Travel and Tourism
Kerala- God’s Own Country
Sun blanched white seashore. Endless beaches. Incessant blue waves mostly calm but sometimes boisterous clamouring and vanishing among white splashes. Green groves of coconuts just stop short and border the beaches with frills.
Sun blanched white seashore. Endless beaches. Incessant blue waves mostly calm but sometimes boisterous clamouring and vanishing among white splashes. Green groves of coconuts just stop short and border the beaches with frills.
And the far off dark blue mountains. This is what the eyes meet about Kerala. An excellent colour scheme and art work of Nature.An occasional boatsman rowing and singing with cargo or people. A tiller or a mower and women planting seedlings. Women at work spinning coir. Dense plantations further eastward. Kerala is all these and more.....
Read more: www.keralatourism.org
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM the Capital City
About 13 Kms. south of Thiruvananthapuram city is located one of the best bathing bays in the world - Kovalam, where a sheltered beach and a shallow sea offer excellent bathing facilities. The scenery around the place is enchanting.
The famous Hindu pilgrim centre, Varkala is 48 Kms. north of Thiruvananthapuram. The place is noted for its mineral springs that gush out of the towering cliffs.
About 1869 metres above sea level Agasthyaarkudam is a prominent peak of the Western Ghats. A pilgrim centre of the Hindus, tradition says that the great sage Agastya had his abode in this peak. The place is also noted for its abundant Ayurvedic herbs.
Situated 40 Kms, north of Thiruvananthapuram along the sea cost, Anjuthengu (Anjengo) is a place of historic importance. It was here that the first settlement of the English East India Company was established in 1864 A.D. According to the local folk, the limited area where five coconut palms stood (Anjuthengu - Anjengo) was given on lease to the company by the then ruling prince of Travancore for trade purposes. The remains of the old English Fort which had withstood many a siege can be seen here even now.
KOLLAM - Cashew and Lakes
Among the towns of Kerala, Kollam is second, only to Kodungallore in historic antiquity and was a renowned international emporium of trade of the ancient world. It was the capital of the powerful kingdom called " VENAD" which came into prominence in the 9th century A.D. According to some historians, the Malayalam era called the "Kollam era" was established by King Udaya Marthanda Varma, King of Kollam in 825. A.D. In the earliest days Phoenicians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and the Chinese used to frequent the port. The descriptions by famed travellers like Marco Polo, Ibn Batuta, Sulyman of Siraf and others clearly highlighted the historical importance of Kollam as a commercial town
Seventy kms. away from Kollam on the Shencotta road is the pilgrim centre in the mountains "ARYANKAVU" . A temple dedicated to Lord Sastha which has some fine sculptures and mural paintings.
"PALARUVI" - Meaning River of Milk - One of the well known water falls in south India, is situated 66 kms. away from Kollam. The scenic beauty, complete with hills, valleys and cascades, covered with dense tropical forest, is breath taking.
"SASTHAMKOTTA" another beauty spot of Kerala, is situated 29 kms. from Kollam. With the vast fresh water lake spreading over the valleys of several hills, Sasthamkotta lake can truly be called the Queen of Lakes".
A unique pilgrim centre "OACHIRA", 32 kms from Kollam on the national high way, has a deep stamp of Advaita Philosophy. The presiding deity is the "Parabrahma", the absolute reality, the great source of all forms and phenomena which cannot be symbolised by an idol or housed in a temple. Hence there is no temple or idol for the presiding deity here. The temple festival "Oachira Kali" held in June, is a crow pulling festival
"JATAYUPAPRA" in Chadayamangalam on the M.C. road is a huge rock where, Jatayu, the giant bird in Ramayana fell after failing in its attempt to stop Ravana from taking Sita away. It attracts the adventure- loving and offers excellent prospects of an exhilarating hang-gliding experience. "KULATHUPUZHA" - Temple- on the banks of Kulathupuzha river has a large number of fish considered as sacred by the local people. "THENMALA DAM" which offers exciting opportunities for boating is 68 Kms east of Kollam.
A full day onboard journey through the backwaters provide a unique opportunity to experience the natural life of Keralites and the scenic beauty of God's own country. A large number of foreign tourists arrive at Kollam during the season ( November-March) for this 8 hrs long backwater cruise. Luxury boats of Government as well as private parties are operated from the main boat jetty during the season. Usually the trip starts at 10.30 am. and reaches Alleppy at 6.00 PM. A tourist information centre of District Tourism Promotion Council is functioning at the boat jetty area from 9 am. to 6 pm on all days except Sundays, to assist the tourists who arrive at the bus station and boat jetty area. Another Tourist Information Counter is also functioning at the Kollam Railway Station from 8.30 AM to 5 PM on all days except Sundays.
PATHANAMTHITTAThe Land of Pilgrimage
The Sastha temple at Sabarimala, 80 kms. from the District Head quarters, is one of the major pilgrim centres in South India. Irrespective of religious beliefs, people from all over India and abroad throng to this famous shrine of Lord Ayyappa which is surrounded by hazardous hills like Karimala and Neelimala. The devotees known as Ayyappas negotiate the hills to reach the shrine after undergoing 41 days of 'Vrutha' i.e., self imposed devotional penance. The pilgrimage season, involving Mandala Pooja and Makaravilakku comes between the latter half of November and the former half of January every year. Ablution in River Pamba is considered as holy 'Ganga Snanam'.
The confluence of Hindu and Muslim deities in the form of Lord Ayyappa, his lieutenant Vavar makes this esteemed pilgrim centre a model for communal harmony and castelessnes.
The water falls in the Pamba river at Perumthenaruvi attract thousands of people from inside and outside the district. This is a beautiful natural waterfall and an ideal place of transit attraction. t is only 10 kms. from Erumeli. This is a favourite picnic spot for both domestic and foreign tourists.
The River Pamba again plays host to a famous annual religious convention on its golden sands at Maramon. This mammoth religious convention of the Christians attend by people belonging to all communities is the largest of its kind in the world. It takes place in February every year and is addressed by speakers of international repute. The convention lasts for seven days.
Ayiroor Cherukolpuzha religious convention is another important annual feature on the river bed of Pamba. This famous Hindu religious convention is attended by a large number of people and addressed by prominent religious scholars and cultural personalities.
Chandanakkudam Festival of the Jama - Al Mosque at Pathanamthitta also attracts thousands of devotees. It is held in February every year. The festivals at Kattur Mosque in Cherukos and Kalamala mosque near Adoor are also famous.
The religious conventions and festivals in Pathanamthitta district are admirable examples of religious amity and communal harmony.
Uthrittathi Boat Race
The Uthrittathi Boat Race on the River Pamba near the Parta Sarathy Temple at Aranmula is annual cultural feat to the tourists and the people of Kerala. Uthrittathi which comes after every Thiruvonam in August - September is the day of this prominent cultural event. The boat race commemorates the crossing of River Pamba by the Lord Partha Sarathy. All the snake boats in Kerala participate in the colourful ritual which really is a treat to the eyes.
ALAPPUZHA The Venice of the East
Alappuzha has several canals and lakes fit for boat cruise. Three prominent rivers in the southern grid of Kerala viz. Achankovil, Pamba and Manimala empty into the lakes. A boat journey through the lakes will be a memorable experience. The watercourses are flanked by an unending row of coconut trees which heave and sway to the tune of the gush.
In addition to this the boat races at Payippad, Thiruvanvandoor, Neerettupuram, Karuvatta and Thykkoottam are quite famous.
'Ambalappuzha palpayasam' the devotional delicacy of the temple, is renowned for its unique taste.
Ambalappuzha is also famous for the traditional visual martial art of Kerala, Velakali.
KOTTAYAM - Beyond Letters and Latex
Situated seventy six Kilometres away from Kochi, Kottayam is a place strangely ancient in spirit but fairly modern in atmosphere. This land, located in the erstwhile Central Travancore, is remarkably fertile and brilliantly green. A true topical diversity adorned with backwaters, green paddy fields, rubber plantations and palmgroves as far as the eye can see. The land is also rich in varieties of vegetables, cardamom, pepper, coffee and spices. The people are healthy, hard working and educated. This is Kottayam, the Land of Letters, Latex and Lakes.
Land of Lakes because of the different lakes forming in great expanse of water called the Vembaad into which a network of rivers like Manimala, Pamba, Achankovil empty. These and various canals provide for boating, canoeing, fishing and sight seeing, experiences that are unforgetable. The vivid blue and green palmfringed backwaters of Kottayam is a perennial source of attraction to the tourists.
A short ride 10 Km to the west of Kottayam brings you at Kumarkom, on the vast Vembanad Lake, a well known bird sanctuary, parrots, egrets, herons, teal, larks, fly catchers, wood beetle and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons. Every year hundreds of Siberian cranes come across from far away Siberia to roost and breed before going back. A cruise on the Vembanad Lake, gently rocked by the waves rippling to the rhythm of the swaying coconut palms on the distant banks could be truely exhilarating. Preserving the old style, the beautiful bungalow of Albert George Baker at Kumarakom has now been modified into 'Taj Garden Retreat', a hotel of Taj group with modern living facilities.
A unique back water spot accessible by boat from here is 'PATHIRAMANAL' a lonely island in the lake ideal for the honeymooners and modern holiday tourists. Tourists come here in search of sun and water, tropical scenery and a change from the din of city life and Pathiramanal can provide all these in plenty.
BOAT RACE IN KOTTAYAM
Every year, during Onam season, Kavanattinkara and Kumarakom Boat Races are conducted at Kavanar and Kottathodu river respectively. About 50 boats including a fews snake boats participate in these races. With fun, frolic and fanfare on the banks of the back waters, it is thrill and entertainment galore for the tourist to see these long bedecked boats surging forward propelled by hundred oars to the rhythm of country, folk beats. A ride by boat or by country craft from Changanacherry to Alappuzha through Punnamada Kayal will provide an unforgettable sight of some of the paddy fields and stretches of coconut palmgroves.
Tucked away in the folds of lovely mountains, 'ELAVEEZHAPOONCHIRA', in the border of Kottayam-Idukki districts, is a picturesque stretch of land 3000 ft above sea level. During monsoon. season, the water that gets accumulated over a wide area, looks like a placid lake. reflecting the rain clouds and the majestics mountains. The pristine beauty of nature is preserved almost intact in this small region
'KANNADIPPARA' is the highest mountain peak in Elaveezhapoonchira. If we look from Kannadippara, both sun rise and set can be seen clearly. The 80 ft. high waterfall at 'KAZHUKANKULIMALI' is an added visual beauty to this place.
Wagamon, another tourist centre. 60 Km from Kottayam, situated at an elevation of 1100 metres above sea level, is a trekker's paradise.
Kottayam town is the gateway to pilgrim centres of Sabarimala, Mannanam, Kuruvilangad, Vaikom, Ettumanoor, Bharananganam,Erumeli, Manarcadu, Aruvithura and Athirampuzha. The famous Vaikom Siva Temple, associated with the legendary Parasurama, is just 40 Km. north of Kottayam town and is a typical example of Kerala Temple Architecture. So also are the Temples of Perunna , Vazhappally and Thrikkodithanam near Changanachery. There is a school imparting training in Temple art forms like PaNchavadyam, (orchestra of five musical instruments) Sopanasangeetham, Nagaswaram etc at Vaikom in connection with Siva Temple.
The temple at Ettumanoor about 12Km. north of Kottayam is famous for the exquisite samples of ancient murals and 'Ezharaponnana' or the 7 ½ elephants finished in gold. In the St. Mary's Church at Kuravilangad built in 355 AD. there is an old bell which bears a hitherto undeciphered inscription. The mortal remains of the Blessed Sister Alphonsa and Blessed Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara are entombed at the St. Mary's Church at Bharannganam and the St.Joseph's Monastry Church at Mannanam respectively.
The religious festivals of this district are also famous. Pettathullel at Erumeli (January) Ashtami at Vaikom ( November/December) Ezharaponnana at Ettumanoor ( February/March)
Mosque at Erumeli
The Mosque at Erumeli about 60 Km north-east of Kottayam town is dedicated to Vavar, a contemporary and companion of Lord Ayyappa, a Hindu deity. Every year the unique sight of multitudes of Hindu pilgrims worshipping at this mosque before their trek to Sabarimala to worship Lord Ayyappa is turely soul stirring.
Valiapally (Metropolitan Church) Kavil Bhagavathi (Goddess) Temple and Puthoorpalli Mulism Juma-ath stand shoulder to shoulder in changanacherry town. From the very ancient past the 'CHANDANAKUDAM' the religious festival procession of Muslims with a sacred pot filled with sandal, is being given grand reception every year (December25) by Hindus in front of Kavil Bhagavathi Temple, Changanacherry. What better examples of Hindu-Mulsim amity over centuries in this country can one expect?
IDUKKI The Upland of Sanctuaries and Spices
Nestled up in the mountains, Idukki extends an invitation to identify oneself with Nature. Here, where the mist plays hide and seek with the green mountains, the melody is set to the whistle of the crickets and the chirp of wild birds. Dark and deep forests with springs trickling down rocky crevices, falling steep into unfathomed chasms and rivulets flowing past rare flora and fauna, is indeed an idyllic setting to set oneself free of all fetters, understand, feel and perhaps realise, the beauty, power and glory of life.
Other than places like Valara, Thommankuthu, Palkulamedu and Munnar which are of indescribable natural beauty, there are five wild life sanctuarties in Idukki district which need special mention.
Chinnar Wild Life Sanctuary
Chinnar is a wild life sanctuary with an area of 90 sq.Km. The terrain here is undulating and rocky through out at an elevation ranging from 500 to 2400 metres above sea level. The thorny scrub jungle is the unique phenomenon of this sanctuary. The flora in this region consists of thorny scrub jungle, dry deciduous forests, sholas and grass lands.
A wide range of wild life is housed in its sanctuary. Elephant, gaur, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, lion tailed macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, tiger, panther, wild dog etc. inhabit in this sanctuary. The aviary includes jungle fowl, spotted dove, pea fowl, jungle crow, Kerala laughing thrush, red vented bulbul, Indian hornbill, small green bee eater, blue throated barbet and a host of other small birds.
This sanctuary is situated on either side of the Marayoor - Udumalpet road and is hence accessible by road.
Eravikulam Wild Life Sanctuary
Eravikulam is another wild life sanctuary proclaimed as a National Park since it supports the largest population of Nilgiri Tahr existing in the world now. Anamudi peak (2695 Metres), the highest point south of the Himalays falls in the southern part of this park. The park is 135 k.m. from Kochi and is accessible by road.
Most of the park is either grassland or part of the shola ecosystem and the average altitude is 2000 metres above m.s.l. The temperature varies from (-)3 degrees celsius in winter to 29 degrees celsius in summer. Severe frost occurs between the months of December and January and the average rain fall is 4800 m.m. During the monsoon, lashing rains, high velocity winds and poor visibility makes the area practically inaccessible.
A wide variety of plant life is present here. The famous Strobilanthus Kunthianus, popularly known as Neelakurinji is one of the rare and threatened species that grows here.
The Nilgiri Tahr is seen in the highlands and rocky regions of this national park. Sambar, barking deer, gaur, giant Malabar squirrel, tiger, panther, wild dogs, civet cat, jungle cat, Nilgiri langur, giant squirrel, grass owl, black winged kite, wood pigeon, black bird, Euraian kestrel, jungle crow etc. are seen here.
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary
Thattekkad bird sanctuary in Devicolam Taluk of Idukki lies on the northern bank of the Periyar river. The area of the sanctuary is 25 sq.Km. The presence of more than 200 varieties of birds in this area attracted the renowned ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali and his efforts are also behind the formation of this sanctuary. This sanctuary is 80 Kms. from Cochin and 60 to 450 metres above sea level.
Important birds found here include large falcon, gray jungle fowl, white breasted water hen, hornbill, jungle bush-quail, etc. A study conducted by Bombay Natural History Society during 1985 indentifies 253 species here.
The vegetation in this area consists of tropical evergreen, semi evergreen, moist deciduous forests and plantations of teak, rosewood, mahogony etc. Further, more than 28 varieties of animals and nine varieties of reptiles have accepted this area as their natural habitat.
With its matchless scenic beauty and the facilities offered by the Periyar lake, Thekkady attracts a large number of tourists. The sanctuary spreads over an area of 673 sq.km and is situated at a height of 900 to 1800 metres above mean sea level. Facilities are available for cruising in this lake.
Wild animals seen here include elephants, bisons, sambar, monkeys and wild bear. Fortunate visitors can have a glimpse of the tigers foragaing in this area. However on sunny summer days one can see herds of wild elephants bathing in the lake. Bisons are a wary and hardy lot and usually never allow any intruder to approach them and the sound of the motor boats scare them away. But a keen animal lover can stay in one of the few observation towers for a couple of days and luck will surely come his way.
Some of the famous tea gardens are located around this place. Further Peermede, 43 k.m. below Thekkady, has a golf course and offers excellent facilities for stay.
Idukki Wild Sanctuary
Idukki wild sanctuary is quite near the District Head Quarters at Kuyilimala near Painavu. The great reservior formed by the construction of the Idukki Arch Dam and dams at Cheruthoni and Kulamavu offers beautiful sight to the casual visitor. Further the pristine forests and green hills around the area provide ample scope for trekking. In windy and rainy days elephants can be seen even on the road from Thodupuzha to the District Head Quarters. Unless offended these pachyderms wait on the road for a few minutes and give way to the vehicles. The Arch dam at Idukki, the highest of its kind in Asia, attracts a lot of tourists. Further, the area is easily accessible by road, by being just about 100 k.m. from Eranakulam.
Thommankuthu is another centre of attraction in Idukki, and is just half an hour's drive from Thodupuzha, the nearest town where accommodation is available. Here the brook gushing out of a crevice in the rocky cliff gives the illusion to the visitor that it is not water but milk that is gushing out.
Blessed with natural beauty and salubrous climate Kulamavu is a colony of the K.S.E. Board employees. Kulamavu Dam is situated here.
The underground powerhouse of the Idukki Hydroelectric Project is located here. It is at the foot of the Nadukani hills
Munnar was the summer resort of the British Government in the south. The town is situated on the confluence of three mountain streams, Muthirappuzha ( Kannimalayar), Nallathanni and Kundala. Munnar has some of the biggest tea plantations in the world. This hill station more than 5000 feet above sea level with its mist and flowers, has very good potential to be developed into a tourist spot.
This remote village on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats is in the outskrits of Munnar. The relics of new stone-age civilization has been unearthed here. The stone cabins, called 'Muniyaras', attract a lot of research scholars. It is the only place in Kerala having natural growth of sandal wood trees.
Peermade, another centre of tourist attraction has a history of its own. The summer palace of the erstwhile Rajas of Travancore is an important monument here.
Ernakulam The land of Queen of the Arabian Sea
The ancient temples, churches, mosques, synagogue and palaces and above all the birth place of Sri Sankaracharya provided a great deal of interest for the archaeologists and historians in particular and all tourists in general. The city of Kochi known as the "Queen of Arbian Sea" has one of the finest natural harbours in the world. From time immemorial, Arabas, Chinese, Dutch, British and Portuguese sea forces followed the sea route to Kochi and left their indelible impressions on the town.
This palace in Mattancherry was built by the Portuguese, and presented to the Raja of Cochin in 1555. Though built by the Portugese, it is popularly known as the "Dutch Palace", as the Dutch renovated it during their brief reign here. The glory of the Palace lies in the murals which are in the best traditions of Hindu Temple Art. In the central courtyard of the palace is the temple dedicated to Pazhayannur Bhagavathi. In the coronation hall, there is a display of dresses and Palanquins used by the rulers of Cochin.
The synagogue was built in 1568 A.D. Scrolls of Old Testament and a number of copper plates inscribed in the Hebrew Script are preserved in this Synagogue. The Jewish Synagogue in Kochi stands out as a testimony for the communal harmony in the state for centuries.
This church was built by the Portuguese in 1510 A.D. It is believed to be the oldest European Church built in India. Vasco-dA-Gama was burried here. Fourteen years later, his mortal remains were taken to Portugal
CHINESE FISHING NETS
At the entrance to the harbour these nets are a fascinating sight. They can be seen all along the backwaters of Kerala. They were first bought to Kerala by the Chinese traders from Kubla Khan's court
This is a man made island created from earth dredged, while deepening the Kochi Port. Lord Bristow was the architect of this island. There are frequent ferry and bus services from Ernakulam. The Harbour, Air Port and Harbour Railway Terminus are in this island.
Bolgatty palace on a narrow stretch of land built by the Dutch in 1744 is situated here. The building was once a Governor's Palace for the Dutch and later a home for British Governors. Now it has been converted into a hotel by the K T D C. The Bolgatty Palace Hotel has a commanding view facing the outlet into the open sea
This mangrove forest is a small bird sanctuary, located in the heart of the town behind the High Court of Kerala, attracts a large number of tourists.
PARIKSHITH THAMPURAN MUSEUM
This is situated on the Durbar Hall Ground on DH Road, Eranakulam. Collection of 19th Century oil paintings, old coins, sculptures in stone and plaster of paris and copies of mural paintings are exhibited here.
CHERAMAN JUMA MASJID
The first mosque in India situated 52 Kms. away from Kochi. It was built in 629 A.D. and resembles a Hindu Temple in appearance. There are bus services from Eranakulam.
MUSEUM OF KERALA HISTORY
Eight Kms. from Eranakulam, this museum is a treasure house of important scenes of Kerala History from Neolithic age to modern period portrayed through life-size statues. Recorded commentary of each scene with sound and light shows is staged here.
Hill PALACE MUSEUM
This is situated 12 Kms. away from Eranakulam on the Eranakulam-Chottanikkara route. It is the largest archaeological museum of Kerala. Different types of sculptures, collection of rare coins, old weapons and collections from the Cochin Royal Family are exhibited here.
Pallipuram Fort was built by the Portuguese in 1503. It is one of the oldest existing European monoments in India. The Catholic church at Pallipuram is an important pilgrim centre.
The beach at Cherai on Vypeen island is 18 Kms. away from Vypeen. This is a beautiful and clam beach.
Kalady is the birth place of Adi Sankara the great Indian philosopher who lived in the 8th century. It is situated on the banks of river Periyar and there are two shrines in memory of Sree Sankaracharya. One dedicated to him as Dakshinamoorthy and the other to the Goddess Sharada. Adi Sankara's shrines in Kalady are open to all pilgrims irrespective of religion or caste.
On the slopes of the picturesque Western Ghats, 52 Kms. from Kochi and 8 Kms. from Kalady is the Malayattoor Church. This is a Christian pilgrim centre and is believed to have been blessed by the Apostle of Christ, St. Thomas and the Church atop the hill was established in A.D. 900. Malayattoor is accessible by road up to the foot hills of Kurishumudy. The church at the top of the hill, about 2 Kms. can be reached only by foot. Situated beside the Periyar river and a small lake called Manappattuchira, Malayatoor is also a place of scenic beauty.
22 Kms. away from Kalady, there is a ninth century Jain temple. This temple is cut from a huge rock and a climb of 120 steps leads to the temple.
Kodanad lies on the southern bank of Periyar river amongst the scenic beauty of the High Ranges. It is 45 Kms. from Kochi city and 12 Kms. to the east of Perumbavoor town. There is an elephant taming centre here. Facilities for elephant ride are provided here. There is also a mini zoo at Kodanadu.
Situated 63 Kms. away from Kochi. There is a dam here and in the reservoir boating facilities are provided. The Forest Department provides elephant rides thorugh the forest to old Bhoothankettu, which is very interesting.
THRISSUR The Cultural Capital
Thrissur an abbreviation of Thiru-Siva-Peruru has always been referred to as the cultural capital of Kerala. Thiru denotes holiness and not three. The central and the most important feature is Vadakkunnathan Kshetram where the reigning deity is Lord Siva.
This is not just another place for worship. It has been the repository of culture and heritage unparalelled in Kerala history. Vadakku does not represent North and it is the corruption of the word 'Edvam' or 'Sacred Bull'. Kunnu is the Malayalam word for a hillock Edvakkunnathan thus became Vadakkunnathan. The deity is Lord Siva represented by 'Mahalingam' which now cannot be seen due to the mount formed by the traditional offerings or abhisheka with ghee. The exquisite murals on this shrine narrate the story of the epic Mahabharatha. The decorative wall paintings and carvings alone are worth a visit.
This is situated beside the Town Hall Road. Several relics and heirlooms of archaeological importance are kept here.
The art museum in a separate building in the Zoo compound, is a treat for the connoisseur of art. Good collection of wood carvings, metal sculptures and ancient jewelry are preserved here.
This is one of the tallest churches in Asia and is known for its Gothic model of architecture.
Eight Km. journey from the town on the Kunnamkulam road leads to this picturesque hillock known for its scenic splendour overlooking the sprawling town and country side.
Kerala Sahithya Akademy, Sangeetha Nataka Akademy and Kerala Lalithakala Academy are head quartered at Thrissur making the epithet 'cultural capital of Kerala' more meaningful.
Arattupuzha Temple, situated 16 Kms away from the town on the Thrissur- Kodungallor road, is known for its annual pooram festival held in April-May every year which is one of the most colourful carnivals of Kerala.
This enchanting picnic spot situated 20 Kms east of Thrissur offers boating facilities in the reservoir. One can see tuskers on the bank of this reservoir
Cheraman Juma Masjid:
Kodungallur constructed in AD.629 is famous as the first mosque erected in India and also the first in India and second in the world where the Juma prayers were started. People from far and near irrespective of caste and creed visit this holy place and pay their homage. Idul Fitar (Ramsan) and Idul-Asha (Bakrid) are celebrated here on a grand scale.
Athirappally and Vazhachal water Falls
A shimmering expanse of tranquil beauty this waterfall, of 80 feet height 30 Kms.east of Chalakkudy. Athirappally attracts a large number of eco tourists. Vazhachal another water fall is 5 Kms. away from Athirapally. One cannot but watch this without breath taking splendour.
Guruvayoor, one of the most sacred and important pilgrim centres of Kerala, is 29 Kms. north west of Thrissur. The main attraction is a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna popularly known as Guruvayoorappan. People throng here in large numbers for worship the year round.
Kerala Kalamandalam at Cheruthuruthy was founded in 1930 by Mahakavi Vallathol. It's main objective is to revive, preserve and develop the ancient and traditional art form of Kerala particularly Kathakali. Now the Kerala Kala Mandalam is functioning at Vallathol Nagar with its new building complex at Natyagraha. The old Kerala Kala Mandalam is still at Cheruthuruthy on the shore of Nila River (Bharathapuzha). The Samadhi (Tomb) of the Poet Vallathol the founder of this famous institution is in the premises of old Kala Mandalam.
The Catholic Syrian church of Palayur is one of the seven churches founded by St. Thomas. The feast falls on July 15 and many pilgrims from different parts of India visit the church.
Koodalmanickam Temple (Irinjalakuda):
The Koodalmanickam temple is an ancient and historic one situated in Manavalassery village about 10 Kms. from Irinjalakuda Railway station. Lord Bharatha is the deity of the temple. The festival is held annually for 11 days in Medom (April-May)
Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine Kodungallur (Azhikode):
Nineteen hundred years ago the first missionary of Christianity to India, St.Thomas, the Apostle set his foot at Kodungallur. The Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine a monument to him is situated here. It is a historic pilgrim centre of the Indian Christians. The main feast of the church is celebrated on November 21 every year.
PALAKKAD Palmyras and Paddy Fields
Palghat or 'Palakkad' is the land of palmyras and paddy fields. Along with Kuttanadu, Palakkad is one of the chief graneries of Kerala. It is often called the Gateway of Kerala. The Sahya Ranges bordering the region and the 20-mile gap in the mountains exert a dominant influence on the climate of the region. Many rivers that flow into the Bharathapuzha originate from these mountains.
In the past, this land was known as Palakkattusseri. Etymologists trace the word Palakkadu from Paalainilam, meaning dry area. Palakkad had a long history dating back to the paleolithic period. A large number of megalithic relics have been discovered from here.
Palakkad Fort, situated in the very heart of the town, is the most beautiful and the best preserved fort of Kerala. The sober silence of the granite walls reminds us of old tales of valour and courage. It was constructed in 1766 by Hyder Ali of Mysore. In 1790 the fort was taken over and remodified by the British. The fort is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, which is 130 kms away from Palakkad, extends over an area of 285 sq, Kms. It offers a scintillating sight of rare wild animals. There are quite a few hill tribes here like Malayars, Kadas and Muthuvaans.
A temple of Siva and the ruins of a mud for near Thrithala Chalissery Road are notable cultural monuments. The Kattilmadam temple on the Pattambi-Guruvayoor road has archaeological significance. The small granite structure is a testimony of Buddhist importance, built probably during the 9th or 10th century A.D. A memorial for Pakkanar the Pariah saint, stands near Thrithala Kootanad road.
The Killikurissimangalam of Lakkidi near Ottapalam is renowned as the birth place of Kunchan Nambiar, the 18th century satirist and trendsetter in Tullal and its poetry. Nambiar's house is a protected monument of the State Government.
Kottayi is about 15 kms via Putur from Palakkad. The tiny village had become famous as the native place of the late Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, the doyen of Karnatic music.
The Nelliyampathy hills are extremely fascinating and offer an easy escape from the scorching summer of Palakkad. About 52 kms. South of Nenmara is this cool hill resort. The height of the hills ranges from 467 metres to 1572 metres.
Malampuzha exudes the charm of harmony in nature, a perfect synchronization of the grandeur of the mountains blending with the music of the rivers. It is 10 kms. from Palakkad. The garden complex at Malampuzha draws the largest holiday and week-end crowds to Palakkad.
The children's park with a toy train, a miniature zoo and an aquarium housed inside a fish shaped building, await the pleasure and delight of children.
JAIN TEMPLE OF JAINIMEDU
Situated on the western border of Palakkad town and not far from the Railway station, is a historic Jain Temple. The place around the temple is known as Jainimedu. This is one of the few places in Kerala where the vestiges of Jainism have survived without substantial damages.
Attappady is about 38 Kms. North east of Mannarkkad. Above everything else, one will be awe-struck by the grandiloquence of the divine architect who created this loveliness of forests, rivers and mountains.
It is also a place of great interest to anthropologists as many Irulas and Mudugas inhabit here. These Adivasis worship the mountain peak 'Malleswaran' as a gigantic Siv-Ling. This peak and the River Bhavani exert tremendous influence on the lives of the tribal. There is a P.W.D. rest house and a VIP guest house at Agali. Besides these government houses, there are also a few private hotels.
SILENT VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Silent Valley is about 50 kms. North-west of Mannarkkad. Ecologists describes this area as the sole surviving bit of evergreen forest in the Sahya Ranges. This National Park covering about nine thousand hectres has been named Silent Valley due to its own peculiarity. These forests are devoid of the chirping of cicadas. Vehicular transport is usually allowed only upto Mukkali. From Mukkali you have to cover at least 24 Kms. on foot to reach the source of Kunthipuzha which flows through the valley before merging into the Bharathapuzha or the 'Nila'.
There is a huge wild tree of Kattuaiying variety. It is hollow within and can hide at least 12 people in it.
Thunchath Ezhuthachan, the author of Adhyatma Ramayana and the father figure of Malayalam poetry, spent his last days here. Situated in Tekkegrama near Anikkode on the Palakkad-Chittur Road is his memorial. A srichakra and few idols worshipped by him, the stylus, the wooden slippers and few old manuscripts are exhibited here.
A natural spring in front of the old Sree Rama Temple has made Thenari famous. The name itself is derived from the spring. Several legends are woven around this spring. It is believed that the water is as sacred as Ganga.
Well known as a grove abounding in peacocks, the name is perfectly justified. Myladumpara is 7 kms. from Kottayi. Its other but less popular name in Choolanoor.
Dhoni a reserve forest area is about 15 kms. from Palakkad. This forest has among other capivating sights a small but splendid waterfall. The site can be reached after a fairly long climb of three hours from the base of the Dhoni hills.
With the rain forests of Nedumkayam, migrating birds in Purathur, the vast belt of Bharathapuzha, and perennial river - the Challiyar, the festive mood emerges out of the cultural and religious occasions, the haunting memory of great poets and coruscating historical episodes, Malappuram district offers a wide range of attractions to make it one of the focal points of tourism. The rustic and rugged beauty with hills, vallies, ravines and thick green vegitation Malappuram provides a sumptous treat to the eyes of the tourist, attracted by the redundant redolence of our culture.
Eventhough not spotted in the tourism map of Kerala, Malappuram district has many places of interest which can be developed to cater to the needs of tourism promotion. The peace loving people of this area, who adopt the traditional life style of Kerala, with their warm hospitality,make the tourists feel at home.
The beautiful place with natural waterfalls and blue mountain top is also a tribal area.
Kottakkal is renownd Centre for Ayurvedic treatment. Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala attracts even foreigners with the style of treatment they follow. Kathakali, the unique art form of Kerala also flourishes under the auspices of Arya Vaidya Sala. Venkittatheva temple in Kottakkal is famous for the enchanting mural paintings. The cultural mela organised in connection with the Pooram festival of this temple, celebrated in March in which connoisseurs of music, art and literature proudly participate. The medicinal herb garden nurtured by the Arya Vaidya Sala forms the focus of attraction of hundreds of people.
Ponnani, the coastal town is famous for trade from ancient times. Now it gains importance as a prominent fishing centre Ponnani is also famous for the ancient Muslim mosque.
Thirunnavaya, the land of ancient Mamankam is on the banks of Bharathapuzha in Triruru. Mamankam was a great trade fair from the Sangham period where traders from Kerala and Tamil Nadu came through Ponnani Port by ships and barges. Later the right to conduct the Mamankam became a dispute between Zamorin and the Raja of Valluvanad. Valluvanad used to sent Chavers, warriers who fought until death to defeat Zamorin who would sit on a stand known as Nilapadu Thara surrounded by a big contingent of soldiers in every 12th year. The Nilapadu Thara at Kodakkal near Thirunnavaya is protected as a historical monument. Efforts are being made to construct a Mamankam Museum at Tirunnavaya. Now in the summer season a martial art festival with Kalaripayattu competition is conducted. Sarvodya Mela conducted over the sands of Thirunnavaya is famous.
The birth place of Thunjath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan the father of Modern Malayalam literature is in Trikkandiyur, three Kms away from Tirur Railway Station. There is a beautiful memorium for the great poet there with a meeting hall and library. People in thousands come with their kids to commence their education in Thunjan Maddom on Vijayadasami day in October. The kids are made to write in the sands of Thunjan parambu with their fingers. The Thunjan Utsava conducted during the last week of December is a great literary event. Young poets come there to offer their first poem to Thunjan on the occasion.
Pilgrimage Tourism has great scope in Malappuram district. Kondotty Nercha is a seven days festival during March. Nercha is conducted in Pazhayangadi Mosque of Kondotty constructed in 16th century AD. The tomb of Mohamed Shah the Sufi exponent is close to the mosque. It was constructed in Mughal style. Thousands gather in a secular way to participate in the festival which assumes the form of a carnival.
There is Perumpadappu Puthan Palli near Ponnani where the annual Nercha attracts thousands. The Nercha culminates in food distribution to the poor.
Mampuram mosque near Thirurangadi attracts thousands of devotees irrespective of religion for offerings at the "Jaram" there. The mosque is 7 Km away from Parappanangadi railway station. This mosque played an important role in the peasant outrage of 1921 and the National Movement. This was the headquarters of Ali Musliyar, one of the leaders of the movement
Thirumandhamkunnu Pooram offers enormous festivity days in March-April. The ancient temple is hitorically important. A cultural feast for seven days is an important part of the festival. Thirumandhamkunnu is 16 KM east of Malappuram in Kozhikode-Palakkad road.
Kadampuzha Bhagavathy temple
Kadampuzha Bhagavathy temple 2 KM from Vettichira in Kozhikode-Thrissur highway attracts hundreds of devotees far and near. Dry coconut is the main offering before the deity.
The atmosphere of the entire Malappuram district has the fragrance of Oppanappattu, the art form of Muslim ladies. Mappila arts like Kolkali, Duff Muttu, Aravana Muttu are also popular. The other religious arts like Thira, Bhoothamkettu, Thiruvathirakali, Margom Kali are also performed during festive public gatherings, Kalarippayattu has got deep roots in the district. Changampully is a famous Kalari. Kalaripayattu competitions are organized on State level during the summer season.
KOZHIKKOD Gateway to the Western World
Opening up the gateway of India to Vasco-da-Gama the adventurous Portuguese navigator in 1498, Kozhikkod has carved for itself a landmark in the history of India. The land of the ancient Zamorins had many more things to offer to the western world other than the savoury spices for which they even ventured to discover a sea route.
Vasco da Gama landed on this beach on 27 May 1498 with three vessels and 170 men. Sixteen Kms from Kozhikkod town this extensive beach of historical importance is one of the major beaches being developed in Kerala with a view to tourism promotion.
Kallai on the bank of River Kallai has the pride of being the major timber trading centre in Kerala. It still remains a potential trade centre of the timber industry.
Vadakara has a prominent place in the folkore of Kerala. Lokanarkavu, the famous temple of Thacholi Othenan the hero of the Vadakkanpattu Ballads is only 5 Kms from here. Vadakara is reverberating with stories of the heroic exploits of Othenan.
Following the footsteps of the martial hero Othenan the famous martial art form of Kerala. Kalarippayattu has several arenas in Vadakara.
WAYANAD Centre for Eco Tourism
Bedecked among the High Ranges of the Western Ghats Wayanad district which lies between 700 to 2100 metres mean sea level has a predominant place in the tourist map of Kerala. A major centre of hill products the district is noted contributor of foreign exchange to the State. Apart from archaeological and anthropological uniqueness Wayanand has genuine claims for an enviable position in tourism promotion.
Wayanad has the highest concentration of tribals in Kerala. They form 1/5 of the total population of the district. It is the seat of Kurichiyas the valiant warriors of late King Pazhassi Veera Kerala Varma Raja who engaged the mighty British Army in several battles. Their descendants are still expert archers. Tribals can be seen in their natural habitat in Wayanad. Reaping the benefits of modern education and social welfare schemes many of them have developed and became part of the main stream.
Enjoying a climate similar to Udhagamandalam alias Ooty Wayanad has prospects of developing several major hill stations in the district.
Nestled among the hills Lakkidi which is the gateway to Wayanad has the highest annual rain fall in Kerala. With mist formation in the atmosphere almost throughout the year the place has further scope for developing into a tourist centre.
These are two caves in the Ambukuthy mountain. The caves contain several paintings and pictorial writings of the New Stone Age Civilization. The location is 3 Kms away from Ambalavayal and 25 Kms from the district Headquarters, Kalpetta.
Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary
The wild life sanctuary at Muthaga 20 Kms from Sultan Bathery is developing into a major centre of tourist attraction. Herds of elephants, bear, deer, wild pig etc can be seen here. It is near the Begur wild life sanctuary at Karnataka.
Located in the valley beneath Brahmagiri hill, 66 Kms from Kalpetta, Thirunelli is referred as 'Kasi of the south' It is believed that Lord Brahma himself had installed the idol of Lord Vishnu the presiding deity of the temple. Situated among the reserve forests the location of the temple has an enchanting natural beauty.
The adjoining mountain spring called Papanasini is a major centre of pilgrimage. Papanasini means the destroyer of all sins. Thirunelli is a potential centre for eco tourism.
The Glass Temple of Kottamunda, located 20 Kms from Kalpetta, on the slope of Vellarimala, is a famous Jain family Temple in Wayanad. It is dedicated to Paraswanatha Swamy the third Thirthankara of the Jain faith. Icons of Parswanatha Swamy and this temple have thousand reflections in beautiful patterns on the mirrors placed on the inner side of the temple walls.
Located between Lakkidi and Kalpetta Pookkode is a very attractive freshwater lake around 2000 metres above mean sea level. Contoured by lush green forests the lake has good prospects for boating facilities. It is one of the major centres of eco-tourism in Wayanad.
KANNUR The Land of Forts and Beaches
On to the North of Kerala, sandwitched between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, lies Kannur, anglicised as Cannanore. This stretch of land, with every inch in history, has been a melting pot of races, religions and cultures from time immemorial. Relics, right from the Neolothic age through the Aryan invasion, Cheran Conquests, Arab and European inroads, stand testimony to this.
Apart from greenery and beaches, Kannur invites tourists to these monuments of Time-to feel the grave quietness and the tranquility of the past and to share the warmth and cordiality of its peaceful and soft spoken people.
St. Angelo's Fort
This historical fort, built in 1505 AD by Sir Fancisco DeAlmeiyda, the first Portuguese Viceroy of India,, is situated near the sea coast about 2 KM away from Kannur town. This fort has a legendary past. Having witnessed several wars for seizing the control of the fort, the British flag flew over it finally in 1790.
Now this fort is under the control of the Archaeological department. It attracts a large number of tourists.
Situated near the St.Angelos Fort, the Mopila bay has a historical background. Centuries ago, it was the seat of Kolathiri Kings. The Kadalayi Fort and Sree Krishna Temple were quite famous. The remnants of the fort and the temple are still seen in Mopila Bay. A fishing harbour, built with Indo Norvegian project assistance, is there in this bay. Boating in the sea, if the weather permits, will be an unforgettable experience.
A place of historical importance Ezhimala ( Elimala) was the seat of Mooshika kings in the early periods. Ezhimala has found a place in the travelogues of Iban Bathutha and Marcopolo.
Ezhimala is also considered to be a treasure chest of medicinal herbs, situated 286m, above sea level, it is a landmark to mariners, and is blessed with a long beautiful beach.
The place is shortly going to find strategical importance in the Naval map of India. Ezhimala is situated 45 Km. north of Kannur.
Thalassery Fort 20 Kms away from Kannur was built on 20th August 1708, on a small hill called Thiruvallappad kunnu. This fort was a formidable stronghold in the past. There are several important tourist centres in Thalassery. The Church built beneath the Walls of the Fort with funds left by the Master attendant Mr. Edward Brennen and the large mosque known as Odathil Palli atracts several people. The Thiruvangad temple other wise known as brass Pagode, is dedicated to Sree Rama, Sree Jaganath Temple is next in importance. This temple dedicated to Siva was consecrated in February 1908 AD by the great religious reformer Sree Narayana Guru.
Malayalees cannot forget Herman Gundert and his contributions to the Malayalam Language.
A German by birth Gundert resided at Illikkunnu Bungalw near Thalassery which was his workshop for 20 years from 1939 for his research actitivities.
On the way to the Parassinikkadavu Temple, 16 Kms from Kannur, is the Snake Park, the only one of its kind in the state.
Famous for timber trade, Valapattanam, situated about 8 k.m north of Kannur has a pride of place in the world map for its wood based industries.
Azhikkal port, an all weather medium port, is situated very near to Valapattnam.
Muzhappilangad beach is situated about 5 k.m. north of Thalassery and 15 k.m. from Kannur. There is an unpaved road winding through coconut groves, leading to the beach. The beach is about 5 k.m. long and curves in a wide area providing a good view of Kannur beach on the north. To the South and about 200 metres away from the beach there is a beautiful island called the "Green Island" which adds to the allure of the beach. Such a conjunction of beach and island is rare
Anjarakandy 19 K.m. South east of Kannur, is famous for the Cinnamon estate located there, and the oil being extracted from it. The place has historical importance too as Pazhassi Raja and the British Army fought for the estate in 1903.
Thalassery is famous for having given birth to many famous circus artists. True to this tradition the first circus training centre has now started functioning in Thalassery, known as the Gymnastic Centre, under the Sports Authority of India. Experts from India and abroad work in this centre.
Sixty four K.Ms away from Kannur and 44 K.Ms north east of Thaliparamba lies Pythal Mala the beautiful, calm hillock near the Kerala - Karnataka boarder. 4,500 Ft. above sea level; this hill is abundant in flora and fauna. Trekking 6 Kms would take one to the top of the hill.
Kannur is the centre of 'Theyyam' the famous temple flok art form of Northern Kerala. The word Theyyam is a corrupt form of 'deivam' in Malayalam which means God. Theyyam is generally performed in front of the village shrines. Performance of a particular deity according to its significance and heirarchy in the shrine continues for 12 to 24 hours in the intervals. There are a large number of temples in Kannur where Theyyam is performed.
Clad in, colourful traditional costumes, masks, face paintings, head gear, weapons and decorations of tender leaves of coconut the performance of Theyyam is a rare combination of dance and music which reflects the important features of a tribal culture. Theyyam provides a rare cultural treat in the ritual tradition which no tourist can afford to miss.
KASARGOD - The Land of Yakshagana
The land of Yakshagana and Theyyam Kasargod is acquiring prominence in the tourist map of India. This youngest district of Kerala has several niceties to offer to the enthusiastic backpackers and pilgrims. The enduring charm of its beach, the architectural marval of the temples , mosques and churches and the unique and tell tale flok art forms are genuine areas of attractions for the tourist.
Bakel fort and the adjoining beach selected by the central government to develop into a special tourism area is the best bid of Kasargod for the promotion of tourism. Twenty six kms South of Kasargod town this magnificent and robust fort, overlooking the calm seas and the 'snow white beach' is a Perennial source of tourist attraction. Built by the Ikkeri Naikkanas in the 17th century the fort has seen many a war and seige for dominance. This exhiberating artifice has stood the test of time and remains a marvel to the eyes.
The broad and extensive beach with a backdrop of fisher folk village life has a scenic beauty and natural charm.
Anathapura is the only lake temple in Kerala. Situated at Kumbala 12 Kms North East of Kasargod, it is considered the moolsthanam, original seat, of Anantha Padmanabha of Thiruvananthapuram. The annual festival at this temple is in the second fortnight of April.
Madhur Sidhi Vinayak Temple
Malik Dinar Mosque
The Malik Dinar Mosque at Thalankara is one of the first ten mosques built in India after the advent of Malik Mohammad Dianar to propagate Islam in India. The mortal remains of Malik Dinar is put to eternal rest near this mosque. Pilgrims in large numbers gather on the occasion of Uroose, the annual festival of this mosque.
The famous church at Bela 15 kms north of Kasargod is a famous pilgrim centre is in the district. constructed in 1890 this is the oldest church in this area.
Yakshagana Bayalatta the famous art form of the region is a colourful cultural treat. The father of Yakshagana Parthysubha belonged to Kumbala. This colourful dance drama is based on the myths and legends of the old.