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The Western Ghats   The Travancore  The Malabar Art Forms of Kerala


kerala Tourist Places

kerala Tourist Places

Kovalam

Three crescent-shaped beaches, separated by rocky outcroppings, constitute the chief attraction of this coastal town. Backed by the palm-covered steep headlands, the beaches are lined with a host of shops that offer all kinds of goods and services, creating an unmistakably resort-like atmosphere.

Just a short drive away from the State capital, Kovalam is easily accessible. Internationally acclaimed, this seaside destination comprises three adjacent rescent-shaped beaches. Golden sands, miles of shimmering sea, rocky promontories constantly caressed by the sensuous surf and a brilliant sunshine warming the very souls, make this place truly sensational. A charming village in its yesteryears, Kovalam today has all the trappings of a popular beach destination. Lined with shops, restaurants, ayurvedic centres and an accommodation option to suit all budgets, the place has the unmistakable ambience of a resort.

Shallow waters, stretching hundreds of metres, are ideal for swimming. The vast expanse of shimmering sea, sandy coves, and rocky outcroppings over the water, exuberant surf and brilliant sunshine impart an unreal quality to this popular tourist spot.

SIGHTS

Lighthouse

The 35-m lighthouse stands atop the Kurumkal hillock, jutting out on to the sea. For a nominal fee, visitors can climb the spiralling staircase inside to the top of the red and white tower. The palm-covered hillock offers a spectacular view of its surroundings.

Backwater Cruise

Twelve kilometres from Kovalam, the Karamana River crosses the highway at ThiruvaUom. This is an idyllic spot, offering a delightful view of the backwaters. A boat club offers a variety of cruises from canoe rides and kayaking to jaunts in kettuvalloms. Day tours to the nearby Pozhikara and Edayar islands and homestays at ldayar homes can also be arranged.

Vellayani Lake

One of the few freshwater lakes in Kerala, this pristine water body is a must-see. Accessible by boat from Kovalam, 7 km away, the lake draws huge crowds during the Onam boat races.

Valiyathura Pier

This 214-m long pier at VaUakkadavu offers magnificent views of the coast. However, because it is constantly pounded by the sea, the pier today has been reduced to a mere shadow of its busy former self. Fishermen fling their catamarans into the sea, jump in after them, and swim to the boats. Crowds gather just to watch this improptu show.

Vizhinjam

Located 17 Ian from Thiruvananthapuram, close to Kovalam, is this historic spot - the ninth-century capital of the Ay kings. Today, it is a quiet village, with only its relics, such as the cave temple, linking it to the past. The fishing harbour becomes a beehive of activity at dawn. The bay makes a pretty picture.

The Cave temple

A huge granite boulder has an opening, now blocked, said to lead to an underground cave. A half-finished bas-relief of Shiva appears on the stone and an idol of Saraswati sits at the mouth of the cave. Frequented by both Hindus and Muslims, it is now a protected monument under the AS!.

Chowara

Chowara, a tiny fishing village 8 km south of Kovalam, boasts broad sandy beaches minus the crowds. Uncluttered and pristine, the beach attracts solitude-seeking beach- combers rather than revellers and beach buffs. Chowara's location and serenity have also made it home to ayurvedic and heritage resorts. Of the three resorts located here, two attract tourists seeking ayurvedic treatments, whereas the third is known more for its lovely architecture.

Poovar

Two kilometres south of Kovalam is another peaceful but stunningly beautiful beach, Poovar. Situated close to the Neyyar River estuary, Poovar was a trading port in its early days. Today, it is recognised as a tourist destination, mainly due to the many resorts in the area such as the Poovar Island Resort, Isola di Cocco and the Estuary Island Resort.

Largely unexplored and unspoilt, the island of Poovar has developed into an up-market tourist destination. Enveloped by serene backwaters and at places, separated from the sea only by narrow sand banks, Poovar, with its virgin beaches, is very popular with tourists.

Kumarakom

Kumarakom

Set against the backdrop of rich green paddy fields and still grey waters, Kumarakom was, for years, just another sleepy town, resplendent in scenic beauty. However, when Kerala became a popular tourist destination, Kumarakom's charms were soon unveiled. Today, plush resorts scattered around a large lake and delightful backwaters have transformed this once quiet settlement into a sought after destination -Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, wrote in his hotel register, 'Truly, this is god's own country'.

Located 15 km west of Kottayam town, the picturesque village of Kurnarakorn is actually a cluster of small islands on the eastern banks of the Vembanad Lake. Sandwiched between a lake that looks more like the sea and a parallel network of backwaters, this bewitching water world forms part of the Kuttanad region. Although situated in a labyrinth of lush waterways, Kumarakorn's advantage is that it can be reached easily by road from Kottayam, Kochi and Alappuzha.

Tourists throng Kumarakom to experience its gentle pace of life and stunning views of nature. The only places to 'visit' are the nearby Bird Sanctuary, the Driftwood Museum and the Pathiramanal Island.

Kumarakom Tourist Village offer comfortable accommodation and holiday packages that include houseboat cruises, Ayurvedic massage, yoga, meditation, boating, fishing, angling, swimming etc.

Kumarakom is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a noted bird sanctuary where many species of migratory birds visit. The best time to visit the sanctuary is a noted bird sanctuary where many species of migratory birds visit. The best time to visit the sanctuary is between Novembers to March. The sanctuary is open every day from dawn to dusk and one can enter after buying a ticket for Rs 45.

The Vembanad Lake, the largest backwater in Kerala. Immortalized by Arundhathi Roy in her Booker-Wining God of Small Things, the stunningly serene Kumarakom was the place chosen by A B Vajpayee to coalesce while he was Prime Minister. Surrounded by the sprawling Vembanad Lake a cruise around the tiny Kumarakom islands here will teach you the magnificence of quietude. Kumarakam is amidst marvelous mangrove forest, coconut canopies and pulsating paddy fields sprinkle with enchanging waterways and canals. No wonder as many as five 5-Star hotels have come up in the past decade in the tourist village.

SIGHTS

Driftwood Museum

This museum was the brainchild of Raji Punnose, a teacher who worked in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for 25 years. She started collecting pieces of driftwood washed ashore and spent hours pruning and giving shape to what had already been shaped Located at Chakranpadi, the museum has a stunning array of elegant driftwood sculpture. In its 'ferocity', a crocodile looks almost real. The flowers and buds collection is also worth a peek.

Bird sanctuary

Spread across 14 acres in a former rubber plantation that was previously known as Baker's Estate, the Englishman who developed this area into a bird sanctuary would be glad to see the large number of delighted birdwatchers who gather here today. At dawn and at sundown, the forests come alive with a cacophony of shrill calls and cries. Night herons, purple moorhen, Brahminy kites, teals, egrets, cormorants, darters and large Indian fruit bats have colonised these woods. There are also large populations of breeding darters, purple herons, little cormorants, Indian Shag, white ibis, local waterfowl and pond herons. eighbouring areas such as Kaipuzha Muttu, Pathiramanal, Narakathara, Thollayiram Kayal and Poothanpandi Kayal are also excellent locations for spotting birds. the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, an ornithologist's paradise, is a favorite haunt of migratory birds. June to August is the breeding season of resident wetland birds like Siberian stork, cormorants, darter, white ibis, egret, darter, heron and teal. Between November and May is the season of migratory birds like pintailed duck, garganey teal, spot billed duck, osprey, marsh harrier, steppe eagle etc. A cruise along the Vembanad Lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary. Pathiramanal, an enchanting island on the lake, can be accessed by boat from here.

Munnar

Munnar

Altitude: 1500 - 2500 m above sea level

Temperature: OOC - 300C Rainfall: 275 cm

Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. 1600 m above sea level, this hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji. This flower which bathes the hills in blue once in every twelve years will bloom next in 2018 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.

Tea plantations, trout-filled streams, placid lakes, picnic spots at each bend of the winding road, wildlife reserves, trekking routes that take you to the highest peak in South India...

For long, the best-kept secret among hill-station destinations, now the choice of honeymooners, tea tasters, corporate warriors and wannabe colonial masters. Wrapped in the greenest of carpets this side of Eden. Munnar is not just South India’s most sought-after hill resort. It is also the centre of Kerala’s premier tea-growing district, aptly known as the High Range. In Tamil, moon aar literally means ‘three rivers’, a reference to the streams around whose confluence the town grew. The Nallthanni and Kundalai streams flow into the Muthirapuzha River, which cascades out of the hills to join the Periyar and, later, the Arabian Sea.

Tea is Munnar’s claim to fame. Here, more than 12,000 hectares of lush, manicured tea fields form an irresistible canvas against which honeymooners pose. Stately eucalyptus plantations, which fuel the many tea factories in the vicinity, sway gently in the wind, their fragrance wafting over Munnar. And shola trees hug the mist-shrouded hillsides, sheltering several highly endangered species of wildlife.

A trip to Munnar is a journey through picturesque surroundings, but the most sought-after offering of the estates is the unbelievably pure air. There are also wild animals to spot, golf to be played; some trout fishing to be done… the list is endless. But if lazing around is all that you want to do on your holiday with your partner, Munnar’s idyllic surroundings let you do that too.

Of course, for the more adventurous, there’s the challenge of climbing the 8,841-foot-high Anaimudi Peak, which towers majestically over the town. This is the highest peak south of the Himalaya and was once a landmark for ships approaching the port of Kochi. It’s a spectacular view, and even if you are not lucky enough to be here when the Neelakurinji blooms (an event that happens only once in 12 years between August and November with a peak period of late September and October; the next is expected in 2018), you won’t despair. Munnar’s beauty will ensure that.

Munnar is not just South India’s most sought-after hill resort, it is also the centre of Kerala’s premier tea-growing district, aptly known as the High Range. In Tamil, moon aar literally means ‘three rivers’, a reference to the streams around whose confluence the town grew. The Nallthanni and Kundale streams flow into the Muthirapuzha River, which cascades out of the hills to join the Periyar and, later, the Arabian Sea.

Tea is Munnar’s claim to fame. Here, more than 12,000 hectares of lush, manicured tea fields form an irresistible canvas against which honeymooners pose. Stately eucalyptus plantations, which fuel the many tea factories in the vicinity, sway gently in the wind, their fragrance wafting over Munnar. And shola trees hug the mist-shrouded hillsides, sheltering several highly endangered species of wildlife.

A trip to Munnar is a journey through picturesque surroundings, but the most sought-after offering of the estates is the unbelievably pure air. There are also wild animals to spot, golf to be played, some trout fishing to be done… the list is endless. But if lazing around is all that you want to do on your holiday, Munnar’s idyllic surroundings let you do that too.

A visit to a tea factory for a firsthand introduction to the complexities of tea-processing and tea-tasting is a must — it’s an aromatic experience. And at the local Tea Museum, the first of its kind in India, one can take a peep into the past.

Of course, for the more adventurous, there’s the challenge of climbing the 8,841-ft Anaimudi, which towers majestically over the town. This is the highest peak south of the Himalayas and was once a landmark for ships approaching the port of Kochi. It’s a spectacular view, and even if you are not lucky enough to be here when the Neelakurunji blooms (an event that happens only once in 12 years), you won’t despair. Munnar’s beauty will ensure that. Many newly married couple often prefers Munnar as their honeymoon destination. You can see honeymoon couple roaming their at every time of the year.

 

In And Around Munnar

Pothanmedu: Pothanmedu offers an excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in Munnar. The rolling hills and the lush mountains here are ideal for trekking and long mountain walks.

Devikulam:This idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool mountain air is a rare experience. The Sita Devi Lake with its mineral waters and picturesque surroundings is a good picnic spot. The lake is also ideal for trout fishing.

Pallivasal: This is the site of the first Hydro-Electric Project in Kerala and a place of immense scenic beauty.

Attukad: A panorama of waterfalls and rolling hills, Attukad, located between Munnar and Pallivasal, is a feast for the eyes. The place is also ideal for long treks.

Nyayamakad: Located between Munnar and Rajamala, Nyayamakad is a land of breathtaking waterfalls. The waters cascade down a hill from a height of about 1600 metres. The enchanting surroundings make an excellent picnic spot and trekking point. Gravel Banks, the delightful trout fishing site is tucked away in a remote corner of Nyayamakad Estate.

Chithirapuram: With its sleepy little cottages, bungalows, old playgrounds and courts, Chithirapuram still exudes an old world charm. Home of the Pallivasal Hydel Power Project, this hill town is also famous for its picturesque tea plantations.

Mount Carmel Church:Established in 1898, this was the first Roman Catholic Church in the High Ranges.

Lockhart Gap:This is an ideal place for adventure tourism and trekking. The fresh mountain air, the mist-clad hills and panoramic view make it worthy of a visit.

Blossom International Park: Sprawled over 16 acres, this park has a garden with a profusion of blooms and a plethora of activities for adults and children including boating, cycling, roller skating, games etc.

Rajamala: This is the natural habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr. Half the world population of the rare mountain goat (Hemitragas hylocres) which is an endangered species, is now found here. The Nilgiri Tahrs are today reduced to small herds found in the Eravikulam - Rajamala region and their total number in this region is estimated to be 1317.

Mattupetty: Situated at a height of 1700 m, Mattupetty is known for its highly specialised dairy farm - the Indo-Swiss Livestock Project. Over a 100 varieties of high yielding cattle are reared here. Visitors are allowed into 3 of the 11 cattle sheds at the farm.

Visiting time: 0900 - 1100 hrs and 1400 - 1530 hrs.
Entrance fee: Rs. 5 per head. The Mattupetty Dam, just a short distance from the farm, is a very beautiful picnic spot. The sprawling Kundala Tea Plantations and the Kundala Lake are the other attractions nearby. DTPC Idukki provides boating facilities on the Mattupetty Dam. Speed launch, slow speedboat and motorboats are available on hire.

Echo Point: This scenic place gets its name from the natural echo phenomenon here. Echo Point is on the way to Top Station from Munnar.

Eravikulam National Park: The 97 sq. km park is situated in the Devikulam Taluk and is home to the Nilgiri Tahr. The Anamudi peak (2695 m) is located in the southern region of the park.

Sanctuary visit: The Park is divided into three regions - the core area, the buffer area and the tourism area. Visitors are allowed only to the tourism area which is in the Rajamala region. The Nilgiri Tahr can be observed at close quarters here.

Visiting time: 0800 - 1700 hrs. Visitors are not allowed during the monsoon.

Entrance fee: Rs. 10 for adults Rs. 2 for children below 12 years Rs. 50 for foreigners

Permitting authority: Wildlife Warden, Munnar

Trekking facilities are available here. Tourists are allowed to go on foot up to Anamudi. This is also a place for adventure tourism.

Trekking Areas: Anamudi Rajamala

Power House Waterfall: This waterfall on the way to Thekkady from Munnar cascades down a steep rock 2000 m above sea level. The spot is enriched with the scenic western mountain ranges, and is an ideal place for a break on the way to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thekkad

Kundala: Kundala is a picturesque town on the way to Top Station. The Golf Course which belongs to Tata Tea Ltd. is loated here. The Kundala Artificial Dam is another attraction and is also known as Sethuparvathipuram Dam. Aruvikkad 'aterfall is also near Kundala.

Anayirankal: This place is a lush green carpet of tea plants. The Anayirankal Dam is surrounded by the Tata Tea Plantation and evergreen forests. It is an ideal picnic spot and a boat ride on the splendid reservoir is an unforgettable experience.

Top Station: 1700 m above sea level, this is the highest point on the Munnar-Kodaikanal Road. The rare Neelakurunji 'Strobilanthus) belongs to this region. This plant blooms once In every twelve years bathing the hillsides in bright blue. Top Station also offers a panoramic view of the neighbouring State ofTamil Nadu.

Kollukkumallay: Located in steep, rugged terrain, Kollukkumallay is the highest tea garden in the country at 7900 ft. Accessible only by jeep, a visit to the estate includes a drive around the tea fields and a tour of its factory. What gives ollukkumallay tea its special flavour is presumably the high altitude.

Palkulamedu: Kochi, Alappuzha and other nearby towns can be seen from this peak which is located 3125 m above sea level.

Marayoor:This is the only place in Kerala that has a natural growth of sandalwood trees. The sandalwood factory of the Forest Department, the ancient caves (muniyaras) with murals and relics from the Neolithic Age and the children's park spread across a hectare of land under the canopy of a single banyan tree are of great interest to tourists. Thoovanam Waterfall and the Rajiv Gandhi National Park are also nearby.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary: Situated on the Tamil Nadu border, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across 90.44 sq. km.

Cheeyappara: The Cheeyappara and Valara Waterfalls are located between Neriamangalam and Adimali on the Kochi- Madurai Highway. The Cheeyappara Waterfall falling in seven steps, is a real feast for the eyes. This is also a great place for trekking.

Meenuli: It is noted for the two acres of evergreen forests upon a huge rock. The rock is more than 500 acres in area and an ideal spot for mountaineering.

Malankara Reservoir: Located on the Thodupuzha - Moolamattam Road, this artificial lake is accessible by road. The reservoir is ideal for boating and fishing.

Thommankuthu: Famous for its seven-step waterfall, Thommankuthu is an ideal place for adventure tourism. Other attractions: Pedal boating, forest trekking, night camping, bathing in the waterfall ete.

Keezharkuth:The Rainbow Waterfall which cascades down a rock from a height of about 1500 m is a wonderful attraction of this spot. It can be seen throughout the year in all its splendour. The forest around this spot is home to various medicinal plants. It is an ideal place for rock climbing, mountaineering, camping and trekking.

Rarnakalmedu: Cool, green hills and the fresh mountain air make Ramakalmedu an enchanting retreat. The hilltop also offers a panoramic view of the picturesque villages of Bodi and Cumbum on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats. Distance: 45 km from Idukki, 40 km from Thekkady and 75 km from Munnar.

Bus timings: 0930 hrs Munnar, 1030 hrs Kottayam, 0930 hrs Ernakulam. 

Nelliyampathy

Nelliyampathy

This fascinating hill station is at a height of467 to 1572 m above sea level. At least 10 hairpin bends have to be negotiated on the Ghat Road that passes through the breathtaking evergreen forests of the Sahya Ranges. Seethakundu at Nelliyampathy offers a panoramic view of about one-third of Palakkad. This hill country is the delight of trekkers.

Situated south of the Palakkad Gap, Nelliyampathy has all the attractions of a typical hill station-coffee,tea, and cardamom plantations, a pleasant climate, sublime scenery and an abundance of flora and fauna. Locally called ‘poor man’s Ooty’, it offers the inhabitants of Palakkad an escape from the sweltering summer heat of the plains.

Nelliyampathy is close to the wildlife sanctuaries of Parambikulam, Anamalai and Peechi- Vazhani. The Nelliyampathy Range, once owned by the maharajas of Kollengode and Kochi, is now part of the Nenmara Forest Division. It consists of a chain of ridges separated by valleys that abound in evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, teeming with wildlife.

Place of interest

Pothundy: A picturesque reservoir, it lies on the way to Nelliyampathy, close to the scenic village of Nenmara, and is built across two tributaries of the Ayalar River-the meenachadypuzha and Padipuzha. Situated on the way to Nelliampathy, the Pothundy Reservoir Complex is a charming location for picnics and half-day trips.

Seetharkunda: Located within the Karuna plantations, Seetharkundu attracts visitors as much for the drive from Nelliyampathy as for the place itself. The drive offers a fabulous view of the plains, as far as Palakkad town and its surrounding countryside. Besides the waterfalls, there is a gnarled tree here, a major attraction. Legend has it that Rama, Sita and Lakshman once lived here, hence the name.

Mampara Grasslands: These sprawling grasslands can be reached can be reached only through only through a treacherous road, but it is well worth the effort for the spectacular views of the Palakkad range- verdant slopes, thick forests and a patchwork of lush paddy fields.

Orange and Vegetable Farm: Set up by the rulers of the erstwhile State of Cochin in 1943 to provide food for British troops and resolve a crisis that arose in the land during the time, this once thriving farm has now been revived and 237 acres of land re-planted with orange trees .The fruit preservation unit, located at Pulayanpara, where guavas and passion fruit are used to make delicious jama, preserves and squash, is open to visitors.

Peermedu

Peermedu

Peerrnedu, the famous plantation town, takes its name from Peer Mohammed, a Sufi saint and close associate of the erstwhile royal family ofTravancore. Wide vistas of tea, cardamom, rubber and coffee plantations interspersed with silver cascades, sculptural rocks, meadows and mist-cloaked hilltops make Peermedu an unforgettable experience. The most delightful trekking trails complement the panoramic landscape. Monuments like the summer palace and summer residence of the royal family add to the splendour of the land. The summer residence now converted into a government guest house under the Department ofTourism, offers comfortable accommodation.

Sprawling estates of tea, coffee, cardamom rubber and eucalyptus surround this charming hill station, once famous as the summer retreat of the Travancore kings. Peermeds’s history is also closely linked to that of the Sufi saint, Peer Mohammad, believed to be the first trader of spice in the region.

Natural grasslands , pine forests and a salubrious climate make Peermede an enchanting and picturesque destination. The legacy of the raj can still be seen in colonial buildings such as Ashley, Henwoods, Greenwooods

Accessing Peermedu

Road: Frequent bus services are available from Kottayam and other destinations in the State to Peermedu. Jeeps are the best mode of transport.

In And Around Peermedu

Kuttikanam: A place for adventure tourism and trekking, or even a languorous, tranquil break. This picturesque plantation town washed in the fragrance of cardamom is surrounded by lush, green hills.

Thrissanku Hills: The rolling hills, the lovely landscape and the gentle breeze make this an ideal spot for long walks. The hills offer a breathtaking view of the sunrise and sunset. Summer Palace: The huge palace where the Maharajas of Travancore used to spend their summers is set amidst lush greenery.

Panchalimedu: This largely unexplored area is said to have been the camping site of the Pandavas. The pond, Panchalikulam is said to have been used by Panchali, the wife of the Pandavas.

Peeru Hills: This idyllic hill station is a favourite haunt of trekkers and picnickers. The hill is named after Peer Mohammed, the Sufi saint, who spent his last days here. The mausoleum of the saint, the summer palace of the royal family and the residence of the Diwan situated nearby are all worth a visit.

Grampi: Grampi is also known as Parunthupara (eagle rock) because of the panoramic view from its high peaks. Rocky plains, lush hillsides, forests, trekking trails and picturesque views lend charm to this destination. The road to Grampi is flanked by unending stretches of cardamom, tea and coffee plantations.

Amritha Medu: The second highest peak in South India after Anamudi, Amritha Medu offers a birds-eye view of the entire Peermedu region. An ideal trekking spot, on Good Friday large numbers of people throng here in memory of Christ's crucifixion.

Madammakkulam: A natural pond under a gushing waterfall encircled by deep woods, this was a favourite spot of British planters in the colonial times. The pond has been named Madam's pond or Madammakkulam after a British lady who used to frequent this spot.

Pattumala: Lofty peaks, little streams and ever expanding tea plantations are the attractions of this place. Pattumala (which literally means hill draped in silk) is home to two famous tea plantations - Harrisons Malayalam and AVThomas & Co. The Velankanni Matha Church, built entirely of granite, at the top of the hill is a famous pilgrim centre. The nearby flower garden with roses, orchids and anthuria is a fascinating riot of colors.

Koottickal-Mundakayam: Excellent stopovers, these adjacent places are blessed with the bounty of nature. But Mundakayam's claim to fame is that the first commercial production of rubber was started here in 1904.

Sahyadri Ayurvedic Centre: A well-established Ayurvedic Hospital, Sahyadri, managed by the Peermedu Development Society in Pallikunnu, is known for its curative and rejuvenating treatment packages. The centre has well-appointed treatment and accommodation facilities, a unit for manufacturing Ayurvedic medicines as well as a well-maintained raw drugs museum where more than 200 varieties of rare and endangered herbs are preserved. More than 400 herbs used for medicines are grown in the hospital's own garden spread over 35 acres. For permission to visit the herb garden, contact the Director- Peermedu Development Society, Peermedu, Idukki.

Vagamon: A curious blend of religious mysticism and European legacies, this hillside village is a haven of tranquility. The chain of three hills - Thangal Hill, Murugan Hill and Kurisumala is a mark of religious harmony. The dairy farm managed by the Kurisumala monks is worth a visit. The breeding centre of the Kerala Livestock Board is located here.

Thekkady

Thekkady

Altitude: 900 - 1800 m above sea level Temperature: 130C - 300C Rainfall: 2500 mm

The very sound of the word Thekkady conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice-scented plantations. In the Periyar forests ofThekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India, and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunity for treks and mountain walks.

Accessing Thekkady

Road: There are frequent buses from Kottayam and other cities to Thekkady. Jeep services are available from Kumily to Thekkady (4 km).

In And Around Thekkady

The PeriyarWildlife Sanctuary: (Open 0600 to 7800hrs) Snuggled in the Western Ghats, one of the world's richest bio- diversity spots, is the fascinating natural wildlife sanctuary of Thekkady - the protected PeriyarTiger Reserve.

The splendid artiliciallake 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 have the unique experi- ence of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat. The greatest attractions of Periyar, however, are the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake. Vasan- tha Sena - an initiative of the eco-development committee at the PeriyarTiger Reserve comprises a voluntary group of tribal women who patrol the reserve to ensure that it remains pristine and poachers are kept at bay.

Population

Flora Over 1965 Aowering plants including 171 grass species 143 species of orchids the only South Indian conifer Podocarpus Wallichianus.

Fauna

Mammals: 35 species including the wild elephant, gaur, sambar deer and wild boar that can be sighted from the boats the Nilgiri Tahr in the higher rocky areas the endangered lion-tailed macaque confined to the evergreen interiors the bonnet macaque, Malabar giant squirrel, flying squirrel, tiger, jun'gle cat, sloth bea r etc.

 

Birds: 265 species including migrants. The hornbill, stork, woodpecker, kingfisher, raptor, cormorant, grackle, darter etc.

Reptiles: Cobra, viper, krait, a number of non-poisonous snakes and the monitor lizard.

Amphibians: Frogs, toads and limbless caecilians including the colourful Malabar gliding frog, common Indian toad, fungoid frog and bicoloured frog.

Pisces (fish): Periyar's lake and streams have several species of fish including the masheer, the famous and endangered game fish of India. The otter, the only mammal of the lake, can be frequently spotted from the boat.

Plantations: Tea, cardamom, pepper and coffee plantations surround the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary Watch Towers: There are two watch towers in the interiors of the Periyar forest. Reservations can be made at the Divisional Forest Office, Thekkady.

Permitting authority: The Wildlife Preservation Officer, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady.

Ecotourism Programmes: Nature Walk - Guided day trek, Rs. 400 PeriyarTigerTrail- Protection-oriented trekking and camping activity, Rs. 3000. Border Hiking - Conservation- oriented, hard trek along the boundary of the Tiger Reserve, Rs. 1300 Bamboo Rafting - A dawn to dusk trekking and raft- ing trip, Rs. 1300 Jungle Patrol- Night patrolling programme RS.800 Tribal Heritage - Visit to the tribal heritage museum inside the Mannan settlement, Rs. 100 Coracle River Rafting & Bul/ockCart Discoveries - Visit to the farmlands of a tiny hamlet farmlands of a tiny hamlet with an optional coracle ride

 

Kumily: This plantation town, closely associated with Thekkady, is situated on the outskirts of the Periyar Sanctuary. An important shopping centre and spice trade centre, the main bus station and most of the medium range accommodation in the Periyar region are in Kumily.

Murikkady: Washed in fresh, spice-scented air, Murikkady is a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.

 

Pandikuzhi: This picturesque spectrum of exotic flora, fauna and gurgling streams is cradled between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu border. A popular picnic spot, Pandikuzhi offers great opportunities for trekking and is a photographer's delight.

Mangala Devi Temple: This ancient temple is hidden in the dense woods at the top of a peak 1337 m above sea level. The temple, believed to be more than 2000 years old, is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture. Visitors are allowed here only on the Chithra Pournami festival day. The peak commands a panoramic view of the eastern slopes of the ghats and some hill villages ofTamil Nadu. Permission to visit the area can be obtained from the Wildlife Warden, Thekkady.

Chellarkovil: This sleepy little village with its breathtaking view of the plains and cascading waterfalls is a feast for the eyes. The village slopes down to the famous coconut groves of

Cumbum in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

Vandiperiyar: The River Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Government Agriculture Farm and Flower Gar- den have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthuria.

Pullumedu: The winding journey to this hill town, along the Periyar River, offers a stunning view of the hills draped in lush greenery. Velvet lawns, rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Pullumedu which can be accessed only by jeep. The famous Sree Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Jyothi (ce- lestiallight that appears on Makaravilakku Festival) at the shrine are visible from here.

Since it is part of the restricted forest zone, special permission to visit Pullumedu has to be obtained from the Wildlife Preservation Officer, Thekkady

Vandanmedu: This is one of the world's largest auction centres for cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantations ofVandanmedu is a heady experience.

Thenmala

Thenmala

Thenmala literally means, ‘Honey hills’.Honey from these hills was sought after because it was mistakenly believed to have medicinal properties. However, today the region is better known for its eco-conservation efforts.As India’s first planned ecotourism destination, Thenmala is the nerve-centre of 10 satellite ecotourism attractions scattered across the hills of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Pathanamthitta.

Thenmala Covered by dense forests, rubber and tea plantations, Thenmala were selected by the World Tourism Organization as one of the world's best eco-friendly projects. It has a leisure zone with winding pathways, a sway bridge, a sculpture garden and a boardwalk; a culture zone with an amphitheatre, a musical fountain as well as a Nokshotrovonom (a nursery of trees considered sacred to the 27 constellations, located inside one of the zones. Visitors can take back a sapling of the tree relevant to their birth star); and an adventure zone that includes activities like trekking, bird watching, mountain biking, rock climbing, rappelling and river crossing. In addition there is the Deer Rehabilitation Centre (0600 - 1700 hrs) as well as the Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary. Only temporary visits are permitted to the interior of the reserve. A major attraction is the boating in the Shenduruney Reservoir.

Thenmala Ecotourism Promotion Society of TEPS is responsible for spreading eco-awareness and ensuring that the eco-system of the region is left undisturbed. The well –trained staff of the TEPS brief visitors on how best to explore the region, but also guide them on appropriate behavior. The organization has also taken under its wings the nearby Shenduruney wildlife Sanctuary

The palaruvi falls, riverfront leisure zones, rock shelters and a deer rehabilitation centre are some of the attractions in Thenmala. Located 500 m above the sea level, in the foothills of the southern Western Ghats, Thenmala’s diverse flora and fauna and vast tracts of forests attract adventure seekers, naturalists and conservationists.

Vagamon

Vagamon

A curious blend of religious mysticism and European legacies, this hillside village is a haven of tranquility. The chain of three hills - Thangal Hill, Murugan Hill and Kurisumala is a mark of religious harmony. The dairy farm managed by the Kurisumala monks is worth a visit. The breeding centre of the Kerala Livestock Board is located here.

Pristine forests, exotic flora and fauna and verdant meadows characterize Vagamon, a location straight out of a tourism brochure. Located 1,110 m above sea level on the western fringe of idukki, and bordering Kottayam, the Vagamon mountain range was cleared by the early planters for the cultivation of tea and coffee.

There’s only one reason we’re listing Vagamon here in our website, among the top 10 hill getaways in India. By this time next year, you’ll be lucky if you can so much as find a room, let alone muse in blissful solitude amidst the hillocks and rolling glades of this stunning place. For Vagamon is surely God’s final creation, so nearly perfect that it looks like the culmination of eons of practice in sculpting the other beautiful spots in God’s Own Country.

Come to think of it, you’ll be hard pressed to find a room even today — there are few hotels currently available, and finding a bed to crash out on can become an exercise in desperation. So what gives? A hill station sans hotels? A place high up in the clouds with naryaro offor shelter? The fact is Vagamon, 3,500 ft above sea level, is a paradise in the making or, more correctly, an unknown heaven only now beginning to show its charms to the world outside. Like a bride being prepared for a dazzling wedding, Vagamon is now gathering the accoutrements that will embellish the grand occasion when the whole world gasps at her beauty, her trousseau, her gait. You can see it happening, as the thin mist lifts with the rising sun to reveal... a young architect squatting in the midst of a 100-acre forest, seeking inspiration on how to integrate stone and wood into a villa, without displacing a single rock formation. Workers carting stone from a hillside to landscape the surrounds of a jungle hut. Up a driveway on top of a hill, a grand cottage being painted and touched up, its wooden panels are glistening with fresh varnish. At the bend of a road, ramparts of bamboo and stone being built to buttress what promises to be Vagamon’s ‘hideout’, home to many nights of romance and laughter, long after the last guest has left the wedding reception.

Now you know why you ought to be in Vagamon. Go there now, to ensure that later you can say wistfully, “Yes, I know what Vagamon was like, so perfect even the cows wouldn’t come home after dusk, preferring to spend the night in the woods.”

Vagamon first witnessed changes in 1926 when Walter Duncan and Company set up their tea plantations in a massive 534-acre plot of land. A decade later, Christian missionaries set up the Kurisumala Ashram, which transformed the region into a spiritual nerve centre, popular even today

Places of interest

Kurisumala: Located 5 KM from Vagamon, is Kurisumala , an important Christian pilgrim centre, with a church atop a hill. There are 14 crosses along the path leading to the church, which commands stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Kurisumala Ashram: This Catholic monastery, which strives to combine Indian religiosity with Christian spirituality, has been attracting monks from around the world for close to four decades. Abbot Francis Acharya, a Belgian, and Fr Bede Griffiths, and Englishman, established this Cistercian abbey in 1958.

Murugan Para: On the eastern side of Kurisumala is Murugan Para, a rock-cut temple dedicated to Lord Murugan that attracts a large number of worshippers.

Pine Forests: This valley in Kolahalamedu, with its groves of pine trees, is a protected area. These are boards cautioning tourists to keep from littering the forest.

Varkala

Varkala

About 45 km north of Thiruvananthapuram, Varkala has a laidback, relaxed atmosphere and a rather compact beach that does not take too long to explore.

The beach at Varkala has no shops or restaurants. Most of the hotels and eateries are spread across the two cliffs north and south ofthe spacious cove that forms the famous Papanasam Beach. The wide plateau atop the steep laterite cliffs also offers a wonderful view of the sea. A dip in these waters is believed to wash away sins (papam). Priests at the Janardhana Temple, 2,000 years old, offer help with ritual pooja. The remains of Sree Narayana Guru, the well known social reformer and saint, are interred at Sivagiri Mutt at the eastern edge of town. European backpackers and tourists with a lower budget, who find the low tariffs and cost of food a big bonus, form the bulk of the tourist population to Varkala.

SIGHTS

Sivagiri Mutt

Located 3 km away on the eastern edge of town, is the ashram that was the final resting place of Kerala's famous saint and social reformer, Sree arayana Guru. This mutt, with its distinctive multi-tiered white turret, is believed to be sacred. Lower down, is Sree Narayana Guru's old residence, which now displays some of his personal belongings. Nearby is the Sharda Temple, dedicated to Saraswati, whose idol was installed by the guru himself.

Janardhana Temple

Believed to be nearly 2000 years old and, devoted to Lord Vishnu. This shrine stands at the entrance to the beach road. A flight of broad steps lead to the temple grounds past a high entrance arch Clusters of brightly painted idols of Shiva. Hanuman and others are arranged around the sanctorum. Lighted wicks burn from oil trays cut into tall granite posts. While heavy brass bells strung from ceilings and poles gleam in the sunlight. The main temple bell presented by the Dutch captain of a sailing ship is believed to date back to the middle of the 17th century.

Ponnumthuruthu Island

This is a delightful island located 20 km away surrounded by the Anjengo backwaters. Approachable by boat from the makeshift jetty at the nearby edunganda village the island is uninhabited save for a 100-year-old Shiva-Parvati temple exposed to the vagaries of nature and time. it was in a state of disrepair until most of it was rebuilt about 10 years ago. The entire island is temple property.

Anjengo Fort

Built in 169S by the Portuguese this fort stands on a strip ofland called 'Anjengo, sandwiched between the sea and the backwaters. Used originally as a depot to store merchandise. The British under Captain Keeling converted it into a fort. It does not have the formidable look of other forts in Kerala though being more of an enclosed bastion with a bulwark of high laterite walls and lookout points. There are many tombstones at Anjengo. The earliest one dating back to 1704, with inscriptions offering a glimpse into the past.

Lighthouse

The lighthouse here is 130 ft tall. The ruins of one of the earliest factories set up by the British East India Company. built in 1684. can also be found at Anjengo. The IS-km route from Varkala winds past charming coastal villages and the beautiful Chilakoor Beach. which offers glorious views of the sunset.

Kappil Beach and Backwaters

A confluence of the sea and the Kappil River the tongues of backwaters, the extensive estuary and the magical interplay of land and water all add up to make this an idyllic spot. The small palm-covered islets within the estuary further enhance its charms. The coastal road passing through this area practically holds the sea and the estuary apart for a long stretch offering delightful views of the waters on either side. There are no tourist’s vendors or shops and absolutely no traffic whatsoever lacking all tourist amenities except for boating, Kappil in fact, seems to be a closely guarded secret.

Vythiri

Vythiri

Vythiri stands as a gateway to Wayanad, to the realm of gurgling streams, hills and valleys. Lakes, gorges and ravines, verdant hills that nudge distant clouds, dreamy dawns and misty evenings are standard fare. This region offers a true taste of Wayanad. The charming Pookot Lake is only a kilometer away, towards Lakkidi. The tallest summit in the district, Chembra peak, 6,890ft above sea level, is nearest from Vythiri. Waterfalls, at Kanthampara and Sentinel Rock, lie to the south. A number of Resorts, nested in sylvan surrounding, add to the attraction of the destination.

Vythiri is an unassuming little town. All the places that a tourist might like to visit are within a 40-km radius of the town. If you do not engage your own vehicle, you may have to depend on the local rickshaws and old-style Willys jeeps. It is difficult to put in a kind word for them! If you have a modest budget and want to make the best use of your time, then the strategic location to stay would be in nearby Kalpetta, the district headquarters. It is a livelier place.

There are very few places that simultaneously offer a holistic experience of wilderness and education, combined with the comfort of a modern holiday. Wayanad is a confluence where the needs of the body, mind and soul are met. You can trek both mountains and streams, and bathe under waterfalls balancing you on sharp rocks. You can simply lie down and dream as big as the sky’s expanse, with the symphony of wild calls in the background. Or you could turn philosophical and measure death with dry leaves. If you are enterprising, you can speak to plantation owners who trade coffee, tea, spices, vanilla and exotic oils. And while you are at it, you can talk to plantation workers about the aesthetics of the red flags that dot the lush green terraces of manicured tea hills. You can listen to scary legends by the campfire and accidentally pick up lessons in history. By way of just desserts, there is sumptuous Malabar food to indulge in. These myriad experiences come together as one perfect package in Wayanad.

Places of Interest

Lakkidi: The gateway to Wayanad, Lakkidi 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 to this hill station.

Begur Wildlife Sanctuary: This sanctuary has a wide variety of animals.

Karalad Lake: An unusually quiet retreat, facilities for angling and boating as well as a recreational park are provided here. The trek to this lake can also be quite exciting. Karalad is a huge lake spread across 7 acres and surrounded by dense bamboo groves, it is ideal for a peaceful, quiet break. Adjoining hills provide great trekking options. The banasura sagar Dam is only about 3 KM to the north from the Karalad Lake.

Pookot Lake: This perennial freshwater lake in Vythiri nestling among wooded hills is a popular picnic spot. Adjacent to the lake is a spice shop, a souvenir showroom and an aquarium. And for the kids, there is a children's park at the recreation centre here. This large lake is fringed by low wooded hills. Horses and horse carts trot along the 1.5 km pathway, passing around the lake. A curio shop next to the ticket counter sells bamboo and wooden artefacts and hill produce such as spices, tea and honey. Then there is the boat club where pedal and rowboats await visitors.

Soochipara and Kanthampara Falls: From Vythiri, the drive to these falls, considered one of the most beautiful in the district, is delightful. A winding road through verdant tea country, and then a narrow trail through rugged terrain lead to the falls in a dense forest. The three-pronged waters hit the sharp spikes of granite at the base, hence the name, ‘soochipara’, or ‘needle rocks’.

Meenmutty Falls: Meenmutty falls, a 300-m long cascade of water, is the largest and most spectacular waterfall in the whole of Wayanad. The drive from Vythiri itself is charming –all woods, verdant hillsides and rolling plantations. It will also take you past charming villages such as Chundel, Meppadi and Vaduvanchal.

Kerala, one of the most beautiful cities on the Southeast Asia immersed in rich cultural and traditional heritage has emerged to be a great holiday destination for the tourist around the world today. The fascinating nautre  of Kerala with its pristine beaches, Hills and exotic backwater swamped with luxurious hotels and marvelous resorts, restaurants and dining halls combined with excellent hospitality surely has become the trendsetter for holiday goers from around the globe to say “ I am on a vacation in Kerala”. Well, well, welcome to Kerala, the place to make holiday an experience to relish for lifetime. Kerala Tourist Packages provide Kerala Honeymoon Packages, Kerala Tour Packages, Honeymoon in Munnar, Kerala honeymoon, Family packages, Group Tour packages, Houseboat packages, Backwater packages, Pilgrimage Packages and corporate Packages in Kerala. We make sure that our customer gets quality service.

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