With serene backwaters, lush hill ranges, spectacular waterfalls, and beaches, Kerala is blessed with the best bounty of nature. Famed as ‘God’s own country’, the southern Indian state is undoubtedly one of the best destinations to experience nature at its best.
So, if you are planning to visit Kerala this monsoon, here are some of the best destinations to include in your itinerary.
1. Houseboats on Ashtamudi Lake
Home to 34 lakes, Kerala is a perfect location for those who love cruising through the waters. The serene lakes are best visited during the monsoon season, offering the best sight and experience.
Ashtamudi, the state’s second largest lake, is home to around 100 species of fish and over 60 species of birds. Here, you can go for a cruise on a houseboat, which allows one to witness scenic landscapes and coconut trees that dot the riverbanks.
One can also relish delicious and authentic Kerala food, with freshly caught fish served on the houseboats
Distance from Thiruvananthapuram: 80 km
Distance from Kochi: 128 km
2. Visit the cliff beach at Varkala
Kerala has a long coastline extending up to 589 km, so it’s teeming with scenic beaches. Among these, Varkala Beach, also called Papanasam Beach, is the only in the state with a beautiful cliff overlooking it.
Situated on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district, Varkala is one of the most sought-after destinations. The red-stone cliff is situated at a height of around 80 feet above sea level and provides a breathtaking view of the golden sand beach. The 2,000-year-old Janardhanaswamy Temple is situated close to the cliff.
There are also several shopping centres, restaurants, and cafes on the cliff top, which offer amazing food ranging from local seafood to global cuisines. The beach is clean and perfect for sunbathers. Also, the sunset from the cliff is something that you shouldn’t miss.
Other than the beach, Varkala is also a famous pilgrimage destination with Sivagiri Mutt, founded by the great religious reformer and philosopher Sree Narayana Guru, situated almost 5 km from the beach.
Distance from Thiruvananthapuram: 43 km
Distance from Kochi: 159 km
Photo Credits: Sushmitha Koneru (@sushmithachoudary on Instagram)
3. Waterfalls of Wayanad
Located on the southern tip of the Deccan Plateau and on the north-eastern part of Kerala, Wayanad is often referred to as a ‘green paradise’. Nestled amidst the majestic hill ranges of the Western Ghats, the hill station is famed for its splendid natural beauty and lush greenery.
Wayanad is replete with wild forests, green meadows, misty hills, valleys and natural springs, and looks its best during the rains, especially with gorgeous waterfalls scattered across the region.
The most popular ones include Soochipara Waterfalls, Meenmutty Falls, Kanthanpara, Chethalayam, Kadachikunnu, Palchuram, and Thusharagiri Falls.
Distance from Kozhikode: 85 km
Distance from Kochi: 259 km
4. Lush Backwaters of Alleppey
Alleppey, also known as the ‘Venice of the East’, is one of the most popular destinations in Kerala. With lush green landscapes, pristine rivers and beautiful freshwater lakes, it is indeed the epitome of natural beauty.
When it comes to Alleppey, the serene backwaters of the region steal the show. These are perfect for nature lovers, photographers, and wildlife enthusiasts, or just for those looking for a peaceful getaway from the hustle of urban life.
Opt for a houseboat if you visit here during the monsoon season, and take in the lush coconut groves, golden paddy fields, Chinese fishing nets, and the tiny villages that line the banks of the backwaters. One can also witness and experience village life, visit local shops, and savour local food.
Distance from Thiruvananthapuram: 148 km
Distance from Kochi: 53 km
5. Treehouses of Thekkady
Situated at an altitude of 700 m above sea level, Thekkady hill station is located in the Idukki district of Kerala. Nestled among the green lush forests of Western Ghats, it is a perfect destination for people who love nature, wildlife, and adventure.
Major highlights here are the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Taking a cruise through Periyar lake would let one not only witness the scenic beauty of the region, but also get glimpses of rare wildlife on the banks of the lake.
More than 60 species of animals such as the Asian elephant, tiger, Indian bison, sambar deer, Indian wild dog, leopard, and so on, can be spotted. Over 200 bird species including Malabar grey hornbill, Indian pied hornbill, and White-bellied Treepie can be found in the national reserve.
It is, hence, popular for tree houses. Stay in one, like the Vanya Tree House, to spot numerous wild animals roaming in their natural habitat.
Distance from Thiruvananthapuram: 202 km
Distance from Kochi: 155 km
6. Chai Amid the Clouds at Munnar
Munnar is a heavenly hill station, loved by tourists for its trekking trails, vast tea gardens, virgin forests, rolling hills, waterfalls, and abundant natural beauty. The region looks extremely beautiful during the monsoons, as the rain enhances the greenery that envelops the entire region.
Once the summer resort of the British government, the hill station is also known for Neelakurinji, a rare plant that flowers only once in twelve years. The Echo Point, Attukad Waterfalls, Tata Tea Museum, Eravikulam National Park, Mattupetty Dam, and so on are some of the highlights in and around Munnar.
The sprawling and splendid tea plantations are a must-visit, where travellers can relish a steaming cup of tea, and admire the misty skies above and green paradise below.
Distance from Thiruvananthapuram: 277 km
Distance from Kochi: 131 km
7. Snakeboat Racing at Champakulam
Boat races, or Vallamkali, have always been part of Kerala’s tradition. These events, conducted in different parts of the state every year, are grand and all about celebrating teamwork.
The snake boat race is among the most popular races and involves a long traditional style canoe, which is up to 100 m long and known as chundan vallam.
Meanwhile, the Champakulam boat race, which takes place in the Pamba River, marks the beginning of the boat race season every year. The oarsmen sing vanchipattu, or boat songs, while they row the decorated boats. Watching the boats charging to the finish line and the cheering crowd on the banks is a spectacular experience.
Some other popular boat races in Kerala include the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, the Aranmula Boat Race, the Payippad Boat Race, the Thazhathangadi Boat Race, President’s Trophy Boat Race, and Uthradam Thirunal Pamba Boat Race.
Distance from Thiruvananthapuram: 140 km
Distance from Kochi: 68 km
8. Malabar River Festival at Kozhikode
Organised by the Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society, District Tourism Promotion Council, and the grama panchayats of Kodenchery and Thiruvambady, the Malabar River Festival hosts the International Kayaking Competition.
The festival was called off for the last two years owing to pandemic-induced restrictions. But this year, the eighth edition of the fest is all set to resume from August 12th to 14th. Kayakers from 20 different countries are expected to row in the waters of Iruvazhinji puzha and Chalipuzha at Kozhikode.
Those not participating in the competition can also witness the adventurous event from the scenic location near the beautiful Thusharagiri Waterfalls.
Distance from Thiruvananthapuram: 414 km
Distance from Kochi: 221 km
Photo Credits: Mahesh (@soulandfuel on Instagram)
Edited by Divya Sethu