Rendezvous With Popular Kerala Tourist Destinations

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Last week I was in Kerala for a short trip covering popular Kerala. Destinations like Munnar, Kochi, and Northern Alleppy. When you travel to Kerala, you always have in your mind that you are visiting one of the 10 best destinations in the world as rated by National Geographic. Additionally, I had heard all kinds of stories from my Mallu friends who never fail to introduce themselves by saying I am from ‘God’s own country’.

Tea Gardens at Munnar of Popular Kerala
Tea Gardens at Munnar

Popular Kerala Tourist attractions

My impressions of the state after visiting popular parts of Kerala. It’s a nice place, picturesque and quiet. A noticeable point was that the whole area that we traveled to was very clean unlike most of the rural areas in the other parts of the country. Every small house on top of a hill was well painted. Most of the time in a combination of green and white (don’t know if this is a regulatory requirement like the walled city of Jaipur). Roads were well laid out even in the interiors.

Munnar Tea Estates

Munnar tea estates look like green carpets spread over the hills, and the women plucking tea leaves look very romantic. In that place, the only thing you find missing is the accompanying music. The tea museum is good. There is a demonstration of the tea production and grading process, along with a small history of tea growing in the Kannan Devan hills. But I found the ticket too costly for a place where you can not spend more than 30 mins or so. Apart from that, there are a few Dams in that area. What is interesting is that the Kerala electricity board has developed areas around their dams. And after every few km, you have boating sites and resorts developed.

The development of multiple small points like this keeps the crowding and cleanliness in check. And should be earning substantial revenues for KEB, as every site had an entry ticket. The boating tickets were also priced for the high-end traveler. Like Western countries, the tour routes seem to be pretty standard as we kept bumping into the same people at every site and location. It also seems to be pitched for the overseas traveler, otherwise, things like a ‘honey bee tree’ may not be on the itinerary.

Chinese fishing net at Cochin
Chinese fishing net at Cochin

Kochi

Kochi is a big city, has the all familiar traffic and pollution. But I found the ferry trips across to the Kochi Fort, Willingdon Island, and Mattancherry very interesting. Don’t know how they manage it, the tickets cost like Rs 2.50. This means in 5 Rs you can have a round trip to and from any island to any other island.

Fort Kochi

In Fort Kochi, you can see a Marine Museum, another museum, and a synagogue. You can visit a small beach and see Chinese fishing nets. In Jews Town, you can see a lot of good antique items. Some things that your parent’s generation would have thrown away because they thought it to be unfashionable. And now you go back to buy the same at ten thousand times the cost that your grandparents might have paid for it. Again the whole street is pitched for the overseas traveler. Even the spices that you get for x in the next street are sold at 3x on this street.

You can see ubiquitous Kashmiri guys selling their usual stuff and interestingly flirting away with women visiting their shops. You can cover the whole of the island in less than half a day. And actually, there is nothing which is too striking.

Lime Factory, Cochin, Kerala
Lime Factory

Village Trip on Houseboat in Backwaters of Popular Kerala

We took a village trip which was a day long. And included a small cruise and lunch on a houseboat in the backwaters. A visit to a typical village house in the state with a spice garden and almost every spice and herb in their backyard. A lime factory where lime is produced from seashells. Punting along the canals, plucking fresh coconuts, and visiting a coir-making unit. It was an extremely well-packaged trip, with fairly well-trained guys handling the trip.

Rarely do you see the guides in India trying to strike up a conversation with tourists and trying to read their minds and respond accordingly. And all this was reasonably priced at Rs 425/- per person. If we want to develop the tourism economy, we need more such packaging and well-serviced offerings.

Missed items

The things that I missed out on this trip were a local dance performance, a walk in the tea gardens, and spending some quiet time on a beach (not sure if there is a good and quiet beach around Kochi). And of course, could not manage time to go and take the famous Kairali massage. Could have done some good photography if I had a better camera…

Overall I think Kerala is a bit overrated; there are so many places that are much better tourist destinations in terms of the sheer natural beauty. But the attitude of the people, the tourist-friendly orientation, and the awareness that tourism is a part of their economy is definitely that need to travel to all the places that want to see themselves on the world tourism map. The attitude of Keralites was probably second only to Goa in India, though it may still be some time before it reaches the level that you see in Europe.

Recommend you read the following travel blog on places to visit in popular Kerala.

Padmanabhapuram Palace, Fort & Town

Padnabhaswamy Temple, Trivandrum

Ponmudi Hills – Southern end of western ghats

A Whirlwind Trip to Kozhikode (Calicut)

21 COMMENTS

  1. My lonely feet do all the talkingas they go past scenery newwith pain of a forlorn travellerand a head with images fewthey pass through hills that ridethe naked earth as they runand even waves high and wideshining in the glowing sunand the eyes above are obliviousthe heart unknown to sufferingsof the body frame that a mindlessyet well-travelled tourist brings.Atleast you will live to say you did it rather than you didn’t

  2. hi anuradha , congrats on being there i wanted be there for a long, would be there in may , perhaps ..any suggestions would be most welcome bye

  3. the joys of an ardent travellerA long winding and ardous pathinvited once a strapping ladwho set out to see the worldand perserverence if he hadthe path was dusty brown & windingthe sun beat hard with all its painplumes of dust floated aimlesslytawny road in an orange flameand yet the lad, some say foolishlystepped on to the longish awaywithout an inkling of the aeonsof sordid time that will wilt awayHe walked alone for most part..no one walked by him for long…people he met as passers byparted ways they thought their ownHe marched past many woods…that stood green and dark and deephavign seen history gone byand recorded it for keepsand on the way lay ruins galoreforts and strongholds that stood longer than the people whohad moved out of them for goodand each place taught him goodsomething of love and strifethat men take years find still…only to miss it in their livesThe ardent traveller now figured..the cruel joke that life spiesthe beauty of the world we live in always behind the horizon lies..

  4. Hi Anuradha!

    Your blog is interesting. Your trip to Kerela was well documented.

    I am from Assam and I am a D.Phil researcher in Delhi University. I am researching on Internet Sociology. Consequently, I am interested to get the opinion for serious bloggers like you. Hope you don’t mind sharing your thoughts with me. You can visit my research blog at http://nmsoc.blogspot.com and submit your thoughts. Right now, as you can see I am looking at the motivation that initiated you to start blogging.

    Alternately, if you do not want to submit your opinion on the blog, you can mail me at [email protected]

    Regards,

    Asim Choudhury

  5. Very interesting blog..specially the posts on Delhi.
    I grew up in Delhi, and my parents are from Kerala. I used to go to Kerala for my summer hols.
    Your posts on Delhi convey your knowledge of the place, how you have roamed the galis and eaten at various streetside stalls. Even a ex-Delhi resident like me can find a lot of interesting things to do and see.
    Your article on Kerala is a little surprising in this light, as you seem to have written off Kerala, and comment on how its overrated, based on a short visit there. You should know of all people about the importance of spending time in a place.
    I realize this was an old post, hope you had a chance to go back there..

  6. It’s a good post.

    The Backwater in Alleppey is a unique place. One must do a Houseboat trip or at least, a shikhara trip in the backwater of Alleppey.

  7. Hi Anuradha,
    Fort Kochi, i believe has evolved quite a bit since you have been there. What with the Kochi Biennale hosted every alternate year there, today it is a hotbed for art lovers and all things art.

    Infact while you are in Fort Kochi do check out Ayana Fort Kochi. It is a 200 year old heritage property built as a courthouse in the Portuguese era and since then converted into a hotel. It is a treat for art lovers with an Art Decor design theme and contemporary art pieces on display throughout the property. (PS: they are on sale too should one wish to make a purchase as well)

  8. Welcome to Kerala “God’s own country”. Not only known for its hill stations, backwaters, the scenic beauty and beaches. Experience the culture and Ayurveda.

  9. Hey, Anuradha!

    Thank you for sharing your lovely experience of Kerala. I have heard about this beautiful state a lot and I wish to visit there soon. From your blog, I have gathered information about the best places to visit along with the popular activities to indulge in Kerala. I will definitely try to explore the local village on the houseboat with family and friends to enjoy the Kerala trip at its best.

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