According to National Geographic Travelers records, Kerala is one of the 50 travel-worth places on earth. Kera is called “God’s own country”. This state of India is situated on the S-West coast of the country. The Sickle-like in shape, Kerala on map looks like a crescent moon. Pollution free Kerala is magnificent, a place of beauty and unique culture. The total area of Kerala is 38863 sq. km. The capital is Thiruvananathapuram is almost on the border of Tamilnadu’s Padmanavapuram. Kerala is the most educated state of India. Kerala was created as a linguistic state on 1st November ‘ 1956 with Malayam as the state language. The state consists of Travancore, Malabar, Cochin and south Canara district of Karnataka. In India it is the 21st state in size, 550 km long and 120 km wide. The blue waves of the Arabin Sea lash the western shores of Kerala while the evergreen eastern part is extended up to Masala Hill (500 – 2700 meters above sea level) on the Western Ghat range of mountains. Kerala is adequately provided with hills, forests, canals, creeks and troves of coconut trees. Water transport is quite efficient in this state where the inland waterways are 900 km long. Kerala is called Vanice of the East. There is a great diversity in nature of this state and in its history. Keralayam became Kerala in course of time. Kerala was quite rich both in herbal and mineral resources. Kerala is quite developed in agriculture, health-care and education. Temple, mosques and churches have dotted almost everywhere in Kerala. It is also rich in cultural expressions like dancing and music. Classic Kathakali dance is a unique creation of Kerala.
Places to travel in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram / Trivandrum: The capital of Travancore state was shifted from Padmanavapuram to Thiruvananthapuram in 1750 and named to Trivandrum which is now the capital of Kerala. This has now been renamed asThiruvananthapuram. It has to its east and N-East is the Western Ghat range of mountains and in the southern part of the state is the Arabian Sea. Like Rome city Thiruvananthapuram is on the seven hills of the Sahyadri mountain range. It is called the Pleasure Garden of South India. The city pales into insignificance in comparison with Kovalam beach 16 km away, the presence of Sripadmaswamy Temple in the capital notwithstanding. Shree Padmanavaswami Temple is situated opposite to East Fort Bus stand. The deity has taken its name after the temple. To the S-East is the Puttan Malika Palace. The king of Travancore built this Palace in 1750 after coming here from Padmanavapur. One will find Park View or the Zoo and Botanical Garden on an 80-acre plot atop the observatory hill. One will find same premises Art Museum, Sree Chitra, Art Gallery, Natural History Museum, Sree Chitra Enclave, K S Panikkar Gallery, etc. The Chitralayam or the Art Gallery had been founded in 1935 in the premises of the museum. Kerala has an observatory hill on a 50-acre area. Of zoo safari the greatest attraction will be the Aquarium of Thiruvanathapuram’s sea shore with aquatic its rich collection of animals and plants. Sunset from Shanghumugham Beach is Nine km away from the city. Some eight km off Thiruvanathapuram one will find the Attractive Veli Tourist Village closed to sea. On the way is the Kauriya Palace, the beautiful residence of Maharaja of Travancore. Some 51 km S-East of Thiruvanthapuram on NH-47 towards Kannyakumari is place called Takkali. The fisherman’s village of Thumba on seashore is not far off from Thiruvanathapuram.
Kovalam: Kovalam is the second most beautiful sea beach in the world. Those who prefer a place calm and quiet will definitely like to visit Kovalam. The sea here is clam and the beach looks like a bow. All those make it an ideal spot for bathing. One feels like living in a hilly place with sheds of papiya, banana and coconut trees besides troves of palm trees. Kovalam has added attraction because of its fame as an Ayurvedic treatment center, particularly Ayurvedic massage. On the seashore is Madrasa Hidayathul Islam. The southern most point is populated lighthouse beach. The fourth beach is in the north where the sea is in pristine form with fishermen’s boats sailing. Aruvikkara water works on the bank of the Karamana River 16 km north of the town is also worth visiting. Neyyer Dam and wildlife Sanctuary thirty km south of the town in beautiful surroundings is located Neyyer Dam creating a lake with small islands in it. At the foothills of the Western Ghat range of mountains an area of 128 sq. km was chosen in 1958 to create Neyyer Wildlife Sanctuary, Lion Safari and Crocodile Project. The sanctuaryAgasthya Vanam Biological Park is situated on the N-Eastern side. Tourist may visit Agasthyakodam Sahyadri hill thirty two km from Neyyer, 61 km from Thiruvananthapuram via Bonakkadu.
Ponmudi: Pon means gold and mudi hill. It is therefore Goden Hill. This is a health resort 56 km north of Thiruvananthapuram on the Western Ghat. The Pippara Wildlife Sancutary spread over 53 sq. km is 44 km towards Thiruvananthapuram, via Vithurai six km from Ponmudi. Ponmudi takes a golden colour at sunrise.
Warkala: The hill city is located 54 km to the N-West of Thiruvananthapuram and 22 km S-East of Kollam. By the beach side is the meandering course up to the Mountain’s Cliff. Through the natural beauty given by trees and plants go up the fight of steps to the hilltop where Sree Janardan Swamy Temple was raised in 1152. To three km east of this temple is the Narayan Dharma Sangham Math on the Shibagiri hill. The Nature Cure Centre set up here in 1983 treats asthma patients with the mineral rich water of the falls and the ozone of the sea breeze. At the hilltop is situated the Scientific School of Yoga.
Kollam / Quilon:Kollam is on the Chennai-thiruvananthapuram / Kochi and Thiru-vananthapuram-kochi 156 km, Thiruvananthapuram 65 km. These three places are linked by rail. This is Quilon. And there is greenery, Troves of jackfruit, coconut and banana trees, and cashew nuts are around the backwaters, Birds and butterflies on the branches add colors.Kollam is the junction of backwaters. On the backwaters 10 km towards Kollam in the north is Amritapuri where Amritanandamayee Math Mission I is worth visiting. Kollam is a commercial town on Lake Ashtamudi widely shaded by cashew and coconut groves.
Alappuzha / Alleppey : Alappuzha is on the Kollam-Kochi route, Kollam is 84 km to the south, Kochi is 63 km to the north and Alappuzha is 147 km to north ofThiruvananthapuram. Backwater is the gateway of Alappuzha and boats move within the town on manmade canals. Vembanad Lake created by backwaters is the largest Lake-IKerala. Another spot is Krishnapuram Palace, built in 1740, which is a fine specimen of architecture and sculptural design of wood. Enthusiastic tourists may vist Sree Krishna Temple at Ambalappuzha 14 km away. Bhagawati Temple at Chettikulangara and Nagrapa Temple the biggest, in Kerala.
Kottayam: This is the land of threeL’s – Letters, Latex and Lakes. Highly literate Kottayam is also famous for its rubber and lakes. Kottayam is also the gateway of Periyar. The commercial city of Kottayam is evergreen because of high rainfall and in the arable land around it tea, coffee, coco, black chili, cardamom and rubber are grown. Tekkadi on Periyais to see wildlife. Ettumanur is twelve km to the north of Kottayam-Ernakulam Road. Shiva Temple at Vaikum about 40 km from Kottayam and 29 km from Ernakulam on Kottayam-Ernakulam Road. About Twelve km west of Kottayam is situated Kamarakom Bird Sanctuary along with the luxurious Kumarakom Tourist Complex. Pathiramanal Island is the midst of Vembanad Lake is also worth visiting.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary / Tiger Reserve:In 1979 the Periyar sanctuary was given a new status – Tiger Reserve. Its core area is 350 sq. meters. One can enjoy the Periyar Lakeby taking from the forest department motor launches.
Kumily: Situated 3000 ft above sea level on the Tamilnadu border on Kottayam-Madurai Road in Kerala, Kumily provides the road link to Periyar. Spices grown here are also much sought after.
Kochi:Cochin has now been renamed Kochi. Kochi comprises 10 islands in the midst of the Arabian Sea and backwaters. Vembanad Lake also meets the sea at Kochi. On theMalabar Coast Dutch, Portugese and British architecture find their best expression in the construction of Kochi port. Kochi emerged in the floods of 1341. In 1405 the Mujiris settled here coming from Kodangalur 50 km north. Through Kochi is an old town; it was Brithsh who actually founded Fort Cochi. Gundudwip is the smallest of the islands at Kochi, close toBapeen. Kochi’s Charch is another attraction. Roman Catholic Santa Cruz Cathedral is another attraction of Kochi. Mango trees surround Mattancherry Palace near Mattancherry Jetty. To the N-West of Ernakulam there is a lagoon called Bolaghati Dwip. To the west of Bolaghati is Vallarpadam Island. It is a Catholic pilgrimage for its St. Mary Church.Enthusiastic tourists can go 10 km down to see temple and palaces at Tripunitura, Eight km further down Bhagawati Temple at Chottanika and still seven km away the 700 year old Church at Mulantaruti. Parishnath Thampuram Museum or the Kochi Museum is located adjacent to Durbar Hallon Durbar Hall Road.
Kodungallur / Cranganore:The present town of Kodungallur or erstwhile Cranganore was an important port town on the west coast 2000 years ago. In the heart of the town the temples of Kurumba Bhagawati and Thiruvanchikulam are famous.
Munnar:This has got more than 30 tea estates. One can see tea processing and buy tea too. Surrounded by three hill streams Mudrapugha and Kundala / Nallathanni The Tea Country Munnar is a haven for nature lovers. Here world’s largest numbers of Nilgiri Thors or brown mountain goats are found in Eravikulam Nationa Park. Some 16 km off Munnar is Devikulam Sita Devi Lake, which is a good picnic spot around the spice estate about 1800 meter above sea level.
Lubha / Alwaye:On the way is the Ruhr of Kerala, Alubha, is situated across the Periyar river. The industrial town is about 21 km away from Ernakulam. The main commercial town is Kaladi ten km away from Alubha. One can visit Malayattur in the Alwaye region. Malayauttur is forty-five from Ernakulam and Kochi.
Malampuzha:On Coimbatore-Thrissur along NH-47 Malampuzha is situated about eight km towards Calicut from Palakkad.
Palakkad / Palghat: This town is situated on the border of Kerala and Tamilnadu at foothills of the Western Ghat Mountains about 55 km S-West of Combatore. The Parambikulam wildlife Sanctuary is not far off. It is about 130 km from Palakkad with an area of 285 sq. km and close to Annamalai to Tamilnadu.
Kannur / Kannanore: Mangalore plying along the Arabian Sea coast go to Kannur. The distance is 72 km from Kozhikode and 131 km from Mangalore. The Muslim pilgrim spot ofKasargarh can be reached traveling 115 km along NH-47 towards Mangalore.