Kovalam is an internationally renowned beach with three adjacent crescent beaches. It has been a favourite haunt of tourists since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse. Sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes and catamaran cruising are some of them.
Located 51 km north of Thiruvananthapuram city in Thiruvananthapuram district and 37 km south of Kollam, south Kerala. Varkala has several tourist attractions that include a beautiful beach, a 2000-year-old Vishnu Temple and the Ashramam - Sivagiri Mutt a little distance from the beach. The Papanasam Beach (also called as Varkala Beach), is renowned for a natural spring, which is considered to have medicinal and curative properties. A dip in the holy waters at this beach is believed to purge the body of impurities and the soul of all sins; hence the name 'Papanasam Beach'. A two thousand-year-old shrine the Janardhanaswamy Temple stands on the cliffs overlooking the beach, a short distance away. The Sivagiri Mutt, founded by the great religious reformer and philosopher Sree Narayana Guru is also close by. The Samadhi (the final resting place) of the Guru here attracts thousands of devotees every year during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days.
Ponmudi is an idyllic hill station 61 kilometers from Thiruvanathapuramwith winding pathways and cool, green, wooded environs, Ponmudi is located 915 meters 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. Kallar, situated en route to Ponmudi is a river well known for its abundance of attractive round shaped boulders and pebbles. A hill tribe called Kani live in the surrounding areas. Ponmudi has a deer park. Meenmutty Falls is one of the major attractions near Ponmudi. Themala is another beautiful hill station neighbouring to this destination.
PADMANABHA SWAMI TEMPLE:
PADMANABHA SWAMI TEMPLE Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple is a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture. The temple stands close to the holy tank called Padma Theertham which means ‘lotus spring’. One among rare Vishnu temples in, the presiding deity here is of Lord Vishnu reclining on Anantha Serpent. The temple is a place for art lovers and is also known for its mural paintings and stone carvings. It is estimated that the value of the monumental assets of the temple partially revealed are close to Rs1,00,000crore (US 16 billion). Golden idol of the sanctum sanctorum can only be viewed through three doors which are kept few feet apart.
Jatayu Earth’s Center:
Jatayu Earth’s Center or Jatayu Nature Park is named after the mythical bird from Ramayana - Jatayu, who tried to rescue Sita from Ravana. Located in Chadayamangalam Village in the Kollam district (50KM from Trivandrum), this rock theme park is a treat to the eyes as well as the senses for travellers because it’s one-of-a-kind in the whole country. The park promotes mythology, adventure and wellness; it is spread across a sprawling 65 acres of land. The highlight of the park is the giant sculpture of Jatayu, which is 200 feet long, 150 feet broad, and 70 feet high with a floor area of 15,000 square feet. That makes it the world’s biggest bird sculpture. Interestingly, the sculpture sits at the spot where Jatayu took his last breath. Locals believe that this is where the mythical bird fell after being struck down by Ravana.
The Magic Planet crafted with the aim to provide an overall experience that touches the audience on multiple levels. The splendid architectural build ups, magical characters, thrilling theatre shows, world class amenities and above all refreshing weather conditions is something that brings about a unique experience in the minds of any visitor. The one day entertainment is designed to provide entire family members with variety of magical treats filled with non-stop wonders. Spend a day at this paradise and enjoy the never ending rhythm of magic.
VELI TOURIST VILLAGE:
VELI TOURIST VILLAGE Situated 8 km from Thiruvanathapuram, 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. The Veli tourist village has a children’s park and a Floating Cafe by the Kerala Tourism development Corporation. The tourist village is well known for its serenity and attractiveness and also the activities it provides. The nearby attractions are the Shanghumughom beach, Akkulam Lake and the Akkulam Tourist Village. Veli tourist village lies on the outskirts of the city and is only about 8km away from Thiruvananthapuram.
LOTUS ASHRAM is located in Pothencode, Thiruvananthapuram District , Kerala . The ashram was founded by Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru and is recognized as a Social and Scientific Research Organization by the Government of India . The followers of Karunakara Guru have built a beautiful monument called Parnasala in the shape of a blooming lotus in white Makrana marble in the Ashram compound. This unique structure took 10 years for completion. It was inaugurated by the President of India Pratibha Devi Patil on 13 August 2010 and was opened for prayers and worship on 12 September 2010. Apart from its spiritual sanctity, The Lotus Parnasala of the Ashram has become a landmark of Trivandrum and is attracting lots of tourists.
Napier Museum is an art and natural history museum situated in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), the capital city of Kerala, India. The museum is about 6 km from the city. Museum is open on all days except Monday and holidays. Established in 1855 by the then Governor of Madras, Lord Napier, it houses some of the rare collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. It also contains the Sri Chitra Art Gallery, which contains works from Raja Ravi Varma and Nicholas Roerich, as well as examples of Mughal and Tanjore art. The Museum grounds also hold a Zoological garden. The architectural masterpiece was designed by Robert Chisholm.
The Thiruvananthapuram Zoo (also known as Trivandrum Zoo), located in heart of the city of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, India. It occupies 55 acres of woodland, lakes, and lawns. It is the oldest zoo in Asia. It was established by Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma, who ruled Travancore between 1830 and 1847, where royal tigers, panthers, cheetahs, deer, boar, and other wild animals were kept. His brother Uthram Thirunal and British Resident William Cullen formally establish the zoo in 1857 as an annex to the Napier Museum. The Zoo houses 82 species from around the world. Indigenous species at the zoo include lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, Indian rhinoceros, Asiatic lion, royal Bengal tiger, white tiger and leopard, as well a nine Asian elephants. Animals from Africa include giraffes, hippos, zebras, and Cape buffalos. The zoo also includes a snake farm which exhibits both poisonous and non-poisonous snakes and also has 7 Anacondas.
Ayurveda, the science of life and longevity, is the oldest healthcare system in the world and it combines the profound thoughts of medicine and philosophy. Kerala is one of the best Ayurveda tourism destinations in India. Kerala is perhaps one of the few places on Earth where a temperature of 24-28 degrees is maintained during a period of continuous rain. This prevalence of moisture in the air and on the surface of the skin makes it the ideal place for natural medicines to work at their highest levels of potency. The land is also blessed with innumerous medicinal plants and provides the continuity and consistency of Ayurveda medicines needed for effective treatment procedures. Kerala Ayurveda is famous for its 5 prolonged treatment, named as Panchakarma. As part of this treatment medicated oil, herbs, milk, and special diet are used to cure all types of aliments.
Considered among the oldest and most scientific martial arts in the world, Kalaripayattu was developed in Kerala. Lauded as the pride of Kerala, it is acknowledged and respected across the world. It is considered the most scientific type of martial art form in the world and can only be performed by well-trained artists who posses the unique skills required to withstand the training.
KERALA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY MUSEUM & PRIYADARSHINI PLANETARIUM:
Founded in the year 1984 by the Government of Kerala, Kerala Science and Technology Museum is one of the best museums in Trivandrum. The aim of the museum is to spread the importance of technology and science in the state. Kerala Science and Technology Museum has ten galleries with over 300 items on display. Every display is related to field of engineering or science. There are dedicated galleries for bio-medical engineering, electronics, electrical, automobile, solar energy, popular science and mechanical. That is not all, there are galleries dedicated to computer science, mathematics as well as space science.
The museum complex also has a planetarium called Priyadarshini Planetarium, functional from 1994. After this, Children's Science Park and Mobile Science Exhibition unit were other additions. The other attraction here, which opened in 2005, is a Play Park that has 13 playing devices, offering learning while one is playing. Some of the popular ones include Energy Ball, Digital Weighing Machine, Energy Park, Edusat Talk Back Terminal, and 3D Theatre. The planetarium is only at 4 Kms from airport and Central railway station.
GOVERNMENT SECRETARIAT & KERALA LEGISLATURE COMPLEX:
The Kerala Government Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram is the seat of administration of the Government of Kerala, housing important ministries and bureaucratic offices. It is the highest echelon of state administrative structure offering locus for the exercise of authority by state Government. The secretariat refers to the complex of departments. Its political heads are the ministers while the administrative heads are the Secretaries to the Government. The Government Secretariat is a popular landmark and located in Narmada Road. The Secretariat complex was originally constructed as Durbar Hall for Travancore Kingdom. The construction was supervised by the then Dewan, T. Madhava Rao, whose statue now stands across the road opposite the building.
Kerala Legislature Complex: Located at Palayam, the building where the Legislative Assembly of Kerala meets is a beautiful blend of classical and modern splendour. Situated adjacent to the Legislative Assembly complex, the Legislature Museum throws light into the political history of the State.
Kanyakumari district, which lies in the southern-most tip of Peninsular India, is famous for its majestic hills, virgin beaches, pristine rivers has created a beautiful bay of calm waters for sea bathing. The 600 years old Padmanabhapuram palace and the Cape Comerin/ Kanyakumari beach are in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. They are historically related to Kerala and are at distances 60 and 90km respectively, only about two hours journey by road from Thiruvananthapuram. One can enjoy the exuberant scenes of the sunsets and the sunrises, especially on full moon days.
Kumarakom, situated 178.9 kms away from Thiruvananthapuram city is a sleepy little village on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala. It offers wide variety of flora, exotic sightseeing, boating and fishing experience. The bird sanctuary spread across 14 acres is safe home for many migratory birds like Siberian stork, wild duck etc. They live with other birds in flocks such as darters, herons, egret, waterfowls and cuckoos and are fascinating sight for the visitors. It is one of the foremost travel destinations on the planet and a crown jewel of Kerala tourism. The legendary backwaters of Kumarakom have brought visitors from far and wide to its shores. The dancing palm trees and the exquisite houseboats are just an added advantage.
THEKKADY is s ituated 205 km from Thiruvanathapuram, Thekkady is known for its pristine images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice-scented plantations. ThePeriyar forest of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunities. The Forest Department of Thekkady offers facilities for elephant rides through the jungle. Over 1965 flowering plants including 171 grass species 143 species of orchids. The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River adds to the charm of the park. Sanctuary can be accessed through trekking, boating or jeep safari.
Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala, 1,600m above sea level also considered the highest peak Anamudi, in South India. This hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji. This flower which bathes the hills in blue once in every twelve years will bloom next in 2018 This park is famous for its endangered inhabitant - the Nilgiri Tahr. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2,695 m above sea level. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.
SILENT VALLEY NATIONAL PARK:
Silent Valley National Park is a national park located in the Northeast corner of Palakkad district. It has a core area of 89.52 sq. km, which is surrounded by a buffer zone of 148 sq km. This area was explored in 1847 by the botanist Robert Wight. The national park is one of the last undisturbed tracts of South Western Ghats mountain rain forests and tropical moist evergreen forest in India. From tigers, leopards, elephants, snakes, Lion-Tailed Macaques and Malabar Giant Squirrels to moths, bugs and toads, the diversity in fauna is breath-taking. Along with them one can view over 1000 species of flowering plants and another 110 species of orchids that enchant all who see them. Over 400 species of moths and 200 species of butterflies have been catalogued here. The 128 species of beetles deserves special mention since 10 of them were previously unknown to mankind.
The area was called 'Sairandhrivanam' as it was considered this was where Sairandhiri (the secret identity donned by Panchali, from the epic Mahabharata) hid along with her five husbands, the Pandavas, while escaping their cruel cousins, the Kauravas. The Kunthippuzha River which feeds the entire forest was named after Kunthi, mother of the Pandavas.
BACKWATERS OF KERALA
The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (known as the Malabar Coast) of Kerala state in southern India. The network includes five large lakes linked by canals, both man made and natural, fed by 38 rivers, and extending virtually half the length of Kerala state. The backwaters were formed by the action of waves and shore currents creating low barrier islands across the mouths of the many rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats range.
The Ashtamudi Kayal, known as the gateway to the backwaters, covers about 30 per cent of Kollam. Sasthamcotta Kayal, the large fresh water lake is 28.5 km from Kollam city. The 8 hours boat ride from Kollam to Alappuzha is the longest cruise in Kerala and is delightful ride with lotuses and water lilies all around. The historic Thangasseri Fort is near Kollam, which is situated 71 km north of Thiruvananthapuram.
ALLEPPY BACKWATERS Also known as Alapuzha, Aleppey has some captivating scenery of lush greenery, canals and waterways. One of the most well-known backwaters of Kerala and a major contributor to the tourism of this south Indian state, is the backwaters of Alleppey. Cruising along the serene backwaters is an absolutely divine experience and you actually feel like being ‘one with nature’. Located around 62 km southward of Kochi, the backwaters of Alappuzha connect to those of Kochi and Kumarakom. Explore the tranquil backwaters by going aboard a traditional houseboat.
Paravur is one of the wonderful backwater destinations and a Municipal town situated in the Kollam district of Kerala state. The beautiful lakes and sea coast in Paravur attract visitors and foreigners. The main attraction is the interconnection of Paravur Kayal lake (part of a system of backwaters) and the Arabian sea. There is a coastal road in between Paravur & Kollam. This road starts in the western end of Paravur town, passing through the land between the banks of Arabian sea and Paravur Kayal(lake). The 14 km journey along this particular road is an amazing experience for travelers. There are three resorts in Paravur. Among them, one is situated in the middle of beautiful Paravur lake.
WATER FALLS OF KERALA
ATHIRAPALLY WATER FALLS:
Athirapally waterfalls are one of the best waterfalls in India and one of the most famous tourist places in Kerala & one of the popular weekend getaways from Kochi, Coimbatore & Munnar. These are magnificent waterfalls on Chalakudy River located at the entrance to Sholayar hill range in Thrissur district.
KEEZHARUKUTHU WATER FALLS:
At a distance of 30 Kms from Idukki, 63 Kms from Munnar and 20 Kms from Thodupuzha, Keezharkuthu Waterfalls (also known as Rainbow Waterfalls) is a popular tourist sport near Idukki. It is a cascading waterfalls falling through several steps from a height of over 1500 meters. It is also an ideal place for rock climbing & mountaineering. This place is good to visit throughout the year. The Rainbow waterfall at Keezharkuthu never disappoints a traveller. This waterfall retains its charm in all seasons. Keezharkuthu also offers options for trekking, rock climbing and mountaineering. Night camping is another attraction of the place.
PALARUVI WATERFALLS is at a distance of 81 km from Kollam, 29 kms from Tenkasi & 86 km from Trivandrum, Palaruvi Waterfalls are wonderful waterfalls located on Kollam - Tenkasi road, at a distance of 11 Kms from Thenmala Dam on Kerala -Tamil Nadu border. The word Palaruvi means stream of milk in Malayalam. Falling from a height of 300 feet, it is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Kerala. It is a favorite picnic spot for visitors from all over south India. The water falls into a small pool and this place is ideal for swimming. There are seperate locations for kids and ladies to bath here. The falls are close to the main road needs little walk from the road.
SOOCHIPARA WATERFALLS is at a distance of 24 km from Kalpetta & 46 km from Sulthan Bathery, Soochipara Waterfalls (also known as Sentinel Rock Waterfalls) is located inside thick forest at a distance of 13 km from Meppadi town. Soochipara Waterfalls is a 3 tiered waterfall, dropping from a height of about 200 meter. The waterfall cascades down into a large pool, which is a good place for swimming. This place is also an exciting trekking destination. Visitors have to trek down for about 2 km to reach the falls from the road point through slippery and rocky path. The trekking is of easy level, which takes about 30 minutes one way. There are high chances that visitors may get a glimpse of wildlife like.
NYAYAMAKAD WATERFALLS (NEAR MUNNAR):
NYAYAMAKAD WATERFALLS is at a distance of 10 Kms from Munnar, Nyayamakad Waterfalls is one of the highest cascading falls in Kerala. It is located on Munnar - Udamalpet road close to the entrance of Eravikulam National Park. It is one of the best waterfalls around Kerala. The water here drops from a height of more than 1500 meters cascading through rocks over several steps. The water is collected into a big pool at the bottom which is great place to spend some time. This waterfall Is close to the Rajamalai entrance and can be visited along with Rajamalai / Eravikulam Park. It needs about 10 minutes walk from the main road. Trekking is a popular activity here.
ART FORMS OF KERALA
Kerala is a land of arts and festivals. It has everything to entertain the people all over the world. In the arena of arts and festivals Kathakali is the best exposure of visual treat. It has mudras (palm and hand mode of expressions) Kathakali is an art with mudras. Those who know the meaning of mudras can enjoy kathakali. It has enriched with the character s and which are taken from puranas and myths of Hindu culture.
Kathakali, a form of ritual dance drama, originated in Kerala during the late sixteenth century. It combines devotion, drama, dance, music, costumes and make up into a divine experience for all who get to view it. It retells the great stories of the past, mostly from Indian epics, and leaves one spellbound at the various intricacies involved in the performance. Every single quiver of the lips, flicker of the eyes or a movement involving the fingers twirling, has great significance. The entire performance sees the audience unable to take their eyes away from the spectacle taking place on stage.
Mohiniyattam is a graceful art form and it can be defined as a classic dance vision of Kerala. As a dance form, Mohiniyattam is attractive and it has tradition over hundreds of years. It has everything to entertain the audience. Mohiniyattam gives you a visual treat. 16th century is the originated period of Mohiniyattam. Basically, the art form Mohiniyattam reveals something colorful and it has everything that you would prefer from an art form. It plays in a solo mode of dance. In the arena of Indian classical dance division, Mohiniyattam takes an important role. It's one of the eight Indian classical dances. This art form gets worldwide approval and hundreds of foreign women are coming every year to practice Mohiniyattam. The Kerala Kalamandalam particularly takes interest to promote Mohiniyattam.
ChakkiarKoothu with a tradition of more than hundred years is a satire form of art based on socio-political affairs, has everything to entertain everyone. It creates lot of laughter and the subject of ChakkiarKoothu reveals some contemporary events. The Chakkiar is a joker and he makes the gestures and telling jokes to entertain the audience. It's an art form with much specialty. The Kathakali and ChakkiarKooths, the art form of Kerala entertains hundreds of foreign visitors every year. It has everything that you would prefer from an art form especially with lot of humor and dramatic expressions. The ChakkiarKoothu and Kathakali are very colorful entertaining art forms of Kerala and which have to preserve for the coming generations.
NangyarKoothu a solo performance, is a traditional art form of Kerala, it has an ancestry over 1500 years performed by females especially by Ambalavasi Nambiar women . It's an allied display art very close to Koodiyaattom and a diversified facet of Sanskrit drama. The women from other castes or religion would not permitted to perform NangyarKoothu. The NangyarKoothu presenter is known as Nangyaramma. It's enriched with satire and humor gives laughter opportunities a lot. Sree Krishna Charitham is the theme normally plays as NangyarKoothu in every temple venues. Hand gestures, facial expressions etc. are using to perform NangyarKoothu. The resonant pot drum known as “Mizhavu”would be always accompanies NangyarKoothu performing stages. It's very special women dominated art form of Kerala.
Theyyam is one of the very popular ritual and art form of north Kerala. Theyyam rituals are very colorful. North Malbar in Kerala conduct varieties of Theyyam rituals and are of different types. The ritual art form Theyyam has very ancient tradition, believed to be an ancestry over 1500 years. The Theyyams are the visual art form of Gods. The names of Theyyam are very interesting like PottanTheyyam, KandanarkelanTheyamm etc. North Malabarof Kerala is very famous all over the world especially with the Theyyam rituals. It's difficult to imagine about North Malabar of Kerala, without Theyyams and other colorful temple rituals.
Kerala, Thrissupooram, Panchavadhyam etc. are linked with the fame all over the world. Without Panchavadhyam and Thrissur Pooram, there is no soul to Kerala. Panchavadhyam is a very typical and interesting orchestra of Kerala. There are five instruments are using to present Panchavadhyam. Thimila, Maddalam, Ilathalm, Edakka and Kombu are the five instruments involved with Panchavadhyam. Temples of Kerala are venues for Panchavadhyam. This temple art form is well known all over the world. The Panchavadhyam presentation gives you very auspicious moments. It would really lead you the evoking world of joy and rejoice. The world famous Thrissur Pooram is the most known venue of Panchavadhyam. Pallavur Appu Marar was the master of Panchavadhyam. Kerala orchestral art form Panchavadhyam is very unique in every aspect.
Ottamthullal is a unique art form of Kerala which dates back to 1700's. It's a satirical form of art and one man show that gives many opportunities for laughter, it's an art with mocking with contemporary relevant subjects. The humor poet Kunjan Nambiar is the inventor of Ottamthullal. The classical principles of Natyashastra wisely used with Ottamthullal. It's a very effective art form with a lot of fun. Now, in Kerala temples, this unique art seems not played much. Ottamthullal is an art deserves attention and the new generation have to show much interest to study and practice. Malayalam is presenting language of ottamthullal.
CUISINES OF KERALA
Foreign influence on the cuisine of Kerala is marked, with each religion from Muslims to Syrian Christians developing their own cuisine and style of preparation . The food of Kerala is one that needs no introduction. It's simple, zesty, flavorful, and offers an intelligent combination of potential spices. Unlike the cuisines of its neighboring states, Kerala prides itself on being predominantly non-vegetarian.
PUTTU AND KADALA:
Kerala has a variety of Breakfast dishes like Puttu and Kadla Curry, Appam with Mutton or Crab or Egg, Idiappam with Egg Roast and the like. A type of steam cake, 'Puttu' is made from rice flour and steamed in long hollow bamboo or metal cylinders. Depending on the taste preference, Puttu can be had with steamed bananas and sugar or with a spicy curry.
Sadya means “banquet” in Malayalam A traditional feast in Kerala, it is usually served as a lunch. Tradition insists that tapering end of the leaf points to the left of the seated guest. The dishes are served on a specific places on a special order. Rice is served on the lower half of the leaf.
Ada Pradhaman is an yummy,traditional Kerala dessert recipe (Payasam) that is made specially during Onam and Vishu. Onam sadya would not be complete without Ada pradhaman. Payasam especially Ada payasam, be it palada payasam (prepared with rice ada, milk and sugar) or ada pradhaman (prepared with jaggery, rice ada and coconut milk) is especially popular during the festival of Onam. It is an integral part of Onam Sadhya Menu. Other deserts include tender coconut pudding and soufflés etc.
Blessed with a 36,000 sq. km marine water spread and about 3600 sq km of inland water bodies, the coastal state of Kerala ranks as the largest fish landing state in peninsular India. Naturally, this ensures that seafood forms an integral part of the cuisine of Kerala. In fact, Seafood in Kerala is very popular, to the extent that Kerala cuisine is incomplete without a seafood dish being consumed with every meal. The seafood is cooked in many methods using coconut milk, wrapping the fish in a banana leaf or simply frying the fish with lots of spices.
This delicacy from the Malabar region of Kerala is very popular among Biriyani lovers. is a rice-based dish blended with spices and chicken. Biriyani is a non vegetarian rice variety. This delicacy from the Malabar region of Kerala is very popular among Biriyani lovers. The dish does not use basmati rice. Biryani is an exotic dish of Mughal origin, but this variant is an indigenous recipe of Malabar. It is a symbol of the cultural amalgamation of Mughal and Malabari cuisines.