Munnar, Alappuzha, Kochi and Kumarakom- while talking about all the wonderful travel experiences Kerala has to offer, people tend to refer to the same few places. However, the “orchard of the world” has a lot more to offer. From stunning vistas to architectural marvels to rich culture experiences, there is an abundance of experiences waiting to be explored while travelling to Kerala.
Keeping this in mind, we here at Homegrown has come up with the following list of places to visit in Kerala that go beyond the norm.
The Scenic Route
I. Paniyeli Poru
Just a drive away from Kochi (55 km), Paniyeli Poru boasts of natural waterfalls and small river streams, not to mention a large variety of trees and animals. It is the perfect place to head to, if you are looking to have a leisurely walk amidst nature, and then settle down with your family or friends and have a good time. The name ‘Poru’ (which means ‘fight’ in Malayalam) was given to the location, owing to the difficulty of the unruly currents that the raftsmen of the area had to fight through in order to sail out.
Similar to Paniyeli Poru, Illithodu is a drive away from Kochi (62 kms). It is flanked by mountains on one side and Periyar river on the other side. After parking the vehicle, one can take a beautiful trek through a forest of Mahogany and Teak to reach the clearing with the river. One could even go for a dip in the river, but keep in mind that there are strong undercurrents here, even though the waters may seem serene.
The perfect spot for nature lovers, especially those who love to spot wildlife, Gavi is a small village located in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. The difficulty in getting to this area is the very reason why it maintains its beauty and still remains the home to a few endangered species including the Nilgiri Tahr and Lion-tailed macaque, even with a small community of people living in the area.
Kakkathuruth or Islet of Crows is a tiny island a little away from Alappuzha and was only recently brought to the notice of the world by National Geographic. With its clean reflective waters, abundance of birds, and distance from the hustle and bustle of modern life, this green hamlet is the perfect place to catch one of the best sunsets in the world.
The Heritage Route
V. Edakkal Caves
Stone Age caves that depict the existence of prehistoric settlement in the region during the Neolithic Era, Edakkal Caves are truly one of a kind. While reaching the caves are not easy, with a 4000ft. Uphill trek through coffee plantations on the way, the experience is worth the trip. The caves are in Edakkal which is 25 kms from Kalpetta in Wayanad District.
VI. Anchuthengu Fort (Anjengo Fort)
An integral part of Kerala’s colonial history, Achuthengu fort was the British East India Company’s first permanent trade post on the Malabar Coast. It was part of both the ‘Attingal Rebellion of 1721’ as well as the ‘Anglo-Mysore war in 18th century’. The fort is considered as one a national monument and is one of the most famous historical locations in the state. The fort is located in a scenic location, in the coastal town of Anchuthengu, that is just an hour’s drive away from the state’s capital district Trivandrum.
VII. Tripunithura Hill Palace
The first place that pops into the mind of a Keralite when one mentions ‘history’ is this hill palace. A majestic palace complex built by the Maharaja of Cochin in 1865, it has been converted into an archaeological and heritage museum. It is home to a varied collection of artefacts which belonged to the Cochin royal family and some of the most beautiful oil paintings and murals can be seen on the walls of the hill palace. The gold crown belonging to the former Maharaja is truly the center of attraction. The museum is just 14.8km from Cochin by road.
While the small town is not known for much else, Koonathara in Palakkad is home to few artists looking to keep the traditional art of tholpavakoothu or shadow puppetry alive. The art form is said to have began in the year 807 and is believed to have begun in temples on the banks of river Nila, as a way to entertain the goddess Kali.
Aranmula village in Pathanamthitta has been declared as a global heritage site by the UN. It is home to multiple cultural experiences. Aranmula Valamkalli is the oldest boat race in the state and is organised annually on the Pampa River, near the Aranmula Palace. The palace has a relatively simple structure, but continues to be a point of attraction because it is a great study of the traditional Kerala architecture style of Nalukettu, based on the traditional ‘Tachu Sastra’ or science of carpentry. This location is also famous for the unique front reflecting Aranmula Mirrors that are made with a secret metal alloy formula, known only to a few families in this locality.
The best time to get the most out of your Kerala trip is around September, as there are a number of unique events that are organised when spring season settles in and Onam is celebrated. So take a look at those long weekends coming up and get ready to revel in the beauty of all that Kerala has to offer!
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