Kerala is one of the most beautiful places to visit in monsoon. The occasional sunlight and the cool darkness can be enjoyed with the same fervour. Here are the best ten monsoon travel destinations in Kerala.
Ashtamudi Lake - Famed homestays and houseboats in backwaters; soothing touch of nature
Backwaters is the most popular tourist attraction of Kerala. The palm-fringed, tranquil backwaters were once the state's trade highways. The Ashtamudi lake, surrounded by red cliffs and swaying coconut palms, still bears traces of its former links with China -on a backwater cruise from Kollam to Alappuzha all along the waterline you can see the famous Cheena Vala (Chinese fishing nets) gracefully hanging over the lake, as covered country boats ply the backwaters. Houseboats provide an opportunity for exhilarating water sports. With a gentle breeze to aid, one may sail around the Ashtamudi Lake. Located in Kollam district, Ashtamudi is famed for its panoramic and magnificent views.The Ashtamudi Lake is so named because of its eight 'arms' or channels is the gateway to the backwaters.
Alappuzha – Venice of the East; romantic getaway in the lush greenery
Alappuzha is a landmark between the broad Arabian sea and a network of rivers flowing into it. Alleppey or Alappuzha is called the Venice of the East. The whole of kuttanadu, the Netherland of the East presents another picturesque sight. There are neither mountains nor hills in the district except some scattered hillocks lying between Bharanikkavu and Chengannur blocks in the eastern portion of the district. Cherthala, Ambalappuzha, Kuttanad and Karthikappally fully lie in low land region. There is no forest area in this district.
Thekkady – Periyar National park, tropical greenery; mesmerizing beauty of forest enriched in rains
The very sound of the word Thekkady conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations. In the Periyar forest of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India, and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunities for treks and mountain walks.
Kumarakom – Enchanting backwater destination; wide range of exotic birds
Kumarakom in Kottayam is the most sought after backwater destination in Kerala. It has seen a boom in recent years with a large number of hotels and holiday retreats being set up there. Kumarakom is 15 km west of Kottayam District. Kumarakom is a bevy of islets on Vembanad Lake. The lush green area has wide expanses of mangrove forest that is home to many species of birds. There is a specially marked small bird sanctuary here that is about 14 acres. Many species of birds of passage visit here every year. It is also a well-known roosting place for Siberian cranes that flock here in hundreds. The network of waterways intersecting the coconut groves adds to the beauty of the landscape. These waterways and the surrounding areas can be explored in canoes. Kumarakom boat race on the Vembanad Lake, held during the August- September season, attracts a large number of visitors.
Munnar – Ideal monsoon destination; mist covered tea plantations, greenery at its best
This beautiful hill station is noted for its cool climate and tea plantation. This little town boasts of many colonial bungalows, tea factories, wildlife sanctuaries and lakes. Literally meaning 3 rivers, Munnar is situated on the confluence of three rivers - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. 1600 m above sea level, this hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji (Strobilantus kuntianus). This flower that bathes the hills in blue every twelve years, will bloom next in 2006 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2695 m.
Wayanad – Romantic picturesque with beautiful waterfalls; best balance of hills and waters
Wayanad is the best place to experience monsoon in Kerala. Rain in the coffee-scented highlands has thousands of shades and hues. The waterfalls, mist covered valleys, spice plantations and wildlife sanctuaries of Wayanad district attract nearly a million visitors every year. With the onset of rains, Wayanad traditionally has certain activities that are bound to become attractions for the tourists. Some of these include the racing of bulls in paddy fields, planting of rice saplings and fishing. The district would also be looking forward to have visitors to go for trekking during the Monsoon, which is perceived as yet another enjoyable activity during the June-July rainy season.
Kovalam – Incredible beaches; adventure sports like surfing
Kovalam, the beachfront that has made into the international tourism map, is 16 km off the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. The Arabian Sea that lines Kerala along its west all along turns into a meek and placid waterscape at Kovalam. Its major attraction is the sandy seaside naturally divided by rocky mounds into three separate curved beaches. Clear water with shallow bottom up to a hundred metres has made Kovalam a swimmers' haven. It is also the first place in Kerala to be featured on the International tourism map in a big way.
Bekal – Diverse landscapes; wonderful beaches, elegant forts
History sleeps here among the lonely battlements of the Bekal Fort, by the sea shore. The Bekal fort is the largest and the best preserved of its kind in Kerala. This 300 plus years old fort is located on a vast 35-acre headland that runs into the Arabian Sea. The Bekal Fort feels like one of taken from the pages of Grimm’s fairy tale. It has all the ingredients and the scenic riches of an abandoned fort on looking the vast ocean. This imposing structure of laterite rising 130 ft. above sea level has a chequered history or 300 years which adds to its interest as an excavation site. Due to its historic relevance, the fort is controlled by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Varkala – Breezy palm trees, red cliffs; natural springs, beaches and backwaters
After Kovalam, Varkala is the most popular seaside resort in Kerala. It is also a major Hindu pilgrimage destination. A large number of foreign tourists come here every year. Varkala lies 50 km north of Thiruvananthapuram. The ancient temple of Lord Janardhana (Vishnu), believed to be 2000 years old, is the main attraction. The small beach called Papanasham attracts the devout as well as tourists. People come here to take a dip in the water and consign the ashes of the dead. As the name suggests, it is believed immersion of the ashes here redeems the soul from sins. Overlooking the beach is a headland that stretches several kilometres. A walkway along the edge of the cliff goes up several kilometres. The headland provides a panoramic view of the beach and sea. The place preserves an atmosphere of quiet away from the bustle of the town. The laterite cliff walling the beach oozes water that is believed to be salubrious. For this reason, the place serves as a spa as well.
Mararikulam – Hidden treasure of Alappuzha, perfect offbeat destination, nature lovers’ paradise
Mararikulam is a beautiful village tucked away in the town of Alappuzha. It is famed for its yellow sandy beach Marari. Around 11 km away from Alappuzha, the village is famous for its coir making. One can see beautiful swaying palm trees, coconut trees and the vast expanse of the sea in a tranquil environment.