The small state of Kerala, which represents just 1% of the land mass,is considered to be one of India’s most beautiful state. It is a very rural state with most of the population living in villages but is culturally and scenically diverse. Kerala has two national parks, ten wildlife sanctuaries and two bird sanctuaries.

Kerala occupies a long (550km), narrow strip of land in the far south of India. Its coastline is on the Arabian Sea (part of the Indian Ocean) and its eastern border with the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu is the top of the majestic Western Ghat mountains. The landscape varies from long golden beaches to cool hill stations and dense green jungle to bustling cities.

About Kerala Airports: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, Nedumpassery International Airport (Kochi) and Karipur Airport (Kozhikode) provide entry points for tourists, who wish to travel to Kerala, India.

Capital: Thiruvanathapuram

Temperature: The maximum temperature in Kerala rarely rises above 32 degrees while minimum temperature at sea level does not go below 20 degree centigrade. The weather is never too chilly in Kerala.

Clothing: The best clothing to suit the tropical climate of Kerala is light cotton clothes. In the plains you can go a little lighter on the clothing side but limited within the purview of decency. If you are visiting the highlands, you must have woolen or winter clothes with you. If you are going into a wildlife reserve, avoid wearing colorful clothes and strong perfumes.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Kerala is between August to March. April to August is good time for Ayurvedic treatments. Domestic tourists travel during this timeframe as it falls during the summer holidays for schools. 

What to Buy : Kerala is well known for its handicrafts you can find exclusive collection of items like Spices, Embroidered screw pine mats,  figurines, colorful bead jewelry, mats, bangles and other goods made up of coir, wood, bamboo, shells, brass, ivory and sandalwood.

What to Eat: Kerala is known for its traditional sadhyas, a vegetarian meal served with boiled rice and a host of side-dishes. The sadhya is complemented by payasam, a sweet milk dessert native to Kerala. The sadhya is, as per custom, served on a banana leaf. The southern Kerala dishes are often spiced with garlic, whereas in North Kerala garlic is generrally avoided in all vegetarian dishes. Traditional dishes include sambar, aviyal, kaalan, theeyal, thoran, injipully, pulisherry, appam , kappa (tapioca), puttu (steam cake), and puzhukku. Coconut and Coconut Oil is an essential ingredient in most of the food items and is liberally used.

Major Food Items: For their breakfast, Keralese normally have Appam, Kootu Dosa, Masala Dosa, Pathiri, Palappam and Rava Idly. Dosa and idly are not strictly Keralese dishes as they have made their way into the state from the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. However, Puttu, which is one of the favourites, is an original Keralese breakfast dish. It is prepared from the dough of rice flour which is layered with grated coconuts and then steamed in a hollow bamboo cylinder. To add more taste to puttu, it is sprinkled with sugar and mashed bananas.

Other indigenous food items of Kerala include Thorans, Avial, Olen, Pachadi, Sambar, Stew and Appams. The first on of these thoran is a dry dish wherein chopped par -boiled vegetables, meats and seafood are flavoured with mustard seeds. Avial is a mixed vegetable dish with gravy of yoghurt and coconut. Olen is prepared with the help of ash gourd and dry beans. Coconut milk’s taste is instantly recognizable in Olen. Pachadi is a thick sauce made from ingredients like sugar, yoghurt, grated coconut, mustard seed and spices like green and red chillies. Sambar can be counted as a bit of broth and sauce. Its main ingredients are mashed lentils, cooked vegetables and spices. For people in the habit of eating mildly flavoured food, sambar can be pretty too hot. Appam, particularly Kallappams and Vellappams are a huge favourites too. Kallappam is a sort of pancake while Vellappam is crepe like lacy edged item. Bananas are, apart from rice and coconut, used quiet a lot in Keralese cuisine. They are made into rounds fried chips or fried and dipped in jaggery to prepare sweet. Moreover, they can also be used to make Kaalan, a subsidiary dish during meal. Yoghurt, chilly, turmeric cumin seed and curry leaves are used to make Kaalan.

COCHIN

Kochi (colonial name Cochin) is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, hailed as ‘God’s Own Country‘. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala.

FORT KOCHI – Cochin

Founded in 1503, this Portuguese fort is now in ruins. With its European heritage, its air of genteel decay, and stubborn self-absorption, it is a place where history, like a friendly phantom, still stalks the lonely streets. One can see

JEWISH SYNAGOGUE – Cochin

At the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town lies the synagogue of the white Jews near Mattancherry palace. The synagogue is now a fascinating place depicting Jewish Culture in Cochin.

Timing :- 10AM-01PM – 03–05 PM (Friday & Saturday Closed)

Dutch Palace, Mattancherry

As one may surmise from the name, the Dutch were not the original builders of the Mattancherry Palace. It was built by the Portuguese in 1557 as a gift to the Raja of Cochin, Veera Kerala Varma, partly as a compensation for a temple they’d destroyed and partly as a bribe to gain favors from the ruler.

Timing :- 10AM – 05PM  (Friday Closed)

St. Francis Church, Fort Cochin

Fort Cochin is believed to be the oldest European Settlement in India and St. Francis Church was the first European Church to be built in India. The history of this Church reflects the colonial struggle of European powers in India, from the 15th to 20th Centuries.

Timing :- 10AM – 05PM

Willington Island

Named after the former Viceroy of India, lord Willington, Willington Island is connected to the mainland Ernakulam by road-cum-railway Venduruthy Bridge. An artificial lake that was made by the dumping of the materials that were dug out while Cochin Port was being deepened.

Shopping in Cochin

Being one of the most happening and fascinating cities of Kerala, Cochin offers great shopping opportunities. Shopping in Cochin can be interesting if you are interested in buying handicrafts, spices and nuts, so very typical of Kerala. Cochin is well known and famous for its handicrafts, which includes a range of items made from coir, wood, bamboo, shells, brass, ivory and sandalwood. Besides the traditional Kerala items, you can also shop for modern lifestyle goods and articles at shopping malls, spread across the Cochin city.

The major shopping centers of Cochin are on M. G. Road, which cuts across the heart of the city, and the Marine Drive including Broadway. The M G Road is dotted with numerous shops selling a variety of products like clothes, handicrafts and jewellery. Spices, nuts and other small items can be bought from Broadway, the popular shopping center with narrow crowded streets. You can also buy the works of contemporary artists from different art galleries situated in Cochin. If you are interested in handicrafts shopping, you can visit shopping centers like Kairali, the Kerala State Handicrafts Development Showroom, Surabhi, the State Handicraft Society Emporium and Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan, the showroom of Khadi Village Industries.

MUNNAR

Munnar is also referred as “High Range“ because of its sky-needling acme. A holiday at Munnar is tantamount to tea/coffee/ spice plantations sprawling as far as eyes can gauge, mist-packed valleys, rolling hill, sparkling waterfalls, picture-postcard hamlets and undulating valleys. Perched atop 1600 m above the sea level, Munnar is situated at a confluence of three rivers Muthirapuzha, Nallathani and

Kundala. Tea being the main claim to fame in the town, 12000 hectares of land is used for tea plantation, making it a suitable place to walk, cycle and poise against.

Tata Tea Museum

Located 2 Km from Munnar Centre on the Nallathany Road. Collection of old bits and pieces from the colonial era can be seen here. Demonstration of tea production. Information on machinaries, tea processing and tea tasting. Photography and Videography prohibited here.

Mattupetty

It is 14 Km away from Munnar. Mattupetty dam has an agriculture garden on its banks. Speed boat ride through the dam is also available.

Eravikulam National Park near Munnar

After driving about half an hour north from Munnar, you will have to take a short and reasonably difficult trek to get to this park – but the effort will be worth it. The reward is 97kms of forested valley and rolling hills occupied by an array of wildlife. The ibex, lion-tailed macaque and the nilgiri tahr are among three of the most interesting creatures inhabiting the park.

Timing :- 09:30AM – 05:30PM

Shopping in Munnar

Like other historical and big towns of Kerala, Munnar is not a famous shopping destination. Munnar is known for its tea and spice plantations. However you need not feel disappointed because there is ample scope for tea and spice shopping in Munnar. In Munnar you can find several factories, shops and outlets from where you can buy tea and spices, which also make ideal gifts. Munnar is particularly an ideal place for tea lovers. If you are a tea connoisseur, then you can check out the different tastes and flavors of tea. You can also carry some tea leaves, as souvenirs, from the factories.

THEKKADY

Thekkady in Kerala State, India ‘s largest wildlife sanctuary is a dream destination for any tourist visiting India . The 120 years old ‘Surki’ dam built across Peryiar, Poorna in Vedic parlance, is a major tourist attraction. This sanctuary is spread over an area of 777 Sq.Kms, surrounded by an artificial lake over an area of 25 Sq.Kms.

Boat cruise in the Lake:

Species plantation Tour: Elephant riding: Cardamom and Tea Gardens: Mangala Devi Temple: Ayurvedic Treatment and massage etc., – Boating through the placid lake provides a rare opportunity to watch elephants and other wild animals at close quarters.

The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary:

Lying close to the plantations, in the rich jungles of Periyar in Thekkady is one of the world’s most fascinating natural wildlife reserves – the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread across 777 sq. km, of which 360 sq. km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978.

Timing :- 06AM-06PM

Shopping in Thekkady

Can really be exciting because you will be tempted to buy even the smallest trivia displayed in the colorful stalls lining the streets. Packs of banana chips, freshly fried in coconut oil, are also good buys while shopping in Thekkady. Kumily, lying at about 4 km from Thekkady, is renowned as a major shopping centre and spice trade centre. Apart from a wide variety of spices and handicrafts, here, you can also find some interesting souvenirs to take back home. Before you leave Thekkady, you must buy unique T-shirts which bear exclusive Periyar Tiger Reserve motifs of tigers and elephants. These will serve as excellent souvenirs for your loved ones back home and will lend a perfect ending to your leisurely shopping in Thekkady.

ALLEPEY

Alleppey (Alappuzha) district occupies a prominent place in the tourist map of Kerala interlocked with lakes and canals.The Vembanad Lake stretching up to Kochi, the rivers Achankovil, Manimala and Pamba and a net work of canals in the district are used for inland navigation.

Must Watch

Alleppey/Alappuzha Beach

Alappuzha Beach is one of the most frequented beaches in this district and is thronged by a large number of tourists. There is a 140-year-old dock that extends out to the sea and is in good condition even now.

Shopping in Alleppey

Among the locally available products of Alleppey are the coir products and carpets. The fine quality, variety and reasonable price tag make these products stay high in the demand list of tourists. Besides Alleppey is also famous for its pepper, coconut oil, areca nut, cardamom, sugar, etc. There are several markets are available in Alleppey.

KUMARAKOM

While on a tour to Kumarakom, tourists must make it a point to visit the main tourist attractions in Kumarakom. The backwaters, the unending greenery, the hills, the spice plantation, coffee and tea plantation, the ayurvedic resorts, and the bird sanctuary at Kumarakom are among the most visited tourist attractions in Kumarakom in Kerala in India.

Bird Sanctuary:

The village of Kumarakom is located on the bank of the Vembanad Lake is a cluster of little islands and this small water world is part of the Kuttanad region.

Vembanad Lake Tour:

An enchanting picnic spot not too far away from Trivandrum , Kumarakom is a backwater tourism destination, where one can boat, fish and just watch the Kerala countryside.

Shopping in Kumarakom

Kumarakom is an ideal getaway for a nature lover. Therefore it is not an ideal shopping destination. However you can pick up souvenirs form the shops in the small town.In Kumarakom, you will find handcrafted gift items typical of the state of Kerala.They include things made form coconut shells ranging from lampshades to fashion accessory like earrings, brass lamps, kathakali masks and so on                                                                                                                                   

VARKALA

Varkala is a popular name in the tourism industry and draws swarms of tourists every year by its captivating charm. It is the only place in Kerala from where you can get the view of the cliffs close to the Arabian Sea.

Papanasam Beach:
Also popular as Varkala Beach, it is internationally renowned and is very popular among the tourists. Offering picture perfect views of the mighty Arabian Sea, this beach is ideal for the water adventures and also to cool off.

Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple:
It is one of the most venerated pilgrim centres for the Hindus who visit this temple in vast numbers.

KOVALAM/TRIVANDRUM

Kovalam is just 16 kms away from Trivandrum. This unique internationally renowned wonderful beach will get pride of place amongst the loveliest beaches in the world has been a favourite haunt of tourists since the 1930s. Kovalam is one of the most popular beach hangouts not only in Kerala but also India. Kovalam means a grove of coconut trees and truly the coconut trees along the beaches gives it a ravishing look.

Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple:

Thiruvananthapuram’s most interesting temple i open to Hindus only, and even they must wear wear a ‘dhoti’ or ‘sari’. Still , it’s worth visiting -even if you are just passing through town-to see the temple’s seven story carved gopuram  reflected in the nearby sacred tank.

Shopping

Being one of the most important cities of Kerala, Trivandrum is an important shopping center for not only traditional Kerala items but also for modern goods. The best buys from Trivandrum are Kerala’s traditional handicrafts such as woodcarvings, copperware, cane and bamboo furniture and crafts, lacquer ware etc. More often than not shopping is an integral part of a tour. Everyone wants to take back some artifacts, utilities or souvenirs after touring a region.

The rich tradition of art and crafts make for a great shopping in Trivandrum. Metal work is an ancient art in this part of Kerala. The ace craftsmen of Trivandrum make exquisite items out of bell metal. Pick up some kitchenware, brass lamps and many other objects while shopping in Trivandrum. Coir products are also a superb specialty of Kerala. Floor coverings, doormats, floor Matting and rugs come in a range of colors and designs, which are made of coir or coconut fibers. These along with coconut shell crafts are huge favorites with those who want to do some shopping in the city.

The main shopping centers in Thiruvananthapuram are M. G. Road, Chalai, Attukal Shopping Complex, Power House Road, Saphalya (Palayam), Narmada Shopping Complex (Kaudiar) and Kedaram (Kesavadasapuram). In trivandrum, most of the handicrafts emporia are located along M. G. Road.

WAYANAD

Wayanad is situated in an elevated scenic mountainous plateau in Western Ghats. Wayanad lies between north latitude 11degree 26’28” and 11degree 48’22” and east longitude 75 degree 46’38” and 76 degree 26’11”. Providing a panorama of undulating mist clad hills and a dale, Wayanad is blessed with an exclusive geographical position.

Wayanad is well known for the luxuriant plantations of coffee, tea, cardamom, pepper and rubber, which are strewn all over the hills. The Nilgiris and Mysore bind Wayanad on the east. Wayanad also shares the borders with Coorg district of Karnataka on the north, on the south with Malappuram district and on the west with Calicut and Cannanore districts. The natural scenic beauty of Wayanad and its rich natural resources offer several opportunities for adventure tourism. The Wayanad travel guide explores various travel destinations in and around the Wayanad district.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is adjacent to the protected area network of Nagarhole and Bandipore National parks of Karnataka and Mudumalai of Tamilnadu.

Lakkidi

Lakkidi is called the gateway to Wayanad and is situated at the top of the Thamaraserri Ghat pass. Lofty peaks, rippling streams and luxuriant forests add magic to the journey up the winding roads to Lakkidi.

Thusharagiri Waterfalls

Nestled cozily in the Western Ghats, are the gurgling waterfalls of Thusharagiri. Meaning the snow capped mountains; Thushargiri displays a distinctive kinship between the land and water.

Banasura Dam

Located about 15 km North West of Kalpetta, Banasura Dam is the largest earth Dam in India. A vast expanse of crystal clear water is enclosed by blue hills on all sides, except one. It is an ideal picnic spot.

Kalpetta

The headquarters of the Wayanad District are located at kalpetta. A stronghold of the Jains in the past, the famous Ananthanathaswamy Jain Temple is situated at Puliyarmala near Kalpetta

Shopping

As Waynad is highly vegetated place and also a forest area with hill stations, waterfalls we can shop for mostly rare things which we cannot get at other places of the country like Ivory and coconut shell craft, Aranmula mirrors, Chinese ceremics Other Charms of Shopping : Embroidered mats, Wayanad coffee, Spices.

KANYAKUMARI

Kanyakumari is a district which located in Kerala state to the west and Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu to the north and east. Kanniyakumari is famous for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets, especially on full moon days, The beach itself is a beautiful sight with lmuklti-colouted sand.The beaches are clean and the waters a clear, frothing blue. Kanyakumari is often set up as a geographical antonym to Kashmir, to suggest the span and variety of the sub continent. For the visitor the experience would be opposite and the pleasure equal. Besides the waters and the coast, Kanyakumari is essentially a temple town. The most prominent temple, the Kumari Amman, is dedicated to the goddess Parvathi as a virgin. It is said to mark

the spot where the goddess won the Lord Shiva over with her penance. Its location has given rise to the legend that the goddess protects the country by guarding the southern door to India

Gandhi Memorial: The beautiful Gandhi Memorial completed in 1956, is situated as a memorial to the Father of the Nation. An urn of Mahatma Gandhi was kept here for public to pay homage before immersion.Text Box:

Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial: the spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda spent days in meditation upon a rock off of the coast. This is a memorial built in his honor and is accessible via ferry.

Kumari Amman Temple: Kanyakumari derives its name from from Goddess Kanyakumari Amman, the presiding deity of the area. The most prominent temple, the Kumari Amman, is dedicated to the goddess Parvathi as a virgin.

Thiruvalluvar Statue: Thiruvalluvar is the immortal poet of Tamil Nadu who wrote philosophical Thirukkural. The memorial statue of Thiruvalluvar is in Kanyakumari. The pedestal of the statue is of 38 feet height and the statue over it is 95 feet tall with a grand total of 133 feet for the entire sculpture. The 3 tier pedestal known as Atharapeedam is surrounded by an artistic Mandapa known as Alankara Mandapam with 38 feet height. Surrounding the Alankara Mandapa stand 10 elephant statues signifying 8 directions with earth and space down. 

Shopping in Kanyakumari

 Tourists like to collect souvenirs once they visit this south Indian city in Tamil Nadu. There are a number of tourist attractions in Kanyakumari. Once tourists have visited them, they can take time out for some shopping. Tourists in Kanyakumari love to buy the handicraft products made by the local people. The small shops located on the roads sell different products made from bamboo, cane and wood. One can choose from the beautiful decorative pieces displayed here. The shops in Kanyakumari are also known to tourists for selling beautiful palm leaf drawings. These decorative items can be carried back home to gift dear ones.

Tourists visiting Kanyakumari beach collects souvenirs from the stalls set up by the local people near the beach area. They sell various kind of decorative items made from sea shells. There one will also find jewelry made with the sea shells. Shopping in Kanyakumari can be fun from the emporiums. From the emporiums, tourists can buy beautifully designed fabrics and textiles as well as handicraft items. Tamil Nadu Co-optex Sales Emporium is a favorite shopping destination for tourists in Kanyakumari.