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Top 10 Things to Do in Kerala, India

Updated on November 17, 2020
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Lakshmi Menon is a published author who writes both fiction and non-fiction. She is also a travel enthusiast.

Top Things to Do in Kerala

Kerala is a State located in South India. It is also the smallest states of India. Kerala is fondly called as God's Own Country. Kerala has abundant natural beauty with her long stretches of river and long golden beaches. Besides, Kerala has fantastic wildlife, and the added beauty of green paddy fields and swaying palm and coconut trees.

Top Things to Do in Kerala

1. Kerala Backwaters - When you plan a visit to Kerala one of the most important things is to include a journey in the Kerala Houseboat which will give you a chance to see the serene beauty of Kerala backwaters and see village life up close and learn more about life there. For this purpose, you can choose a wooden canoe which is not very expensive. It is a unique experience one can have in Kerala.

Kerala Backwater
Kerala Backwater | Source
Synagogue | Source
Kerala temple festival
Kerala temple festival | Source
Kerala tender coconuts
Kerala tender coconuts | Source

2. Munnar Visit

Munnar Hill Station is a must visit destination of Kerala because of tea and spice plantation, filled with natural beauty. A visit to a tea estate and a stroll through the beautiful plantations to learn about tea cultivation and to process it into tea and taste. If interested, you can also buy real tea in various forms and all types of spices and oil prepared from the spices, different chocolates, etc. here. Trek in the Eravikulam National Park and view the South India's highest peak Anamudi. You may also spot the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. Some particular time if you visit you can see the Nilakurinji flowers.

Neelakukrinji flowers at Munnar
Neelakukrinji flowers at Munnar | Source
Munnar Tea estate
Munnar Tea estate | Source
Veli tourist place at Tvm
Veli tourist place at Tvm | Source

3. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary-Thekkady

Go for a boat ride on the clear Periyar Lake, which is the best way to go about the Thekkady experience. The main attraction here is the herds of Indian elephants. The wildlife enthusiasts visit here for spotting Indian elephants, tigers and leopards. Other mammals found here include Nilgiri Langur, and Liontail Macaque, gaur, sambar (horse deer), barking deer, mouse deer, Dholes (Indian wild dogs), mongoose, and foxes.Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is an established tourist spot, and for some, it may feel like Disneyland-in-the-Ghats.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the largest and most visited wildlife reserves in India, situated at an altitude of 900m-1800m. Periyar is a protected area, set high in the mountains of the Western Ghats at the border to Tamil Nadu. The Park is also called as Thekkady. The sanctuary surrounds picturesque 26 km Periyar Lake, an artificial lake, formed by the building of Mullaperiyar Dam. The bird life includes darters, cormorants, kingfishers, the great Malabar Hornbill and racket-tailed Drongos.

4. Stay in a Homestay in Kerala

Kerala offers a broad range of Homestays for the tourists, where you can get welcoming atmosphere and delicious home-cooked food. Also, you can also get a chance to meet the local people and to know the more about the culture. Usually, the home stay people will make arrangements to meet the local residents who are very friendly and happy to interact with you.

5. Kerala Food

Kerala food is one of the best things you have to enjoy in this beautiful land. Some of the main and delicious breakfasts are idli, dosa, puttu, appam, etc. For lunch, don't forget to enjoy a Kerala Sadhya, consisting of several vegetarian dishes, papad and payasam (a sweet porridge), at least once or twice. For snacks, vada (made from dal), neyyappam (made from rice), pazham pori (made from Kerala banana, also known as nenthra pazham) are some of the mouth-watering snacks. If you are non-vegetarian, try to enjoy Kerala fish curry, karimeen pollichathu (fried fish), and other non-vegetarian items. When you are in need of tea try to taste the special Kerala tea which is available in all small hotels. The tea is prepared with a long stretch of pouring from one glass to another, which has a unique taste of Kerala, and you cannot get it anywhere else.

6. Get the feeling of being in Kerala

Experience Kerala by wearing a Kerala saree - Five metres of beautiful off-white cotton edged with a golden sari, that lends an extraordinary elegance to the person wearing it, and a string of jasmine flower-the natural ornament for your hair.

If you happen to visit during Onam, the most famous festival of Kerala, design a floral carpet. You can see colourful, beautiful floral decorations in the courtyards of Kerala’s homes. Try making one with family and friends.

Get an Ayurvedic massage with the magic fingers of specially trained masseurs, and get yourself a new life. The medicated baths will refresh you, the herbal diets will replenish you, Yoga will revitalise you, and the meditation will recharge you.

Shop for souvenirs in Kerala’s handicraft centres, where you can find an extraordinary collection of wood, coir shell and sandalwood souvenirs, trinkets, jewels, Aranmula mirror (made of a finely polished alloy of four metals ), etc.

Watch all or any of the following - Kathakali dance, Mohiniyattam dance, Thiruvathira kali, kalari payattu (the martial art of Kerala), and a Malayalam movie with English subtitles.

Get a streaming cup of strong tea from a thattukada (a roadside kiosk) prepared in the typical Kerala style. Don't forget to watch the expert stretching it to a metre height while pouring it from one glass to another glass, to blend it well and building up a tempting froth on the top in the process.

Sip a refreshing tender coconut which is nature’s rejuvenating nectar – and a scoop of its soft white flesh, Nutrition at its natural best.


7. Kerala Beaches

Kerala has several silky and palm-fringed beaches. Among them, Kovalam beach
16 km, from Trivandrum City, is very popular and it is also the internationally famous beach, for a safe sea bath, and it is a swimmer’s paradise. The other most popular beaches are Cherai, Varkala, Mararikulam, Kappad, Fort Cochin, Muzhappilangad Drive-in Beach in Kannur, etc. A visit to any of these beaches is a must to be considered among your Kerala visit.

8. Visit Cochin

Cochin (Kochi) is one of the popular tourist destinations of Kerala. The view of the backwaters and the harbor from Marine Drive is really breathtaking. Cochin is called as the “Queen of Arabian Sea.” With Arabian Sea on the western side and the Western Ghats on the eastern side, Cochin is also referred as the “Gateway of South India.” Fort Kochi, Chinese fishing net, Jewish Synagogue, Santa Cruz Basalica Church, Dutch Palace, Vypin Island, Bolghatty Palace etc are some of the places you can't afford to miss in Cochin.

9. Visit Thiruvanantapuram

Thiruvananthapuram, (Trivandrum,) a seaside city with many modern buildings parallel to the local traditional wooden houses, is the capital city of Kerala. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is in the heart of the city, facing Padmatheertham, the Holy Tank of the temple. Immediately there you can see the Puthenmalika (also called as Kuthira Malika), which is an excellent example of the traditional architecture of Kerala. Watch the many horse-faces carved on the woodwork of the facade from which the palace gets its name 'Kuthira (horse) Malika'. Also exhibited are the crystal throne, imported from Bohemia, and the ivory throne of the Maharajas. The collections also include swords, muskets and other armoury items, palanquins and 'Howdas', Italian marble sculptures, chandeliers, etc. Another great place to visit here is Napier Museum, with tall and towers, stained glass windows and special type roofs. Large collections of bronzes, historical ornaments, temple chariots and ivory items are on display. Don't forget to visit the Zoo, a century and half old, where the animals are housed in the Victorian style cages. If you admire art, visit Sree Chithira Art Gallery, where a good collection of paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and Roerich, copies of Rajput, Mughals and Tanjore schools of art and paintings are displayed. Other interesting places are the Akkulam Lake, 3 kilometres from Thiruvananthapuram. It has a children’s park as well as boating facilities. If you are interested to see boat racing, consider the Aaranmula Boat Race which is an annual event that takes place in the month of August - September in the Aaranmula village near Thiruvananthapuram. Veli Tourist Village is nine kms away from the city, where the Veli Lake hubs the Arabian Sea. Boating facility is available with Pedal and Paddle boats on hire. Children would love the Park dotted with huge sculptures. Also visit Padmanabhapuram Palace, a well-preserved wooden palace of a fine example of Kerala architecture, located 34 miles away. You can find Ayurveda and Yoga centers also in Thiruvananthapuram.

10. Visit Thrissur

Thrissur (Trichur), the cultural capital of Kerala, is home for the world famous Thrissur Pooram. Interesting places to include - Kerala Kalamandalam, located in Cheruthuruthi on the bank of Bharathapuzha, which is a major centre for learning Indian Performing Kerala Arts in classical dance and theatre forms like Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam, Kudiyattam, Chakyar Koothu, Thullal, Kuchipudi, Nangiar Koothu, and the traditional orchestra called Panchavadyam. Training is also given in various percussion instruments like Chenda, Maddalam, and Mizhavu. Peechi Dam Wildlife Sanctuary 23 Kms, away from Trichur, the Peechy dam is a beautiful picnic spot with boating facilities. The Zoo at Thrissur, located close to the Art and Archeology Museums,2 km from Thrissur town, has endangered species like the Asiatic lion, tiger and the extremely rare lion-tailed macaque. Vadakkunnathan temple, an ancient temple, is surrounded by a massive stone wall enclosing an area of nearly 8-9 acres, with four huge gopurams, dedicated to 3 principal shrines dedicated to Shiva or Vadakkunnathan, Shankaranarayana and Rama. Sree Guruvayurappan Temple, is just 25 kms away. Punnathur Kotta (where large number of elephants are housed), Chavakkad beach, Chetuva backwaters are also nearby. The awe inspiring Athirapally-Vazhachal waterfalls, is another great place to visit. The charisma and clairvoyance of the place with its majestic falls, is really enticing. Enjoy the monkeys' mischief and the breathtaking beauty of the water hitting the rocks and splattering around.


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