Kerala makes a great holiday destination if you are looking to rejuvenate and refresh your mind and body in the lap of nature.
The very sight of the vast expanses of sea, intricate backwater channels weaving through the scenic landscape, inviting beach fronts, blankets of greenery and the majestic historic monuments set in their backdrop is indeed quite soothing.
The natural richness of this land is better experienced in person than described in words! Simply book one of the Kerala tour packages that appeal to you and enjoy the tryst with nature.
That said, here’s our pick of things to do and see when you visit Kerala.
Backwaters at Allepey
The extensive backwaters of Kerala are indeed a unique feature that you must explore when holidaying here. Allapuzha or Allepey is the main hub from where you can choose to cruise through the water channels that run across the land, allowing you to revel in the beauty of the surrounding and observe locals go about their daily life.
Boats and canoes plying across the backwaters are an integral part of public transport facilities available here.
Hire a houseboat or a traditional canoe for a leisure trip. Kumarakom, Kochi, Thiruvanthapuram and several other places offer short and extended backwater cruises.
Wildlife at Periyar, Thekkady
The lush Periyar National Park set around the dam across the Periyar River in Thekkady is a pleasure for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, alike as well as avid photographers.
Safaris through the Periyar Reserve offer spectacular visuals of the jungle, with the chance to spot elephants and the elusive tiger as well. Boating on the reservoir of the Periyar Dam surrounded by verdant landscape is a must.
If lucky, you can catch a glimpse of elephants and other animals taking their fill from the river and heading back into the forests. The tree-houses in Thekkady also double up as excellent/safe watchtowers from where you can observe the animals and birds in their pristine, natural settings.
Historic Monuments of Kochi
Kochi served as a Gateway to Kerala for merchants from across the world. From Chinese Fishing Nets to historical structures built by British, Dutch and the Portuguese, the city is a treasure trove of attractions for history, culture and architecture buffs.
Explore Fort Kochi and the Santa Cruz Basilica as well as other structures from the colonial period.
The Jewish Synagogue, the Mattancherry Palace, Pallipuram Fort and the Bolgatty Palace (now a heritage hotel) are but some of the interesting structures located in and around Kochi. Kochi too has its share of backwater cruises!
Ancient Port City of Muziris
Kerala was a busy trading hub of yesteryears with Muziris an active port of trade for spices from the Malabar Coast. History of Muziris dates back to the times of ancient Babylonians, Romans, Egyptians, and Phoenicians who arrived here in search of spices.
This flourishing center of trade was wiped out by floods and earthquake during 1341 but the remains are being conserved as a part of the Muziris Heritage Project.
These heritage sites and the different museums offer great insights into lives and good times of the bygone era. Jewish Synagogues, Palaces, and Traditional homes and exaction sites dot this protected area.
Birdwatching at Thattekkad
If you love watching colorful birds flutter around in the lush greenery, the Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is a pleasant getaway where you can spot a different species of forest birds and waterfowl as well.
Camping overnight in the jungle or on a tree-top machan often proves an exciting experience.
Guided birding tours in the reserved area of the sanctuary as well as boating on the Periyar River are other activities organized as a part of the eco-tourism initiative of the sanctuary. According to the renowned ornithologist Salim Ali, Thattekkad is the richest avifauna ecosystem in the country!
Theyyam Performance at Kannur
Kerala’s rich culture and traditions play a key role in the daily life of the people here. While dance forms such as Kathakali and Mohiniyattam can be witnessed at the different cultural centers across the state, Theyyam is a slightly more ritualistic dance often common at temples or during religious events.
The elaborately decorated Theyyam performer animatedly moving to the drum beats, with lights from the palm frond torches illuminating his predominantly red/orange outfit, the captivating performance can seem to go on forever!
Best visuals are those from the late night/early morning performances. Kannur and Bekal are the best places to watch Theyyam.
Bekal Fort and the adjoining beach are popular among tourists. The Kannur beach is an equally serene and scenic location as well.
You could choose to spend some time at either of the places to enjoy the beautiful landscape and catch up on a Theyyam performance as well, especially during November/December.
Ayurveda Experience at Wayanad/ Kumarakom
Kerala is the only place in the country where Ayurveda practice is approved by the State. Ayurveda treatment and therapies are offered by licensed practitioners and treatment centers cleared by the local Government.
You must pamper yourself with a therapy best suited for you to effectively detox and nourish your body. Wayanad and Kumarakom are but a couple of destinations where there are resorts with Spa’s that offer Ayurveda therapies.
Exploring Lakes Vembanad/Ashtamudi
Visits to the Vembanad, Ashtamudi and other lakes in Kerala serve as great stress busters. Calm serene waters bound by scenic landscape seem just out of a picture postcard.
Take a boat ride on these lakes and observe the rich natural beauty of the settings, snap a few pictures and remember to catch the spectacular sunset with waters reflecting the orange glow of setting sun.
Most houseboats cruising the backwaters dock at the Vembanad Lake during the night, allowing you to watch the lakefront under the starlit sky!
Relish a one-course traditional meal (Sadya)
A one-course traditional meal served on a banana leaf allows you to sample an array of regional delicacies.
The grandest of traditional meals comprise over 60 recipes while the simplest may have about 10 or more. It is recommended that you have a light breakfast before this hearty meal.
A long stroll through misty spice and tea plantations in Munnar, Paragliding or Zorbing in Vagamon, admiring the thunderous cascade at Athirappally and Vazhachal falls and visiting the Edakkal Caves replete with rock carvings are but a few other things that you might want to try when exploring Kerala.
Churches Mosques and Temples abound in this region, but Hindu temples are off-limits for those from other faiths.
Kerala has a great choice of places to see and things to do for everyone who visits the region. The choices really are aplenty. You’ll need to browse through the options and plan your itinerary to make the most of your time here or opt for one of the popular Kerala tour packages. Custom tours too are offered.