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.
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.
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.
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.
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.