Kerala has been featuring in the list of the best destinations to visit in India for decades. Popularly known as God’s Own Country, Kerala has a lot to offer. With tourism being a multi-billion dollar industry in the state, Kerala has a brand recall that brings thousands of tourists to its shores every year from India and overseas. Today, we will look at why Kerala is ranked as the best travel destination in India.
Kerala offers a comprehensive package to suit the needs of all kinds of travelers. From mountains to beaches, backwaters to wetlands, wildlife reserves, waterfalls, Ayurvedic treatments, cultural events, and religious places, there is not much that you cannot find in Kerala. Here is what Kerala offers making it one of the most popular travel destinations in India:
Beaches in Kerala
Kerala has a coastline of around 580 km and most of it has sandy beaches. Some popular beaches in the state are:
- Kovalam beach
- Kappad or Kappakadavu beach (the place where Vasco Da Gama landed in India)
- Alappuzha Beach with the 1000-foot-long pier built more than 150 years ago
- Kozhikode beach for a mesmerizing sunset. You can rent a car in Calicut (Kozhikode) to explore the surrounding beaches too.
- Marari beach which was rated by National Geographic as one of the world’s top five hammock beach
- Nattika beach, etc.
Backwaters in Kerala
Backwaters are a series of salt-water lakes and lagoons running parallel to the coast. The biggest tourist attraction in backwaters is a houseboat ride. It is available at Ashtamudi Lake, Alleppey, Bekal, Kollam, and Kumarakom. While anyone can enjoy the backwaters, they are particularly famous among honeymooners.
Hill stations in Kerala
From beaches to the mountains, Kerala has a fair share of the Western Ghats. The mountainous regions are either covered with dense forests or cultivated by locals (typically tea/coffee). Some popular hill stations in Kerala are:
Wildlife in Kerala
Kerala is a green state. However, the terrain is very diverse resulting in one of the world’s most bio-diverse regions. It is also home to two wetlands of international importance, Lake Sasthamkotta, and the Vembanad-Kol wetlands. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve that covers an area of around 5520 sq. km falls in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala. There are various national parks and other reserves in the state that are home to unique and a wide array of flora and fauna – enough to keep wildlife lovers interested for weeks (if not more).
Festivals in Kerala
Onam is the biggest festival in Kerala followed by Vishu and Thiruvathira. It is a harvest festival and the celebrations include boat races, tiger dances, flower rangoli, tug-of-war, dance, mask dance, martial arts presentation, folk music, etc. Other festivals include:
- Temple festivals like Thrissur Pooram, Chettikulangara Bharani, Beema Palli Uroos, etc. Thrissur is known for its religious sites and amazing festivals. If you are going there, then rent a car in Thrissur with a local driver to explore as much as you can.
- The Hindu festival of Maha Shivratri is also celebrated in Kerala with a lot of fervor
- The major festivals of Christians are Manarkadu Perunnal and Parumala Perunnal
Ayurvedic treatments in Kerala
Kerala has also evolved as a health and wellness center in India using traditional medicinal systems like Ayurveda and Siddha. It attracts a lot of people from around the globe wanting to benefit from these traditional sciences.
Religious places in Kerala
When it comes to religious pilgrimage centers, Kerala has numerous religious sites across various religions. Here is a quick list:
- Sree Padmanabha temple
- Shiva temples at Ettumanoor, Kaduthurthy, and Vaikom
- Kodungallor temple
- Thiruvanchikulam Shiva temple
- Choothanikara Devi temple
- Mannarasala – Nagaraja temple
- Thirunavaya Banks on the River Nila
- Kannur temples
- Subrahmanya Swamy temple
- Malayattoor Kurisumudi church
- Korattymuthy shrine
- St Mary’s Church, Kudamaloor
- The Synod of Diamper
- St.Mary’s Forane Church- Kuravilangadu
- Kadamattom Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church
- St Mary’s Cathedral-Manarcad, Kottayam
- Cheraman Palli (Cherman Juma Masjid)
- Kanjiramattom Mosque
- Palayam Pally
- Thazhathangady Juma Masjid
- Odathil Palli
- Pazhayangadi Mosque
- Jamaat Mosque
- Malik Dinar Mosque
- Paradesi Synagogue of Mattancherry
- A synagogue in Paravur
- Jain Derasar in Mattancherry, Alleppey, and Kozhikode
- 12 major Jain temples
- Edakkal Caves
As you can see, Kerala has a lot to offer. Also, the food and people of Kerala make it an unparalleled travel destination in India.