Top Offbeat Places To Visit in Kerala

Kerala is not just God’s Own Country but also one of India’s favourite holiday destinations.  The picturesque state has been branded in a manner that would convince any traveler to visit the state at least once any time during the year. And in keeping with this branding, it only follows that there would be numerous tourist places in Kerala. Fort Kochi, Munnar, The Backwaters are places you have heard of numerous times and probably have even visited. However, this heavily exposed elephant + coconut tree haven does have its share of the unexplored.

1. Athirapally Falls

Located in the Sholayar region in Kerala, the Athirapally Waterfalls are a marvel unto themselves. The falls are located amidst the Athirapally Forests; the region is rich in biodiversity and boasts of breath-taking flora and fauna. The shooting of a couple of movies near the falls has resulted in a steady tourist flow, nonetheless, if you find the right spot and the right forest trail you will have nature all to yourself. Best time to visit the Kerala falls is during the monsoon season.

2. A Tharavad

Tharavad is not a place, but a system of sorts. Traditionally, a Tharavad is a joint-family system practiced by the Nair clan in Kerala. In terms of Kerala tourism, Tharavads are homestays where one lives in the home/farmhouse of a family and experiences the village life of Kerala. All Tharavad homes are characterized by antique furniture, unique woodwork and such old world architectural charms. On the whole, a Tharavad experience is less touristy and more homely.

3. Marari Beach

Located close to Kumarakom – one of the best tourist places in Kerala – is the lesser known Mararikulum.  The area and the adjoining Marari Beach have yet to witness the explosion of tourists. The sand is clear, the water clean and the vibe relaxing. For when you want to run away from the crowd and be one with your thoughts, head to Mararikulum.

4. Wayanad

This lush green, historical region is probably one of Kerala’s best kept secrets. Here, you can explore the Edakkal Caves that were first discovered by a Britisher during his hunting trip in 1890. The caves are a testimony to the existence of the Stone Age civilization in Wayanad. On your way to the Edakkal Caves, you can stop at the Chembra Peak, touted to be the loftiest peak in Wayanad. If adventure is what you seek, then you can trek all the way to the peak too.

5. Nelliyampathy

Aptly nicknamed as ‘Poor man’s Ooty’, the landscapes of Nelliyampathy closely resemble this extremely popular hill station of South India. Lush green tea gardens over rolling hill sides is quite a sight to catch in this little hill town of Kerala. Located 60 km away from Palakkad district on its southern tip at an elevation of 1585 meters above sea level. The only route to this place is through Nemmara town.

6. Silent Valley National Park

Situated on the Nilgiri Hills of the Palakkad district of Kerala, Silent Hill National Park is perhaps the last bit of the tropical rain forest of India that’s yet to be explored by the masses. The National Park is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage site. The winding rivers (Bhavani and Kunthipuzha) through the forests, the evergreen sholas, waterfalls and the enchanting wilderness makes you fall in love with this place!

7. Kuruvdweep or Kuruva Island

Located at a distance of 17 km from Mananthavady, nearest town in Wayanad district, Kuruvdweep is one of the most alluring and untouched river islands in Kerala. It’s a delta formation on the Kabini River. A nature lover’s paradise, the evergreen tropical forest on the island is absolutely stunning. Enjoy sights of rare flora and fauna and indulge in a relaxed holiday here. One unique experience you can enjoy at Kuruvdweep is crossing the river in bamboo rafts. It’s done under the guidance of the forest guards, since at times the river current can get uncontrollable.

8. Ponmudi

Located at an altitude of 1100 meters above sea level, Ponmudi- better known as the Golden Peak is one of the most beautiful places in God’s country. It’s a part of the Western Ghats and one has to climb narrow winding hairpin curves to reach the peak. The scenery on the way up is absolutely enthralling and once you reach the top the view from up there is once in a lifetime experience.

9. Thenmala

The literal translation of Thenmala is “honey hills”. Apparently, the honey collected from these hills is of very high quality because of the diverse flora of the forest. Thenmala is located in the Kollam district of Kerala and the primary attraction of this place is the Thenmala Dam, built across the Kallada River. It is being recently converted into an eco-tourism destination and there are many fun activities available to the tourists like Rope Bridge, boating, trekking, biking and mountaineering. Boating in the dam is also a relaxing experience here.

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  1. arihantpathak

    Kerala is one of the best place for spending your vacation in the lap of nature . The greenery of this state is the major attraction . There many temples are heritage of The India making proud for it .

  2. Jhanavi Sareen

    Would you happen to know about some more not-so-popular beaches in Kerala. I’m a complete beach-bum and am thinking of doing a solely beach holiday around Kerala. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Nishi Jain

      Jhanavi, that’s a nice vacation idea. There are plenty of beaches in Kerala that are less frequented by tourists. Here are a few options:
      -Padinjarekara Beach is stunning.
      -Go to Kizhunna Ezhara Beach, located 11 km away from Kannu.
      -Beach near Malappuram
      -Kanwatheertha Beach, three kilometres from Manjeswaram
      -Kappil Beach
      -Chithari Beach
      -Kolavi Beach, Payyoli

  3. Rajat

    Kerala looks like such a green place, especially in the Wayanad photo, with all the forests at the back of house. Makes me want to go.

  4. Ajay Rao

    Nice post Hilonee I think the backwaters are so overrated, there is so many other places, to explore in God’s own country. I always try to find places which are not on the must-visit lists.

  5. Vikram

    As the author mentions, Athirapally Falls is one of Kerala’s best waterfalls. It is also probably Mani Ratnam’s favourite locale as he has shot a number of movie scenes there, including Roja and Raavan. Yet, not a lot of people outside of Kerala seemed to have heard of it. Kudos to the author for putting it up as top offbeat places to visit in Kerala.

  6. Rajesh Thakur

    Nice post. I have been to Chembra Peak and it is a must-see for everyone. The view while trekking and at the top is magnificent. Wayanad itself is a very nice area and should be part of any list that speaks of places to visit in Kerala. I have heard a lot about Edakkal caves but haven’t visited it yet. Must add it to my to-do list, I see.