KALAMANDALAM

The hallowed art capital watered by the Nila, where the arts and tradition intermingle is located in Cheruthuruthy village of Thrissur district. Kerala’s famed poet, Vallathol, set up the State’s premier institution of performing arts. The warp and weft culture create a rich tapestry sought out by those even from abroad.Passionate lovers of art from all parts of the world flock to this haven of arts.

Location: Thrissur

Contact:  Tourism Information Centre. Ph 04884 262305

Stay: Thrissur.

Visiting Time: 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

EDAKKAL CAVES

Trekking to the top of Mount Ambukuthi in the bracing morning air to the accompaniment of bird song discover Edakkal caves, one of the earliest pre-historic monuments of India. The fascinating rock etchings found on the walls have drawn serious attention of archaeologists and historians worldwide. With at least three distinct sets of petroglyphs, it is assumed that the caves have been inhabited at various stages in history. Scholars have idenified the site as a habitat of Neolithic {late Stone Age, c 4,000BC to c1,700BC} people on the basis of the nature of representations on the walls. Petroglyphs are often thought to be astronomical markers, maps, and other forms of symbolic communication, including a form of ‘pre-writing,’ which  are supposed to hold deep cultural and religious significance for the societies that created them. As such they form the common legacy of humankind. According to local lore, the caves were created by Luv and Kush, sons of Rama who shot arrows towards the hill. Another one claims that Rama killed the she-demon Surpanakha here.

Location: Wayanad. 13 km south of Sulthan Bathery

Cotact: 04936 202134

Stay:  Edakkal Hermitage. 
Ph.: 04936 221860 & 04936 260123.

KOTHAMPULLY

The small hamlet of Kothampully set on the banks of the Bharathapuzha is well known for its handloom fabrics, distinguished by its unmatched quality, exceptional finish and elegant borders. The traditional kasavu, double dhoti, set mundu, veshti, set saree, lungis and churidar material are quite popular. Weavers are an immigrant community of Kannadiga Devangas. Kasavu Sarees produced here is mostly with half fine zari and hence more economical. As such, these are preferred by the middle class. Motifs from Kathakali, portaraits of Krishna and Lakshmi are rendered artistically.

Location:  Thrissur Dt. 47 km north east to Thrissur via Chelakkara.

Contact: Secretary, Kuthanpully Handloom Developement Corporation. Ph 9447773609

Stay:  Noopura Residency, Pazhayannur. Ph 04884 225729.

PADMANABHAPURAM

Built by Iravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal in the early 17th century, the  Padmanabhapuram palace is known for its exquisite wood-work, innovative design and beautiful mural painting. It is hailed as an exemplar of Kerala architecture and a model of traditional timber construction was known as Kalkulam palace. This mansion was the seat of Travancore royalty for nearly 200 years before the capital shifted to Thiruvananthapuram. In the mid-18th century, Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, expanded and renamed the palace and city as Padmanabhapuram. Temples, churches and Jain temples dot this coastal belt. The interiors are replete with intricate rosewood carvings and sculptured decor. The palace also contains 17th and 18th century murals. ‘Thaikkottaram’ or the Queen Mother’s palace has teak and rose wood carved ceilings with 90 different floral designs.

Location:  Tamilnadu.

Padmanabhapuram Palace lies 55 km south-west of Thiruvananthapuram

Visiting hours:  9 am -5Pm (All days except Mondays)

contact: DTPC Thiruvananthapuram. Ph 0 471-2321132

Stay: Nagarkoil, Thiruvananthapuram

ARANMULA

Fill your heart with art, music, spirituality and a unique culture of love and brotherhood. Aranmula, a charming heritage village with lush green mounds, paddy fields, rubber plantations, coconut groves, temples and churches is a real sliver of surpassing beauty. Holy River Pampa skirts the pastoral hamlet and is intertwined with its culture. Parthasarathy Temple, situated on the banks of the Pampa, the unique Aranmula Kannadi mirror, which is actually polished metal and the annual snake boat race are the various strands of the divine symphony called Aranmula. 

Location: Pathanamthitta Dt. 16 km from Pathanamthitta

Contact: DTPC Pathanamthitta. Ph 0468 2229952

Stay: Pathanamthitta

MATTANCHERY

European-era bungalows, with their terracotta roof tiles, and butter-yellow or mint-green façades, waterfront warehouses redolent of the odour of spices, St Francis CSI Church {India’s oldest European church}, Paradesi Synagogue and Mattancherry Palace are landmarks. The well-preserved 16th century synagogue on Jew Street is a big draw. At the other end the street stands the Kadavumbhagom synagogue, a 463-year old prayer hall of the Cochini Jews. And as the sun goes down on River Road, fishermen haul up the Chinese nets, coconut vendors serve up the tender water, kids play with pinwheels and women in bright saris sit on park benches after a hard days’ chores, just asit would have been generations back.

Location: Ernakulam Dt. 4 km from the city.

Contact: Ernakulam DTPC. Ph 0484-2367334/2383988

stay: Kochi

IRINGAL

Blending the contrary domains of art and business, Iringal craft village on the shores of enchanting Chaliyar, is the port of call of art-loving tourists. Artifacts of fibre, bamboo, sand, coconut shells, coir and many more abound in different colourful stalls of artisans.

Location : Kozhikode District, 8km from Vadakara

Contact : DTPC Secretary, Kozhikode Ph-0495-2720012

Stay : Kozhikode