Breathtaking Views, Natural Beauty, Wildlife & More. Of all the trips I have made in the past three decades, it is rare to find someone who has experienced Kerala in India. Why? Most people head to the obvious tourist spots, including the Taj Mahal and Delhi, but they don’t always consider the raw beauty that Kerala has to offer.
Kerala is beautiful and is known for its nature, wildlife, beaches, hikes and hills. There are also great waterfalls here as well as culture – think of forts, palaces, museums, monuments and pilgrimage centers. And the sunsets are … well, simply breathtaking!
Although there is a lot of culture, history and heritage, we will focus on the raw and pristine beauty and nature because we think it is the most transformative part of the region. And, because we don’t think that travelers “come in” and connect to nature / Gaia as deeply as they should. Let’s start with their known backwaters, which are so worth exploring.
Less known in Kerala is Kavvayi Kayal, a region that results from five rivers: the Kavvayi River and its tributaries Kankol, Vannathichal, Kuppithodu and Kuniyan. Essentially, Kavvayi refers to a collection of small islands connected to Payyannur in Kannur by a bridge. It is apparently considered to be one of the most exotic places in northern Kerala.
What is fascinating and deeply gratifying is the possibility of taking boat trips that will take you past simple villagers and incredible fauna, as well as rare birds, flora and fauna. You can choose to take boat trips to explore each of the islands. Because you are surrounded by water, the seafood is also amazing here.
Also worth mentioning is Alumkadavu, which is a village famous for building houseboats. Here you will also find kettuvallams (traditional rice barges) that accompany these backwaters. It should also be noted that Alumkadavu is also a coconut fiber manufacturing center, which makes Kollam famous for its coconut fiber products. It’s a beautiful place – super relaxing and laid back, so it’s a wonderful choice to hang out of the grid for a while.
Kerala’s Hills & Hillstations
Kerala has a number of hills and hill stations, many of which run along what is called the Western Ghats. Our experience in this region was simply breathtaking – friendly people, great food and breathtaking views of the hills.
Here you can also explore the plantations, fauna, flora and fauna. One place to mention is Devikulam, which is only 8 kilometers from Munnar. Think of lawns and velvet picnics. Not far from here is the magnificent Sita Devi lake which, between relaxation and swimming, is also ideal for trout fishing. If you want to go to the nearest airport in this region, this would be Cochin International Airport.
Chembra is the highest peak in the Wayanad district and is located at around 2100 meters above sea level. If you like sight and hiking, this beautiful place offers a breathtaking view of the rare flora and fauna as well as the avian fauna.
There are tons of trekking attempts here – along the way, you’re greeted with a heart-shaped lake (yes, really – cool?), Waterfalls and lush vegetation. Even if the trekking is magic here, you must obtain a prior authorization before leaving for these hikes. Guided tours are also available, which simplifies the process.
A full-day hiking package to the summit of Chembra is organized by the forest department. The moderate trekking path through the tea plantations will lead you to the hridayasarassu – you can learn more about trekking from Chembra peak here.
The closest train station to this area is Kozhikode and the nearest airport is Calicut International Airport.
Another place worth mentioning is Agasthyakoodam in Thiruvananthapuram, which offers not only great hikes but also breathtaking views and unique wildlife experiences. Add it to your bucket list and you will be glad you did.
Wildlife in Kerala
There are countless places in Kerala to discover wildlife in the wild. Bird lovers will enjoy the Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary and the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, which is one of the most popular bird watching sites in the country. The latter is spread over 14 hectares where you will find many rare avian species here. Located on the shores of Lake Vembanad in Kottayam, you can see migratory birds flocking by the thousands, ranging from places like the Himalayas to Siberia.
Eravikulam National Park should also be on your list. There is also the Choolannur Pea Fowl Sanctuary, the Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary, the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, the Begar Wildlife Sanctuary, the Chinna Wildlife Sanctuary and the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary which has existed since the early seventies.
The Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary is part of the network of protected areas of Nagarhole and Bandipur of Karnataka to the northeast and Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu to the southeast. The region is extremely rich in biodiversity and is an integral part of the Nilgiri biosphere reserve. This particular sanctuary has a large population of pachyderms and has also been declared a Project Elephant site.
Elephants roam free here and tigers can be found as well as deer, monkeys, birds, butterflies and insects. The trees and plants that you will find in this lush sanctuary are typical of the humid deciduous forests of southern India and the semi-evergreen forests.
Beaches in Kerala
Kerala being a coastal state of India, some of the most beautiful beaches are also found here. Some of those worth mentioning include Kovalam, Varkala, Chowara, Chavakkad, Nattika, Cherai, Kizhunna, Poovar and countless others, all with their own special features and qualities.
The seashells found at Cherai Beach are unique and dolphin lovers will also want to go there. You could say that Cherai is the ideal mix of standing water and sea. It is apparently a very popular destination, so it is known to be among the most visited beaches in Kerala. Photography enthusiasts will also appreciate the breathtaking views.
An alternative is to head to Kizhunna, which is known as the hidden pearl of the North. The beaches here have soft sand and beautiful rock formations. Kizhunna is a great place for a romantic getaway as it is an extremely secluded beach, which means that it is also a great place to head out if you just want some rest, relaxation and loneliness.
If you love nature and want to explore the road less traveled, head to Kerala.
There really is something for everyone and the area is just beautiful. Whether you are a beach lover, a hiker, or just want to relax and read a dozen books in a peaceful setting, Kerala is an amazing choice.
Take a look at this video to take a visual and audio trip with us.