Kerala is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations of India. And, I got a chance to visit the serenely beautiful state recently and this is my first Kerala solo trip. As many of you, I heard a lot about the gorgeousness of the state that’s located on the Malabar coast in southern India. There are a lot of things which the state offers for the tourists, from dense forests to thrilling hill stations. Despite being a person who does not like to travel long distances, I visited the place and let me tell you; it is one of the most pleasing places to be. So, without further ado, let me take you into the world of serenity.
Places to Visit in Kerala – Gorgeousness Of The State
There are a lot of ways through which you can reach the beautiful state; I decided to go from a flight from India’s capital, Delhi to Cochin. I chose airplane as the medium to travel because I enjoy flights, but if you are looking to go by road or train, then too, you can have a lot of fun. You can even find many ways and packages to travel the destination on the internet as there are many. Let me get back to my journey. After arriving at the Cochin International Airport, I thought of looking at some of the places which I can visit, and the first one was Munnar as it is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations.
I decided to go Munnar via road. The trip was six hours long, but something which I cannot forget ever. Why? Well, the beauty of the roads just mesmerized my mind and also the places that came en route. During the Kerala trip places, I first encountered the Cheeyappara Waterfalls. If you not in a hurry, then I would suggest you to just stand and feel the atmosphere of the place. It is an excellent place for anyone to click some pictures as the waterfall is high.Cheeyappara Waterfalls (Photo Credit – Flickr)
Though, I must mention that you cannot take a bath in that. It is located on the roadside, which means you will not have to make changes to your road trip. As I moved forward towards my destination, Munnar, I came across another beautiful waterfall, Valara. It is a bit similar to Cheeyappara – you can click pictures and enjoy some time with nature’s beauty. The milky water amidst the greenery will undoubtedly make you fall for the waterfall.
As I moved forward, I saw many great things and finally reached my destination, Munnar. So, let me tell you something about Munnar. Well, the hill station is located in the Western Ghats mountain range in the Idukki district. It is a well-known place for tea estates and the lush greenery. After a long travel, I decided to book a resort for myself. I spent the night gazing at the stars in the sky. It was a surreal experience for me which I cannot forget in my whole life.
I started my second day at Munnar by visiting Anamudi mountain. It is the highest peak in Southern India with a lot of things to explore. I not only was interested in visiting the place but also know something about it. One of the people told me a fascinating story about the mountain’s name. The literal meaning of the word Anamudi is “Elephants Foreheads.” Well, it makes sense as the mountain has the largest surviving Asian elephants.Anamudi Peak (Photo Credit – Wikipedia)
It is a well-known place for trekking expedition as it is in the evergreen forests and beautiful rivers flow inside the jungle. The peak is elevated 2,695 meters above the ground. If you are a nature lover, picture crazy wanderer, then it is the best place for you. The best time to visit the place is between the months of May and November. I personally would suggest you go to the place in October.
My second stop was at Mattupetty Dam, which is a 12 km drive from Munnar. The dam’s purpose is to store water for hydroelectricity generation, but it is also one of the best spots to witness the beauty of nature in Kerala. The dam is surrounded by tea plantation, and if you are lucky just like me, then you will find some elephants wandering too. I must mention that the boating experience there is just fantastic. The view you get while boating is just breathtaking. I am glad that I visited the place despite it being a dam and I would suggest you go there. But, avoid going in the rainy season as you may not get the chance to use boats.Mattupetty Dam (Photo Credit – Flickr)
At about 13 km distance from Munnar, there is an Echo Point. I don’t know about you, but I always enjoyed screaming at echo points. Like me, you can also take your childish wish to the place to yell your heart out. But, there are a lot more things that you can do there. Echo Point is one of the most preferred and loved picnic spots near Munnar because of the slopes and misty surroundings. The place is at an altitude of about 600 ft, and this attracts many trekkers. Personally, I enjoyed walking in the lush green tea, spice and coffee plantations nearby. I can say that nature’s lap is one of the best places to live. A must visit spot for at least 1.5 hours. I am sure you will not come back disappointed.
Well, the name says everything about the place. I visited Photo Point while coming back from the Echo Point. It is just near the highway, and the atmosphere is breathtaking. The natural beauty and greenery are just soothing to the eye. If you are a photography enthusiast or someone who likes to get pictures clicked, then you won’t find many places better than this. And, if you don’t have a camera, then to you can get pictures clicked with the photographers available there. I also clicked on a few pictures there and spent around 20 minutes. You can do the same, but you should try to visit the place in the evening or at noon.
Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park (Photo Credit – Flickr)
Ahh, my final stop for the day – Eravikulam National Park. The 97 km2 is an excellent place and is famous for the endangered species of wild goats, Nilgiri Tahr. You can wander around the area with the vehicle facilities available there. You will need to purchase a ticket worth Rs. 65 for Indian Citizens and 245 rupees for Foreign tourists. The best time to visit the place is between the months of September and May. The park opens from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day. You can enjoy the exotic view of tea plantations. I spent more than three hours there and enjoyed every bit of it. But, I was not lucky enough to spot Nilgiri Tahr. Though, this may not be the case for you. So, do hit the most sought after destination of South India.
After spending a day and night in Munnar, I decided to take my journey to Thekkady. I took the road route; it is about 92 kms from Munnar and will take 3.5 hours to reach. I stayed at a resort at night and had a great South Indian dinner.
Spice Plantation tour: As Thekkady is known as the heartland of spices, I decided to take spice plantation tour first. You can find many great spice plantations in the area including cardamom, pepper, vanilla, nutmeg, and clove. The plantations are indeed worth seeing, and you can smell the spices flowing in the air. As the place is above the sea level, the atmosphere is, and you can choose from the best plantations available there.
One of the best memories for me was watching pepper plantation; watching sunlight through the leaves of the pepper plants is pleasing to the eyes. The place makes you feel how beautiful nature is. And, if you enjoy exploring things just like me, then you can learn a lot about the way plantations are carried out and spices too. You can even take a tour to cardamom plantations at places including Chakkupallam, Anakkara, and Vandanmedu. You must spend at least two hours and also enjoy a traditional Ayurvedic oil massage.
Periyar National Park
Periyar National Park (Photo Credit – Wikimedia)
My second stop at Thekkady was at Periyar National Park. It is one of the most famous spots for elephant and tiger reserve. There are several areas in the park which you can visit including Mangala Devi temple, Hill region, Cardamom Hills, Forest region, and Safaris. I especially enjoyed the elephant safari there. It was a unique experience for me as I for the first time sat on the top of an elephant and even took the elephant showers.
There are a lot of packages for elephant safari. You can have a feeding and photo session at just Rs.550/person. As I mentioned about riding an elephant; you can also do the same for Rs. 440. The most enjoyable thing, the elephant shower is available for Rs. 900/person. You can even choose the package that I chose of Rs. 4000. It includes an elephant bath, commands and communication timber dragging, deeding, and elephant shower. Everything is worth enjoying and will please you to your core.
Boat Ride at Periyar Lake
Apart from the beautiful elephant safari, you can also enjoy boating at Periyar Lake. You can also enjoy rafting at the lake, and it begins at 8 am in the morning. The beauty is more than mesmerizing, and you can spot many animals wondering near the lake. The best time to visit the place is in the morning. Try to avoid daytime as it gets crowded with other tourists. You will need to purchase the tickets for boating 90 minutes before the ride time. The ticket pricing is: Rs. 40 per adult, Rs. 25 for digital/still camera, and Rs 200 for a camcorder. And, yes, I forgot to mention that the boat trip is 2 hours long. It was a surreal experience for me, and I am sure it would be the same for you if you visit the place.
After an exciting day at Thekkady, I decided to visit Alappuzha (or Alleppey). It is a 140 km drive which took me 3.5 hours and boy; the road trip was worth it. I experienced the beauty of Kerala like never before. I highly recommend you to take the road route from Thekkady to Alappuzha.Alleppey Houseboat (Photo Credit – Pixabay)
The primary reason to visit Alleppey was the beautiful backwaters. I did an overnight trip at backwaters as one of my friends suggested that it is one of the best experiences I can have in the lifetime. The night stay at a houseboat left me wanting for more. You can choose houseboats as per the members. Though, I must mention that you will get a large houseboat, which is kind of exciting. I can easily say that houseboats and backwaters are like soulmates. The impressively crafted houseboats will allow you to do many things to do including cooking, enjoying the evening in the balcony of your boat and watch the time pass. If you are on a visit to Alleppey, then it must be on your visit list. I personally booked the houseboat from 12 pm to 8 am. I enjoyed the sunset.
If you are not short on time, then do take a houseboat cruise ride at Pallathuruthy River and Pookaitha River to Champakulam. It is surreal.
So, after an unimaginable night stays at the houseboat in Alleppey backwaters, I drifted my trip to Kovalam. Mesmerized by my trip from Thekkady to Alappuzha, I again decided to cover the distance of 160 km from Alleppey to Kovalam by road. And, it again turned out to be a fantastic one. I booked a resort in Kovalam before arriving there, and I must say that it was beautiful.
Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple
Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple (Photo Credit – Flickr)
The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is an intricate fusion of the indigenous Kerala and Tamil style. I visited the temple in the evening. The temple is currently run by a trust which is headed by the royal family of Travancore. This is known as the replica of the famous Sri Adikesavaperumal Temple in Thiruvattar. The temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams and glorifies Vaishnavism. Apart from the cultural history, I was enticed by the architectural beauty of the temple. It is a must visit place for culture lovers and also the ones who are interested to know about the architectural structure of the temple.
Kovalam Beach (Photo Credit – Flickr)
I don’t know how I will write this because the ambiance of the beach is already grabbing my mind and soul. But, let me tell you that it was probably the best time I spent during the trip. And, it was perhaps for the first time that I witnessed waves more taller than the height of 2 giraffes combined.
Though, I must mention that the beach has black sand, and is a bit rocky and a bit dangerous for swimming. The food there was just awesome, and I enjoyed the view that consisted of palm trees, fishing boats, and bars from point to another. You can even look for massage and shopping centers nearby. You can also enjoy boating services there. I am so obsessed with the beach despite it being a bit crowded. The air and the view of the lighthouse made me think about revisiting the beach. It was the best experience, I have ever had a beach.
If you are planning a visit, then try to do it in winters or summers, avoid monsoon.
The final day of my trip didn’t include any visits, but after spending time at Kovalam beach, I headed to Trivandrum airport. The trip to Kerala was something that I cannot forget my whole life and if you are looking to rejoice in yourself with a tour, then do visit this fantastic place.
That’s it from me; I hope you will enjoy your time in Kerala.