Vythiri

Vythiri, Kerala – A marvellous hill station, a land of eternal greenery

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Vythiri, located in the hill district of Wayanad, is a popular hill station in Kerala. It is a land of eternal greenery. The hills are covered by mists and fog throughout the year. Sweet breeze and the serene atmosphere makes the place a wonderland. The sweet chirp of the birds really soothes the ear. Known as the “Queen of the Wayanad hills”  the place is famous for its monsoon.

Places to see at Vythiri: In this peaceful hill resort you will find a number of sight seeing spots which include;

Edakkal Caves 

It is a natural fissure created by rock splitting due to natural weathering. The depth of the crevice and the fissure is nearly 30 ft which gives it an appearance of being a cave. There are human and animal figure painted on the rock walls. One has to trek around 1 km starting from Edakkal to reach the caves. Best time to visit the caves is in the morning, but it remains open till 5 pm. It is 25 km from Kalpetta.

Koottamundu Glass Temple

This temple is located on the hillside of Vellarimala, and this Jain temple was built in honor of the Jain saint – Parshawanatha Swami. The temple walls are adorned with thousands of small mirrors, all of which reflect the idols placed in the temple’s sanctum sanctorum. It is 20 km from Kalpetta.

Pookot Lake

Set in a beautiful valley and surrounded by evergreen forests and wooded hills, Pookote is one of Wayanad’s top visitor draws. This natural lake near Lakkidi is just a short distance off the National Highway 212.

Soojipara Waterfalls

It is a thundering three-tiered waterfall. These falls capture nature at her best. This place is also famous for rock climbing. Best season is from June till January.

Puliyarmala Jain Temple 

Situated at Kalpetta is also worth visiting. It is known for its beautifully crafted entrance doors, carved granite pillars and Dravidian-style Stupa with a carved idol of Lord Mahavir at its top.

Nearby attractions around Vythiri: From Vythiri you can make a trip to places like

Kuruva Islands

The Kuruva Island with 950 acres of evergreen forest lies on one of the tributaries of the Kabini. It is just 60 km from Vythri Resort. The island is home to various species of rare birds, orchids and herbs.

Kuruva Dweep

Located at a distance of 70 kms, these are little islets in the river Kabini. This is an ideal picnic spot for people to just spend one whole day with nature.

Thirunelli Temple

A three hrs drive from Vythiri, this temple is on the banks of the beautiful PapanasiRiver. It is believed that people can wash out their sins by immersing themselves here in the water.

Chembra Peak

Located at an altitude of 2100 meters, the spectacular ChembraPeak towards the southern part of Wayanad is the tallest summit in the region. Climbing this peak is a challenging mountaineering endeavor and would take a full day.
The surrounding areas offer exceptional photo opportunities. Camping on the peak is an unforgettable experience.

Chain Tree

Even today, a chain still hangs from a Banyan tree to mark the spot where a British Colonialist murdered an Adivasi tribesman (and thus, the name). Just 9 kms away Edakkal Caves is 1000mts above sea level, this ancient natural cave exhibits ancient carvings, paintings and inscriptions dating back to the stone ages.

Wildlife Sanctuaries

Wayanad abounds in wildlife sanctuaries. Elephants, spotted deer, sloth bear, samba and gaur are just some of the species you can spot. The distances of the various sanctuaries from the resort are as follows: Muthanga – 55kms, Nagarhole – 70kms, Bandipur – 75kms, Muthumala – 100kms, Tholpatti – 70kms.

Muthanga

Spread over a vast area Muthanga is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Region. Located 18 kms East of Sultan Bathery, it is a rain forest reserve connected to two other major sanctuaries: BandipurNational Park in Karnataka and Mudumalai Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. (55 Kms from Vythiri Resort)

Tholpetty

Tholpetty reserve is situated along the northern ridge of the district bordering Coorg in Karnataka. In terms of flora and fauna, Tholpetty is much similar to Muthanga. This place is just 68 Kms from Vythiri Resort. The best season to visit both the sanctuaries is from November to May.

Pakshipathalam

Just 85 kms from Vythiri, located deep within the forest in the Brahmagiri hills at an altitude of more than 1700 mtrs, Pakshipathalam is a formation of large boulders, some as tall as two storey buildings. The deep caves found here are home to a wide variety of birds, animals and distinctive species of plants. The journey involves an arduous 7 km. trek through thick forest commencing at Thirunelli. (Special permission required from DFO- North Wayanad at Mananthavady).

Banasura Sagar Dam

Considered to be the second largest earth dam in Asia, the Banasura project is 30 km from Vythiri Resort precincts are an ideal starting point for treks to the Banasura Peak. An interesting feature is a set of islands that were formed when the reservoir submerged the surrounding areas. Speed boating facility is available in this place.

Things to do at Vythiri: The sight seeing at Vythiri is simply a superb experience. Apart from this a morning trek to the tropical rainforests surrounding the resort: to catch a glimpse of the Nilagiri Langur, the Malabar Giant Squirrel, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Yellow Browed Bulbul and the wide range of other species endemic to the Western Ghats. Tourists may also take a leisurely walk to explore the scenic natural beauty of the place during anytime of the day.

Best time to visit Vythiri: The weather in Vythiri is normally pleasant, as the town is a resort town and major hill station. It can be visited all year around but the best time is from October to May.

How to go ?

By Air

You can take flights to Kozhikode and reach Vythiri from there through bus. The airport in Kozhikode is an international airport, with flights to Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore along with many gulf countries.

By Train

You can also opt for train travel in order to reach the resort town of Vythiri. Trains will be available to the nearest railway station at Kozhikode, and buses can be taken from there to Vythiri.

By Bus

Buses to Vythiri ply from the city of Kozhikode, and the town is a two hour drive away from the city.

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Where to stay ?

There are not many accommodation options in Vythiri. Some are:

Vythiri Resort : +91- 4936- 256800, 255366, 94470 55367  Website:  www.vythiriresort.com
Rain Country Resorts: +91 0495-2511997, 98, 99  Website:  www.raincountryresort.com
The Windflower Resorts And Spa: +91- 9895221166  Website:  www.thewindflower.com
Hotel Haritagiri: +91 4936 203145, 203146,  203147, 203148  Website:  www.hotelharitagiri.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Guruvayur

Guruvayur, Kerala – A renowned pilgrimage known for the famous Guruvayur Temple

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Guruvayur is a renowned pilgrimage, known for the famous Guruvayur temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. The place is known also known as the Dwarka of the South. This historic temple is shrouded in mystery. According to belief, the temple is the creation of Guru, the preceptor of the Gods, and Vayu, God of the winds. The place is named after the temple.

Places to see in Guruvayur:  There are many sight seeing spots in Guruvayur which include;

Guruvayur Temple

While at Guruvayur (also Guruvayoor), the first place to get to is of course, the Guruvayur temple. Situated in the middle of a large courtyard, the main shrine is surrounded by arcades, souvenir shops, an open theater, a vast pond and several other buildings. A few elephants are always kept inside the courtyard. Entry into the temple is limited to Hindus, while everyone is permitted in the courtyard, arcades and so on. The main entrance to the shrine is the eastern NADA. There is also a 7 metre high Deepasthambam (pillar of lamps), whose thirteen circular receptacles provide a truly gorgeous spectacle when lit. The square Sreekovil is the sacred sanctum sanctorum of the temple, housing the main deity.Within the temple there are also the images of Ganapathy, Lord Ayyappa and Edathedathu Kavil Bhagavathy. Known for its healing powers, people make an astonishing range of offerings here to the Lord. One of the most popular offerings is the Thulabharam, where devotees are weighed against bananas, sugar, jaggery and coconuts equivalent to their weight.

Elephant Park (Anakotta)

Anakotta (aka anathavalam), an elephant park is one of the tourist sensation. Elephants belonging to Guruvayoor temple are kept in a ten acre plot near Mammiyoor. Walking alongside of fifty to eighty elephants is an experience, and is possible by travelling just 4 kms from Guruvayoor town.

Palayoor Church

Christianity in Kerala dates back to the early period immediately after the days of Jesus. St. Thomas, one of his disciples, brought Christianity to India. PalayoorChurch, 2 kms from Guruvayoor town, stands as an emblem to the pioneering work of the saint. Initially built by St. Thomas, the Church is an interesting place to gain insights into the development of one of the major religions in Kerala.

Chettuva Backwater

Chettuva is more than a brilliant mix of canals, coconuts and islets. Broadened backwater stretches into the receiving hands of MotherOcean, about a kilometre past Chettuva Bridge. With rough waves, the harbour is wild and beautiful. Tourists are only starting to discover Chettuva. The credit for putting Chettuva on tourism map goes to Rajah Group, a well settled local business. Apart from different types of boats, they also operate a couple of house boats. They also have set up an up market Ayurvedic resort in one of the islands. Half an hour car or auto rickshaw ride takes you to Chettuva. About 8 kms from Guruvayoor, Chettuva is along the Chavakkad – Cochin coastal highway.

Blangad Beach

Blangad beach is only a few km away from Chettuva backwaters and harbour. Although not a great swimming spot, the beach is good choice for evening strolls as well as watching sun sets. Best time to be here is around 5 PM, to see fishermen in action as they reach back from sea. Blangad is near Chavakkad and is about 7 km from Guruvayoor.

Chakkavad Beach

Only five Kms from Guruvayur, Chavakkad Beach trip is preferred by those tourists who choose to spend some private and memorable moments. ChavakkadBeach is filled with natural beauty. It is the place where the sea confluences with a river. This meeting of the sea with the river is known as Azhimokam in Kerela. The beaches at Chavakkad and Nattika are simply wonderful. Being the example of pristine nature and the beach is not crowded. One can simply spend hours after hours talking to the near and dear ones in the calm of Nature, oblivious of everything else.

Nearby attractions around Guruvayur: From Guruvayur you can make a visit to the Athirapally waterfalls in Thissur district, that is located at a distance of 90 km from Guruvayur. Athirapally is flooded with water in the monsoon and even in summer it has more amount of water making it one of the best waterfall. Athirapally is about 80ft high and you can enjoy its beauty either by walking down to the falls or on the stream above the falls.

Things to do at Guruvayur: At Guruvayur, explore the temple town together with some souvenir shopping. The backwater rides at Chettuva are also worth enjoying. You may also want to watch a bit of dance performances held at the open theatre near the temple (Melpathoor Auditorium) during most evenings.

Best time to visit Guruvayur: The best season to visit Guruvayur is the winter season. The best months to visit are from December to February.

How to go ?

By Air

Kochi international airport (Nedumbassery) is 80 kms from Guruvayoor and the Calicut airport is 100 kms away.

By Rail

Guruvayur has got a railway station towards the east of the temple which is connected to the Madras-Mangalore main line at Thrissur.

By Road

The National highway is passing through Kunnamkulam which is just 8 kms away from Guruvayur. The private bus stand is towards the east of the temple, near Manjulal (the banyan tree). It is half an hour drive by car from Thrissur and busses ply every 5 minutes from Thrissur to Guruvayur.

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Where to stay ?

Guruvayur has a number of government and private hotels.

Hotel Nandanam (KSTDC) : +91- 0487 -255 6266
Hotel Mangalya (KSTDC) : +91-0487-2554061
Hotel Elite: +91- 0487 -2556215, 2556216, 2556217, 2556218, 2555217  Website: www.eliteguruvayur.in
Hotel Poornima Tourist Home : +91-0487-2556690 / 2556691  Website: www.poornimaguruvayoor.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Munnar

Munnar, Kerala – A breathtakingly beautiful panoramic hill station

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Situated in Idukki, Munnar is a panoramic hill station. Its altitude is around 1700 metre. Breathtakingly beautiful, it is a haven of peace and tranquility and an idyllic tourist destination in God’s own country. Munnar is known as the land of three rivers namely Kundla, Mudra puja and Nallathani. It has the perfect blend of nature with sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns & winding lanes. It was a favoured summer destination of the erstwhile British rulers in the colonial days. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2,695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.

Places to see at Munnar: There are many sight seeing locations in Munnar which include;

Anaimudi Peak

The Anaimudi Peak, is considered to be the highest peak in southern India. One can set up tents for camping and trekking at an altitude of about 2700 meters and enjoy the tranquil mountain atmosphere. It is a feast for nature lovers and enthusiasts. This peak provides the ultimate high and holiday experience.

CSI Christ Church

The CSI Christ Church was built by the British in 1910 AD. The church is known for its stained glass windows. There are many brass plaques in the church in the memory of the tea planters.

 Echo Point

Echo point is situated at 15km from Munnar and is an admirable adventure destination for the tourists. The place gets its name from the natural occurrence of echo here. It is a popular place in Munnar and many people come here to listen to their echoes. It is said that if you can hear your echo calling back at you three times, it is a sign of good luck. Some of the popular activities in this picturesque destination among the explicit views of the lush green hills are trekking and nature walks.

Kundala Lake

The charming town of Kundala is located at a distance of about 20 kilometers from Munnar. This town is famous for the Golf Course, which is owned by the famous Tata Tea Ltd. Company. You can also visit and the Kundala artificial dam, which is a popular picnic spot.

Top Station

The place is 41 km from Munnar, and is appropriately named. This is the main abode to the highest tea plantations of India. It is located on the borders of both the states, Kerala as well as Tamilnadu and dictates an absolute panoramic view. Tourists keep visiting top station as it is in the Theni district of Tamil Nadu and Idukki district of Kerala.

Marayoor

This place is a distinct place with enchanting beauty and culture. Sandal wood, paddy, rocky hills, rivers, cave temples, waterfalls, and many more make Marayoor an alluring place. It is located 40 km from Munnar. Marayoor is opulent with natural beauty as well as wildlife. This place proclaims to be of the Stone Age civilization. Its caves, engravings, rich heritage are evidences of its past wealth. Traveling Marayoor is like passing the history with nature and adventure. It is yet a pristine place than Munnar as this is not frequently visited by the tourists.

Valara Waterfalls 

Valara Waterfalls which is not very far from the Cheeyappara Waterfalls. Valara Waterfalls is about 10 km away from Adimali along the Cochin-Madurai highway. Valara features an astounding chain of waterfalls and provide a particularly magnificent treat for the eye. These waterfalls are surrounded by lush, dense forests that are home to a wide variety of small animals and birds.

Kuthumkal Waterfalls

An important tourist attraction at Munnar is the Kuthumkal Waterfalls. The scenic waterfalls, falling from spectacular heights and creating a foggy atmosphere is something worth watching out for.

Malankara Reservoir

One of the popular tourist attractions in Munnar is the Malankara Reservoir. It is situated on the Thodupuzha – Moolavattom road, this reservoir gives plenty of opportunities for boating and fishing.

Cheeyappara Waterfalls

The Cheeyappara Waterfalls is certainly a unique spectacle! The awesome scene of white waters cascading down from the top of a peak will remain forever in your heart as one of your most precious memories. The surroundings of the beautiful Cheeyappara Waterfalls are a great place where you can pursue a range of activities, foremost among these being trekking. The Waterfall is one of Kerala’s most magnificent waterfalls.

Eravikulam National Park

This Park is abundantly rich with shola forests and grasses, and is yet fairly new as it was after construction in 1978. The Park was created to preserve the Nilgiri Tahr, a rare species of the wild goats found only in the south of the Himalayas. The Park is sited in the Idukki district. It is located on the borders of Kerala and Tamilnadu. Some of the animals spotted here are Elephant, Nilgiri langur, Nilgiri marten, small-clawed otter and a rare tiger or leopard and the Nilgiri wood pigeon.

Nearby attractions around Munnar: A number of nearby destination can be visited from Munnar.

Anayirangal

Anayirangal is 22 kms from Munnar. A trip on the splendid reservoir is an unforgettable experience. It is a lush green carpet of tea plants. The Anayirangal dam is surrounded by Tata Tea plantations and evergreen forests. It is an ideal picnic spot.

Attukal 

This place is 9 km from Munnar. Attukal is also ideal for long treks. A panorama of waterfalls and rolling hills, Attukal, located between Munnar and Pallivasal, is a feast for the eyes.

Sooryanelli

Located at a distance of 27 km, this lake and Tea plantations in this hill resort attract a large number of people. The route to Sooryanelli winding through the hills is really a great delight.

Lock Heart Gap

Lock Heart Gap is just 13 km from Munnar. The place is a perfect venue for adventure tourism and trekking expeditions. The fresh mountain air, the mist-clad hills and panoramic view make it worthy of a visit. Located at a distance of 13 km from Munnar, this magnificent vantage point lies close to Mattupetty. This place offers some amazing views of the mist clad endless blue hills covered with lush greenery, winding roads and silver brooks splashing the emerald greenery with white streaks. The salubrious climate and picturesque surroundings make it one of the most preferred locations to visit in Munnar.

Things to do at Munnar: Explore this beautiful place which is itself a visual treat.

Best Time to Visit: Summer season is considered as an ideal time to spot wildlife. Since the climate is temperate throughout the year, one can visit at any time of the year, except for the monsoon season.

How to go ?

By Air

Munnar does not have an airport of its own. The nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport, which is 110 kilometres away by road.

By Train

The nearest railway station from Munnar is at Aluva, which is at a distance of 110 kilometres from Munnar.

By Bus

State-run or private buses, plying from various towns in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, are the best way to get to Munnar by road.

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Where to stay ?

There are a number of accommodation options in Munnar.

Tea County (KTDC): +91-04865-230460, 230969, 230971, 72, 73 Website: www.teacountymunnar.com
Hotel Oak Fields: +91-04865-233066
Misha Holidays: +91- 4865- 230376,232376  Website: www.mishaholiday.com
Jays Tourist Home: +91-9446553080  Website: www.jaysmunnar.co.in

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Cochin

Cochin, Kerala – Where the blue water of the Arabian Sea merges with Kerala’s Emerald Backwaters

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Flowing alongside the Vemnad lake Ernakulam or Cochin is the commercial capital of Kerala. It is the land of back waters. Ernakulam has derived its name from the name of a very famous temple of lord Shiva, called the Ernakulathappan Temple. Ernakulam has also been said to derive its name from the word ‘Ere Naal Kulam’, which means “pond for a long time”. A booming business metropolis, a fascinating mixture of the old and the new, Cochiin is having the finest natural harbours in the world. Cochin nick named as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’, was once a major centre for commerce and trade. At Cochin, the blue water of the Arabian Sea merges with Kerala’s Emerald Backwaters. Even today, Cochin continues the tradition of welcoming visitors with its customary warmth and hospitality.

Places to see at Cochin: Cochin is dotted by a number of tourist places.

Bolgatty Island 

This is a long narrow palm-fringed island which is easily accessible from the mainland and it is here where the Bolgatty Palace is situated amidst 15 acres of lush green lawns. Built by the Dutch in 1744, it became the seat of the British Resident later. In 1976 the palace was converted into a hotel under the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. The Cochin Golf Club’s course is on the palace grounds.

Art Complex – Madhavan Nayar Foundation

This Art Complex is 10 kms north of Ernakulam on the way to Alwaye. The centre also exhibits certain larger-than-life mural reproductions of ancient Indian Art. The complex consists of two units: the Gallery of Paintings and Sculptures which presents over 200 original paintings by contemporary Indian artists, some of them internationally acclaimed, and works of reputed Indian sculptors. The other unit, the Centre for Visual Arts is reserved for authentic reproductions of selected world masters from Leonardo da Vinci to those of the present century.

Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort

These fixed, cantilevered fishing nets, at the entrance of the harbour and along the backwaters, were introduced by traders from the court of Kublai Khan. As the records show that they were first erected between AD 1350 and 1450. The best place to watch these nets is from Vasco da Gama square, a narrow promenade that lies parallel to the beach.

Cherai Beach 

The beach is located 25 kms from Ernakulam in a typical village ambience this lovely unspoilt stretch of sand, ideal for swimming. But if the sea and sand still do not whet your appetite, there are many numbers of food outlets and ice-cream parlours to do so. At Cherai, life guards are always on the look out for the over adventurous. Dolphins are also commonly seen in the waters.

Ernakulam Siva Temple 

The temple is facing the historical Rajendra maidan and is a famous temple, considered to be amongst the most ancient in central Kerala. Though no historical records exist to indicate a precise date, an inscription found above the main entrance in Vattezhuthu, an antiquated script, suggests that the sanctum was built in the year 1614. The deity is popularly referred to as Ernakulathappan. The temple’s 8-day annual festival is celebrated in the month of Jan-Feb with colourful rituals and exciting cultural events. The bathing of the idol, on the eighth day, is particularly significant here. The ceremony of Ashta Bandham Kalasam, where the deity is anointed in a herbal paste, is performed once in 12 years.

St. George Forane Church

The church is an important pilgrim centre, this Roman Catholic church was built way back in AD 593 in a plot of land donated by the Raja of Edappally. After the seven churches were founded by St. Thomas, the Edappally church is considered to be one of the oldest in Kerala. The new church beside it was built in 1080. Historical records have it that a session of the Synod of Diamper (Udayamperoor), 1599, was held here. The church is also well known for its annually held nine-day feast in April/May.

Voc Gate, Fort

Facing parade ground is this large wooden gate with the initials ‘VOC’ carved onto it representing the monogram of the once mighty Dutch East India Company. The inscription also indicates that it was built in the year 1740.

Museum Of Kerala History 

This Museum is located along with the Art Complex at Edappally, it is a Sound and Light show presenting thirty five scenes from the political, social, and cultural history of Kerala.

Marine Drive

One side of the Marine Drive is backwater while the opposite side is 70-ft Road, city’s widest road. At the place of ruined old jetty there is Marine Drive Promenade. Sit here and watch the backwaters and the FortKochi beyond. The world’s highly densely populated VypeenIsland is in clear view from here.

Mount Carmel Church 

The most interesting things are the Portuguese church bells. This 1642 church is the second Indian vicariath established by Holy See after Goa.

Jewish Synagogue 

This is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth which was built in 1568. The Great Scrolls of the Old Testament, copper plates on which the grants of privilege made by the Cochin rulers were recorded, gold and silver crowns gifted by various patrons to the synagogue, exquisite Chinese hand-painted willow patterned floor tiles, and the synagogue’s elaborate lighting are of interest.

Hill Palace Museum

The Museum is set on top of a hillock, these prodigious palace-turned-museum display 13 categories of exhibits, including paintings, carvings and other royal antiquities donated by the Cochin and Travancore royal families and the Paliam Devaswom. The HeritageMuseum, located on the rear side of the palace buildings, familiarizes you with the traditional lifestyles of ancient Kerala. The museum premises have also been converted into a botanical garden with exotic tropical trees from Central America to Australia.

Sree Poornathreyesa Temple

The legend says that Arjuna, the great archer and warrior, had established this sanctum. Formerly belonging to the Cochin royalty, this temple has Maha Vishnu as its presiding deity. The annual temple festival is held in Nov-Dec, while the colourful Athachamayam, a cultural extravaganza, is celebrated every year during the festival of Onam.

Nearby attractions around Cochin: From Cochin you can make a trip to

Thripunithura

Excursions from Cochin can be made to Thripunithura, 12 km southwest of Cochin. The Hill Palace Museum at Tripunithara houses the collections of the Cochin and Travancore royal families.

Parur

35 km north of Cochin, here you will find a synagogue, a Syrian Orthodox Church, a Krishna Temple, and a temple of goddess Mookambica.

Chennamangalam

Chennamangalam is 4 kilometers away from Cochin and houses the oldest synagogue in Kerala. There is also a Jesuit Church and ruins of a Jesuit College.

Things to do in Cochin: There are varied options available to travelers in Cochin. Cochin, with abundant widening and narrowing canals and lakes is best experienced with a houseboat cruise. Houseboat is the best way to enjoy the labyrinthine of Kerala backwaters these backwaters have always supported a unique waterfront lifestyle for the people of Cochin. Tourists can experience this unique lifestyle by renting one of the large thatched-roofed house boats known as “Kettuvallams”. They usually come with a captain, a cook and a steward. Cochin is also acclaimed as the birthplace of Ayurveda, a trip to this fabulous land is never complete without a visit to one of those refreshing Ayurvedic spas. Another famous characteristic of Cochin is the exotic Kathakali dance forms, in one of the various centers located in and around the heritage areas of Fort Cochin- Mattanchery or Ernakulam.

Best time to visit Cochin: The peak season to travel Kochi is between October and April, when hot and dry climate prevails.

How to go ?

By Air

The Cochin International Airport is well connected to major cities all across India and the world. From the airport, the main city centre is about 29 kilometres away.

By Train

Cochin is well connected to all the major railway stations in India.

By Bus

Cochin has a strong network of Kerala State Run Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus services that connects it to all the major cities in Kerala and with some of the major cities in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

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Where to stay ?

There are many accommodation options in Cochin.

Bolgatty Palace and Island Resort (KTDC): +91-0484-2750500, 2750600  Website: www.bolgattypalacekochi.com
Hotel Piazza Residency: +91-0484-2750456
Hotel Paulson Park: +91-0484 237 8240  Website: www.hotelpaulsonpark.chobs.in
Hotel Excellency: +91-0 484- 2378251, 2378258  Website: www.hotelexcellency.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Alappuzha

Alappuzha, Kerala – Streams, lakes and river makes it an wonderful tourist destination

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Alappuzha has always enjoyed an important place in the maritime history of Kerala. Previously known as Aleppey its present name is Alappuzha. Ala means streams and Puzha means river. With streams, lakes and river Aleppey is a wonderful tourist destination. Today, it is famous for its boat races, backwater holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. Alappuzha beach is a popular picnic spot.

Places to see at Alapuzha: There is some marvelous sight seeing destinations at Alapuzha which include,

Alleppey Beach

Alleppey Beach or Alappuzha Beach has a long stretch of sandy beach with a lighthouse and a pier jutting out into the sea, a reminder of its age-old maritime importance.

Mullakkal Bhagavathy Temple

Mullakkal Bhagavathy Temple in the heart of town dedicated to Goddess Rajarajeshwari gives the feel of a typical Kerala Temple.

Mannarasala Temple

It is like a pilgrimage destination for the followers of Nagaraja or the serpent god. The Mannarasala Temple has over 30,000 images of snakes and special procession and offerings are made to celebrate Mannarsala Aayilyam, the main festival of this temple.

Alappuzha CSI Christ Church

Built in 1818 by the first Church Missionary Society, Allappuzha CSI Church was the first church established in Travancore.

Nearby attractions around Allepey: A tourist can make excursions from Alleppey to nearby historic places and scenic spots.

Pathiramanal

A beautiful little island in the Vembanad Lake, Pathiramanal, can be reached only by boat and is a newly developed tourist spot.

Sri Krishna Temple

Just 14 km from Alleppey, the Sri Krishna temple at Ambalapuzha is among Kerala’s most famous temples with the typical temple architectural style of the state. It is also known for its palpayasam, sweet milk porridge offered to the diet. Close to Ambalapuzha, the village of Karumadi is famous for its Karumadi Kuttan a black granite figure of Buddha, said to belong to the 9th or 10th Century. During his visit to Kerala in 1965, the Dalai Lama worshipped at this shrine.

Arthinkal

Arthinkal is known for the St. Andrews Church established by Portuguese missionaries in 1951, and is near Sherthallai, 22 km north of Alleppey. The feast of St. Sebastian is held here every January. On the Pamba river is Chambakulam, the site for the famous boat regatta held during August/September, which has traditionally involved the participation of all communities.

Krishnapuram Palace

The 18th Century Krishnapuram Palace, built during the reign of the Travancore monarch, Marthanda Varma, houses one of the largest mural paintings in Kerala, called the Gajendra Moksham. A short distance from Alleppey, is Punnapra, a village which has gone down in history as the scene of a battle between the Communists and the Travancore State Police in the Punnapra-Vayalar Communist Uprising of 1946.

Ambalapuzha

It is situated 14 kms. away from Alleppey. In its architectural features, the SreekrishnaTemple confirms the typical Kerala style. The temple is famous through out Kerala for ‘Palpayasam’ a milk porridge of exceptional sweetness offered to the deity.

Karumadikkuttan

Situated 3 km east of Ambalapuzha, this village is known for its 10th century Karumadikkuttan statue, a black granite figure of the great Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. There are many interesting legends connected to this idol.

Champakulam

Champakulam – the water logged village is also the place of oldest angadi (market) known as Kalloorkkadu angadi. The St. Mary Forane Church built in 427 A D is another major attraction famous for its beautiful mural paintings for both tourists and believers. In Champakulam you can see Nadubhagum and Champakulam snake boats which take part in the annual snake boat races.

Things to do at Alappuzha: Unwind yourself fully in the water kingdom at Alappuzha. If you visit the place don’t miss the house boat cruise. The ones you find in the backwaters of Alappuzha are in fact reworked version of Kettuvallams of olden times.

Best time to visit Alappuzha: December to February is the ideal time to visit Alappuzha.

How to go ?

By Air

The Cochin International Airport, located at a distance of 75 kiolmetres is the nearest airport to Allepey. The airport is well connected to major cities in India as well as abroad.

By Train

The Alleppey Railway Station lies within the city limits and is well connected by rail to Cochin and Trivandrum.

By Road

Kerala State Run Transport Corporation buses connect Alleppey to most major cities in Kerala.

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Where to stay ?

There are many hotels available suitable to budgets both government and private.

Hotel Tamarind (KSTDC): +91-0477-2244460
Hotel Arcadia Regency: +91-0477- 2230414 – 417  Website: www.arcadiaregency.com
Keraleeyam Ayurvedic Resort:  +91- 0477 -2231468- 2236950  Website: www.keraleeyam.com
Green Palace Health Resort: +91-8289 933 715  Website: www.greenpalacekerala.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Ponmudi

Ponmudi, Kerala – A charming hill resort with cool, green, narrow & winding pathways

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Located within a short driving distance of 62 km from Thiruvananthapuram, at an altitude of 3000 foot, the place is a charming hill resort with narrow winding pathways and cool, green environs. The word Pon means gold and Mudi means hills. Here the heavenly environment will really cast a magic spell. The hills shrouded by the green velvety carpets of nature covers the place from all sides. This sight is really eye-catching. Along with a beautiful mountain flowers, exotic butterflies and small rivulets, Ponmudi offers excellent opportunities for trekking. The eucalyptus, rubber trees are found in abundance here. The place is also adorned by a number of tea gardens. With its tea estates and mist covered valleys Ponmudi is a fast developing hill resort with cottages and dormitory accommodation facilities.

Places to see at Ponmudi: Ponmudi is a nature lover’s paradise. It is admired by a number of scenic spot. The speciality of Ponmudi is the vast top station, two kilometers away from the premises of the guest house. Morning fog through which you are not able to see each other, heavy wind in the afternoon, fog like smoke coming from a chimmini, rising between the trees.

Golden Valley

Offering a wonderful view of the hills, and a number of rivulets and rapids, this valley is named the so because of its golden yellow colour. It  is an ideal location for those who prefer casual strolls and leisure-filled picnics. With rivulets, streams, ice cool water and green trees this valley offers the visitor a tranquil holiday. Golden Valley is one of the attractions a traveler should not miss while visiting Ponmudi. The wild beauty of nature and long stretches of greenery spellbind the beholders.

Mini Zoo

Situated to the north of Ponmudi Crest, it has a sizeable number of deer population.

Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary

Located about 50 km from Thiruvananthapuram city en route to Ponmudi, the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary established in 1938 is spread over an area of 53 sq. km on the Western Ghats. It is a natural habitat to many wild animals like Asian elephants, sambar, leopards, lion-tailed macaques, etc. Also a good place to see birds like Malabar grey hornbills, small sunbird, etc.

Idinjar 

The enchanting Idinjar waterfalls are located at the foothills of Ponmudi. It takes about an hour’s trek from Ponmudi to reach Idinjar. The path was developed by the British planters in the 19th Century.

Neyyar Dam and Wildlife Sanctuary

The Neyyar Dam is a favourite among the visitors. It houses a unique garden containing lifelike human sculptures. The Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1958 and spread over 128 sq km. It also has a Crocodile Protection Centre. Prime attractions include boating through NeyyarLake, lion safari, crocodile park visit, deer park visit and elephant ride.

Menmutty Falls

Menmutty Falls is one of the main attraction located near by Ponmudi hills. This waterfall is about 3 km away from the Kallar-Ponmudi road. The main attractions are water falls and the small natural pools and rocks located beside the way to the water fall.

Kallar Falls

Kallar is situated on the way to the popular hill station of Ponmudi. The falls gets its name from the River Kallar, which flows through the region. The name Kallar is a joined form of Kallu means ‘stone’ and Aru means ‘river’ and hence so named. The river is well known for its abundance of attractive, round-shaped boulders and pebbles, especially in the upper reaches and middle portion of its course. Here one can take a dip in the crystal clear waters to cool off, and also watch the many rapids and small pools that dot a good part of the river in this area.

Nearby attractions from Ponmudi: You may make a trip to Trivandrum from Ponmudi. 

Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram, earlier known as Trivandrum, is said to be built on seven hills. It is the state capital of Kerala. A tour to the city gives you a glimpse of the South Indian city life. The main places to visit include Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, the richest temple in India, Puthen Maliga Palace Museum, Sri Chitra Art Gallery, Gardens Napier Museum, Kanakakunnu Palace, and the Planetarium Academy of Magical Sciences. Thiruvananthapuram was the seat of the Travancore Kings.

Things to do at Ponmudi: Enjoy thoroughly in Ponmudi amidst the charm of nature.  Apart from sight seeing if you are not doing anything just take a leisure walk around and savour the beauty of the place. The place is also famed for Ayurvedic medical treatments. If someone is suffering from any chronic disease may try for ayurvedic treatment.

Best time to visit Ponmudi:  The period from March to May is the peak season.

How to go ?

By Air

Thiruvananthapuram International Airport about 67 km away is the nearest airport.

By Rail

Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station which is about 61 km from Ponmudi is the nearest rail station, which is connected by all the major railway stations if the country.

By Road

From Thiruvanthapuram buses leave for Ponmudi. It takes 2hrs to reach Ponmudi from Thiruvananthapuram.

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Where to stay ?

Ponmudi offers both government and private lodging facilities.

Golden Peak Resort (KTDC): +91- 0472- 289 0225
Hotel Rohini: +91- 0472- 285 7336

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Varkala

Varkala, Kerala – This bow-shaped sea side spot is a serene hamlet

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Located in the outskirts of Thiruvanathapuram, Varkala is a serene hamlet. It is another sea-side location in Kerala like Kovalam. Lying on the bank of the Arabian sea, this bow-shaped sea side spot is guarded by brick red mountain named Cliff-top. The coconut trees stand in rows along the beach making a perfect landscape. The roaring sounds of the breaking waves create a thrilling experience.

Places to see at Varkala: Varkala is adorned by a number of tourist destinations which include,

Varkala Beaches

The silvery stretches of sands along the Arabian Sea offer a tranquil retreat of the beach lovers. The backdrop of rocky cliffs provides a perfect contrast to the lapping waves. Papanasam is one of the prominent beaches in Varkala. Absence of touristy crowd is an important feature in the beaches of Varkala. Sleep, swim or laze around – you are sure to have an uninterrupted leisure.

Janardhana Temple

Built sometime in 12th century, the Janardana Temple is another important tourist attraction in Varkala. From the cliff top where most of the hotels and restaurants are located, the temple is a short walk away. The original temple, a Vishnu shrine, was destroyed by the tidal waves. Many years past, when a Pandyan king did penance to Lord Brahma, was instructed to rebuild the temple. Non-hindus are not allowed to enter the inner sanctum sanctorum.

Sivagiri Mautt

The headquarter of the Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham Trust, founded by Sree Narayana Guru is located just 3kms away from the Janardana Temple.

Varkala Tunnel

No description of the tourist attractions in Varkala is complete without the mention of Varkala Tunnel. The 924ft tunnel took nearly 14years to complete in 19th century. The tunnel was used for ferrying several type of goods.

Kappil Lake

At the outskirts of Varkala town, the lake gives way to the scenic world of the Kerala backwaters.

Apart from the above, Anjeno Fort, the Lighthouse also feature among the tourist attractions in Varkala.

Nearby attractions around Varkala:  From Varkala you visit to places like:

Kollam

Located at a distance of 37 km from Varkala, old name of Kollam was Quilon. One of the Kerala’s leading trade hubs, Kollam is the centre of the country’s cashew trading and processing industry. Thirty percent of this historic town is covered by the renowned Ashtamudi Lake, making it the gateway to the magnificent backwaters of Kerala.

Thiruvananthapuram

Just 51 km from Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram is famous for the mesmerizing Kovalam beach.Trivandrum, the capital of the state of Kerala, the God’s Own Country, is now known by the name.Thiruvananthapuram, which means the “abode of Lord Anantha”. The city of Thiruvananthapuram is located in the South of the state and bordered by Tiruneveli in the East, Kanyakumari to the South and Kollam district located to its North. The city is a must on the itinerary of any visitor to the South India.

Things to do at Varkala: Take a stroll along the enchanting sea beach and breath in fresh air. Explore the sight seeing destinations. If doing nothing, enjoy amidst the natural beauty.

Best time to visit Varkala: Winter i.e (December to March)  is the best time to visit Varkala.

How to go ?

By Train

Varkala Railway Station is well connected to the rest of the state and arriving by train from Kochi (Jan Shatabdi) and Trivandrum (Kanyakumari Exp) is the best option.

By Air

The nearest airport is located at Trivandrum which is around 66 km from the beach town.

By Bus

Buses are available from both Kochi and Trivandrum. KSRTC buses are frequent and the can be boarded from the respective main bus stands.

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Where to stay ?

In Varkala many hotels are available suitable to the budgets.

Hindustan Beach Retreat: +91-0470-2604254,55,56  Website: www.hindustanbeachretreat.com
Hotel Hilltop: +91-0470- 695141
Hotel Deshadan Cliff and Beach Resort: +91- 0470-3204242  Website: www.deshadan.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Kollam

Kollam, Kerala – The land of back waters & the centre of the India’s cashew industry

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Located beside the Ashtamudi lake, Kollam is the centre of the country’s cashew trading and processing industry. It is said that the present town of Kollam was built by the Syrian Merchant; Sapir Iso, in the 9th Century A.D. Newly named as Kollam the Kollamplace was originally named as Quilon. Kollam is known as the land of back waters. Praised whole heartedly by Marco Polo and Ibn Batuta in glowing terms, this famous port on the Malabar Coast was once part of the international spice trade. The renowned Ashtamudi Lake covers the historic town by thirty percent. The district also has some interesting historic remnants and a number of temples built in the traditional ornate architectural style.

Places to see at Kollam: A popular tourist destination, Kollam is dotted with multiple tourist attractions which include,

Ashtamudi Backwaters

The major tourist attraction in Kollam is the Ashtamudi Backwaters. Ashtamudi Lake is the gateway to the backwaters. This 16 km long lake is the second largest in Kerala, finding its way into the sea through the Neendakara estuary. The District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) Kollam provides boat rides as well as houseboat cruises. The trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is one of the most popular and longest backwater cruises in Kerala. The eight-hour journey gives an intimate experience of the famed waterways. You may catch a glimpse of one of the many splendour of Ashtamudi backwaters. As the boatman gently dips his paddle, without disturbing the prevailing calm, the ripples spread out gently in the shimmering golden hue of the sun.

Kollam beaches

The charming Mahatma Gandhi beach lies at a distance of 2 km from the town at Kochupilamoodu. The white sand beaches undoubtedly take the prime spot in Kollam’s tourism map. The beach and its adjacent park attract hoards of tourists. The sun-kissed golden sand beach at Thirumullavaram is yet another popular beach attraction here. The beach at Thirumullavaram is safe for swimming and to indulge in water sports.

Thangassery Light House

The 144 ft. Thangassery Light House, built in 1902, is a centre of attraction.  The AnandaValleswaram Temple here, attracts people on almost all days.  There are several Churches and Mosques in and around Kollam.  The Pullichira Church was established in 1700 A.D.  One of the oldest and most important Mosques in the Chinnakkada Palli.  The Thangal Kunju Musliar College of Engineering, the first of its kind in the private sector in the state,  is at Kilikolloor, about 7 Kms. east of Kollam town.

Thenmala Eco Tourism Centre

Thenmala is the meeting point of Kollam-Shencottah road and Trivandrum-Shencottah road, surrounded by dense forest, 66 kms east of Kollam. There are a large number of rubber and tea plantations in Thenmala. Timber of all varieties are exported from here to all parts of the country. Themala Dam site is open for tourists. Eco tourists center is situated at Thenmala. All buses passing through Kollam-Shencottah road stop at Tenmala. There is also a Railway Station here.

Palaruvi Water Falls

The famous waterfall in Kollam District is situated at Palaruvi near Aryankavu, Kollam – Sencottah NH 208. Season to visit the places is from June to January.

Adventure Park 

This delightful amusement park is located near the Kollam bus stand and never fails to amuse kids and adults alike. 

Jetayu Para

Jetayu Para, a huge rock, is another attraction in Kollam district. This huge rock is in the Chadayamangalam village on the M.C road. The name comes from the epic Ramayana. It is believed that Jatayu, the giant bird in the epic, fell after failing in its attempt to spot Ravana from taking sita away. The rock is ideal for trekking by the lovers of adventure. The rock can be seen from the Chadayamangalam junction. itself.

Ariankavu Pilgrimage 

This pilgrimage center is located at some distance from Kollam, yet is worth the visit. The temple holds its annual festival in December and is a grand spectacle to watch out for.

Alumkadavu

Alumkadavu located at 26 Kms from Kollam City and on the lakeside of Kollam-Alappuzha National Water Way. The “Green Channel Back Water Resort” at Alumkadavu makes itself a tranquil location for both foreign and Indian Tourists. The scenic beauty of blue green stretches of serene back water and rambling gardens of hundreds of coconut palms give the Green Channel Resort an incomparable beauty.

Apart from providing tasty Kerala/North Indian/Chinese dishes the resort offers excellent facilities like comfortable accommodation, Back Water Cruise, visit to Matha Amritanandamayi Asramam, which is only 4 KM away, House Boats, Ayurvedic treatment for rejuvenation of body by qualified and experienced Ayurvedic Practioner, canal tour with the unique opportunities to experience the true village life and do fishing leisurely.

Ashramam picnic village

The Park is located along the banks of the scenic Ashtamudi Lake. Ashramam picnic village lies at a distance of 2 km from the town on a sprawling 48 acre lush foliage. There is also an excellent children’s play area inside the park. Other facilities include boat rides for enjoying the scenic backwaters and avenues to enjoy water sports. 

Amritapuri

Matha Amritanandamayi Math, one of the most popular pilgrimage centers in the state is located at Vallickavu, at a short distance from Kollam. The huge temple and Math are constructed near the place of birth of Matha Amritanandamayi Devi or Amma (meaning mother) – as she is popularly referred to. Many throng to the Math to catch a glimpse or ‘darshan’ of Amma and to seek blessings and consolation from her.

Punalur 

Having a 400 ft. long suspension bridge built in 1877 across the mighty Kallada River, which is acclaimed as the only one of its kind in South India, Punalur is a town surrounded by many plantations. The scenic town of Punalur is located at a distance of 45 km from Kollam. The famous Punalur Paper Mills which started operations way back in 1885 lies near the town. The town is a major center for trade in timber, pepper, tropical cash crops et cetera. 

Neendakara

Neendakara is the hub of Indo-Norwegian Fisheries Project, established in 1953. This small fishing hamlet is located at a distance of about 8 km north of Kollam. Neendakara is widely known for its Fishing Harbour and has a Fisheries Training Institute, ice factories, refrigeration plants, and Chinese fishing nets dotting the area.

Kulathuppuzha

The area is a favoured tourism destination for exploring the exotic tropical greenery and for catching a glimpse of wild animals. Kulathuppuzha has a famous temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. The quaint town of Kulathuppuzha is located at a distance of around 10 km from Thenmala. The area is surrounded by virgin forests, a well known safe haven for wild elephants. 

Kottarakkara 

The place where Kerala’s world-famous dance drama of Kathakali caught on and grew in popularity under the royal patronage in the 19th century. The erstwhile capital of Elayadathu Swarupam, a branch of the Travancore Royal family, is located at a distance of 27 km from Kollam. Kottarakkara has many ancient temples and churches. 

Thevally Palace 

Savour magnificent views of the beautiful Ashtamudi Lake could be enjoyed from the palace. This palace, located in Kollam town, is now open to tourists after renovations done in the recent times. This palace still holds a romantic charm, as it is the setting where a noble lady of the palace fell in love with a British officer who lived across the lake. It is said that the faithful dog of the British used to swim across the lake to deliver his masters letters to the lady. Today a crumbling pedestal stands as a memorial to the dog’s loyalty. 

Palaruvi Waterfalls

‘Palaruvi’ means a stream of milk the milky white foam of the waterfall aptly justifies its name. The mist-clad rolling hills and stunning greenery creates a perfect setting to enjoy this magnificent waterfall. This beautiful waterfall is located amidst dense tropical forests at a distance of about 75 km from Kollam.

Munore Island

This Island is 27kms. from Kollam and is formed by the backwater of Ashtamudi Lake and Kallanda River.

Nearby attractions from Kollam: From Kollam you can make excursions to places like:

Achencoil

Situated about 80 kms from Punalur is an important pilgrim center. The Sastha temple here, situated amidst dense forest. The idol of Sastha is supposed to have been installed several centuries before the Christian Era. The two important festivals of this temple are Mandala Pooja (December-January) and the festival held at ‘Revathi'(January-February). The two notable features of the festival are the Therotam (chariot festival) and Pushpabhishekam (offering of flowers). In no other temple of the South India are flowers offered to the deity so lavishly as at Achencoil.

Anchal

Situated 13 kms south of Punalur, Anchal is known for its cattle market held twice a month. The Mudi festival of the Bhagavathy temple here, conducted once every 12 years, attract huge gatherings.

Chavara

Chavara is situated 14 kms north of Kollam on the Kollam-Alappuzha road. Thousands of tonnes of mineral sand are exported from Chavara to various countries. The Kovilthottam port is situated within the limits of Chavara Panchayat. Four major industrial establishments 1.Indian Rare Earths 2.The kerala Premo Pipe factory 3.Kerala Mineral and Metal factory 4.Titanium Complex are in Chavara.

Karunagappally

Karunagappally is situated 27 kms north of  Kollam. It is linked with Kollam by rail and road. There is a mini civil station at Karunagappally .Padanayarkulangara, which forms part of the town, was once the military station at Kayamkulam Rajas. An idol of Buddha, recovered from a local tank here, is now preserved in the Krishnapuram palace the headquarters of Kayamkulam Rajas situated north of Oachira. The town has a temple dedicated to Lord Siva, two old mosques and a mar Thomas Church.

Kottarakkara

Kottarakkara is the headquarters of Kottarakkara Taluk. It is linked by both rail and road, a distance of 27 kms. It was once the capital of Elayadathu Swarupam, a principality ruled by a branch of the Travancore Royal Family. The internationally famous dance drama-Kath kali had its small beginning in this town and it flourished under the patronage of Raja of Kottarakkara.

Mayyanad

Mayyanadu,10 kms south of Kollam is noted for its shrines and temples. The most important temple is the one at Umayanallor, dedicated to Lord Subramanian. The shrine is said to have been consecrated by Shri. Sankaracharya of Kaladi. Besides the temples, there are three churches and a Mosque. Cotton weaving and oil pressing are the main occupation in the village.

Things to do at Kollam: Enjoy the lush landscape of this land by boarding a houseboat.  The eight-hour boat trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is the longest and most enchanting experience on the backwaters of Kerala. The eight-hour boat trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is the longest and most enchanting experience on the backwaters of Kerala. Kollam is the hub of India’s cashew processing industry which also make up a must buy on a shopper’s list. All the major shopping areas and the town markets have shops that sell raw and processed cashew. One can explore the place at your own sweet pace and watch the charms of nature unfold before your very eyes. This is one of the best ways to enjoy the quaint towns and the countryside. You may also enjoy a refreshing swim in one of the gorgeous beaches in Kollam. For those having an adventurous bend of mind an exhilarating trekking expedition or mountaineering in one of the many ideal settings around Kollam without much hassle is worth. Jetayu Para and Thenmala are some of the places where one can enjoy trekking. The opportunities are numerous and you are certain to enjoy trekking in the exotic wilderness of Western Ghats.

Best season to visit Kollam: The best time to visit the place is from August to March.

How to go ?

By Air

Thiruvananathapuram International Airport situated at Valiyathura is the nearest air connection which connects the city with other major Indian and international cities. Indian Airlines has connections with Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai while overseas cities include cities in the middle east, Male and Sri Lanka.

By Rail

Kollam is an important railhead of the south railways where all the major trains on the route take a halt.

By Road

An excellent network of roads connect Kollam with other cities in Kerala. KSTRC (Kerala State Road Transport Corporation) buses ply regularly between Kollam and other neighbouring cities.

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Where to stay ?

There are a adequate accommodation facilities in Kollam. Some options are:

Tourist Lodge (KSTDC): +91-0474-2745538
Hotel Sudarsan: +91-0474-2744322 Website: www.hotelsudarsan.com
Hotel Kailash Residency:  +91-0474-2766511
Hotel Karthika: +91-0474-2745538

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Periyar

Periyar National Park, Kerala – The retreat of the wilds

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Periyar National Park spanning over an area of 777 sq. km is the hub of the wild animals. It is known as an elephant and tiger reserve. The place is located in between the Cardamom Hills and Pandalam Hills. It lies in the south of Western Ghats along the border with state of Tamil Nadu in India.  In the year 1978 Periyar was declared a tiger reserve. Periyar wildlife sanctuary has a picturesque lake at the heart of the sanctuary. Formed with the creation of the dam in 1895, this reservoir meanders around the contour of the wooded hills. This lake forms a permanent source of water for the local wildlife.

Places to see in Periyar: Apart from the varieties of wild life species there are also some spots to see at Periyar which are described below:

Kumily 

Just 4-kms from Periyar, Kumily is a growing town where tourism is fast catching up just like the spice trade, the major occupation of this small town. The town is also well equipped with the excellent hotels and resorts for accommodation.

Cradomom Hills 

Periyar and Kumily are the most convenient points from which visitors can easily explore Kerala’s beautiful Cardamom hills. There are all kinds of trips via jeep or taxi to the hills and if you can get a group together, these trips work out as a good travel value.

Nearby attractions around Periyar: The park is in itself the attractions of the area. There are varied wild life species in Periyar. Apart from Elephants, the other animals to be seen in the Periyar sanctuary are Gaur, Wild Pigs, Sambar, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Dole or Indian Wild Dog and very rarely, a Tiger. There are, now, an estimated 40 tigers here. Four species of primates are found at Periyar – the rare lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri Langur, Common Langur and Bonnet Macaque. Periyar also happens to be the habitat of the elusive Nilgiri Tahr, which is rarely to be seen. The birdlife comprises of Darters, Cormorants, Kingfishers, the great Malabar Hornbill and racket-tailed Drongoes. The reptilian population boasts Of Monitor Lizards that can be spotted basking in the sun, on the rocks along the lakeshore. Visitors who trek into the Periyar national park often see a Python and sometimes even a King Cobra.

Things to do at Periyar: Enjoy the boat cruises which are the best option to check out the wilds of Periyar Sanctuary. Today the PeriyarLake presents an excellent boating spot for tourists. Although it is unusual to see many animals from the boats, still you spot a family of Elephants, Wild Boar, and Sambar Deer by the water’s edge. The upper deck is best for wildlife viewing when taking a boat cruise, but better turn up half an hour early to get the best seat. To maximise you chances, take the 7.00 am boat.

Best time to visit Periyar: The best season to visit Periyar wildlife sanctuary is from the months of October and June.

How to go ?

 By Air

Kochi (Cochin) Airport is located at a distance 200-kms or Madurai in Tamil Nadu at 140-kms are the nearest airports from Periyar.

By Rail

Kottayam at 114-kms is the nearest railhead from Periyar.

By Road

Kumily, the nearest town from Periyar is well served by both state and private buses from Kottayam, Ernakulam and Madurai in Tamil Nadu.

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Where to stay ?

There are plenty of private hotels and lodges and also government guest houses available in Periyar. Some options are:

Periyar House (KSTDC): +91-04869-222026
Aranya Niwas (KSTDC): +91-04869-222589
Hotel Treetop: +91-4869, 223286, 223287  Website: www.hoteltreetop.com
Hotel High Range Residency: +91-04869224654, 09249123898  Website: www.highrangeresidency.com
Hotel Regent Tower:  +91-04869-322570, 322670

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala – The land of lush greenary, famous for the mesmerizing Kovalam Beach

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Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala is famous for the mesmerizing Kovalam Beach. Bound by the Arabian Sea in the west and Tamil Nadu in the east the place is named after Anantha Padmanabha or Lord Vishnu. The city is home to many ancient temples. Thiruvananthapuram is bestowed with immense greenery. This place is also an ideal picnic spot. The wooded highlands of the Western ghats in the background make the place even more panoramic. The cleanliness and the greenery of the place are an attracts many tourists throughout the year.

Places to see in Thiruvanthapuram: Thiruvananthapuram is dotted with a number of sight seeing locations.

Padmanabha Swamy Temple

This temple is Dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The architecture is a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture located inside the East Fort. One among rare Vishnu temples in, the presiding deity here is of Lord Vishnu reclining on Anantha the Serpent. The temple is a place for art lovers and is also known for its mural paintings and stone carvings.

Agasthyakoodam

Agasthyakoodam is the second highest peak in Kerala and is also a part of Sahyadri range of mountains, at a height of 1890 metres above sea level. Teeming with wildlife, the forests of Agasthyakoodam abound in rare medicinal herbs and plants and brilliantly hued orchids. A bird watchers paradise, this legendary mountain is accessible by foot from Kotoor, near Neyyar Dam, as also from Bonacaud. The season from December to April is advocated for trekking.

Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum

This is a rare specimen of workmanship in the traditional Travancore style of architecture. It is also known for exquisite wood carvings and was built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma – the King of Travancore, who was a great poet, musician, social reformer and statesman. The palace museum displays paintings and various priceless collections of the royal family and is located near the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple .

Padmanabhapuram Palace

The magnificent palace is situated at Thuckalai, on the way to Kanyakumari which once the seat of the erstwhile rulers of Travancore. This is a well preserved wooden palace, a glorious testimony to the traditional Kerala School of architecture. The extraordinary murals, exquisite floral carvings and the black glossy granite floor have withstood the test of time.

Veli Tourist Village

This picnic spot, where the Veli Lake meets the Arabian Sea , offers boating facilities. Pedal boats can be hired to explore the charms of the lagoon in a leisurely manner. For a quick ride over the waters, speedboats are available for hire. Children enjoy climbing over the huge sculptures which dot the landscape.

Ponmudi

An ideal hill station with meandering path and cool, green, wooded environment, Ponmudi is located 915 metres above the sea level. Along with a variety of beautiful mountain flowers, exotic butterflies, small rivulets, springs and the deer park nearby, this hill station also has excellent trekking trails.

Napier Museum 

The NapierMuseum is another tourist spot in Thiruvananthapuram which has a good collection of bronzes, ivory carvings, ancient musical instruments and life-size figures of Kathakali dancers. The art collection at the SriChitraArtGallery contains paintings of the Mughal, Tanjore and Rajput schools and a special section, devoted exclusively to the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. There are, also, works of art from , Bali, and . The Zoological Gardens are, said to be, among the well-planned zoos in Asia . The Botanical Garden within the zoo consist of almost every tropical tree existing. The Observatory, located on the highest point of the city, is one of the impressive architectural landmarks of Thiruvananthapuram.

Kerala Legislature Complex

Located at Palayam, this is the new building where the Legislative Assembly of Kerala located. With its towering dome, exquisitely carved galleries, ornate teak panelling and ceiling, combined with the most modern acoustic treatment and state-of-the-art sound systems, the hall is a beautiful blend of classical grandeur and modernity.

Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave  

There are  rock cut sculptures of the 18th century in the cave temple at Vizhinjam. The granite cave here encloses a one-celled shrine with a loose sculpture of Vinandhara Dakshinamurthi. The outer wall of the cave depicts half complete reliefs of the Hindu God Shiva with Goddess Parvathi.

Varkala

Varkala is a land of  seaside resort and spa. It is a renowned Hindu centre of pilgrimage. The final resting place of the great social reformer, Sree Narayana Guru, is near Varkala, atop a hill called Sivagiri. High cliffs with mineral springs rise majestically from the coastline. According to a myth, sage Narada was approached by a group of mendicants who confessed to having sinned. Narada threw his valkkalam(cloth made of the bark of a tree) into the air, and the place where it landed was subsequently named Varkala. The mendicants were directed by Narada to offer their prayers in the newly created place by the seashore. The place where they prayed for redemption, came to be known as the Papanasham Beach ( Papanasham means redemption from sins). The 2000 year old Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple and the Nature Care Centre are the two main attractions here.

Nearby attractions from Thiruvananthapuram: Thiruvananthapuram also offers many nearby tourist destinations which are worth a visit apart from sight seeing.

Aruvippuram

Located 24 km from Kollam, attracts numerous devotees to the Shiva temple here during the Shivratri festival. A small waterfall nearby makes it an attractive picnic spot.

Kanyakumari

Just 87 kms from Trivandrum, Kanyakumari is the southernmost part of the Indian mainland. Here the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea converge. Kanyakumari has great religious importance for the Hindus. The place is devoted to the Goddess Devi Kanya, an incarnation of Parvati, Lord Shiva’s wife. Pilgrims visit the temple and bathe in the holy waters here. Another major tourist attraction here is the Vivekananda Memorial, built about 400 metres offshore. Swami Vivekananda meditated here in 1892 before embarking on a journey to introduce religious reforms throughout the country. The mandapam built in his memory here reflects architectural styles from all over the country.

Kovalam

16 kms away from Trivandrum lies Kovalam, an internationally renowned beach. The beach has been popular among tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930s. The beach offers plenty of leisure optionsicluding sunbathing, swimming and herbal body toning massages. Special cultural programmes are also held here. Kovalam was further developed as seaside resort by the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC). The beach complex includes the Ashoka Beach Resort, low-budget cottages, Ayurvedic health centres, shopping zones, and swimming pools. 

Neyyar Dam

Located 32 km from Trivandrum, the Neyyar Dam is a popular picnic spot with a lake and a dam. One can enjoy boating in the lake formed by the dam across the NeyyarRiver. Apart from boating, one can also visit the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary has animals like elephants, tigers wild buffaloes, wild boar, porcupines and a variety of snakes. A crocodile breeding centre and a lion safari park are also near the dam site.

Things to do at Thiruvananthapuram: Apart from sight seeing, savour the natural beauty of the place. You can also go for picnics with your close friends or families in the various spots.

Best time to visit Thiruvananthapuram: October and November are the peak tourist season, as the climate remains pleasant.

How to go ?

By Air

The city has its own international airport which is well-connected with different cities across the globe. The airport has direct flights to major Indian cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin and Bangalore as well as has direct flights from Singapore, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Middle East cities.

By Train

The Trivandrum Central railway station is situated within the city and is well-linked with major Indian cities like New Delhi, Kokata, Mumbai, Chennai, Guwahati, Indore, Bangalore and many others.

By Bus

Trivandrum’s bus station is situated right next to the railway station. There are regular buses to nearby cities like Cochin, Bangalore, Madurai, Coimbatore and Chennai.

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Where to stay ?

There are both government and non government accommodation facilities in Thiruvananthapuram.

Hotel Chaitram (KSTDC): +91-0471-2323485
Hotel Mascot: +91-0471-2318990
Greenland Lodging: +91- 0471- 232 3196
Hotel Chola International: +91- 0471- -2334334

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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