Kerala Tour


With foreign influences as disparate as Chinese and Portuguese, Arab and Dutch, Kerala is the spice coast of India. Edged by a thread of unbroken beach line, the state's heart is composed of intensely green paddy fields and a unique network of rivers and lagoons. Upland Kerala, relatively little visited, is composed of hills thickly wooded with teak and rubber. It is here that Kerala's most precious spices are grown in carefully nurtured plantations: cardamom, pepper and nutmeg. Secluded beaches, palm fringed back waters, mist clad hill stations, lush tropical forests, waterfall, exotic wild life, monuments, art forms and festivals give Kerala a distinctive charm.

Much of the landscape and wealth of Kerala is dominated by tall, elegant coconut palms. No part of this tree is wasted and a flourishing coir industry exists because of its plentiful presence. Coffee plantation spread across the foothills of the Western Ghats, tea grows at higher altitudes and in Southern Kerala acres of rubber trees stand in lines of military precision.

Keralaâs contribution to the cultural wealth of India has been enormous. Although the stunning Palaces of Padamanabhpuram and Krishnapuram have decorative, flowing carvings and integrate, earth-colored murals, similar to those in the temples at Vaikom and Trapprayyar, Godâs and Men usually dwell in more austere and restrained houses.

TRIVANDRUM
he capital of the state of Kerala, is a beautiful seaside city built on seven hills. The city gets its name from te word, Thiru Ananthapuram meaning the city of Ananth or the abode of the sacred serpent Anantha, on which Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Hindu trinity, reclines. Thiruvanthapuram opens the gates to world of Beaches, Mountains, Back waters, wildlife Sanctuaries and Islands. The city of Thiruvanthapuram presides over one of the most scenic states, stretching along the southern coast of the country, with the backwaters of the Arabian Sea reaching deep into the verdant countryside, Kerala affords a fascinating experience.

The city once formed apart of the kingdom of Travancore, which had its capital at Padmanabhapuram (now in Tamil Nadu). The famous Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, dedicated to Vishnu and a landmark in the city, was according to legend, built in stages to house an idol found in a forest by a devotee.Most of that royal heritage of fine buildings and palaces now houses the state secretariat and other offices. But the beauty of the city is still intact, in the wide open avenues, parks, gardens, cultural institutions and undulating countryside.

General information

Altitude: Sea level

Best Season: October to March

Temperature: Summer - Max.36.2, Min.20.6; Winter - Max.35, Min. 18

STD Code: 0471


How to get there

Air
Trivandrum is connected by Air with Bombay, Madras, Cochin, Delhi & Colombo.

Rail
Trivandrum is directly connected by rail to Calcutta as well as all the major cities in India.

Road
Trivandrum is connected by road to several tourist centres in India. Calicut 448 km, Cochin 223 km, Kanyakumari 87 km, Madurai 417 km, Periyar 272 km, Ponmudi 61 km, Quilon 73 km, Varkala 55 km.


In and around

Padmanabhapuram Palace
A 'teak edifice' of yesteryears from where Maharaja Marthanda Varma ruled Travancore. Set in scenic surroundings along the Thiruvanthapuram-Kanyakumari route, the palace is well maintained. In use from 1550 to 1790, it has beautiful carvings, 17th and 18th century murals.

Kovalam
16 km away from Trivandrum, a sheltered bay endowed with unusual beauty. This natural bay is a safe sea-pool free from high waves and surge. And the beach resort here is of international standard.

Kanniyakumari
87 km the tapering land's end of India where three seas meet the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. From here, one can see the sun rise from the Bay of Bengal and set in the Arabian sea. It is a holy place for Hindus because of Kanniyakumari temple. The Gandhi Smarak Mandir and Vivekananda rock Memorial are additional tourist attractions.

Varkala
The town is known for its 2,000 year old Vishnu temple of Lord Janardhana. Sivagiri Mutt, at an elevation 3 km east of the temple, is sacred for Hindus. Varkala is a sea side resort with mineral water spring.

Agasthyakoodam
This is a prominent peak in the Sahyadri ranges and conspicuous by its height and isolation when seen from a distance. It can be approached on foot from Bonacadu (61 km from Thiruvanthapuram).

ALLPPEY
With the Arabian sea on the west and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water river criss crossing it, Alleppey (Alappuzha) is a district of immense natural beauty. Referred to as the Venice of the east by travelers from across the world, set in the labyrinth of backwater channels, the town is one of the best gateways to explore the un-spoilt countryside.
This backwater country is also home to diverse animal and bird life. By virtue of its proximity to the sea, the town has always enjoyed a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala.

General information

Altitude: Sea Level
Rainfall: 254 cm
Best Season: October to May
Temperature: Summer- Max 35, Min 22.5;Winter- Max 32, Min 22
STD Code: 0477

How to get there

Air
Nearest Airport, Cochin 64 km, connected with Bombay, Delhi, Madras, Goa, Bangalore and Trivandrum.

Rail
Nearest railhead, Cochin 64 km, is connected to major cities in India.

Road
Alleppey is connected by road to all the important cities in south India, as Cochin 64 km, Calicut 289 km, Trivandrum 159 km, Quilon 85 km, Haripad 33 km, Thekkady 253 km, Kottayam 130 km

In and around

Ambalapuzha

14 km from Alpuza, the Sri Krishan temple here is an important one.

Arthukal
A pilgrim center, known for St. Andrews church set up by Portuguese missionaries. The church is popularly known as St. Sebastian's.

Chettiqulangara Bhagavathy Temple
The BhadraKali deity is said to have miraculous powers 'main festivity in Feb - Mar is Kettukazhcha.

Krishnapuram Palace
At Kayamkulam, on the way to Kollam. The double storied palace contain one of the largest mural panels in Kerala.

Mannarsala
Near Harippad, the temple here is an important centre of Serpent worship in Kerala. On the day of Ayilyam, (Sep - Oct) thousands assemble to worship the serpent - god.

KOTTAYAM
Bordered by the lofty western ghats on the east and the Vembanad lake and the paddy field of Kuttanad on the west, Kottayam is a land of unique characteristics. Panoramic backwater stretches, lush paddy fields, highlands, extensive rubber plantations and a totally literate people have given this district the title the land of letters, latex and lakes.

Kottayam has been a center of Syrian Christian of Kerala and has many of their ancient churches, some of which contain excellent frescoes. This is also the nearest railhead to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary on Trivandrum - Cochin line.

General information

Altitude: Sea level

Rainfall: 176 cm

Best Season: October to March

Temperature:Summer : 35 Deg 22.5 Deg,Winter : 32 Deg 22 Deg

STD Code: 0481


How to get there

Air
Nearest Airport is Cochin 76 km.

Rail
Kottayam is well connected by rail with other cities in India.

Road
Kottayam is connected by road with all important cities in South India. It is 76 km from Cochin, 248 km from Madurai, 267 km from Kanyakumari, 114 km from Thekkady, 180 km from Trivandrum.


In and around

Kumarakam bird sanctuary
Kumarakam bird sanctuary 12 km away from Kottayam, on the banks of Vembanad Lake, an ideal place for backwater cruise. The sanctuary sprawls over 14 acres. A cruise along the Vembanad lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary.

Valiya Pally
Valiya Pally, St. Mary's church said to have been built in 1515, is famous for the Persian cross and Phalvi inscriptions.

Cherivypally
Cherivypally St. Mary's Church houses exquisite murals and paintings of Biblical themes.

Thirunakkara Shiva Temple
Thirunakkara Shiva Temple is built in Kerala style. The dancing hall is one of the best in the state and there is a wealth of paintings on the walls. The main festival, Phalguna Utsav is celebrated in March.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
The Periyar wildlife Sanctuary, now one of the 16 project Tiger Reserve in India, is an interesting example of how development need not be incompatible with the requirements of wildlife. Periyar has become one of the most picturesque wildlife sanctuaries in the world and is enjoyed by over 150,000 tourists every year. The black stumps still to be seen jutting out of the water, which are an eerie and wonderful sight in the early winter mornings as the mist rises, are the only remains of the richly vegetated valley.

A typical sight in Periyar are the darters and cormorants which bask on the remnant poles of the submerged forest. The depth of the lake excludes wading birds but offers splendid opportunities for anglers such as ospreys, kingfishers and kites. Both the great hornbill and the grey hornbill can be easily seen in periyar.

Other wildlife include: Sambar, barking deer, mouse deer, nilgiri tahr, monitor lizard, pythons, king cobra, flying lizard, flying snake, flying frog, wild dog, dhole, porcupines, lion tailed macaque, nilgiri langur, common langur, Malabar squirrel, flying squrrel, tiger etc. can be sited in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.

KOCHI
Cochin, the commercial hub of Kerala, is a town of great historical importance. It has a fine natural harbor around which the city has grown. Its rich past and present prosperity make it a very interesting port town of India. It is one of the three biggest ports on Malabar coast and the biggest in Kerala. Cochin is actually a cluster of off-shore island. The various islands which include Willingdon, Bolgatty and Gundu are connected by ferries and bridges.

The Fort Cochin area, where the Portuguese settled in the 16th century, has been declared as Heritage Zone.

General information

Altitude: Sea Level

Best Season: October to March

Temperature: Summer Max 35 deg Min 22 deg Winter Max 32 deg Min 20 Deg

STD Code: 0484


How to get there

Air
Cochin is connected to Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Goa, Bangalore and Trivandrum.

Rail
Cochin/Ernakulam is connected by rail to all the major cities in India.

Road
Cochin is connected with Alleppey 64 km, Bangalore 565 km, Kanniyakumari 309 km, Kodaikanal 444 km, Madras 694 km, Madurai 324 km, Thekkady 190 km and Trivandrum 223 km.

Sea
(A) The Kerala Inland Water Transport Corporation operates regular back- water boat services to Alleppey (7 hrs) and Quilon (8 hrs).

(B) SPORTS-Cochin operates tours to Lakshadweep Islands from Mid-Sept. to Mid-May.


In and around

Dutch Palace
A beautiful palace dating back to AD 1557, built by Portuguese for the use of the Raja of Kochi (Cochin). Renovated by Dutch settlers a century later, the double storied building stands tall between the Jewish synagogue on the south and the panoramic backwater network on the east.

Jewish Synagogue
Constructed in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the Common wealth. Destroyed in a shelling during the Portuguese raid in 1662, it was rebuilt two years later by the Dutch. The synagogue sports mid 18th century handmade, blue willow pattern floor tiles (no two tiles are similar) from Canton in China, a clock tower, Hebrew inscription on a stone slab and finely wrought gold and silver crowns.

St. Francis Church
Originally named Santo Antonia, this is India's oldest European church, built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscen Friars, the wooden church was restored in stone in 1779 by the Protestent, Dutch and converted into an Anglicn church by the British in 1795. it is presently used by the church of south India.

Hill Palace Museum
10 km from Kochi, Hill Palace, the official residence of the Kochi royal family was built in 1865. the Palace complex consist of 49 buildings built in the traditional architectural style of Kerala and is surrounded by 52 acres of terraced land with a deer park and facilities for horse riding.

Chinese Fishing Nets
Here one can still see the contilevered fishing nets, introduced centuries earlier by the Chinese merchants-adventurers. The boats too are of Chinese style. These Chinese styles country boats and fishing nets are a ubiquitous phenomenon and can be seen in the backwaters at Cochin, Kottayam, Alleppey and Quilon

TRICHUR
Trichur, 78 km north of Cochin on National Highway, lies at the base of a hillock, crowned by the famous Vadkkumnathan (Shiva) temple. Noted for its old palace, forts, temples, the reptile collection and the celebrated Pooram festivals, celebrated at the Vadakkumnathan Temple every year during April-May. One of the South India's biggest festivals, it offers a spectacular show in the form of a procession of 30 richly caparisoned elephants and excellent fireworks in teh end.

This former capital of Cochin state was captured by Zamorin and later by Tipu Sultan in the second half of the 18th Century. The famous pooram festival is The Kerala Sahitya Academy and Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy are located in Trichur.

General information

Altitude: Sea level

Rainfall: 254 cm

Best Season: October to March

Temperature: Summer- Max 35, Min 22.5; Winter- Max 32.3, Min 20

STD Code: 0487


How to get there

Air
The nearest airport is Cochin 78 km connected with Bangalore, Bombay, Delhi, Goa, Madras, Trivandrum.

Rail
Trichur is a Railway station directly connected with Bombay.

Road
Trichur is connected by road with many tourist centers in south India. Cochin- 78 km, Coimbatore- 114 km, Kalady- 55 km, Kanyakumari- 376 km, Madras- 720 km, Palghat- 67 km, Palani- 229 km, Rameswaram- 222 km, Udhagamandalam (Ooty)- 202 km etc.


In and around

Vadakkumnathan Temple
This temple is a classic example of the Kerala Style of architecture. The temple contains the sacred shrines of Paramashiva, Parvathy, Sankaranayana, Ganapathi, Sri Rama and Sri Krishna. The central shrines and Koothambalam exhibit exquisite vigettes carved in wood. Legend goes that Parasurama founded this temple. Trichur Pooram, the grandest temple pageantry in Kerala is celebrated here in April every year.

Town Hall
An imposing building with a Chitralayam or a picture gallery where mural paintings from all parts of Kerala are exhibited.

Shakthan Thampuran Palace
Also known as Palace Thoppu, the campus covers an area of 6 acres. Here you can see three tombs including that of the renowned Shakthan thampuran

Saint Thomas Memorial
Kodungalloor (Cranganore) formerly called Muziris was the spot where the apostle St. Thomas is believed to have landed in 52 AD. The St. Thomas church established by the apostle houses holy relics from the olden days.

Kalady
55 km Kalady, a pilgrim Centre, is situated on the banks of the river Periyar. It is the birth place of Sri Sankaracharya, the great Indian Philosopher who lived in the 8th Century. There are two Shrines in memory of Sri Sankaracharya, one dedicated to him as Dakshinamurthy & the other to the goddess Sharada. Their is an ancient Sri Krishna Temple close by, which was the family temple of Adi Sankaracharya. Another temple known as the International Temple dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna Deva, was completed in April 1976