Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Kottayam is one of the 14 districts in the state of Kerala, India. Bordered by Western Ghats on the east and the Vembanad Lake and paddy fields of Kuttanad on the west, Kottayam is a land of unique characteristics. Panoramic backwater stretches, lush paddy fields, highlands, hills and hillocks, extensive rubber plantations, places associated with many legends and a totally literate people have given Kottayam District the enviable title: The land of letters, legends, latex and lakes.
Kottayam literally means the interior of a fort - Kotta + Akam. Rulers of Munjanad and Thekkumkur had their headquarters at Thazhathangadi near Kottayam town Marthanda Varma of Travancore attacked Thekkumkur and destroyed the palace and the Thaliyil Fort. The remnants of the palaces and forts are still seen here.
The important rivers of the district are the Meenachil river, the Muvattupuzha river and the Manimala river. The river is formed by several streams originating from the Western Ghats in Idukki district. The important towns in the basin are Pala, Poonjar, Ettumanoor and Kottayam.
Kottayam occupies a prominent place in the cultural map of Kerala. Kunchan Nambiar, the father of Thullal, a popular temple art form, was supposed to have lived at Kidangoor.
Kottayam has a vast network of rivers, backwaters, ancient religious places, and hillstations. Vembanad Lake has a great expanse of water which is a part of the interconnected Kerala Backwaters that run virtually the length of the state. Kumarakom, located on the coast of Vembanad Lake, is a beautiful village stocked with divine mangroves and coconut groves, lush green paddy fields, gushing waters snaking through the dense forests. Kumarakom bird sanctuary, is home to migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal.
Kottayam district is also known for its religions harmony and has numerous temples, churches and a 1500 year old mosque. Panachikad Temple, one of the famous Saraswathy temples in Kerala is located nearly 12 km away from Kottayam. The Siva temple at Thirunakkara is in the heart of Kottayam town. Thirunakkara Srikrishna temple, Pallipurathukavu Devi Temple are other important temples located in the town. Kodungoor Devi temple, Kavinpuram Devi Temple (Ezhacherry), Chirakadavu Mahadevar temple, Ponkunnam Devi temple, Cherubally Devi temple, Kidangoor Subramanyaswamy Temple and Vaikom Mahadevar temple are other famous Hindu temples near Kottayam. Kottayam has a rich culture. One of the oldest mosques in Kerala, Thazhathangady Mosque is situated in Kummanam at 3 kilometers from Kottayam town. This mosque is considered to be around 1500 years old and was built by early Arab travelers who landed in Kerala during the time of the Cheraman empire. Old Syrian Seminary, a prominent religious institution belonging to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church and a seminary for aspiring priests for Syrian Christians in Kerala, is also located in Chungam, Kottayam. The Cheria Pally, an ancient Church belonging to the Malankara Orthodox Church is a well preserved church with wall murals dating back to ancient times. St. George Church, Puthupally, and the Vakathanam Palli are two renowned and ancient churches frequented by pilgrims. Cherpunkal Church is a famous Church in the name of Infant Jesus.
By Air The nearest airport from Kottayam is at Kochi.
By Rail Kottayam is well connected by rail.
By Road Excellent road network.
Places to visit
Vennimala is a serene and beautiful place located in the Puthuppalli village panchayath of Kottayam district .Vennimala, a stone's thrown away from the bustling Kottayam Town is the serene and beautiful hill top destination, Vennimala is located nearly 15 km from the Kottayam town and can be assessed easily through the Kottayam- Kumili road.
It is believed that Lord Rama and Lakshmana during their period of exile visited this hillside. At that time numerous sages meditated in the caves of Vennimala. Cheraman Perumal illustrated emperor of ancient Kerala consecrated this temple and stayed in this place. He was taken to the beauty of this place and stayed here and built a palace. He earmarked the hill as a sacred and protected place. Sadly, the palace doesn’t remain today. The temple celebrates twenty Eight days of annual festival every year. The place also was the residence of Tekkumkoor dynasty.
The hill had more than sixty large and small ponds scattered throughout the forest. Even today about a dozen such ponds are remaining with sparkling fresh water even in hot summers. Vennimala is covered by lush green vegetation and rubber plantations.. Another major attraction here is a huge cave on one side of the hill, half a km from the temple. It is believed that this cave, runs for over a kilometer to the temple premises, though it has been closed by fallen rock.
Matrumala is located in Kooropada village and is about 8 km from Vennimala. The place can be accessed from Kottayam through Pampadi. Matrumala is a hill top that offers stunning views of the entire surroundings.The place got its name as it has a small temple on its top dedicated to Goddess. The temple is believed to have been built by Parasurama, the legendary creator of Kerala who installed idols of the seven Goddesses (Saptamathas) here. A muddy winding road leads to the hill top that can be approached by either vehicle or on foot.
This quaint little village is located about 20 km northwest of Kottayam town. The place can be easily accessed from Kottayam by road as well as rail.Kallara and the neighboring villages of Kaduthuruthy and Thalayolaparambu has unending stretches of lush green paddy fields crisscrossed by numerous canals that drain into the backwaters of Ezhumanturuth and fall into the mighty Vembanad lake. The waterways also connect Kallara with Vaikom in the north and to Kumarakom in the south.
Scenic stretches in the village include Kapikkad, Mundar,Ayamkudi, Pulithuruth, Erunthuruth, Ponnuruk, Pazhampetti,kumparaand Karikkal. There are ancient temples and churches scattered in the village. The backwaters of Ezhumanthuruth have many attractive small islands in them.Very soon Kallara will be a model tourism village, where the tourists can experience the art and process of screw pine product development and other such rural products enjoying scenic vistas stay units in this village.
Padayani Festival at Alapra
Alapra is the only place in Kottayam district where padayani is performed. Padayani festival at Alapra is performed in Thacharickal Bhagavathi temple. Another unique features here is that the temple is located in serene surroundings and is in the middle of forest. The annual padayani performance in Alapra falls in the month of March / April.
Alapra is scenic place with forests all around. There is 2500 acre forest called Ponthanpuzha Kutti vanam in the vicinity. This forest spreads over the districts of Kottayam and Pathanamthitta. The forest harbors deer, wild boar, fox, pythons, other small creatures and a variety of avifauna. There are nearly twenty small streams in the forest.
The forest also has ancient Oottupara, a big rock inside the forest. The rock can be reached by trekking from the temple for three km. it is believed that Lord Rama visited this place and conducted a feast for saints at this place during his exile. The rock top offers stunning views for miles round. Behind this oottupara, there is a similar rock face also.
River Manimala is an important water way of Central Travancore. Rising in the hills of Kottayam- Idukki ranges, the river flows through the midland plains and joins with Pampa and Manimala Junction. The river offers a beautiful view at this spot and flows swiftly striking against the many rocks in the river.Ramapuram:Ramapuram, a beautiful and quite village is located 15km from Pala town on the main road to Koothattukulam. Ramapuram has carved its own niche in the cultural history of Kerala. This small village was the birth place of Ramapurathu Warrier, the profounder of Vanchipattu. It was here where Lalithambika Anthrajanam the renowned Malayalam novelist lived. Ramapuram also is blessed with its old church and its famous missionaries-paramekkal Thoma Kathanar and Daivadasan Thevarparambil Kunjachan.
Located on the banks of river Meenachil, Kudamaloor was the headquarters of the Chembakasseri Kings and was one among the sixty four villages of Kerala.
The Valiyamadom Nalukettu stands in the locality where the old palace of the kings once stood. This residence is today inhabited by the royal family. The village has a number of old nalukettus and mansions that survive even to this day. A part of the remains of the fort of the kings still stands near Eraveeswaram Temple in the village. The holes where canons were fixed in the wall and the raised platforms can be seen even today in this fort wall. The Kings had a fleet of naval vessels - the chundan valloms which were anchored at Kottakadavu near the palace.
Kudamaloor was a cradle of traditional Kerala art and architecture. The village has given birth to great Kathakali artists like Kudamaloor Karunakaran Nair. This hamlet still houses a number of artists well versed in Kerrida art forms and folklore. The village has performers of sopanasangeetham, Kalamezhuthu and pattu, mudiyattom, kalaripayattu etc. Devivilasam Kathakali yogam and Sopanam Kalavedi and research centre are two centers that promote Kathakali and other art forms. Moreover, Kudamaloor lies in Aymanam panchayath that was the theme village of Arundhathi Roy's 'God of Small Things'.
The village is a land of temples - over ten in number. The Vasudevapuram Temple here has numerous mural paintings. Temples here are known for unique performances like tiyattu, Garudan parava and thookam. The religious harmony of this village is personified by the 800 year old St. Mary's church that was built by the Hindu King. The ritual offering here is a traditional water bag and rope used to draw water from the well.
As you travel form Vaikom to Ernakulam by road you pass three bridges in succession. As you look out, you are greeted by lush green scenery on either side. It is the river Muvattupuzha and its numerous branches that drain into the Vembanad Lake at this spot creating picture post card scenery all round. And this village is called Ithipuzha.
Here there is little tourism. There are few houseboats, no resorts and hence charming and serene waterways all round the village. The various distributaries of the river create numerous beautiful islands in its course. Here there are endless stretches of coconut palms and vast green paddy fields. You can relax yourself on a country canoe ride - floating on the gentle ripples of the rivers and watching the fishermen carrying their catch in small canoes. lthipuzha can easily be accessed from Kochi.
Pallam is located 5km to the south of Kottayam town and is accessible via the Main Central Road. The setting is typical Kerala rural with quiet villages escorted by scenic backwaters and vivid green all along. Migratory birds come seeking this verdant landscape every summer and frolic in the natural splendors till the end of the season. A boat ride in this river Kodoorar to Kumarakom via Pallom backwaters is a great way to relax and enjoy nature's bounties.
Another unique feature hem is the old light house put up at this site in 1813 A.D. by the British resident of Travancore, Col. Munroe. Considered as a wonder of architecture, the light house still stands intact facing the placid backwaters providing an excellent view of the lush green paddy fields and swaying coconut palm.
Located amidst shady rubber plantations, streams tinkle as they make their way through the rugged landscape and roars down cascading from a height of hundred feet. This beautiful picnic spot is located at Pallickathodu 25 km from Kottayam town and hence easily accessible.
This is one of the highest waterfalls in Kerala gushing down from a height of 235 feet. Aruvikachal is located in Poonjar Thekkekara village and can be accessed from Erattupetta. The waterfalls can be approached by walking a couple of kilometers from Patampuzha junction. Adivaram, Ummikunnu, Puliyallu, Muttanallu, Parayambalam etc. are some of the scenic spots scattered around Aruvikachal. The 3500 ft high Mutukoramala offers spectacular views. The Poonjar Palace is also noteworthy.
This scenic stream and its breathtaking waterfalls are together referred to as the enchantress of the jungle. Sliding down numerous hillocks from a height of 200 ft, the gushing water has etched out over the years a twelve metre deep pond in the rocks and joins the Teekoy river way down. And right under the waterfalls is a natural bridge.
Marmala waterfalls lie a few kilometers away from Erattupetta and it is exactly seven km from Teekoy rubber estate. From here a private vehicle can take you further two km after which the road is not motorable. To reach the falls one has to trek through the estate over the rocky path.
Skirting the Kottayam district are beautiful valleys of Elaveezhalpoonchira, spread over thousands of acres in Melukavu village. The pristine beauty of nature is preserved almost intact here in the imposing mountain ranges with rocky cliffs. The verdant landscape is punctuated by five gigantic hills viz. Vindhyan medu, Hidumbanmedu Mankallumudi, Kolanimudi and Mukalanthumudi each rising to around 3200 ft. Elaveezhapoonchira means valley where leaves don't fall and is named so because the place has no trees. Perhaps this may be the only spot in Kerala from where one can see the beautiful phenomenon of sunrise and sunset in the same spot. The vast horizon gives a panoramic view of the surrounding five districts. During the monsoons when the valley fills up to form a scenic lake, this place unveils another beautiful slice of nature. The panoramic view of the Malankara dam just below the hill is an exquisite site for the visitors.
The different elevations of the mountain ranges with contrasting shapes give this hill station a dramatic and distinctive outline of great scenic splendor. Just below the hill, there is a small perennial pond like water body called Elaveezhapoonchira. Three tribal settlements and four natural caves provide significance to this mystic land. The great Pandavas were said to have lived incognito in this land during their exile and hence these caves are called "Pandavart Guha!'. Another peculiar feature is the presence of two Muniyanas nearby the pond. Lusitrourt growth of medicinal plants gives another added attraction to this area. Another exotic feature is the Nilayara which is a cave located in Mukalanthanmudi, one kilometer from the Poonchira. The cave itself is a wonder as far as a tourist is concerned. About 20 people can stand at a time inside the cave. A small perennial stream is flowing from the inner mouth of the cave.
As the name suggests, the valley of this rocky mountain reflects the morning sun with a mirror like perfection. This is also the highest point in Elaveezhapoonchira. Three km from here is the Pazhakakanam Plateau nourished by the Kadapuzha River. Bamboo groves, meadows and wild flowers make this place exotic. An added attraction here is the Kazhukankulimali Waterfalls that playfully cascade down the mountain and greet the river below with a magnificent splash. On the eastern side of Kannadipara is a natural fort set admidst steep rocks.
Numerous mountain streams in this Peak, 6000 ft. above sea level, flow down to form the serene Meenachil River. The solitude, the tranquility, the gentle breeze and the star spangled sky here are all enchanting beyond words. Tourists have to trek up three km to reach the top of the hill. And if you so wish, you could even spend the night on the heights.
Three hills, each rising to 4000 ft. and above, together form this huge hill. Each of the hills has a peculiar shape. One of them resemble a mushroom owing to which it gets its name Kuda Kallu (umbrella shaped rock). It is said that the medicinal herb Neela Koduveli, which bathes the hillsides in blue, grows here. This flower is also believed to possess supernatural powers which could increase wealth and ensure a rich harvest.
The second hill has a small hunch on the sides and is therefore referred to as Koonu Kallu (hunch back rock) which is located 4000ft above sealevel. Across this rock is a 1/2 ft. wide bridge called Narakapalam (bridge to hell). From the hilltops, the Arabian Sea can be seen in the distant horizon as a thin blue line. The sunset on a full moon day is sensational, when the moon can be seen rising up like another sun, as the orange sun goes down.
Kayyoor - Nadukani
It is an enchanting landscape formed by a chain of green hills at the Bharananganam panchayat on way to Erattupetta and Ayyampara. A shrine dedicated to the Pandava brothers of the epic Mahabharatha is found here in six acres. There is also a temple of Lord Sankara Narayana. As in the famous temple at Sabarimala, only ghee is used to light the lamps here. Women are not permitted inside the temple. Kayyur hill and Tevaka. hill was the wandering place of legendary â€˜Kulapurathu Bhiman'.
Another major picnic spot in the region is Nadukani. The hill has a vast rocky terrain with grasslands. As the name signifies one can see the entire surroundings from this hilltop.
The winding road from Teekoy to Vagamon offers mind boggling scenic vistas. Vagamon located on the fringes of Kottayam District is an upcoming hill station. On the way to Vagamon is the beautiful spot called Kottathavalam.The Pandya king of Madurai and his family camped at this location on his way to Poonjar. The place was surrounded by hills on three sides like a fort and hence this place got its name Kottathavalam. Kottathavalam has huge caves which remains still unexplored as well as a ten acre reserve forest without wild beasts.The rocks carved in the cave like chairs and couches and figures of Gods sculpted on them are all worth exploring. The Kurathikallu, Karantakakallu and Kattil para nearby are other major attractions. Nearby Kottathavalam are Vazhikkadvau and the famous Kurishumala Asram.
On the outskirts of the district is Vazhikkadavu, a land of rocky terrains sought after for its pristine nature. On one side of the main rock are extremely tall and steep rocks and on the other is a valley of fearful depth. Bordering this crude landscape like a silver lace is the Meenachil River.
Three km from Vazhikkadavu is this renowned Christian pilgrim centre where hundreds of devotees from far and near converge during the holy week and after, to climb the hill in faith, carrying small wooden crosses. The peaceful Monastery at the top of the hill, the silence of the hills, the cool mountain air and the lush green landscape are all soothing to the soul. On the eastern side of the hill is Muruganmala housing a rock cut temple dedicated to Murugan (son of Lord Shiva). The mausoleum of Sheikh Fariduddin at Thangalppara makes this place a famous Muslim pilgrim centre also.
This quaint hamlet situated in the Western Ghats is located 5km north of Mundakkayam in Kottayam District. The majesty of the mountain ranges combined with the beauty of the forest and the artificial lake created by the check-dam of the Manimala River makes the spot linger in your mind. Amruthameda, famous for medicinal plants is nearby. Kootickal is located only 12km from the pilgrim centre of Erumeli.
Situated seven km from the Mundakkayam - Kuttikanam stretch on the K.K. Road lies Panchalimedu, at an altitude of 2500 ft above sea level. A three hour trek from Valliankavu which is connected by bus from Kottayam takes you to the spot. Valliankavu, a tiny village 10km East of Mundakkayam itself is worth a visit for it is the site of the famous temple of Mala Araya community. According to the legends, the Pandavas stayed here and the pond beside a small temple is where Panchali is said to have bathed.
Wayanad's mountainous terrain is home to a lot of wildlife, tribals and coffee plantations. Cardamom and Vanilla are also grown here. It borders both Karnataka and Tamilnadu, and the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is in proximity with the protected areas of Bandipur in Karnataka and Mudumalai in Tamilnadu. The sanctuary is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
Wayanad is a place that you would want to enjoy by just being there and looking around since it is the scenic beauty of this place that is most alluring. For pointers’ sake, though, a few places have been listed for those that want a more organized experience:
Places to visit in Wayanad
Chembra Peak is the highest peak in Wayanad and is a great place for a trek. Trekking up this mountain takes almost a whole day, and you could set up camp up there for the night. Camping equipment can be hired from the District Tourism Promotion Council office.
25 kilometres from Kalpetta, in the Ambukuthy mountain, is where you would find the Edakkal cave. To being with, it is not a cave, but a fissure made by a corner of rock splitting off from the main body. Stone carvings that date back 5000 to 6000 years can be found on the rock walls, which represent human and animal figures and objects of human use and symbols. These carvings are proof that human civilization and/or settlement happened here during pre-historic times.
The Kuruva island is an uninhabited island that makes for a great picnic spot. Almost a thousand acres of greenery home to rare species of birds, orchids and herbs give you a sense of being lost in a very special kind of wild.
Lakkidi, in addition to being one of the more elevated places in Wayanad, also receives the highest amount of rainfall in India every year. Lakkidi is a picturesque spot, with mountain peaks, streams, never-ending greenery and winding roads all adding to its serenity.
Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary
The sanctuary covers about 345 sq.kms of wild forest. Elephant, spotted deer, bison, tiger, cheeta, wild bear, etc. are found in this sanctuary. The forest Department has facilities for providing elephant rides to tourists here.
Pakshipathalam literally means “Birds’ Hell”. To get here, one must travel seventeen kilometres through wild forest, before which special permission has to be obtained from the Forest Department. Once this is done, the District Tourism Promotion Council arranges vehicle, guides, camping equipments, etc., on hire.
Pazhassi Raja Tomb
The tomb of Pazhassi Raja, the Lion of Kerala, who organised guerilla type warfare against British East India Company, was cremated here in 1805.
It is a natural fresh water lake set amidst scenic forests that is ideal for boating.
Sentinel Rock Waterfalls
This is both a picnic spot and a trekking centre. Locally known as Soochipara (literally Needle Rock), the waterfall here is more than 200 m.in height, and it has a cliff face that is ideal for rock climbing.
By Air The nearest airport from Kalpetta is at Kozhikode.
By Rail Nearest rail heads are at Kannur and Kozhikode.
By Road Kalpetta is well connected by road.
Thiruvananthapuram, anglicized as Trivandrum by the British before its original name was restored, is the capital of Kerala. Thiruvananthapuram, literally City of Lord Anantha, derives its name from the deity of the Hindu temple at the center of the Thiruvananthapuram city. Anantha is the avatar of Vishnu when he reclines on the serpent Shesha.
Shri Padmanabhaswamy and its adjacent Royal Palace, Puttan Malika, are the capital's two principal sights. The Observatory, the Science and Technology Museum, the Government Secretariat, the Kowdiar Palace, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the Tagore Centenary theatre and the Museum, Trivandrum Zoo, Happyland Amusement park, etc are some of the other tourist attractions in the city. The Shanghumughom beach is worth visiting, while other interesting places are Aruvikkara Water Works, Kovalam Beach Resort and the resort of Ponmudi Hills. The Neyyar dam is a good place for hikes, boating, camping and mountaineering. Kanyakumari, the land’s end of India, is only 87 km from Thiruvananthapuram. On the way to Kanyakumari is Padmanabhapuram, the old capital of Travancore, where an ancient palace with antique murals is located.
Places of visit
Agastyakoodam is a pilgrim centre for Hindus and one of the highest peaks in the Western Ghats. Women are not allowed up the peak as this is where an ancient bachelor monk once lived. This cone shaped peak is known for its ayurvedic herbs. The Neelakurinji, a flower which blooms only once in twelve years, is another attraction here. A forest pass has to be obtained from the Wildlife Warden at the Forest Department for trekking.
Anchuthengu has the historic significance of being the first settlement of the English East India Company in Kerala in 1864 A.D. It was given on lease to the Company by the King of Travancore for the purpose of trade. The remains of the old English Fort can be seen here even today. An ancient Christian church, built in 15th century by St. Francis Xavier, can also be seen here. From here one can sail across the river to Veli by boat.
Peppara/Peypara is 50 km from the city on the way to Ponmudi. The sanctuary there, with its rich mammalian fauna and avis is emerging as a big attraction to wild life enthusiasts and ornithologists. It was established in 1938 over an area of 53 km². on the Western Ghats. Elephants, sambars, leopards, lion-tailed macaques and cormorants are commonly seen here.
Ponmudi is a pleasant hilly resort at an elevation of 912 m above sea level. There are several tea and rubber estates around the hills, and is home to hill tribe called Kani. Ponmudi has hill-trails for hiking, a collection of flowering trees and a deer park. Ponmudi is 61 km from Trivandrum city.
Neyyar Dam is located across the Neyyar river flowing south of Thiruvananthapuram. Lying amidst the southern low hills of the Western Ghats, 29 km from the city, the catchment area offers facilities for boating and mountaineering. A three-hour climb over the hills across the reservoir affords the thrill of hiking. Two waterfalls on the upper reaches of the Neyyar reservoir, the Meenmutti and the Kombaikani, can be accessed through a trek of two and four kilometers respectively, through these dense forests. A Lion Safari Park and a Crocodile Rearing Centre have also been set up in the reservoir. Also on the lake is the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram.
Varkala is most famous for its beach, but is also a pilgrim centre. The Samadhi of Sree Narayana Guru, the great social reformer and philosopher, attracts devotees from far and wide. The cliffs and mineral water springs at the Papanasam beach are tourist attractions.
Kovalam beach is one of the finest beaches in India. A high rocky promontory jutting into the sea has created a beautiful bay of calm waters for sea bathing. The sunset here is amazing, and is one of the must see places for people traveling through Kerala.
Azhimala is a beach near to Kovalam. It is a very quiet beach. It is around 20 km from Trivandrum city. Azhimala is known for the Ayurvedic Resorts. There is a temple in the name of Azhimala, the deity is of Devi. The temple is very near to the beach. Since the beach can be viwed from the hill top, the name came to be Azhimala, Azhi means 'the sea' and Mala 'the hill'. One will never forget the view of setting sun from this calm shore.
Museum and Zoo
The Museum building itself is an architectural splendour. The Napier Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Reptile House and the Shri Chitra Art Gallery are all within the Zoo complex amidst a well laid-out garden and park. Sree Chitra Art Gallery with its rich collection of exquisite paintings, has a special Ravi Varma section other than one for murals, water and oil painting. There is a lake and a boat club jointly operated by the Department of Museums and Zoos and the District Tourism Promotion Council. The zoo offers a rare opportunity for the visitors to experience an unparalleled, picturesque and panoramic sylvan landscape with a wide range of animal collections. The zoo has 75 different species of animals not only from India but also from abroad. It has several species of animals and birds from Ethiopian and Australian zoological regions. The Lion-tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Nilgiri Tahr, Manipur deer, Indian Rhino, Asiatic Lion and the Royal Bengal Tiger are prominent among the indigenous endangered fauna, while Giraffe, Hippo, Zebra and Cape buffalo are guests from the African region.
Shanghumugham Beach is very near to the International Airport and is easily accessible from the Kovalam Beach, Veli Tourist Village and Akkulam Tourist Village. Shanghumugham beach is noted for its cleanliness. The vast stretch of white sand and the serene atmosphere, away from the crowd in the city, provide all the ingredients for relaxation and for spending an ideal evening.
Thiruvallam is about six km south of the city, on the Thiruvananthapuram-Kovalam road. There is an ancient temple here on the banks of the Karamana River, which is dedicated to the Trimurthis of the Hindu pantheon. A shrine of Parasurama, built entirely of granite is found in this temple.
On the outskirts of Kerala’s capital city, by the side of the placid waters of Veli lake, the Tourist Village and Boat Club attracts the city people and tourists. Veli, developed as a major tourist spot by providing facilities for pedal-boating, row boating, swimming, get together, etc. is just the right place for an exciting outing. Veli, with its palm fringed lake is easily accessible by road.
By Air Thiruvananthapuram has an international and domestic airport.
By Rail Connected by major cities of the country.
By Road Excellent road network.
Kozhikode District is a district of Kerala state, situated on the southwest coast of India. The city of Kozhikode, also known as Calicut, is the district headquarters. The district is 38.25% urbanised. Kozhikode district is situated on the south west coast of India. The district is bounded on the north by Kannur district, on the east by Wynad district, on the south by Malappuram district and on the west by the Arabian sea. All the three taluks are spreaded over the three regions. The district has a coastal length of about 80 kms. The highland region accounts for 26.80 per cent and the lowland region for 15.55 per cent of the total area of the district.
Kozhikode is also called by the name of Calicut as from calico, which is a hand woven cloth that has its origins there. World famous explorer Vasco De Gama set foot on Indian soil on Kappad Beach for the first time. During Classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, Calicut was dubbed the "City of Spices" for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. Kozhikode was once the capital of an independent kingdom of the same name and later of the erstwhile Malabar District.KozhiKode is filled with cultural opportunities, historically significant places and Indian foods that you can taste. Especially the Sweet Street is a nice shopping center where you can shop and eat sweets at the same time.The name Mithai Theruvu or SM Street comes from the sweet Kozhikode Halwa which was often called as Sweetmeat by European traders.
The district has a generally humid climate with a very hot season extending from March to May. The rainy season is during the South West Monsoon, which sets in the first week of June and extends up to September.
The centuries of trade across the Indian Ocean has given Kozhikode a cosmopolitan population. Hindus constitute the majority of the population, followed by the Mopillas or Muslims and the Christians. The Muslims of Kozhikode District are known as Mappilas. Kozhikode city itself has many temples, the most important of which are the Tali Temple, Thiruvannur Temple, Azhakodi Temple, Sree Valayanad Temple, Varakkal Temple, Bilathikulam Temple, Bhairagi Madam Temple, the Lokanarkavu Temple in Memunda near Vadakara, The Sidda Samajam, Sree Muthappan Payamkuty Mala, in Memunda, Sandbanks Vatakara.
Kozhikode was the most important region of Malabar in the days gone by. Today, lush green countrysides, serene beaches, historic sites, wildlife sanutaries, rivers, hills, a unique culture and a warm, friendly ambience make Kozhikode a popular destination. There is an art gallery and Krishna Menon Museum located at East Hill in Kozhikode. Lalitha Kala Academy also has an art gallery adjacent to the Kozhikode town hall. There is a planetarium, situated in the heart of the city near Jaffer Khan Colony. Kozhikode Beach and Mananchira Square and the recently developed Sarovaram park are other popular gathering spots.Thusharagiri Falls, a very beautiful Waterfall is about 55 km from Calicut Railway Station. Thusharagiri is served by a KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation) hotel.
By Air The Kozhikode airport is at Karipur,about 23kms.from the town.
By Rail Kozhikode is well connected by road.
By Road The district has good road network.
Places of visit
Vasco Da Gama the famous Portughese traveller alighted four centuries back, in search of the land of fantasy - India. Beach accommodation at Kappad Beach Resort.
In the early hours of the morning dolphins playing in the sea can been seen. The beach, 2 km from Calicut town centre is popular with the local people because of the Lions Club park, the Light House and the two piers - and, of course, the opportunity to enjoy in the evening breeze.
Located at East Hill, the Pazhassirajah Museum, run by the State Archaeological Department, displays ancient mural paintings, antique bronzes and old coins as well as models of temples, megalithic monuments like dolmonoid cysts and the umbrella stones.
A Kalari belonging to Thacholi Othenan, the legendary hero of the ballad of Malabar called "Vadakkan Pattu" can be seen at a short distance from Vadakara. A monument and Kalari still exists at this place which is 3 kms away from Vadakara. Every year martial arts festival is held in the month of March or April. There is a ruined fort in the town. Vadakara was the scene of many exploits of Thacholi Othenan, the hero of the ballads of north malabar. A cattle fair is also held during February at Vadakara.
Situated next to the Pazhassirajah Museum, the Art Gallery contains paintings of Raja Ravi Varma.
Krishna Menon Museum
The Krishna Menon Museum has a section in honour of the great Indian leader V.K Krishna Menon.Krishna Menon Museum situated at East Hill is five km by bus from the Railway station / city bus station. Lying adjacent to pazhassi raja Museum, a store house of knowledge.
Kallai , once the the largest trading centre in Asia was a bustling nerve point of Calicut's timber trade .Today, though some business does take place, hard times have fallen on the timber trade and Kallai is just a shadow of its past.
A commercial centre of martial arts, Kalaripayattu, Badagara, 48 km from Calicut is also the birthplace of Thacholi Othenan, whose heroic deeds have been immortalised in the ballads of North Malabar.
11 kms from Kozhikode, is a small coastal town known for centuries as a ship building centre and still famous for its country crafts called "Uru" which are built by the traditional shipbuilders known as Khalasis. Tippu Sultan named the town "Sultan Pattanam" .It is one of the imporatant ports of Kerala and naturally an important trading centre. Beypore is still a favourite destination among the Arabs for buying of large boats.It is a major fishing harbour of kerala.
Tellicherry and Sultan Bathery
98 km away, are important trading centres of Calicut. The road from Calicut to Sultan's Bathery, though full of steep climbs and hairpin curves, offers a breath taking scenic drive. From Sultan's Bathery it is only six hours to Bangalore.
Two crumbling piers, more than hundred years old stand out into sea at Kozhikode Beach pondering the glorious trade witnessed in yester years.The Beach is easily accessible from city and is ,best for enjoying sunset.
True to its very name , land and water have struck an extraordinary kinship at this destination. The three water falls in the backdrop of lush green forest is exhilarating and dumbfounding for every visitor. This natural beauty spot exists 11 kms from Kodenchery which is abound in plantations of rubber, aracanut, coconut, pepper, ginger, and spices of all sort. This destination provides ample opportunities for young and old alike and challenging time for adventurers. Best season to visit is from October to March. more
A dam site of unique beauty and abundant wild life,Kakkayam is situated 45 kms. from Kozhikode. The oorakuzhi water falls and dam site are places of interest. Direct buses limited from calicut city. no accommodation facility available.
Kakkayam offers a Muscle flexing and challenging trekking and rock climbing through river path.
The dam site ,60 kms. from Kozhikode girdled with mountains is an abode of beauty, calm & serenity. Cruise in a speed boat or leisurely walk through thick foliage. . Places of interest are the dam site, Crocodile farm, bird sanctuary and facility for boating.
A beautiful location for trekking. The trekking starts from a water fall and pass through lush green forest. Overnight stay in tented accommodations is required, as it is not safe to trek at night. On the top of the hill it is so chill that warm clothes are required. Can be reached from Thiruvambadi.
The palace tank of King Mana Vikrama is now turned into a traditional architectural splendour, with carpeted green grass, and surrounded by Kerala style buildings. The musical fountain within the maidan (open ground) has become a local favourite.
Malabar House Boats
For luxury boating and exploring pristine back waters of Kozhikode, House Boats can be availed. The novel concept and excellent hospitality in this floating palace is worth enjoying, with family and friends. These are the first fully newly built House Boats of Kerala. These are stationed at Purakkattiri, close to Purakkattiri Bridge on Ullery - Perambra road. 10 kms. from Kozhikode.
Kadalundi Bird Sanctury
The sanctury at Kadalundi is a Haven for migratory birds. Terns, Gulls, Herons, Sand pipers, Whimbrels and other such migratory birds flock from the month of November and returns only by the end of April. It is 25 kms. from Kozhikode. The ideal season to visit is from December to April in the early hours of the day.
S. M. Street
Sweet Meat Street is the busiest shopping area at Kozhikode City. All shops are opened till 9.00 pm. The name is derived as a result of the presence of numerous sweet meat stalls.
A massive rock "Velliyamkallu" associated with the valiant Kunhali Marakkar is situated 13 kms. off Payyoli Beach. The rock though much dreaded by navigators was a safe ground for the Marakar to attack the invading Portuguese. The fisher folk looks at it with awe and fear. However., it is worth exploring the beautiful figures that nature has engraved on it. It was on this rock that Marakars killed the whole crew of a ship belonging to the Portuguese.
The Forest Dept. is maintaining a crocodile farm at Peruvannamuzhy near the dam site.There is a Forest Complex, by name Vanasree, at Mathottom in Beypore panchayat just 5kms. away from the city which accommodates the Regional Divisional & Range Offices.
With its own dream-like serenity, this natural fresh water lake surrounded by meadows and trees on all sides is a haven for peace-loving travellers. It is located half way from Calicut half an hour ahead of Kalpetta.
Kollam District has everything that Kerala has to offer - sea, lakes, plains, mountains, rivers, streams, backwaters, forest, vast green fields and tropical crop of every variety both food crop and cash crop, which is why it is called God’s own capital. Kollam is located on the edge of the famous Astamudi lake, making it a gateway to the scintillating backwaters of Kerala. The Sasthamcotta lake, the only major fresh water lake in the State, is here. Two other major lakes are the Ashtamudi kayal and the Paravoor kayal. Edava and Nadayara kayals lie partly in this district.
Places to visit here are many – the Palaruvi Falls, Thenmala (forests and reservoir), the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve, Ashtamudi (backwaters) and Kollam beaches (Kollam city beach, Thirumullavaram beach, Thangassery beach) are all beautiful spots in this area. Thenmala, located 66 km east of kollam, is the first Ecotourism project in India. This project is run by Thenmala Ecotourism Promotion Society. Polachira in Chirakkara Gramapanchayat is a beautiful place for site seeing. The famous "Anathavalam" is near here, where one can see domestic elephants even ride on them. Don't forget to see "Mannathippara" at Polachira. It is 4 kms towards south from Chathannoor town. The famous Varkala Beach, also known as Papanasham, is 26 km south of Kollam. The church in Malankara is an integral part of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church with the Patriarch of Antioch as its supreme head. Apostle Thomas founded one of his "seven and a half churches" in Kollam. Kollam was the seat of the Desinganad kings. Kottarakara is famous as the place where the classical dance form of Kathakali was conceived.
Places to visit
Thenmala is the first planned eco-tourism destination in India. The Thenmala dam was built across Kallada River. Thenmala attracts foreign and domestic tourists with a host of attractions. Boating on the lake, a rope bridge, trekking, mountaineering, biking and a musical fountain. Thenmala is approachable both from Trivandrum and Punalur by road. The waterfall called Palaruvi – literally ‘river of milk’ – is a prime attraction nearby.
Aryankavu – Pilgrim centre just about 5 kms from Palaruvi waterfalls. The temple has some fine sculptures and mural paintings.
A huge rock that is named after a mythological hero Jetayu from the epic, Ramayana. It is believed that Jatayu, a giant bird, fell after failing in its attempt to stop Ravana from abducting Rama’s wife Sita. The rock is ideal for trekking by the lovers of adventure and offers excellent prospects of an exhilarating hang-gliding experience.
The Ashtamudi Lake, so named because of its eight 'arms' or channels, is the gateway to the backwaters.
Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram
Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram, a spiritual trust with a large number of educational, technical and healthcare industries is headquartered at Vallikkavu, near Kollam.
Alumkadavu Tourist Village
Alumkadavu, a small village near Karunagappally in Kollam is a major boat building centre specialising in house boats. Houseboats are huge country boats, with about 67 feet in length and a width of around 13 feet in the middle. These are made by the country craftsmen using local and eco-friendly things like wood, bamboo poles, coconut fibre etc.
A seaside town near Kollam, Thangasseri is a beautiful place on the shores of the Arabian Sea. Thangasseri beach is one of the most beautiful beaches of Kerala. For all you nature lovers who search for serenity and seclusion, Thangasseri is the perfect beach retreat. Thangasseri has a 3km long beach, an old lighthouse and age old ruins of the Dutch empire. Thangasseri also has some 18th century churches.
Thirumullavaram Beach is a very famous tourist destination. Thirumullavaram Beach is located 6 km north of Kollam town.
The most interesting concept of this temple is its acceptance of anyone who is seeking shelter and help. Ochira stands out to be one and only example in this century to be a place for those who seeks God through service and open heart. The concept behind this temple is very simple: God exists everywhere, you seek God through service.
By Air The nearest airport for Kollam is at Thiruvananthapuram
By Rail Kollam is an important railhead
By Road The district has well developed road network
Ernakulam gets its name from the Ernakulathappan Temple in this town. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Ernakulathappan literally means Lord of Ernakulam. The present temple is the one rebuilt in 1842 over the old remains of the ancient temple.
In addition to communities such as Hindus, Muslims and Christians, minorities such as the Buddhists, the Jains, the Sikhs, and the Jews also form part of the cosmopolitan population. The ancestors of the Jews migrated from Jerusalem in 72 A.D. Now there are very few Jewish families in Cochin. There are lots of old Siva Temples in Ernakulam. People have been worshiping lord Shiva for over 5000 years. In Sanskrit "Siva" means kalyan (good wishes, doing good and taking care of all). So as part of this universal brotherhood though People are used to celebrate MahaSivaratri, it comes in Month of Maha before two days of Black moon. For this day people are doing lots of preparation. On that day people are used to keep full days fasting and Doing puja for Universal Peace and Asking enery for destroys evils things. Kallil Kshethram(Jain Temple) near Perumabavoor is also very famous. Adi Shankaracharya was born in Kalady and considered as a major pilgrimage centre for Hindus around the world. Thrippakudam Temple- Ana Kallaya Kulam -PARVATHIMANGALAM is the famous pooja in this temple. Arayankavu Thookkam- Otta Thookkam and Garudan Thookkam is very famous.The festival at the church of Vallarpadam on September 24 attracts people belonging to all religions. The icon of Virgin Mary in this church is credited with many miracles. The world famous Christian pilgrim Center at Malayattoor is in this district. The festival here lasts for 10 days in April. St. George Church at Kadamattam is very old and was founded by Mar Abo Metropolitan in 5th Century A.D. He brought a cross from Persia, which is still preserved in the church.. St. George Forane Church at Edappally, which was founded in 593 A.D., is considered to be the oldest church in Kerala after the 7 churches founded by St. Thomas. St. Antony’s church at Kannamaly is famous for the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19 where a large number of people are fed.One of the ancient mosques in Kerala is at Kanjiramattam.Chandanakkudam Festival in Kanjiramattom Mousque is very famous. Cherai Pooram is famous festival in island. Celebrating this full moon day having two purpose. Fields are ready for cropping, Start cropping with prayers and some auspicious puja. Next reason is People are ready to go in to sea. So on this day women of India generally having fasting of full day and pray for her brothers, father, husband and Nation 's victory.
Agriculture constitutes the most important segment of the district’s economy and it is the biggest source of employment. Of the geographical 235319 hectares, crops are grown in 210438 hectares. Coconut is the principal crop followed by rubber, paddy, and tapioca. A paddy cultivation system called pokkali is peculiar to the district.
Ernakulam district is bestowed with all the geographical factors, which help the development of industry, and it is in the vanguard of all other districts in Kerala in the field of industry. The availability of all types of transport facilities viz., road, rail, canal, sea, air is a factor which is unique to this district. Ernakulam is perhaps the biggest commercial center in the state of Kerala. Its M.G. Road is the location of some of the biggest businesses in Kerala.
The sea along the entire coast of the district and the backwaters abound in fish of various kinds offer enormous natural facilities for both marine and inland fisheries. Kochi is an ideal place that supports fisheries in its various aspects like education, research and development.
By Air The nearest airport for Ernakulam is at Kochi(Nedumbassery).
By Rail Ernakulam is a major railhead of the Southern Railway.
By Road The district has excellent road connections.
Places to visit
A little island on which the Dutch built their palace during their colonial reign, it also has a park and a golf course. The palace is today a heritage hotel, managed by the Kerala State Tourism Department.
This beautiful man-made island is where you’d land if you were visiting Cochin in a cruise ship. It is surrounded by backwaters, is a link between West Cochin and Ernakulam and houses the Port and the country’s southern naval command.
Built in 1568, this Synagogue is the oldest in India.
Fort Kochi is the where you will find the last remnants of the colonial era in Cochin. St. Francis Chruch, built by the Portuguese in 1503, stands here. The body of the Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama was first buried here. The famous Santa Cruz Cathedral is also at Fort Kochi. Chinese Fishing nets, which actually predate the colonial era, are another attraction of Fort Kochi.
Hill Palace Museum
The erstwhile palace of the Kochi royal family is now Kerala's first ever heritage museum and an ethno-archaeological museum. The museum showcases oil paintings, murals, manuscripts, furniture, inscriptions and coins belonging to royal family.
A Jain temple carved out of a single stone. It also has statue of Mahaveera.
Marine Drive, Kochi
You could take a boat ride in the backwaters here, or you could just take a walk down this promenade in the evening to enjoy the sunset or to sip on a coffee from one of the many cafes lining it.
Chinese Fishing Nets (Cheena Vala)
The Chinese fishing nets (Cheena vala) of Fort Kochi are supposed to have originated from China, and hence the name. These shore-operated lift nets line many parts of the coast here.
This palace was actually built by the Portuguese in 1568 before it was later renovated by the Dutch. It is now a museum that featuring Kerala murals depicting Hindu temple art, portraits and exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi.
Kodanad is a beautiful rural riverside village with an Elephant training centre. It has become a popular tourist destination and is an Ecotourism destination project sponsored by the Government of India.
Bhoothathankettu (literally ‘Fort of Spirits’) is situated about 50 km away from Ernakulam. It is a dam site with a scenic view of the forests. A myth connected with the origin of this place says that this natural fortification of forests and hills was built by Bhoothams (spirit/ghosts) overnight, which is why it is named so.
This shrine is atop a hill that tens of thousands of pilgrims ascend every year during lent. The shrine is believed to date back to the time of the apostle Thomas, who is believed to have prayed upon this hillock.
By Air The nearest airport for Ernakulam is at Kochi(Nedumbassery).
By Rail Ernakulam is a major railhead of the Southern Railway.
By Road The district has excellent road connections.