biggest religious gathering of the Christians in Asia

KOTTUKALROCK CUT CAVE TEMPLE
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(11 km from Chadayamangalam) This temple situated on theThiruvananthapuram-Kottayam MC Roadis an idyllic example of rock cut temple architecture.

THIRUMULLAVARM BEACH
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(6 km north of Kollam town)This secluded beach is a beautiful picnic centre and has frequent bus connections to the town.

OCHIRA
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(34 km north of Kollam town)The unique feature of this famous pilgrim centre is that there is no deity or idol at the famous Parabrahma temple dedicated to universal consciousness. Ochira Kali in mid June and the twelve day Panthrandu Vilakku in November/December are the two main annual festivals. Ochira Kali is a mock fight enacted between groups of men dressed as warriors on the padanilam (fighting spot). They perform a martial dance standing in knee-deep water, brandishing swords and shields and splashing water in every direction. There are frequent buses from Kollam and Alappuzha. 

SASTHAMKOTTA
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(29 km from Kollam town)The vast fresh water lake here is the largest of its kind in Kerala. The ancient Sastha temple which lends its name to the town, is an important pilgrim centre. There are frequent bus services from Kollam. Accommodation is available at the PWD Rest House. 

MAYYANADPicture
(10 km south of Kollam town) Mayyanad is noted for its shrines and temples. The most important of the nine temples here is the Subramanya temple at Umayanallor. This shrine is said to have been consecrated by the great Hindu philosopher Sree Sankaracharya. There are frequent buses from Kollam to Mayyanad. 

THANGASSERI
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(5 km from Kollam town) This seaside village of historic importance has the ruins of an old Portuguese fort and churches built in the 18th century. The Thangasseri Lighthouse is open to visitors from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm. There are buses at 15 minute intervals from Kollam town

THIRUVALLAM
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This serene backwater stretch, enroute to Kovalam, is famous for its canoe rides. 

KATHAKALYPicture
Is Kathakali a stylized dance-drama? Is it a pantomime? Can it be called a classical ballet? One of the world's top-ranking poets and Nobel Laureates Rabindranath Tagore was instantly impressed by the aesthetic range and the narrative techniques of Kathakali when Kalamandalam presented a programme in Santiniketan. Along with Manipuri Tagore included Kathakali in the curriculum of Viswabharati. Kathakali was born only in the 17th century. But in less than four centuries it grew up to represent India's cultural heritage to the world outside. An eclectic art Kathakali evolved its classicism receiving inspiration from most of its predecessors such as Koodiyaattam, Krishnanaattam, Raamanaattam, Theyyam, Mudiyeettu and martial arts like Padayani and Kalarippayattu.                                                                      Read More

MOHINIYATTAM
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There is no precise historical evidence to establish the antiquity of Mohiniyatttam, the classical female dance-tradition of Kerala. Probably it was evolved in the seventeenth century. In the court of King Swathi Thirunal who ruled Travancore (South Kerala) in the 18th century, Mohiniyattam flourished along with Bharatanatyam, the classical dance of Tamil Nadu. The post-Swathy period witnessed the downfall of Mohiniyattam. 'The dance of the enchantress' slipped into eroticism to satisfy the epicurean-life of some provincial satraps and feudal Lords. Poet Vallathol rescued Mohiniyattam from total extinction. It was added to the curriculum of Kalamandalam at its very inception and within the past seven decades a number of prominent figures have emerged in the field, under its aegis, giving shape to what has come to be known as the ‘kalamandalam style’.

KALARIPPAYATTPicture
Kalarippayatt is the traditional martial art of Kerala. It is believed to be the forerunner of all eastern martial arts . It has played a significant role in the technical development of all other performing arts in Kerala. Its roots can be traced back to the 12th century when skirmishes among the many feudal principalities were very common. Kalarippayatt is still taught in Kerala. The founders of this Sangham played a significant role in the revival of Kalarippayatt. There are Kalries in north Kerala too, especially in Kozhikode.

AYURVEDA
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Ayurveda is believed as the oldest treatment method in the world (more than 3500 years old). The Plants are used for preparing as medicines. Nowadays Ayurveda has become very popular among the tourist especially foreigners. Patients from all over the world are coming here for Ayurveda treatment. The literal meaning of Ayurveda is 'Science of Life'. Now the traditional knowledge has been improved through scientific research and is taught in various Ayurveda Colleges in Kerala. A graduate doctor in Ayurveda, takes 5 years of courses at college besides six months of internship and is considered on par with doctors of modern medicine .  Read More........

PARUMALA
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Mar Gregorios Metropolitan, a Saint of Malankara Orthodox Church is burried here. This is also a famous Christian pilgrim centre . The orma perunnal (Remembrance Day) is celebrated during November every year. The nearest railway station is Thiruvalla.

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