Dense forests, the sun kissed vales and the towering mountains. On the eastern side of this state which is at the extreme south western side of the Indian peninsula, lies the towering Sahyadiri Mountains which forms a part of the Western Ghats. These mountains keep the state out from the invasions and the guiles of weather.
The western part of the state is guarded by the roaring Arabian Sea with the pristine and calm beach line which is 900kms. long. Indeed, the state is also known for the abode of the richest God in the world (Sree Padmanabha Swamy) in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram.
The state of Kerala was created on 1st November, 1956 which consisted of four princely states, earlier. Legend has it that Sage Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Mahavishnu, flung his Mazhu – a kind of axe and the sea receded from Gokarna to KanyaKumari (Cape Comorin). This place came to be known as Keralam – the land of coconut trees.
The state is a state with varied hues and colours when it comes to festivals and people congregate on different festivals. The state celebrates Christmas, Onam and Ramzan with equal fervor and the oneness is felt within the society.
Apart from all these, Kerala has the honour of having one of the oldest civilizations in the country dating back to 3000 years before Christ.
The entire state is gifted with abundant and varied variety of flora and fauna, some of which come under the endangered species list. The state had also participated in the uprising against the foreigners who had tried to impose their culture even before the time of Mahatma Gandhi.
The state has some of the finest places in the country for sightseeing and some of them are:
Starting from the southern district of Thiruvananthapuram,
- Padmanabhaswamy Temple: This temple is the abode of the richest God in the world. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple is accessable to the Hindus only and there is a dress code to enter the temple. Said to be built by over 5000 years ago.
- Methan Mani: Installed in front of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple in 1833 by the then Maharajah Swathi Thirunal. At the beginning of each hour two goats on each side of a man’s face strikes on the face. This clock was built by an artist named Kulathooram.
- Kuthira Malika(Puthenmalika )Palace: The palace has a very striking architecture and houses art and weapons of the rulers of the kingdom of Travancore. It also houses various artifacts gifted to the earlier Maharajahs.
- The Secretariat: Built right in the heart of the city, it is very imposing and was the centre of power till recently. Built in 1865 by the Maharaja of Travancore Ayilyam Thirunal meant to be the Durbar became the Huzur Kacheri and later as the Secretariat
- The University College: was built 1834 by His Highness Sri Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma 200 metres from the Secretariat
- The Accountant General’s Office: is adjacent to the Secretariat.
- The Victoria Jubilee Town Hall: built in 1896 to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria by His Highness Sree Moolam Thirunal .
- The State Central Library: Built in the year 1829 by His Highness Sri Swathi Thirunal it is 100metres from the VJT hall.
- The Napier Museum: this building in the Zoo compound, which is 100 metres from the Public Library, houses historic artifacts, bronze idols, the royal carriage, ivory carvings and many other valuable items. The architecture is Indo-Saracenic and was built in the 19th century.
- Art Gallery: Built within the Zoo compound, the gallery has some original paintings of Maharajah Raja Ravi Varma and others.
- The Kanakakunnu Palace: This palace which is built on a hill top is a wonderful structure. A place to linger in the evenings with a cool breeze, the premises hosts various cultural programmes and exhibitions, throughout the year. This Palace is adjacent to the Zoo.
- The Residency: yet another craftsmanship of the British is housed in the Residency compound, 2 kms away from the Railway station and 4 kms, from the PadmanabhaswamyTemple. This was the Residence of the British Resident.
- Model Boys School and Clarks Bungalow and The IntermediateCollege (presently Government Arts College): The school which was built in the year 1903 by Maharajah Shree Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma was considered to be a prime educational institution and has churned out 6 Padmashree award winners and people who have been in very high places in the administration of the state and other fields.
- The Raj Bhavan: Built as the Palace Guest house in 1829 is the residence of the Governor of Kerala
Other places of interests are:
- Kovalam Beach: An internationally known beach about 16 kms. From Thiruvananthapuram
- Agasthyarkoodam: this mountain is 34 kms due south and part of the Sahydiri range and is populated with wild animals. Permission is required for visiting/trekking
- Aakkulam Tourist Village: as the name states, the village are by the side of an estuary. Boating facilities are available in this place.
- Koyikkal Palace, Nedumangad: the palace is 18 kms. from the capital city. The palace dates back to the 15thcentury. At present a Folklore museum has been set up with a rich collection of art, coins, occupational implements, household articles and the like of yore.
- Peppara Wild life Sanctuary: A wildlife sanctuary 50 kms from Thiruvanathapuram,which is rich in flora and fauna/
- Ponmudi: a picnic spot on the mountain ranges 915 metres aboe sea level. It offers trekking facilities and is 61 kms from Thiruvananthapuram.
- Priyadarshini Planetarium: About 250 metres from the Zoo compound is one unique place for researchers and students of astronomy. The projector has the capacity to show or stimulate the sky with all the known planets and stars 12500 years into the future and past.
- The Zoological Park: Built in 1895 has a virtual habitat for animals and reptiles
Places outside Thiruvananthapuram:
- Varkala Beach: The second best international beach in Kerala is situated 52 kms away from Thiruvananthapuram. Varkala beach is known for the calm waters except during monsoons and has formation of cliffs abutting the sea. The sea and the beach are sacred to the Hindus and there is a 2000 year old temple near the beach.
- Anjengo Fort: 20 kms.south of Varkala was originally a depot constructed by the Portuguese and later taken over by the Dutch. It was then captured by the British and converted into a fort.
- Kappil Beach and backwaters: About 8 kms from Varkala, this is an estuary and a beautiful beach. There is a backwater area and a lovely site for boating
- SivagiriMutt: Within Varkala is a sanctified land of 200 acres which is the resting place of a sage, humanitarian and a social reformer, SreeNarayana Guru. It is being run by his followers as an organization called the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam.
The District of Kollam (Quilon)
Kollam is known as the gateway to the backwaters of Kerala. Kollam has a railway station and the places mentioned are accessible by road. The Asdtamudi Lake meanders it way through the town of Kollam and on to Alleppey District.
- The Police Museum: One of its kind in India, exhibits arms and ammunitions of the 18th and 19thcentury. It houses the history and development of the police force.
- Thangasseri Beach: 5 kms from Kollam cente, it has the ruins of a Portuguese fort and churches built in the 18thcentury.There is a light house on the beach. The place is accessible by road.
- Thirnumullavaram Beach:This is a seclude beach and there is a rock one and a half kilometers into the sea known as Nyarazcha Para, translated into English it means – Sunday Rock. This beach is 6 kms from Kollam.
- The Manalar Falls and Kumbuvurutty Falls: These falls are on the way to Achankovil, famous for the Ayyappan idol which is said to be consecrated by Sage Parashurama.
- Alumkadavu: Backwater location on the trip from Kollam to Alappuzha, where boat building can be traced back to ancient days. It is 28 kms from Kollam.
- Jatayupara: Believed to be the place where the mythical bird Jatayu collapsed while attempting to thwart Ravana from kidnapping Sita. The rock is being developed by the District Tourism Promotion Council. This place is about 46 kms. from Kollam.
- Kottukal Rock Cut Temple: The rock cut temple architecture is a wonder to be seen and is 7 kms. from Chdayamangalam where the Jatayupara is situated.
- Munro Island: Named after Colonel Munroe who was the former Resident of Travancore. He was responsible in integrating several backwater regions by digging canals. Stone Age tools were discovered in this area. Munroe Island is 27 kms. from Kollam.
- Neendakara: 8 kms from Kollam is a famous fishing harbor. The Ashtamudi Lake extends into the Arabian sea at this place.
- Palaruvi Falls: A beautiful picnic place, the water falls from a height of 300 feet and is 75 kms. from Kollam. Accommodation is available in the PWD Inspection Bungalow and KTDC motel nearby.
- Sastahmkotta: the largest freshwater lake is situated 29 kms. away from Kollam.
- Thenmala: India’s first planned eco tourism project took off from this place. There are leisure zones and winding pathways and the location is 66 kms off Kollam.
About 50 per cent of the total area consists of rivers, mountain ranges, forests, temples, coconut groves and plantations. It is called the land of water, festivals and worship. Pathanamthitta is the youngest district and a place of unity in diversity.
- Sabarimala Temple: 65 kms. from Pathanamthitta town. Sabarimala is situated 914 metres above sea level and there is a six kilometer trek from the foothills at Pamba. The temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappan and pilgrims in blue and black carrying the offerings on their head from India and the world come here annually. The temple is open on certain days to males and girl children under 10 years and women above 55 years only. It is a pilgrimage location and can be visited only in November to mid January, Vishu and 5 days of every Malayalam month. The Muslims have a place in the history in the life of Lord Ayyappa. Vavar was a simple thug and later became the trusted lieutenant of Lord Ayyappa. Vavar led the army against the enemies of the land and he has a sacred place below the eighteen steps leading to Lord Ayyappa Temple known as Vavar Swamy Temple.
- Niranam: 7 kms. from Thiruvalla, is the place where the oldest Christian church believed to be constructed by the apostle, St.Thomas in AD 52 is situated. A famous and very important place for the Christians.
- Aranmula: on the banks of Pamba, is famous for the annual snake boat race on the last day of Onam(August/September). There is a centre that imparts training in traditional arts like Kathakali, Kalaripatyattu, classical and traditional dances. The unique metal mirrors –Aranmula Kannadi-are made here.
The Hindus conduct their congregation on the banks of Pamba at Cherukolpuzha in February annually. There are other famous old temples like the –
- Malayalapuzha Temple: 8 kms. from Pathanamthitta
- Kodumon Chiladiyambalam (Spider Temple), where the water drawn from the well on the premises is known to cure skin diseases. This place is 15 kms. from Pathanamthitta.
- Kadamanitta Devi Temple: 8 kms. from Pathanamthitta , is famous for the 10 day long Padayani festival in the months of April/May, a colourful sight.
- Hanuman Temple in Kaviyoor: 5 kms. from Thiruvalla has a gable style architecture, endorses the peculiar kind of construction found in Kerala. The meeting place of three rivers, Thriveni Sangamam, is at Pamba which is the halting place for pilgrims before their trek to Sabarimala, the sacred abode of Sree Ayyappa.
- Pandalam: It is believed that Sree Ayyappan had lived as the son of the Raja of Pandalam before his pilgrimage to Sabarimala. It is here that the ornaments of Sree Ayyappa are kept and three days before the Makaravilakku at Sabarimala, these ornaments are taken in a procession to be adorned on the idol. Enroute to Sabarimala, pilgrims alight at the famous holy town of Pandalam. It is 14 kms. from Chengannur railway station.
- Tiruvalla: has the headquarters of the Malankara Marthoma Syrian church. There is a palace known as the Paliakkara palace. The Paliakkara church has some wonderful mural paintings. Besides, the Sree Vallabha Temple in Tiruvalla is significant because this is the only temple where Kathakali is offered as an offering to the God.
- Manjanikara Church: is dedicated to the Holy patriot of Anthiod, Mar Ignatius Elias III , who died while on a visit in 1932. This is yet another famous Christian pilgrimage centre.
- Maramon: In February, Christians from all over the world congregate here. This place is near Kozhencherry. This is the largest convention in Asia. Scholars, priests and other dignitaries speak in this weeklong event.
- Niranam: which is 7 kms from Tiruvalla , has the oldest church, built in AD 52 by St.Thomas. Parumala church is known for the commemoration day of Mar Gregorious Metropolitan who had been declared a saint by the Malankara Orthodox Church. It is celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of November, every year. This church is 10 kms. from Chengannur.
- Pathanamthitta town: The district headquarters is known for the religious harmony it keeps and is only 28 kms. from Chengannur and 30 kms. from Tiruvalla. The annual Chandanakudam festival is conducted by the famous mosque in the centre of the town. Some of the finest land scapes are also seen in Pathanamthitta.
- Charalkunnu: The hill station is renowned for its awesome sight. There is a camp house which provides comfortable accommodation.
- Kakki Reservoir: is where animals like Tigers, elephants and monkeys are sighted, generally during the dry season.
- Konni: about 11 kms. from Pathanamthitta was a place for taming and training elephants. There are estates in this area for cash crops. About 20 kms. from Pathanamthitta , there is a hydro electric power station on the river Maniyar, which has a beautiful dam site.
- Perunthenaruvi: a scenic waterfall spot which is 36 kms. from Pathanamthitta.
- Mannadi: The famous fighter from the south, Veluthampi Dalawa spent his last days in Mannadi, a place 13 kms. from Adoor. There is an ancient Bhagavathy Temple with some fascinating stone sculptures.
- Omallur: The annual cattle fair in the months of (March/April) is held at Omallur, 5 kms. from Pathanamthitta. The fair is famous in that people from within the state and the neighbourhood states come to trade.
The district headquarters is Alappuzha town. Alappuzha, “Venice of the East”, is a fascinating town, where in the bygone era, the official transport was on barges known as Kettuvalams and small canoes. Though, Kettuvalams and canoes are still in use, they have become secondary. To visit the heart of Alappuzha, it is necessary to cruise along the backwaters, rivers and tributaries. The backwaters are entrancing and along with that come the sanctuary for birds, even migratory ones. The beach near the town is one hot spot for all visitors. The land of backwaters, beaches, lagoons and rivers is also the Rice Bowl of Kerala. Here again there are some temples and churches which are famous:
- Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple: An old temple 15 kms. south of Alappuzha town. It has very old typical Kerala architecture with mural paintings of Dasavatharam – the Ten Incarnations of Lord Vishnu is done on the outer side of the sanctum sanctorum. The offering to the deity is the famous Palpayasam, a delicate sweet porridge and the ingredients are a secret. Once every twelve years the ritual called Pallipana is done by sorcerers known as Velans. It is here that the poet Kunchan Nambiar conducted the Ottam Thullal, a satirical form of art for the first time. It is believed that the idol was stolen from a family temple near Kottayam, since the idol prepared for the temple was not perfect. The present idol was stolen and brought here through the canals that connect the areas and the Ambalapuzha Vallamkali (Boat Carnival) is conducted in remembrance of that episode.
- Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple: The festival during February /March is a colourful sight to be seen. The Kettukazcha Festival will have a multitude of the devotees in procession with decorated chariot like structures, bullocks and brightly decorated effigies.
- Subramania Temple in Haripad: is one of the oldest Subramanya temples in Kerala. There are some intricately worked out wooden carvings, a tall flag mast and a koothambalam. There are four armed figures guarding the temple believed to be from the Buddha period.
- Karumadikuttan: 3 kms. east of Ambalapuzha temple. There is a statue believed to be the 11th Century statue of Lord Buddha. The locals believe that this statue has many healing powers.
- Mannarsala Sree Nagaraja Temple: This snake temple is 32 kms. south of Alappuzha on the Alappuzha- Kollam route and about 2 kms. away from the Subramanya Temple. It is unique in the sense that this temple comes under the patronage of a Brahmin family. It is an internationally famous serpent temple and believed that barren women are blessed with children and the turmeric paste given has the powers to cure leprosy.
- Mullackal Rajarajeswari Temple: Right in the heart of Alappuzha town is an ancient temple which celebrates two festivals a year.
- Arthunkal Church: 22 kms to the north of Alappuzha is this church dedicated to St.Sebastian and built in 1810. People of all religious, caste and creed flock to this church during the festival in January.
- Champakulam Church: This St.Mary’s church is one of the oldest in Kerala. It is said that this was one of the seven churches established by St.Thomas
- Chavara Bhavan: Accessible only by boat, this ancestral home of blessed Kuriakose Elais Chavara is a holy shrine. A historically important beacon of light 250 years old is preserved in its original form.
- Edathua Palli(Church): The church dedicated to St.George and was built in 1810. The church is 24 kms, from Alappuzha.
- Alappuzha Beach: There is a pier which is more than 137 years old and extends into the sea. Alappuzha was an ancient sea port. This is near the town and easily accessible. The beach is a good picnic spot.
- Krishnapuram Palace: This palace is 47 kms. due south and near Kayamkulam. The palace was built by the erstwhile Maharajah Marthanda Varma. This 18th century palace hosts mural paintings depicting the story of Gajendramoksha and there are other paintings and antique sculptures worth a visit.
- Thakazhi Museum: the museum hosts the works of Shri. Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, the famous Janpeeth Award winner in 1984. It is a memorial in the name of the great writer.
- Pathiramanal:This little island is in Vembanad Lake and is home to migratory birds from different parts of the world. A motorboat cruise will take one and a half hours to reach the place but the journey is exquisite.
- Kuttanad: The greenery of this area is very scenic and on one side of the road is the snake like waterway. Boat cruises, boat houses and small boats are available from this area. This place is presumed to be the only place in the world where farming is done 1.5 to 2 metres below sea level.
- Mararikulam Beach: is 14 kms from Alappuzha. It is a quiet beach and has a fishing village within the vicinity.
Kottayam also known as the land of lakes, letters and latex is in the Central Travancore area. Kottayam has its own railway station in the District headquarters in Kottayam Town. The nearest airport is at Ernakulam, 76 kms. away. The roads connect all major cities.
The western Ghats is on the east of Kottayam district and the picturesque Vembanad Lake on the west. The lake stretches from Alappuzha to Ernakulam and in ancient times there was a waterway, which was the means of transportation of cargo when bullock carts were the order of the day.
The first ever printing press was brought in by Benjamin Bailey, a Christian missionary in 1820 AD and introduced in Kottayam. Kottayam is also known for its religious tolerance given 50 odd temples and 70 odd churches and a 1000 year old mosque amidst other known mosques in the area.
- Thirunakkara Mahadevar Temple: The Thekkumkoor Maharajahs built this temple 500 years ago. This temple is right in the middle of Kottayam town and distances to places around Kottayam are colloquially measured in relation to distance from the temple. There are colourful murals on the walls.
- Adityapuram Sun Temple: A place on the Kottayam Vaikom road, the temple is situated on a 4 kms detour from Kuruppanthara. The temple gives away a medicinal herb which is believed to cure diseases.
- Bhagavathy Templer, Manarcaud: The temple is dedicated to Bhadrakali. The Kalamazhthupattu (design drawing) is famous .
- Ettumanur Mahadevar Temple: This temple is famous for the seven plus one baby gold elephants which are taken out during the festival.
- Panachikad: Panachikad is a remote and quiet village 10 kms away from Kottayam. There is a Saraswathy Temple which is known as Dakshina Mookambika meaning Southern Mookambika. The God of learning is the presiding deity and kids are brought here to start their education. The temple is more than a thousand years old.
- Vavarambalam, Erumeli: The mosque is dedicated to the lieutenant of Lord Ayyappa, Vavar Swamy. The pilgrims to Sabarimala stop here and worship in the mosque, an unique practice.
- Pazhayapalli, Changanacherry: Changanacherry is 22 kms., south of Kottayam.There is a railway station in the town and is easily accessible by road from Trivandrum and Kottayam. The 950 year old church is famous for its Chandanakodam festival and the community feast.
- Thazhathangadi Juma Masjid: 2kms. from the centre of the town is this mosque believed to be 1000 years old.
- Kurisumala: This sky scraping mountain is 60 kms. from Kottayam.It is a famous Christian pilgrimage centre. The peak of Kurisumala meaning “Mountain of the Cross” is 900 metres above sea level and a hazardous trek. The pilgrims carry small wooden crosses on the trek to the peak.
- Aruvithara Church: One of the oldest seven churches believed to be built by St.Thomas is located 11 kms. from Kottayam. This church collects the largest offerings from its devotees in Kerala during the festival in April.
- Thazhathangadi Valiapalli: Built by St.Thomas in 1550 AD, this church has a Persian cross and belongs to the Knanaya sect of Christians.
- Marmala Stream: Yet another waterfall where the water slides on numerous rocks from a height of 200 ft.
- Anchuvilakku: Near the Changanacherry boat jetty is a stone lamp built by the famous freedom fighter Veluthampi Dalawa. The five lamps are lit by kerosene and the location is 22 kms. from Kottayam.
- Ayyappara: The Pandava brothers are believed to have stayed here during their exile. This area is 200 ft. above sea level and in an area of 20 acres.
- Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls: A picnic spot where the water falls from a height of 100 ft. and is 18 kms. from Kottayam.
- Erumeli: The entrance point to Sabarimala. It is 60 kms. north east of Kottayam. The place is noted for its verdant forest and lush vegetation.
- Ilaveezhapoonchira: A valley spread over thousand acres in between the hills surrounding Kottayam district with 4 gigantic hills of 3200 feet.
- Kannadipara: Kannadi means mirror and Para means rock. The name has been aptly given to this valley of the rocky mountain. At daybreak sunlight is reflected perfectly.
- Kottathavalam: It is believed that the Royal family from Madurai rested in this spot on their way to Poonjar. The place is near Kurusumalai. There is a flight of steps that leads to a cave and the rocks within are carved in the shape of chairs. There are figures of Madurai Meenakshi, Ayyappa, Murugan, Kannaki and weapons.
- Illickal Kallu: It is said that the herbs on the 3 hills towering 4000 ft. are medicinal.
- Illickal Mala: This mountain is 600 feet above sea level and from the top which is a trek of 3 kms. is a sight that will not be forgotten. The river Meenachil flows serenely past the mountain ranges.
- Kumarakom: 12.1 kms from Kottayam is a beautiful paradise filled with mangrove, paddy fields and the Vembanad Lake. There are boats, canoes and boat houses and accommodation at the place.Vembanad was formed by the union of 3 rivers – Periyar, Meenachil and Pamba. A boat cruise through these rivers is very invigorating.
- Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary: This place located on the banks of Vembanad Lake. It is place for birds, especially the migratory ones. The sanctuary is 16 kms. from Kottayam town.
- Poonjar Palace: About 30 kms. on the Kottayam –Pala route is the Poonjar Palace. The palace is a museum of extraordinary art forms, relics, royal furniture and other valuable items.
The name is derived from the word “iduk” meaning a narrow space or narrow gorge. Idukki is a place a tourist will find the real meaning of the word spectacular. The river that runs in between the two massive rocks known as Kuravan and Kurathy goes past the Idukki Circular Dam.
The District headquarters in Painavu, 48 kms. from Thodupuzha. There is a Collectorate building in the area.
Idukki will be an invigorating place for sight seers during October to January, when there is rain and the air is crisp with a gentle cool breeze. The air will be misty giving it an icy tang and a freshness that is not felt elsewhere. It is also a place for the people interested in the past as in past civilization.
This district is the largest in Kerala and 97% of the land is covered by rugged mountains and forests. There are 14 peaks which are 2000metres in height above MSL. The rivers that run in the district are Periyar, Thodupuzhayar and Thalayar. Periyar is 277 kms. long and the second largest river.
There are numerous places to be seen:
- Nadukani: is situated 22 kms. from the town of Idukki. Nadukani means to see the land and the panoramic view from Nadukani of the places in Ernakulam and Idukki are unforgettable. The peak stands at 3000 ft above mean sea level. On a clear day, Moolamattom town, Malankara Reservoir and Muvattupuzha River can be seen from the peak. Nadukani is 70 kms. from Thodupuzha town. It is on the borders of the Idukki Wild life Sanctuary and elephants, hornbills, wild rabbits and wild mynahs are seen in the area.
- Annamalai Temple: 35 kms. from Thodupuzha, the 1800 year old Shiva Temple is a prominent pilgrimage centre. The temple in Karikodu is built in the Chola style architecture. It has nine lattices pointing out to the Navagrihas (nine planets) and 5 latices for the Pancha Bhoothas (5 devil elements). The 14th century figures are carved in stone and metal and there is a stepwell that holds water even in drought condition. The Archaeological Society of India manages the temple.
- Uravappara Temple: Believed to be constructed during the time the Pandavas were on exile,this Subramanya temple is also known as the Malayali Palani. It is believed when the Panadavas were in dire need of water, Bhima stepped in and even now there is a catchment filled with water even when there is a drought. The place is within the town of Thodupuzha.
- Thodupuzha Sree Krishna Temple: another ancient temple within the town limits, it is dedicated to Sree Krishna. Legend has it that a boy meditated after his sojourn all over the country even before Sree Sankaracharya and settled down at this place. He was rewarded with the vision of Sree Krishna and the monk lit a lamp in the place. Later the Keezhmalanadu Rajah heard about the incident and constructed the temple on the location. This temple has the biggest marriage hall in Kerala.
- Kalvarimount: Famous Christian pilgrim centre it is 8 kms. from Idukki town. The atmosphere is scented with the spices being cultivated and a trek through theses mountainous place is refreshing.
- Nainar Masjid: The oldest mosque in Idukki is located in Karikode and 35 kms. from Thodupuzha.
- Hill View Park: The park is located adjacent to the Idukki Arch Dam and the Cheruthony Dam. The view is really picturesque. The park is in 8 acres of land and has a natural lake where there is boating facilities.
- Idukki Arch Dam: This is a marvel constructed between the Kuravan and Kurathy hills and is the second in the world’s arch dams and the first in Asia. This Dam is 54 kms. from Thodupuzha and is 550 ft. in height and 650 ft. in width. To its west is the Kulamavu Dam, near Painavu, which is a known watering hole for elephants and other wild animals during the dry season.
- Malankara Dam and Reservoir: There is an artificial lake near the dam. This place is 6 kms. from Thodupuzha.
- Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary: It is a 77 sq.km area and extends through Thodupuzha and Udambanchola and is 450-748 ft. above mean sea level. It is located 40 kms. from Thodupuzha. Wild life includes herds of elephants, Gaur, Langur , Sambhar Deer, Wild Dogs , wild cats, leopard and wild boar. Reptiles like Kraits, Cobra and Viper of the poisonous variety and non poisonous varieties are also seen. A lot of birds also have made it their home.
- Kalliyanathandu: Visitors to the place will see a splendorous sight of the reservoir, mountains and the forest. It is an ideal area for mountain climbers and trekkers.
- Keezharkuthu: 25 kms. from Thodupuzha is the Rainbow Waterfalls. The water here, cascades 1500 metres down. It is a place for climbing and trekking.
- Palkuamedu: From the peak, Kochi and Alappuzha towns can be seen. It is 12 kms. from Idukki town. The peak is 3125 metres above sea level
- Thommankuthu: A lovely place for picnics, it has a seven step waterfall. It is recommended as a place for adventure tourism and is 17 kms. from Thodupuzha.
- Munnar: Is at the confluence of Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala and is 1600 metres above sea level. This was once the summer resort of the British Government. The place prospered with tea and coffee plantations and small and quaint towns. Munnar is also famous for the Neelakurinji which blossoms once in 12 years. Munnar is the highest peak in South India. The nearest railway station is at Kottayam or Ernakulam which is 128 kms. away and the nearest airport is 105 kms. away in Cochin.
There are wonderful sightseeing places in and around Munnar like:
- Devikulam: It is a hill station 7 kms. from Munnar with verdant flora. The cool air is so very refreshing. A picnic spot, the Lake Sita Devi has sparkling water with mineral properties. Trout fishing is done here.
- Attukal:Located between Pallivasal and Munnar, the area enfolds with waterfalls and rolling hills. It is a favourite place for the trekkers. The location is 9 kms. from Munnar.
- Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary: this sanctuary is 10 kms. from Munnar on the Tamil Nad border.
- Eravikulam National Park: Home to Nilgiri Tahr, the park is situated 15 kms. from Munnar
- Marayoor: Sandal wood is grown here and is the only place in Kerala that has a natural growth. The Forest Department has a sandalwood factory in the area. There are caves with murals and relics from the New Stone Age civilization. There is a children’s park under the canopy of a single banyan tree. Thoovanam waterfalls and the Rajiv Gandhi National Park are places to be visited.
- Chithirapuram: The Pallivasal Hydel Project is situated here. There are beautiful old cottages and courts that take us back to the past. Chithirapuram is 10 kms from Munnar and Pallivasal Hydel Project is 8 kms. from Munnar.
- Pothamedu: A place good for trekking and mountain walks, the entire landscape is filled with tea, coffee and cardamom plantations. It is 6 kms. from Munnar.
- Anayirankal: Is a picnic spot 22 kms. from Munnar. It is surrounded by tea plantations and dense forests.
- Rajamala: Home of the Nilgiri Tahrs, the major population is found here. This place is 15 kms. from Munnar.
- Echo Point: The place is breath taking and in monsoon, the entire area will be enveloped with mist. The place has a natural echo phenomenon and is 15 kms. from Munnar.
- Nyayamakad: On the way to Rajamala, the landscape is wonderful with waterfalls as tall as 1600 metres. The Mattupetty lake and dam are nearby. The tea plantations at Kundala is another attraction on the way. Nyayamakad is 10 kms. from Munnar and Kundala is 20 kms. from Munnar.
- Lock Heart Gap: Is an ideal place for trekking and adventure tourism. The place is 13 kms. from Munnar.
- Mattupetti: The Indo-Swiss Livestock project is situated at a height of 1700 metres above sea level. Over a hundred varieties of livestock are reared here. There are restrictions to the place.
- Top Station: The highest point at 1700 metres above sea level, it is on the Munnar-Kodaikanal route. The place offers a wonderful view of Tamil Nadu and is 32 kms. from Munnar.
- Peerumedu: Derives its name from the Sufi Saint Peer Muhammed who was a close associate of the royal family. The town is 915-1100metres above sea level. A famous plantation town it is 77 kms. from Kottayam.
Some of the places worth a visit from Peermedu are:
- Vagamon: A perfect holiday retreat with carpet like lawns, fresh and cool air and rolling hills. Nature has made its presence felt in unity as the three hills are known as Mudugan, Thangal and Kurusumala Hills. Vagamon is 25 kms. from Peermedu.
- Kuttikanam: The fragrance of cardamom in the air, it is a place for trekking or a getaway.
- Grampi: 5 kms. from Peermedu, the place is called Parunthanpara (eagle rock) as visitors get a eagle’s eye view of the panoramic landscape.
- Peeru Hills: Located 4 kms. from Peermedu is a haunt for trekkers and picnickers. The mausoleum, residence of the Dewan and the summer palace of the royal family are situated here.
- Pattumala: Pattu means Silk in Malayalam and mala is hills. The name is derived from the mist enveloping the lofty mountains as though a veil covers the area. The place is 17 kms. from Peermedui and there is a church of Velankanni Matha, built on granite on the top of the hill. This place is the home of two famous tea estates.
- Thekkady: 114 kms. from Kottayam, Thekkady is a must see place. It has one of the finest wild life reserves in India.
Some of the places in and around Thekkady are:
- Kumily: A plantation town, it is situated on the borders of the Periyar Sanctuary. It has a spice trade centre and medium range accommodation is available in this town.
- Chellarkovil: A small and quiet town, it offers a breath taking view of the waterfalls and a view of Cumbum town in Tamil Nadu. The place is 15 kms. from Kumily.
- Mangala Devi Temple: This ancient temple is deep in the dense forest on the top of a peak which is 1337 metres above sea level. Visitors are allowed only on one day but permission to visit the area can be obtained from the Wildlife Warden at Thekkady. The view commands a breathtaking site of the Ghats and certain Tamil Nadu areas. The temple is 15 kms. from Thekkady.
- Pandikuzhi: Cradled between Chellarkovil and Tamil Nadu border, Pandikuzhi is an exotic place with exotic flora and lovely streams. The place, 5 kms. from Kumily is a favourite picnic spot. It is also a haunt for trekkers and nature photographers.
- Pullumedu: The 26 kms. winding road from Thekkady provides a beautiful and stunning view of the lush greenery. Special permission is required to enter this zone.
- Ramakalmedu: A lovely picnic spot, it offers a wonderful view of Bodi ,Theni, Kombe, Thevaram, Uthamapalayam, Vaigai and Cumbum in Tamilnad. Ramakalmedu is 40 kms. from Thekkady. It is 3500 feet above sea level and higher than the suicide point at Kodaikanal hills and Ooty. The wind speed is around 35 kms. per hour.There are two hills of which one has the Ramakal stone and on the other, the huge stone sculpture of Kuravan ( Adivasi man)and Kurathi(Adivasi woman) with the child.
- Vandanmedu: 25 kms from Thekkady is the world’s largest auction centre for cardamom.There is a lot of cardamom plantations in Vandanmedu.
Thekkady provides for plantation tours, elephant rides, boat cruises on the Periyar river, village tours on bullock carts, trekking, nature walks, border hiking, bamboo rafting . Visitors can go on Jungle patrol or go on a tiger trail.
Ernakulam district was formed in the year 1958 and consists of mainland Ernakulam, the artificial Willington Island, Mattancherry and Kochi and the world’s most populous island of Vypeen. There are three rivers that flow through Ernakulam and they are the Periyar, Muvattupuzha River and the Chalakkudy River.
Ernakulam is well connected by an International Airport, 30 kms north of Ernakulam. The port and Railway stations are within the city.
Kochi had been a famous port where the Chinese, Arabs, Dutch, British and the Portuguese had berthed. The Chinese fishing nets, believed to be erected in 1350 AD, on the coast at Cochin is a legacy that has been left by the Chinese in a previous period. Reminders of the occupation of many other foreign forces are seen, like the Dutch Palace, 16 kms. from Ernakulam at Mattancherry initially constructed by the Portuguese in 1557 and then later renovated by the Dutch in 1663; the Bolghatty palace also built by the Dutch in 1774 on the Bolghatty island is one of the oldest Dutch structure outside Holland, the Jewish Synagogue constructed in 1568 by the Jewish community, the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth and various other structures related to those invaders.
Cochin is a major naval station and an active trade centre of cash crops and a place with lagoons and creeks. The older part of Fort Cochin has a traditional blend of the Portuguese, Dutch and British culture. Islands which are populated are the result of soil formation brought down by the rivers.
Some of the places of interest in the district are:
- St.Francis Church: Built in 1503 by a group of Portuguese Franciscan friars it is where Vasco Da Gama’s body was first interred in 1524 and then later the remains were transferred to Portugal. The tomb stone is still there outside the church. The church is the oldest European church in India.
- Basilica of Santa Cruz: Near the St. Francis church is the Basilica which is a Catholic worship place. It was built by the Portuguese and was made a cathedral in 1558. The building was proclaimed a Basilica in 1984.
- Malayatoor Church: It is built on a hill 609 metre high. St. Thomas is believed to have prayed there. The church is 47 kms. from Kochi.
- Vasco House: Vasco Da Gama is believed to have resided here and it is one of the oldest structures in Fort Kochi.
- Pierce Leslie Bungalow: another bungalow which has the structure blended with Portuguese, Dutch and Travancore style. The building is in Cochin.
- Thakur House: It reminds the visitor of the colonial era. This building has been built on a bastion site of the Old Dutch Fort in Cochin.
- Bastion Bungalow: This building is a mixture of the British and Indian styles, built in 1667. The sub collector resides in this building.
- Bishop’s House: Built in 1506, this building in Cochin was the residence of the Portuguese Governor.
- David Hall: Built by the Dutch East India Company in 1695 was the residence of a Dutch Commander and later owned by a Jew is now an exhibition centre.
- Fort Immanuel: Built in 1503 by the Portuguese. Later it was destroyed by the Dutch and then the British. There are still some structures left on the beach at Cochin.
- Mattancherry Palace: Built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to the then Cochin Raja, Veera Kerala Varma, it was later renovated by the Dutch after 1663. There are murals in the bed chamber and other rooms depicting Mahabharatha, Ramayana and other Puranic legends.
- Bhoothathankettu: A popular picnic spot, 50 kms north east of Ernakulam, it is near the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Thattekadu. It is a haunt for serious trekkers.
- Kodanad: This is a training centre for captive elephants. The centre is on the high ranges and training is given for safari and provided to tourists. There is a mini zoo also at this place.
- Thattekad Bird Sanctuary: On the Kochi –Munnar road and 20 kms from Kothamangalam, the place was discovered by the renowned ornithologist, Dr. Salim Ali. Indigenous as well as migratory birds are found here.
- Chendamangalam: The Paliam palace, residence of the Paliath Achans who were the Prime Ministers to the Maharaja of Kochi lived in this place which is 42 kms. from Ernakulam. The uniqueness of the place is the confluence of three rivers, seven inlets, hillocks and a great area of plain green country side. The hillocks at Kottayil Kovilakom are a place where a mosque, a temple, a church and remains of a Jewish synagogue has stood together. There is a cemetery known as the Vypeenkotta Cemetery built in the 16th century by the Portuguese.
- The Dutch Cemetery: The remains of Dutch soldiers lie here. The cemetery was consecrated in 1724 and currently looked after by the Church of South India.
- The Hill Palace Museum: Located in Thripunithura, 10 kms. from Ernakulam, it is the official residence of the Kochi Royal family in 1865. The museum which contains paintings, murals, artifacts, stone sculptures, manuscripts and coins are open to the public.
- Parishath Thampuran Museum: Situated in Ernakulam, it was originally the Durbar Hall. It has been converted to a museum where paintings, sculptures, old coins and Mughal paintings are displayed.
- Museum of Kerala History: Located at Edapally, 10 kms from Ernakulam, it has the history of Kerala for the past 2000 years. There is a light and sound show. The building is on the National Highway.
- Kumbalangi: This is a model tourist village on Kumbalangi Island. The island is close to Ernakulam.
- Chottanikkara Temple: The Goddess Bhagavathy is revered in three forms as Saraswathy, Bhadrakali and Durga. It is 16kms. from Ernakulam to this 10th Century temple where devotees flock seeking cure from mental illness.
- Manappuram Siva Temple: Located 21 kms from Cochin on the Aluva route, the temple is famous for the Maha Sivaratri Festival.
- Santhanagopala Krishnaswamy Temple: The original foundation of the temple was laid in 947 AD.
Thrissur had seen invasions of Tipu Sultan, had been ruled by the Zamorins of Calicut and the foreign invaders like the Dutch and the British. It took Raja Rama Varma popularly known as Sakthan Thampuran to mould the modern Thrissur.
Thrissur is known as the cultural capital of Kerala as it houses the Kerala Kala Mandalam, the Kerala Sahitya Academy and the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy.
The Thrissur Pooram is world famous. This festival is considered as the mother of all Poorams. Richly caparisoned elephants representing Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu temples are arraigned against one and other and there are percussion instruments and cymbals clanging out to a mechanised tune. The elephants wait patiently in the hot sun while the persons in charge of the elephants uniformly change the umbrellas-known as Kudamattom. Devotees and visitors throng the area and the festival ends with live fireworks that shake the city in the early morning hours. The festival is conducted in the month of April/May.
Some of the places to be visited are:
- Athirapally: A picnic spot, it has an 80 ft. waterfall. This is located 63 kms. south of Thrissur.
- Peechi Dam: 20 kms. east of Thrissur, it has boating facilities in the catchment area.
- Punnathoor Kotta: A home for 50 elephants, it is 2 kms . from Guruvayoor temple which is 20 kms. west of Thrissur.
- Vazhachal: 68 kms. from Thrissur, the place has waterfalls and a dense forest. The waterfalls are a part of Chalakudy river.
- Shakthan Thampuran Palace: Within the city, the palace is on 6 acres and tombs of the past rulers are seen there.
- Art Museum: It is in the zoo compound within the city and many paintings, wood carvings, ancient jewellery and metal sculptures are displayed.
- Kerala Kalamandalam: is situated in Cheruthuruthy, a small town 32 kms. north of Thrissur on the Shoranur road. This school is renowned world over for the Kathakali training institute. It was founded by the poet, Vallathol Narayana Menon and many of the traditional dances are being taught here.
- Basilica of Our Lady of Dolores: This is the claimed to be the biggest and tallest church in Asia. The church was built in 1875 by the Roman Catholic order. It has an array of 15 altars and church bells imported from Germany which are musical. The locals call it Puthen Palli (New Church) and it is within the town.
- Christian Divine Retreat: There are two retreats at Potta and Muringoor and is open to all religions.
- St. Thomas Memorial: 38 kms. south west of Thrissur in a town called Kodungallur, it is believed that St.Thomas landed in 52 AD. The place was called Muziris and then later as Cranganore. The St. Thomas church has relics that are reported to belong to the Saint.
- Guruvayoor: The temple of Sree Krishna is in this small town. The town is 20 kms. west of Thrissur. This temple is out of bounds for non-Hindus and there is a dress code while entering.
- Irinjalakuda Koodal Manikyam Temple: This ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Bharatha, one of the brothers of Sree Rama. In the month of April/May, it is believed auspicious to pray at the four temples: Koodal Manikyam,Thriprayar for Rama, Lakshmana at Moozhikulam and Shatrughana at Payemmel.
- Kodungallur: Earlier known as Muziris and later as Cranganore was believed to be an old port dating back to 100 BC and was ruled by the Kodungallur Kovilakam. The port was destroyed by an earthquake and later attacked by the Portuguese in 1504, Moplahs in 1524.There is an ancient mosque built in 629 AD by Malik bin Dinar which is the oldest mosque in India and the second oldest in the world to offer Jumuah prayers. Unlike the other mosques, this faces the east and is built according to the Hindu architecture. The Chera dynasty had constructed a Bhagavathy Temple where the sacrifice up till the 20th century was by killing animals and spilling the blood on two stones. This practice has since been abolished. There is a fort known as the Cranganore Fort built by the Portuguese in 1523 and it is 2 kms. from Kodungallur.
Often know as the granary of Kerala, it is a land locked area with hills – the Western Ghats at one side and is situated at the south west side of India and is the eastern border of the state.
The nearest airport is at Coimbatore, 55 kms.away and Cochin airport is 160 kms. south. Palakkad has a railway station 5 kms. away from the town. There are road transport buses that stop nearly at all places and Palakkad has a good network of roads.
Some of the places of interest are:
- Dhoni: 15 kms from Palakkad and a three hour trek to the Dhoni hills which is a reserve forest with a waterfall. There is a farm house which houses hundreds of Swiss variety cows.
- Mayiladumpara: The sanctuary for peacocks is 30 kms. away from Palakkad.
- Nelliyampathy: the hill ranges are 467 to 1572 metres in height. 10 hair pin bends on the way, the road leads to a beautiful scenic place on the top of the mountains near Pothundy Dam. There is a place called Seetharkundu where wild animals like elephants, Indian Gaur, leopards and the giant squirrels are found. The place is a wonderland for bird watchers. The place is 60 kms from Palakkad on the Thrissur highway.
- Kollengode: a small town 19 kms. from Palakkad is the town of black smiths as derived in Malayalam. The town is famous for some politicians, actors and artistes. The Seetharkundu, Vittu Thotti and Palakapandi waterfalls are visible from this town. The Kollengode Place has exhibits that date back to ancient times.
- Parambikulam Wild Life Sanctuary: The sanctuary is a host to rare wild animals. Boating facilities are available. Accommodation is available at Thoonakkadavu, Thellikal and Anappady. The tree houses have to be booked in advance. This Sanctuary is 110 kms. from Palakkad.
- Silent Valley National Park: step into the park and the uniqueness is the silence. It is the sole survivor of verdant greenery in the Sahyadiri Range. The Park is 40 kms. away from Mannarkad and vehicles are prohibited from entry into the park. Visitors have to trek from Mukkali a village 24 kms. from Silent Valley.
- Thirthala: There are monuments and ruins which are historical. The place is 75 kms. from Palakkad and there is a small granite Buddhist monument on the Pattambi – Guruvayoor road and a Siva temple near a mud fort on the Chalissery road.
- Attapady: The extensive mountain valley of Attapady is 75 kms. from Palakkad. The place is of great interest to the anthropologists as the tribals are Irulas and Mudigars live in this area and the Maleeswaram peak is worshipped as a giant Shivalinga.
- Ottapalam: There are numerous places of worship and this town is on the banks of the Bharathapuzha and 35 kms. from Palakkad.
- Ramassery: Famous for the round and flat iddali, the place is 8 kms. from Palakkad.
- The Malampuzha Dam and Garden: a famous picnic spot 10 kms away from Palakkad has a dam and a beautifully landscaped garden. There is a ropeway, first of its kind in South India, places for boating and a good swimming pool.
- Palakkad Fort: Right in the middle of the town is an old granite fort. It was built by Hyder Ali in 1766. It was taken over by the British forces in 1790 and being preserved by the Archaeological Society of India.
There are places like Chittur Gurumadom in memory of Thunchath Ezhuthachan, Kottayi, the native place of the late Chembai Vaidynatha Bhagavathar, and Lakkidi, the birth place of Kunchan Nambiar in the district.
Malappuram is essentially a land on the top of a hill as it is bound by the Nilgris Hills on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. The district is known for its mosques and temples and freedom fighters. Malappuram is the district headquarters. A military headquarters during the time of the Zamorins, Malappuram is also the headquarters of the Malabar Special Police. The nearest airport and railway station are Karippur Airport 26 kms. away in Calicut and the Karippur Railway Station. The district is connected with a wide network of roads.
Some of the more important destinations in the district are:
- Panakkad: An important spiritual centre for the Muslims, it is 6 kms. from Malappuram
- Pookkott: near Malappuram, this is the historic place where the Malabar Rebellion took place. The Moplah forces took on the British with traditional weapons.
- Poonkudi Mana: An Ayurvedic centre that treats mental illness. It is 10 kms. from Malappuram.
- Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala: This place in Kottakkal is a world renowned centre for Ayurveda. The medical centre has completed a hundred years of service. There is a Kathakali school, the Venkat theva temple which has mural paintings. The facility is 12 kms. from Malappuram. It is 13 kms. from the Calicut airport and the Tirur railway station is only 16 kms. away.
- Kadampuzha Devi Temple: where the devotees have to offer dry coconut for removing obstructions in life, the temple is near Kottakkal. There are no idols.
- Nedumkayam: 55 kms. from Malappuram and 18 kms. from Nilambur, Nedumkayam is a place where the rain forest is seen in plenty. There is an elephant taming centre. The British have built a rest house in wood for viewing the wild animals. Mancherry, which is a half an hour through dense forest, is the place where the Chola Naickas live.
- Nilambur: The town is near the Chaliyar River and is famous for its teak plantations.
- Padinjarekkara Beach: The confluence of Bharathapuzha, the Tirurpuzha and the Arabian sea is here. The area is in Ponani is and 50 kms from Malappuram. Ponani has a railway station and accessible by road.
- Kodikuthymala: The Ooty of Malappuram is 1500 feet above sea level and is cooler than what the height indicates.
- Tanur: one of the oldest Portuguese settlements, it is believed that St. Francis had visited the place in 1564
- Tirur: It is 41 kms. south of Calicut. Tirur is infamous for the 1921 rebellion where 70 prisoners were fitted into a closed wagon and sent to Pothanur in which they all died of asphyxiation. A memorial has been erected in their memory
- Tirurangadi: the rebellion in 1921 and the subsequent death of the prisoners ignited the Moplah rebellion in 1921 .It was in the name of Khilafat movement. There is a famous mosque-the Mamburam mosque where irrespective of religion, people place incense sticks.
- Vallamthode: 27 kms. from Nilambur , the town is known for the Kovilakams where the Rajahs resided. There are beautiful frescoes and work in wood. There is a perennial waterfall on the peak of the hill and is a tourist centre. Nilambur is the terminus of the Shoranur – Nilambur railway line. Malappuram is 40 kms. from Nilambur.
Kozhikode (Calicut) District:
Once the capital of the Zamorins, the legacy that has been left behind, is its ancient forts, historical sites and a culture that is unique. There are ancient temples, mosques and churches giving the whole place a cosmopolitan ambience. There is an airport near the city. The railways have a station and the roads are connected to major cities.
Kozhikode was the place where the Portuguese trader, Vasco Da Gama landed on the Kappad beach in 1498. There were many battles between the Arabs and Portuguese for supremacy.
The other places of interests are:
- House of Othenan: The legendary hero of the western Malabar ballads, Tacholi Othenan lived in Vadakara, 52 kms. from Calicut. His exploits have been sung in the Malabar region.
- Lokanarkavu: is 5 kms. southeast of Vadakara has three rock cut faces and was the abode of Othenan’s deity. There are murals and carvings here.
- Thacholi Manikkoth: The place where Thacholi practiced his martial arts and had spent days in meditation before duels.
- Pazhassi Raja Museum: The paintings of Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) are displayed here. There are mural paintings, antique bronze sculptures, ancient coins, and many other items and artifacts exhibited. The museum is 5 kms. from Calicut.
- Vellari Mala: An ideal spot for trekking with cascading waterfalls about 50 kms. from Calicut.
- Thusharagiri waterfalls: The place is 50 kms. from Calicut and is plantation country abound with rubber, areca nut, pepper and ginger. It is also a trekker’s paradise.
- Peruvannamozhi:This dam site is a picnic spot. There are boats for cruising and is 60 kms. from Calicut.
- Tali temple: the temple was built in the 14th century which was controlled by the Zamorins and has the Kerala style architecture.
- Mother of God Church: Dating back to 1513 AD, there is a portrait of St.Mary which is 200 years old.
- Parsi Anju Amman Baug: This Parsi fire temple was constructed about 200 years ago.
- Mishkal Mosque: Constructed by Nakhooda Mishkal, a rich Arab businessman about 650 years ago does not have copulas and minarets.
- Jain Temple: In Trikkovil there are two Jain temples with carvings and intricately painted interiors.
- Buddha Vihar: This place contains writings of Buddha.
- Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary: The Sanctuary is 25 kms. from Calicut and has migratory birds. The ideal season to visit the sanctuary is from December to April.
- Tamarassery Ghat Road: The route has nine hairpin bends and the landscape is picturesque. The Ghat Road leads to Wayanad.
The resplendent change on entering this territory is quite welcoming and refreshing. What with the verdant greenery, the swaying palms and trees and greenery everywhere, it takes the breath out of every visitor to this district. There are paddy fields, areacanut groves, coconut trees and little temples on the way. Wayanad is located at the southern tip of the Deccam plateau and is 700 to 2100 metres above sea level.
Wayanad appears from two words-“Vayal”, meaning field and “Nad” meaning country. The area was also known as Mayashetra –Maya’s land which later came to be known as Mayanad and a twist of the tongue made it Wayanad. The district headquarters is Kalpetta and it is linked to the rest of the state by a good network of roads. The airport at Calicut is 80 kms. and the Railway station is in Calicut.
A place for trekkers, hikers and people who want to breathe the crisp and fresh air, Wayanad is the perfect choice. There are a lot of places for sightseeing and they are:
- Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary: For the animal lovers, Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary is a must see place. The place is located 38 kms. from Kalpetta and 16 kms. from Sultan Bathery. This is the biggest abode for wild animals and home to elephants, bisons, wild boar, bear, cheetahs and other animals.
- Nagarhole Wild Life Sanctuary: this Sanctuary extends in to the Karnataka border and is 71 kms. from Kalpetta and 40 kms. from Mananthawady.
- Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary: 68 kms. from Kalpetta and 13 kms. from Thirunelly there is yet another Wildlife Sanctuary. This Sanctuary boasts of the largest number of elephants. The authorities allow vehicles up to 20 kms. into the jungle and there are jeeps too traversing the jungle paths. There are other animals too. The authorities also organize camps within the forest headed by guides.
- Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary: this sanctuary is an integrated part of the Nilgiri System of Biodiversity and there are elephants, bisons, wild dogs, civet cat, panthers and tigers. The sanctuary is 54 kms. from Kalpetta.
For the nature lovers –
- Meenmutty Waterfalls: which is 29 kms from Kalpetta has a stupendous waterfall cascading 500 metres down.
- Banasura Sagar Dam: The largest earth dam in India and the second largest in Asia, 21 kms. from Kalpetta has a topography that will astound any visitor to the place.
- Chembra Peak: The unique character of Wayanad consisting of rugged peaks, rocks and valleys and impossible terrains is a nature lover and trekker’s paradise. It is a risky venture climbing the Chembra peak. The place is 10 kms. from Kalpetta, near Meppady town. Tourists are allowed to stay in camps on the peak for a day or two.
- Lakkidi: The gateway to Wayanad consists of 9 hairpin bends on the Ghat road from Thamarassery. The entire 12 kms. route is through verdant forest. Lakkidi is 58 kms. north east of Calicut.
- Sentinel Rock Water Falls: 47 kms. from Kalpetta and near Vellarimala village, there stands a rock 200 metres in height. It is a good place for rock climbing. There is a waterfall in the place.
- Soochipara Waterfall: The waterfalls range between 100 to 300 ft. and the pool below is used for water rafting and swimming. There are tree top huts which gives a bird’s eye view of the Valleys in the Western Ghats. From Kalpetta, this waterfall is 12 kms away.
- Pookote Lake : A natural fresh water lake is a good place for boating and visitors can take in the beauty of the place leisurely. This lake is 12 kms. from Kalpetta.
For the History seekers:
- Panmaram: Pazhassi Raja had his fort in this place. There is a Jain temple in ruins. The place is 29 kms. from Sultan Bathery
- Pazhassi’s Tomb: Pazhassi Raja has been laid to rest in Mananthawady. He had organized guerilla type war against the British East India Company. He was cremated in 1805. The place is a good picnic centre. The site is 34 kms. from Kalpetta.
- Edakkal Caves: There are two caves in Ambukuthi mala at a height of 1000 metres. The caves have to be reached by trekking I km. from Edakkal. There are signs of civilization that existed here during the new Stone Age. The caves are near Ambalavayal which is 21 kms. from Kalpetta.
For the nature seeker and ornithologists:
- Kuruva Island: An uninhabited island in a 950 acre ever green forest, Kuruva Island is a picnic spot. The island is abounding with rare species of birds, herbs and orchids. It is 17 kms. from Mananthawady
- Pakshipathalam: The place is at Brahmagiri Hills in Thirunelli, 55 kms. from Kalpetta, of which 17 kms. is through dense forest. Permission from the Forest Dept. is required to go to Pakshipathalam. There are wild birds and beasts in the forest.
For the religious:
- Thirunelly Temple: 32 kms. from Mananthawady, Thirunelli temple is an ancient temple and is known as the Kasi of the South. This is a holy temple for the Hindus to pay obeisance to the departed souls. In the past, Adivasis were sold during the two weeklong festival at Valliyurkavu Bhagavathy temple near here.
- Varambetta Mosque: This 300 year old mosque is the oldest in Wayanad. The mosque is situated 15 kms. south of Kalpetta.
The name Kannur is derived from two words in the local language -“Kannan”-meaning Lord Krishna, the Hindu God and “Ur”- country.
The district is confined with natural beauty with the Western Ghats on the east and the Lakshadweep Sea on the west and landlocked by Calicut and Kasargode, the other districts of Kerala. The district is the cradle of folk dances and music.
The local Rajahs like the Kolathiris were based at Chirakkal, Pazhassi Raja at Thalassery taluk and the queen of Arakkal controlled parts of coastal Kannur and Lakshadweep. Another port town, the quest by the foreigners like the Portuguese, Dutch and the British who left behind their sway.
The district headquarters in Kannur which is 93 kms. from the Karippur Airport in Calicut and the railway line through Kannur connects Mangalore( towards the north) and Cochin (South)
Some of the former residences of the Rajahs and the foreigners are:
- Arakkal Kettu: Today it is a museum but was the former residence of the Arakkal Royal family and is 3 kms. from Kannur.
- Gundert Bungalow: The revered missionary and scholar who made the first Malayalam-English dictionary stayed in this place for 20 years from 1839. The first Malayalam paper, Rajyasamacharam had also taken shape here. The bungalow is 20 kms. from Kannur.
- St. Angelos Fort: Built by the Portuguese in 1505 on a land jutting into the Arabian Sea in Kannur, was captured by the Dutch in 1663 and sold to Ali Rajah of Kannur in 1772. The British took over in 1790 and made it their most important station in the Malabar region. Though dilapidated in parts, the rest of the Fort has been well maintained and there are gun emplacements.
- Moplah Bay: The Indo Norwegian fishing project is established here. In earlier days the Kolathiri dynasty had been using this as a commercial harbor to trade with Lakshadweep and other foreign countries. The bay is 3 kms. from Kannur.
- Thalassery Fort: The British arrived in Thalassery in 1663 as they had to move out of Kannur, 23 kms, away and established a fort on a small hill in Tiruvellapadkunnu in 1708. The St. John’s Anglican Church is behind the fort.
Some of the other places of interest are:
- Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary: It is on the Western Ghats, 45 kms. from Kannur. It was established in 1884 and there are elephants, sloth bears, sambars, mouse deer and other animals.
- Pythal Mala: This is a hill station situated at 4500 ft. above sea level and is rich in flora and fauna. There is a six km. trek to the peak. The base of Pythal mala is 65 kms. from Kannur.
- Dharmadom Island: Permission to stay on the uninhabited island is required and accommodation is provided by the Tourism Department. It is an idyllic place and unhampered by civilization. The island is 100 metres away from Dharmadom, which is 19 kms. from Kannur.
- Ezhimala: the Naval Academy is located here. Located on a promontory jutting into the Arabian Sea, this port has been the centre of many sea battles. Lord Buddha is believed to have visited the place. There are rich medicinal herbs in the area. Ezhimala is 31 kms. from Kannur.
- Kizhunnu Ezhara Beach: 11 kms. from Kannur , this is a long stretch of beach.
- Muzhappilangad Beach: This is a famous drive on beach and is a swimmers place. It is 15 kms. from Kannur and 8 kms. from Thalassery.
- Payyambalam Beach: It is near Kannur town. It is the resting place of some of the leading politicians, freedom fighters and renowned leaders. The Beach is a good picnic spot.
- Malayalakalagramam: An artist’s delight, it is a renowned centre for courses in painting, music, dance, sculpture and pottery and is situated 29 kms. from Kannur.
- Pazhassi Dam: The refreshing air and the greenery will attract all tourists to the site. The Dam is 37 kms. east of Kannur.
- Snake Park at Parassinikadavu: dedicated to the conservation of snakes, this park has both poisonous and non poisonous varieties. The park is located 18 kms. from Kannur.
- Valapattanam: The Azhikkal port is situated here. Valapattanam is known for timber trade and wood based industries. The town is 7 kms. from Kannur.
Some of the holy places are
- Cherukunnu: abode of Annapoorneswari(17 kms. from Kannur). There is a Kathakali and Panchavadya school near the temple,
- The Kottiyoor Temple: 69 kms. from Kannur, there are two Siva temples, known as the Varanasi of the south
- Parassinikadavu: Near the Valapattanam river, 18 kms from Kannur, the temple is famous for the Muthappan Theyyam being performed every morning and evening. Boat cruising along the river is provided. Accommodation is also available here.
- Raja Rajeswara Temple: A unique custom of allowing women only after 8.00 pm is followed here. The temple is 25kms. from Kannur.
- Suryanarayana Temple: In Kadiroor, it is believed that the idol had been consecrated by Lord Rama on his search for Sita.
- Odathil Palli: It is situated near the old bus stand and built by an Arab merchant in typical Hindu temple style 500 years ago.
The youngest district in the state, it lies on the northern most part of the state. The District headquarters is Kasargode. Mangalore airport is 50 kms. away. The railway station is in Kasargod on the Calicut -Mangalore route. The National and state highways pass through the district.
Kasargod has many important historic places and beautiful shores, hills and scenic places to offer.
- The Bekal Fort: The largest and best preserved Fort, it is 1 kms. south on the National Highway. The fort belonged to the Kadampa dynasty, then the Kolathiri Rajas, then Vijayanagr empire made it theirs and in the 18th century, Tipu Sultan conquered it. Tipu Sultan was later overthrown and the British East India Company who owned it after that.
- Bekal Fort Beach: One kilometer from the fort is the beach where water sports facilities have been provided.
- Chandragiri Fort: Built in the 17th century by Sivappa Naik, the fort has many stories to tell. There is a mosque and a temple within the premises. This fort is around 25 kms. from Kasargod
- Valiyaparamba Backwaters: 30 kms. from Bekal, there is a large body of water fed by 5 rivers.
- Tejaswini Valiyaparambu Backwaters: a beautiful place, the lake is fed by 4 rivers and dotted with a number of islands- a place for backwater cruises.
- Ranipuram: the place is situated 850 metres above sea level. It is 85 kms. from Kasargod and is a famous trekking trail. Wild elephants are often seen at the top of the mountain. The other beaches are Kanwatheerta Beach, 3 kms from Manjeswaram and the Kappil beach, 6 kms. from Bekal Fort.
Kerala has myriad sightseeing places and the above details and places are only a part of the story.