Kerala Travel Guide

India

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Introducing Kerala

Located in southern India, Kerala is replete with major tourist attractions set against stunning backdrops. Legend has it that Lord Parsurama created Kerala as a separate land, and hence it is called God’s own country. It is home to astonishingly beautiful tea and coffee plantations in hilly areas as well as dense forests. There are also spice gardens and paddy fields that contribute to the lush green landscape, courtesy of heavy rainfall in the state. With about 600 kms of coastline, splendid backwaters and sunny beaches, it is a paradise for nature lovers where one can really enjoy being laid back and soak in the views. Kerala makes for great destination to experience outdoor activities and water sporting opportunities – think bathing under waterfalls, visiting national parks, living in houseboats, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, hiking, biking etc. Kerala has rich architectural, cultural and culinary heritage.
Top Cities of Kerala

 

Must Know Facts

Best Time to Visit

Lined by the Western Ghats and the sea, Kerala enjoys an equable climate despite being close to the equator. It is a tropical state blessed with a pleasant atmosphere throughout the year, making it ideal to visit at any time. The more prominent seasons here are the monsoon and summer. The dry season lasts from December to February and the hot, humid summer lasts from March to the end of May. Kerala receives a lot of rainfall and the monsoon season last from the end of May to the end of November. Winter is marked by small dip in the temperature from the normal range of 27-32°C. The pleasant climate enhances the joy of exploring Kerala’s flora and fauna as well as to venture outdoors. And yet the best time to visit can be marked from September to March. It is also a great idea to visit during the snake boat race or the festive season (Onam).
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History & Culture

Kerala's history is closely connected with trade and commerce. Vasco Da Gama first sailed to in India via Kerala. Travellers and traders from across the world including the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Portuguese, Chinese, Dutch, French and British came to buy spices, wood etc. These people influenced the culture of the state in some form or the other. It has diverse religious traditions and its own language is Malayalam. Kerala boasts of an advanced educational system and the highest literacy rate in the country.

It upholds a high standard of health services and the highest life expectancy rate. Another noteworthy element in the Keralite culture is the high social status of the women of Kerala, owing to the formerly practiced matrilineal kinship system. Its rich cultural heritage also includes traditional dance forms like Kathakali, enacting stories from the great Indian epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Another martial dance form of Kerala is Kalaripayattu. from the intricately carved temples to elegant dance forms and piping hot dosas, a trip to Kerala ticks all the criterion that make for a great vacation. 
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Geography

The state of Kerala is situated on the south-west edge of India, flanked by the Western Ghats on the eastern side and the Arabian Sea on the western side. The state has a long coastline and almost the entire area is shaded from the tropical sun by coconut trees. There are also very many paddy fields that dot the landscape. The state is divided into three geographical terrains – the highlands, the midlands and the coastline. The highlands slope from the Western Ghats onto the midlands, giving rise to hills and valleys. The weather makes it conducive to grow tea and coffee in the highlands and lush green forests covers the valley. Even rubber and spices are grown abundantly in Kerala. The picturesque and tranquil coastline features backwaters, interconnected with canals and rivers. Naturally, the main means of transportation here is by water. Kerala has 14 districts and the capital being Trivandrum. It shares the border with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka lies to its north.

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Things to Do in Kerala

Kumarakom makes for an ideal escape, far from the chaos of the city. Since it is located on the east shore of the Vembanad lake, an ideal evening here is spent cruising and peacefully watching the sun set towards west. You may choose to cruise in houseboats, motor boats, shikaras or even speed boats – but really, slow and silent is the way to go while you are amidst the backwaters. You may opt to dine while on the cruise and even stay the night.
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Apart from the outdoor activities to be enjoyed in the serene backwaters of Kumarakom, a leisurely visit to the beach is a must. At the beach you can indulge in thrilling and extreme activities – from water skiing, wind surfing, parasailing to more laid-back one like boating, sunbathing and swimming. The best time to visit Kumarakom beach is in winter when the scorching heat takes a backseat.  The beach is home to many hotels and resorts that offer many water sporting opportunities.
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The Alleppey region houses many stunning waterways including the Vembanad Lake. The islands here are also dream destinations for bird watchers – especially the Parathimanal Island. Located at a distance of about 50 kms from Kumarakom, this island is one of the many that surround the lake. It is only accessible by boat – you can take a boat ride from Alapuzzha to here. It is a safe haven for a wide range of migratory birds like Cotton Pygmy-Goose, Night Heron, Little Comorant, Purple Heron and Stork-billed Kingfisher amongst many others.

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Kerala’s beautiful and vibrant culture is evident in its landscapes, food, and clothing of people as well as the cultural arts. Kathakali is the traditional dance form of the culture in Kerala and Kumarakom is a good place to witness an authentic dance performance. The colorful appearance of the dancers, their facial expressions and the accompanying music are a sight to behold. You should check with the hotel/resort that you are staying for the best place to catch these performances while you are there.

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Backwaters host many snake boat races which are held in connection with Onam, the harvest festival between August and September. The races are preceded by colorful water parades and the atmosphere at the time is nothing short of electrifying! A single snake boat is manned by over a hundred oarsmen who row at an extremely fast pace in unison. You need to check the time when these particular races are held and if you are not visiting during these two months, you could consider witnessing a practice session which is also an absolute visual treat for tourists.
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Thekkady is the location of the Periyar National Park near to Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. It is famous for its dense evergreen, semi-evergreen forests and savanna grass lands. It is home to elephants, sambar, tigers, lion-tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary can be accessed via trekking, boating but the most thrilling experience is that of a jeep safari. The Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River forms an artificial lake in the area where the animals come to drink water – truly a beautiful sight!
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When in Thekaddy, take an educational tour of the herbal garden learning about their healing qualities and benefits. You can ask your travel operator/hotel staff to guide you where and how you can visit one of these gardens and also stop at plantations growing world-famous Kerala spices. In fact, you should not leave Thekaddy without buying some of these spices as they are top notch quality and reasonably priced because you can buy it directly from the people who are growing them.
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The Tropical Chocolate Factory located in Thekaddy is famous for offering a wide assortment of handmade chocolates that will surpass your expectations. The star item on their list is the hot chocolate which completely melts in your mouth. If you love chocolates, you should definitely stop by to buy interesting flavors like spicy, hazelnut and blueberry ones. 

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Packages & Recommendations

Tour Name
Trip Type
Month/Validity
Included Cities
Price Per Adult

Venice of Kerala

9 Nights / 10 Days
Trip Type
Private Van Tour
Flight Not Included
Month/Validity
  • Dec
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
Included Cities
Cochin (1N), Munnar (2N), Thekkady (1N), Alleppey (1N), Kumarakom (2N), Kovalam (2N)
... Cochin (1N), Munnar (2N), Thekkady (1N), Alleppey (1N), Kumarakom (2N), Kovalam (2N)
Price Per Adult
$ 420
Onwards

Kerala Highlights

7 Nights / 8 Days
Trip Type
Private Van Tour
Flight Not Included
Month/Validity
  • Dec
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
Included Cities
Munnar (2N), Thekkady (1N), Alleppey (1N), Kumarakom (1N), Kovalam (2N)
... Munnar (2N), Thekkady (1N), Alleppey (1N), Kumarakom (1N), Kovalam (2N)
Price Per Adult
$ 360
Onwards

Kerala Coast (Land Package)

8 Nights / 9 Days
Trip Type
Private Van Tour
Flight Not Included
Month/Validity
  • Dec
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
Included Cities
Munnar (2N), Thekkady (2N), Kumarakom (2N), Kovalam (2N)
... Munnar (2N), Thekkady (2N), Kumarakom (2N), Kovalam (2N)
Price Per Adult
$ 370
Onwards

Wild Kerala

5 Nights / 6 Days
Trip Type
Private Van Tour
Flight Not Included
Month/Validity
  • Dec
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
Included Cities
Munnar (2N), Thekkady (1N), Kumarakom (2N)
... Munnar (2N), Thekkady (1N), Kumarakom (2N)
Price Per Adult
$ 190
Onwards

Kerala Backwaters with Beach

4 Nights / 5 Days
Trip Type
Short Breaks
Flight Not Included
Month/Validity
  • Dec
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
Included Cities
Kumarakom (2N), Kovalam (2N)
... Kumarakom (2N), Kovalam (2N)
Price Per Adult
$ 200
Onwards

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