Kerala occupies a unique place in India's tourism due to certain attractions exclusive only in this state. The green valleys, thick forests, beautiful lakes and rivers give the Kerala landscape a great charm. But Kerala is better known for her backwater delights and Ayurvedic centers. Backwaters are interring connected inland lakes snaking through the picturesque landscape of the state. Coupled with them are Kerala's splendid festivals laced with some mysterious rituals. Kerala also preserves historical heritage in the form of many ancient and medieval period temples.
Close to the end of this century, the much famous National Geographic Traveler covered 50 tourist destinations for once in a lifetime visit and Kerala was the only one to score, besides Taj Mahal which was included as a single most tourist place, from the subcontinent. Kerala's beauty lies in its placid nature encompassing serene backwaters, beaches, hill stations, flora and fauna, forts, Ayurveda, boat races, natural harbors and more. The entire state with an approximate area of 39,000 (38,863) sq kms is a complete package including numerous tourist destinations. Nine out of 14 districts exist as major tourist destinations. Pleasant climate, popular and traditional modes of transportation and a distinct culture add a fourth dimension to the picture.
Backwaters of Kerala
The inland lakes, lagoons and canals are spread throughout Kerala and are navigable. A journey through such backwaters in traditional boats makes up a unique experience. Major backwater destinations of Kerala include Alappuzha Backwaters, Kochi Backwaters, Kollam Backwaters, Kozhikode Backwaters, Kumarakom Backwaters.
Kerala beaches that stand on the shoreline of Arabian feature are exquisite and ideal for summer vacations. Golden beaches dotted with coconut and palm groves, Ayurveda and spa resorts etc. Are the prized attractions of Kerala. Sun bathing, swimming, Ayurvedic treatments are some popular beach activities in Kerala. These laid down beaches include Kovalam Beach, Alappuzha Beach, Bekal Beach, Varkala Beach.
It may also be mentioned that there are many centers of Ayurveda spread over the whole of Kerala and attracting tourists from various corners of the world. In fact, Kerala can be regarded as the only state in India which practices this system full fledged and with great dedication. What makes Kerala a hub of Ayurveda is the abundance of herbs and medicinal plants found in the region. The system of treatment can be divided into two broad categories-rejuvenating and therapeutic.
Wildlife of Kerala
The elephant is a symbol of wildlife when talking about Kerala. There are many sanctuaries and parks established throughout the state featuring the rich biological diversity. Forest lands and backwaters are the happy grounds for numerous species of birds and animals, found at large in Kerala. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary are three important sanctuaries of Kerala.
Best Time to Visit
Anytime during the year
Where to Stay
A wide range of accommodation options are available in all of Kerala's places of tourism interest. Although there is luxury accommodation may not be available in the smaller towns. All the big cities and towns have well developed accommodation infrastructure. Kerala trip also offers some rare and unique accommodation choices to tourists in the form of backwater house boats and Ayurvedic health resorts.
How to Reach
By Air: There are three major airports in Kerala-Trivandrum, Cochin and Calicut. The airports of Trivandrum and Cochin also handle international flights while Calicut Airport operates nationally. Flights operated by Indian Airlines and private carriers are regularly available from many national destinations in Kerala.
By Railways: All the major towns and cities of Kerala are connected by a well laid broad gauge network. Express train services operate from many destinations of India to Trivandrum and Cochin-the two big stations of Kerala.
By Road: The entire state of Kerala has an excellent road network. Both the national highways and state highways of the state are in very good condition. Interstate deluxe bus services originating from neighboring states operate to all major destinations of Kerala.
Shopping at Kerala
On their way back home after a refreshing Kerala travel, tourists must not forget to pick some of the best products of the state. The best buys of the state include traditional handicraft items like carved wooden elephant souvenirs, other wood carvings, brass ware, copper ware, bell metal products, cane and bamboo furniture, coir products, sandalwood, conch shells and different varieties of paintings and masks.