God’s own country!
Kerala is a tropical paradise and thus it is also known as ‘God’s own country’. The hill ranges and the waterfalls are delightful in this state. Kerala’s culture and cuisines are also distinctive which draws travellers to visit it at least once. This trip planned by us will need five days and it is not a trekking tour, it is like going on long rides to cover popular tourist spots everyday. So join us as we take you to some of the top tourist attractions. Travelling never seemed more smoother and hassle-free! Read on to know more about the places we will visit and also about other places which makes Kerala awesome. Maybe you would love visiting those places on a longer trip afterwards?
The Athirapally Waterfalls are one of the top 10 things to visit in Kerala. It is about 70 kms from Kochi and can take half-day for a proper visit. The months between September to January are the best time to visit the falls. A large number of people come to see Athirapally Falls between October to December.
Athirapally Waterfalls is at a distance of 73 kms from Kochi, 100 kms from Munnar and 59 kms from Thrissur. In Thrissur district, there is the Sholayar Hill Range. This beautiful waterfall is located at the entrance of the hill range. It is one of Kerala’s most popular tourist destinations and also one of India’s best waterfalls.
Athirapally Falls is formed over the river named Chalakudy and is one of India’s biggest waterfalls. It falls from 80 feet high by forming a number of streams falling parallely which make the waterfalls look gorgeous. During the monsoon season, as there is abundance of water, the streams get overflowing with water and becomes one tall and broad waterfall, much like the Niagara Falls. Apart from it being Kerala’s biggest waterfall, it’s scenic beauty too makes it a must-see for people coming to Kochi.
From the entry point to the falls, one has to walk for around fifteen minutes to reach the top of the waterfall. This spot is a great viewpoint for seeing the Sholyara Hills and giving a spectacular view of the waterfalls. To reach the bottom of the Falls, you will have to trek down for another fifteen minutes. The real grandeur of the waterfall has to be experienced and seen from the bottom. You can also take a swim in the stream at the bottom.
The flowing water of Athirapally turns into a stream and flows further as the Chalakudy river and meets the Arabian Sea. There are eighty-five species of fish in this river making it a biodiversity hotspot. You will also find many species in the Athirapally forest like the great hornbill, Malabar grey hornbill, lion-tailed macaque, bison, Malabar pied hornbill, Sambar, leopard, Indian grey hornbill, leopard, Asiatic elephant and tiger.
In Athirapally there are also other places to visit like the Malayattur wildlife sanctuary, Vazhachal waterfalls, Valparai, Charpa Falls, Sholayar Dam and Annakayam. One can also do adventure activities like trekking and river rafting in this area.
One can visit the waterfall anytime during the year as the waterfall never completely dries out. You can go there in monsoon to see in its full strength but heavy rain can make it troublesome for you to hike. You will need a couple of hours to explore the falls and we think the ideal time is to go between September and January between 8 am to 5 pm.
This beach in Fort Kochi is by the Arabian Sea and is one of the top 2 places to visit in Kochi. This beach is also known as the Mahatma Gandhi Beach. It is Kerala’s finest beach and a prime tourism spot.
The ambience of this beach is very peaceful and looks extremely scenic which has earned the moniker ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. Both tourists and local people love visiting this beach because of its serene ambience and clear water. The historic Fort Kochi is also on this beach which is an example of European architecture. You will understand you have reached Fort Kochi when you see the Chinese nets. There is a walkway to the bridge which is lined up with trees and surrounded with greenery. This beach is a great spot for viewing the sunset.
The Kochi carnival which is held annually on New Year’s Eve is held on this beach. This festival makes it a top place to celebrate New Year’s Eve in. There are also many restaurants and eateries serving delicious Kerala cuisine which no foodie should miss out on.
The best time to visit the beach is between 6 am to 7 pm. A part of the beach belongs to the Indian Navy and common people cannot go to that portion.
The visit to see the Chinese fishing nets will take about 30 minutes and they are situated very close to the Fort Kochi bus terminus. The entry to this area is free and one can go anytime between 6 am to 6 pm but of course these nets are there 24 hours. You will find the mouth of the harbour in Fort Kochi dotted with these types of nets. One must see these nets while they are on a visit to Fort Kochi.
The Chinese nets are called Cheenavala in this region. A Chinese explorer named Zheng had introduced these nets in Kochi. The nets are quite unique than the ones that are normally used. These nets are fixed, they have been installed in the area on teak and bamboo poles. The poles hold the nets horizontally and there is a big mechanism in use as to how the nets are brought down to the sea water. Huge stones tied with ropes are used as weights to bring the nets down.
The Chinese nets are spread across 20 meters and have a height of 10 meters. Six fishermen operate these nets. One net cannot be used in tidal waters multiple times because there is a fixed operating depth for every net. Depending on the condition of the tide, fishing nets are used. There is a system that the net comes down to the sea when a fisherman walks on the main beam to create one sort of balance. After a few minutes, there are ropes which are pulled to bring up the net.
These nets are common in southern China and even Indo-China but in our country, these nets are used only in Kochi and Kollam. During the sunset, these nets all lined up, almost hanging mid-air, not exactly vertically nor horizontally, creating quite a sight. You must not forget to take some photographs of these when you are on your Kochi visit.
The other places where people can go for local sightseeing in Kochi are Cochin Jewish Synagogue, Dutch Palace, Indo-Portuguese Museum and Santa Cruz Basílica.
There are two main tourist attractions in Alleppey – the Backwater Cruises and the Alappuzha beach. The perfect mix of beach and backwaters make Alappuzha a superb destination. Alappuzha is another name of Alleppey and is near the banks of the Vembanad Lake. It is on the shores of the Arabian Sea. It is one of the most important tourist spots.
Alappuzha and Kumarakom are two of Kerala’s most well-known backwaters. The exciting experience of a houseboat cruise must make it to one’s list during their Alleppey trip. We too will spend an evening on the houseboat and also watch the sunset. The green paddy field, the long canals, the tall coconut trees and pristine water around Alleppey makes it such a fabulous location.
Alleppey has also earned the name – ‘Venice of the East’. The famous Nehru Trophy Boat Race is also held here, in Punnamada Lake. The race is held on the second Saturday of August. The competitive spirit remains unbelievably high during this boat race which is undoubtedly the best one in the country. The rice bowl of Kerala’ or Kuttanad is a part of Alleppey district. People also generally take a trip to the Kuttanad backwaters on a houseboat. Kuttanad is one of those rare places where farming is done below sea level.
The top thing to do in Thekkady is going on a boat cruise on Periyar lake situated in the Periyar wildlife sanctuary. Riding on a boat is the best way to see the wildlife, that too from a close distance. KTDC arranges these boat rides. The Periyar lake was formed in 1895 when the Mullaperiyar Dam was built. Wildlife is frequently seen on the land which surrounds this lake.
Elephants are a common sight on the reservoir’s shores which tourists get to see when riding on a boat. One might also see Sambar Deer and Wild Boar. For viewing the wildlife, being on the upper deck of a boat is the best. Thekkady Boating Point issues the tickets for boat rides.
The boats are generally crowded as they have a seating capacity of fifteen to one hundred and fifty, depending on the size of the boat. The best time to spot animals is early morning or evening and we will try the latter. The boat ride continues for one to two hours. Tourists of all ages enjoy a boat ride in Thekkady and it is very safe too.
Taking an elephant ride is the second most popular thing to do in Thekkady and is done in the Periyar Tiger Reserve. The Elephant Junction arranges for these rides through the spice gardens. The elephant safari is a great experience as the gentle breeze and the air loaded with fragrance of spices refreshes everyone.
In the Elephant Junction, tourists can take part in activities like giving baths to elephants and interacting with them up close. During the elephant safari, there will be trainers who walk along the elephants. There are howdahs on the back of elephants which are two-seaters.
When in Thekkady, we will also see the world’s oldest martial art form – Kalaripayattu and visit the Thekkady Kathakali Centre to enjoy a traditional dance performance.
Valara Waterfalls – The grand Valara Waterfalls is 39 kms away from Munnar and is its top tourist attraction. It is situated in between Adimali and Neriamangalam which is on NH49, the Munnar to Kochi highway. This falls is near another named Cheeyappara Falls.
The Valara waterfalls is actually a chain of waterfalls and falls from approximately 1000 feet height. Lush green forests surround these falls making it look amazing. Different kinds of birds and animals stay in these forests. It is one of the best waterfalls in Munnar.
The falls can be seen from the highway, but if you want to go to the bottom, you will have to do a good bit of trekking. The area surrounding the Falls is perfect for trekking. The months of monsoon and post-monsoon are the best to see Valara Waterfalls.
Top Station – This place which is 32 kms from Munnar is also one of the top 10 tourist places of Munnar. Giving a 360 degree view of the Western Ghats, this supremely beautiful place falls on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border.
This viewpoint is at a height of 2200 meters. The growth of Neelakurunji plants make this special. These flowers grow once every twelve years. One has to trek down 2 kms from the road point on a steep path. One has to trek carefully and there are deep valleys on one side of the path. This place is south India’s highest approachable road.
The mountains covered in mists, the sound of the waterfalls and the abundance of green valleys ensures it draws tourists all the time. One can see the Kanan Devan hills, which are known for their tea, from this viewpoint.
This is a nice place for trekking enthusiasts as there are quite a few trekking routes in the Top Station.
Mattupetty Dam – This dam is the best place to visit in Munnar. We will also visit Echo Point, Kundala Lake and Top Station when we go to visit this dam.
Mattupetty Dam is at a distance of 10 kms from Munnar. It is a concrete gravity dam which has been constructed on Top Station Road. One can also enjoy a thrilling speedboat ride apart from seeing Munnar’s beauty in a new way.
The Dam was built in 1953 as a part of the Pallivasal Hydro-electric project. It was built to generate power and water conservation. The availability of water has made it a house for birds and wild animals. The dam is a major source of Munnar’s electricity.
The Mattupetty Dam looks very attractive as the reflection of the surrounding tea garden falls on the still water. The District Tourism Promotion Council of Idukki (Munnar) arranges water sport activities for visitors. People who love to trek can do so in the Shola forest.
The tea plantations and hills covered with forests surround the dam and the lake and makes it look very cinematic. Boating in this lake is going to be an unforgettable experience for anyone. While you are on a boat, you might be able to see elephants coming from the forest to take a bath in the water! Mattupetty is also known for super-specialized dairy farms and high quality eucalyptus oil.
Kundala Lake – This picturesque lake is 20 kms away from Munnar and falls on the way in between Munnar and Top Station. It is also Munnar’s one of the best scenic places.
The artificial Kundala Dam, which is in cured shape, has given birth to this lake. One can do boating in this lake, that too in Kashmiri (Shikara) boats, which makes the experience super special. There are also pedal boats and row boats. Kundala’s tea estates are also something which looks very eye-catching.
In Kundala village, there is a golf course too, belonging to the Tata Tea company.
Echo Point – Echo Point is situated between Mattupetty Dam and Kundala Lake and is 15 kms from Munnar and is also one of the top ten places to visit in Munnar. The beautiful Echo point falls on the way to Top station. It is on the main road which is by the Mattupetty Dam’s backwaters while going to Kundala Lake. This spot is in the middle of rolling hills.
The place has obviously got its name from the phenomenon of echo which happens naturally here. There is a spot on the embankments of the lake. If you shout something loudly from there, the sound will hit the surrounding hills and will resound multiple times in an echo. Visitors get mesmerised by the sight of the green hills. Nature walks and trekking are popular activities which are carried out in the area. You will also feel glad that you have visited this mist-clad area having a great view and refreshing mountain air.
Boating facility is available here. This is also a great place for nature photography.
Lakkam Waterfalls – This waterfall is situated at a distance of 26 kms from Munnar and is at a place called Mayaroor, in Gundumalai village to be more specific. The waterfall is 15 kms away from Marayoor bus stand and falls between Marayoor and Munnar. This is one of the best tourist attractions of both Munnar and Marayanoor.
Lakkom Waterfalls is situated in the middle of thick greenery and rolling hills and looks absolutely sensuous. The Eravikulam stream, which originates in the premises of the Eravikulam National Park, forms this waterfall. It is also a tributary to river Pambar. The cascading waterfall falling from a height of 50 feet creates a natural pool below. Tourists can enjoy this pool where the water is cold and rich with minerals.
We will also trek to the top of Lakshmi Hill in Munnar before leaving for Kochi.
View the splendid Athirapally Falls
Go to Fort Kochi and see the Chine nets
Reach Alleppey to spend an evening on a traditional houseboat
View the sunset at Alleppey
Enjoy the morning at the sea
Be on a traditional small boat for a ride
Leave for Idukki ghats after having lunch
Enjoy watching Kalaripayattu at Kalari Center
Check-in to hillside homestay or cottage
View the sunrise from Pandikuzhi at Tamil Nadu
Walk through the tea gardens of Chellarkovil
Take an elephant ride
Go to the medicine and spice gardens and also shop
Enjoy a special Kerala lunch
Visit Periyar Tiger Reserve for a boat ride and try to spot wild animals
Enjoy a cuppa of steaming Idukki tea in the evening
Visit the Thekkady Kathakali Center post-sunset for watching a traditional dance performance
Reach Munnar by driving through Kattadipara and tea estates right from sunrise time
Visit multiple viewpoints and spots like Top Station, Mattupetty Dam, Kundala Lake and Echo Point
Go to the Kanan Devan Hills Tea Museum and KDHP if time permits and enjoy Munnar’s tea
If time and weather permits, we will visit the Lakkam Waterfalls
Spend an enjoyable evening in Munnar shopping for nuts, spices and artefacts.
Trek to the top of Lakshmi Hill. It’s an easy trek.
Take a walk to the scenic Chithirapuram Bridge after breakfast
Visit the Cheeyappara Waterfalls/Valara Falls after lunch
Head for the Nayathode Siva Narayana Temple which is 1400 years old
Get dropped at Kochi city by 7 in the evening or airport by 6 pm