Kerala

Kerala

Kerala is a green strip of land, in the South West corner of Indian peninsula and is one of the major tourist attractions in India. With its evergreen mountains, dense forests stately palms, swift flowing rivers, extensive backwaters and blue lagoons, it looks like a fairyland. This atmosphere of beauty and peace has nurtured religion and art in Kerala enabled her to become a precious gem in the necklace of Indian culture. No part of India is so widely known or has played so important part in world history as Kerala. Its unique culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demography, has made it one of the most popular tourist destinations in India.

History

Kerala is lovingly called as “God’s Own Country”. God Parshuram avatar of Mahavishnu saved Kerala from the raging sea. Since then people believe it to be a land of God. Due to the convenient location, this land established trade contacts with Egypt, Greeks, Assyria, Romans and the Chinese. The Malayalam era ‘Kollavarsha’ is said to have originated in the 9th century A.D. The first chief kingdom that ruled Kerala was the ancient Chera Emperor Cheraman Perumal. Kerala was first cited in the Sanskrit epic Aitareya Aranyaka which formed the basis of written records. Later Panini mentioned Kerala in his works.

In 1868 the ancient sage Agasthya introduced the Vedic Hinduism to Kerala and South India. Finally the Mauryans and the Grand Mughals consolidated their empires in Kerala. Mysore’s Hyder Ali invaded north Kerala and Kozhikode in 1766. In 1792 Tipu Sultan surrendered Kerala to the British. It was in 1949 that the three territories Travancore, Kochi and Malabar were merged and in 1956 the state of Kerala came into existence and became a part of the Indian Union.

Geography

The state of Kerala is located beside the southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and is one of the smallest states in the Indian union. This land of India comprises the narrow coastal strip bounded by the Western Ghats. In the West is The Arabian Sea. Both The Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats considerably influenced the course of its history. Kerala seldom felt the impact of many foreign invasions which had ravaged North India from time to time. Owing to this insularity, it took nearly two centuries for Buddhism to reach Kerala. She also evolved its own way of life and social institutions unhampered by excessive interference from outside. For administrative purpose, the state of Kerala is divided into fourteen districts.

Climate

The climate is tropical climate offering a pleasing atmosphere throughout the year. This coastal state has hot and humid climate during April-May and pleasant, cold climate in December-January. Summer extends from the month of April to June when the temperature reaches to a maximum of 33 degrees centigrade. Summer is followed by South West Monsoon that starts pouring in the month of June and continues till September. With the arrival of winter there is certain drop in the temperature and you can feel a slight chill due to the cold wind. Winter in Kerala lasts from November to January or February.

Tourism

Popularly visited attractions in Kerala include the hill stations of Munnar, Nelliampathy, Ponmudi, Devikulam and Wayanad and national parks and wildlife sanctuaries such as Thekkady, Periyar and Eravikulam National Park and beaches at Kovalam, Cherai and Varkala, The “backwaters” region — an extensive network of interlocking rivers, lakes, and canals that centre on Alleppey, Kumarakom, and Punnamada.

Major Tourist Spots

Popularly visited attractions in Kerala include the hill stations of Munnar, Nelliampathy, Ponmudi, Devikulam, Wayanad, National parks and wildlife sanctuaries

Munnar

Munnar is the idyllic tourist destination. Set in Idukki district, Munnar was the favored summer resort of the erstwhile British rulers in the colonial days. It is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams – Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. Munnar has unending expanse of tea plantations, valleys and mountains, exotic species of flora and fauna in its wild sanctuaries and forests. It’s the place you would love to visit. Sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes, trekking and holiday facilities make Munnar a unique experience. Munnar is essentially a tea town. The visitor is greeted with miles and miles of unending tea plantations on entry into Munnar. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji a flower which bathes the hills in blue color once in twelve years. Munnar also has the highest peak Anamudi.

Main Attractions in Munnar

Mattupetty, a beautiful lake and dam. A good picnic spot.

Echo Point, it has a natural echo phenomenon and offers panoramic views.

Rajamala, Rajamala is the natural habitat of Nilgiri Tahr. Half the world population of this rare mountain goat is found here, which is fast becoming extinct.

Anamudi, The highest peak of the south of the Himalayas. The slopes of the hills abound in all kinds of rare flora and fauna.

Nellyampathy hill station in Kerala is one of the prominent tourist destinations. It stretches through a distance of 52 kilometers from Palakkad in Kerala, India. Padagiri is the highest peak of this hill station and is also a place for adventurous people as it provides opportunity for sports like: Mountain climbing and Trekking. The greenery of the place is an eye candy. The vibrant colors of the hill station are sure to hypnotize the visitors. Orange, coffee and tea are the plantations provide glamorous touch to the valleys spread far wide. Among all the hill stations in Kerala, Nelliyampathy hill station has evergreen forests and the Sahya ranges. Seethakundu at Nellyampathy is a beautiful site to visit.

Ponmudi Hill Station

A mere one and a half hour’s road journey separates the beaches of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) from Ponmudi Hills. It is close to the sea. The road passes under a canopy of thickly matted foliage. The forest recedes gradually giving way to neatly clipped tea bushes. As one leaves the city behind, one enters the region of plantations – rubber, pepper, cardamom and tea. The change is abrupt. The tappers can be seen going about briskly gathering the milky fluid from rubber trees collected in coconut shells. Trekking to the north of Ponmudi Crest, one passes along a mini zoo, primarily of barasinghas, on the edge of the forest. It is like an open aviary. Birds like Malabar hornbills, blue-black Malabar; long-tailed paradise flycatchers can also be seen. The climate is always pleasant. It is connected to Trivandrum city by a narrow winding road. The tea-gardens here are also very famous. Ponmudi serves as a base for trekking and hiking.

Devikulam: Devikulam Water Falls Devikulam is a small hill resort in the state of Kerala 16 km southwest of Munnar in Idukki District. It is said that Sita of the Ramayana fame came here and bathed in the waters of the lake in Devikulam.

Devikulam Sites Near By

Sita Devi

Lake with a backdrop of verdant hills named after Sita who once came here to take a bath in its water. The lake also offers trout fishing. It is a nature lovers’ paradise. Not far away from the lake is the spectacular Pallivasal Waterfalls. Tea plantations carried out in and around Devikulam in a large number is an added feather to the hill resort. The natural vegetation of the hill resort comprises the gum trees in red and blue.

Wayanad

A mere one and a half hour’s road journey separates the beaches of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) from Ponmudi Hills. It is close to the sea. The road passes under a canopy of thickly matted foliage. The forest recedes gradually giving way to neatly clipped tea bushes. As one leaves the city behind, one enters the region of plantations – rubber, pepper, cardamom and tea. The change is abrupt. The tappers can be seen going about briskly gathering the milky fluid from rubber trees collected in coconut shells. Trekking to the north of Ponmudi Crest, one passes along a mini zoo, primarily of barasinghas, on the edge of the forest. It is like an open aviary. Birds like Malabar hornbills, blue-black Malabar; long-tailed paradise flycatchers can also be seen. The climate is always pleasant. It is connected to Trivandrum city by a narrow winding road. The tea-gardens here are also very famous. Ponmudi serves as a base for trekking and hiking.

Beaches

Kovalam, Kovalam situated around 16 Kms away from Trivandrum, the State capital, is a world-famous beach resort. This beach has lovely coconut palms fringe the golden sands. Foreigners throng Ayurvedic parlors, yoga and meditation centers, that have sprung up all over the place. There are a number of beach resorts in and around Kovalam. The sea port of Vizhinjam is about 3 km away and famous for its special varieties of fish, old Hindu temples, big churches and a Muslim shrine. The glory of this beach is attracting more and more western tourists. There are so many resorts which provide a slew of Ayurvedic treatments for the tourists. The sands on the beaches in Kovalam are partially black in color due to the presence of ilmenite and thorazite. There are two main beaches at Kovalam, separated by a high cliff. There is small light house in the Eve’s beach. The normal tourist season is from November to March.

Cherai Beach, 15 Kilometers long Cherai Beach is the best clean golden beach of Kerala and is rightly called “The Princess of the Queen of the Arabian sea”. This lovely beach bordering Vypeen Island is ideal for swimming. Dolphins are occasionally seen here. A typical Kerala village with paddy fields and coconut groves nearby is an added attraction. Cherai is well known for the mouth lingering fresh sea food.

Varkala Beach, Varkala Beach is a quiet and isolated sandy expanse where you can have a relaxing beach holiday without the crowds and bustle of some of the busier beaches in Kerala. Enjoy the laid back attractions of Varkala Beach while on Kerala beach tours with Kerala Backwater. Varkala beach is famous for mineral springs and a fantastic massage, so don’t forget to bring aromatherapy massage oil and sun protection. Varkala Beach is also famous for its landscape. The contrast between the cliffs, sand and sea makes Varkala Beach a striking sight. The sunset at Varakala Beach is truly breathtaking with the sun sinking into the sky like a ball of molten gold as the sun and sea are tinged with crimson and vermilion.