Kerala Gods Own Country

Kerala, God's Own Country. Kerala is one of the ten 'Paradises Found' by the National Geographic Traveler, for its diverse geography and overwhelming greenery. It is a land much acclaimed for the contemporary nature of its cultural ethos, and much appreciated for the soothing, rejuvenating paradise that it is. 

Kerala is truly the undiscovered India. It is God's own country and an enchantingly beautiful, emerald-green sliver of land. It is a tropical paradise far from the tourist trial at the southwestern peninsular tip, sandwiched between the tall mountains and the deep sea. Kerala is a long stretch of enchanting greenery. The tall exotic coconut palm dominates the landscape. 

Kerala is a land of rivers and backwaters. Forty-four rivers (41 west-flowing and 3 east-flowing} criss-cross the state physique along with countless runlets. During summer, these monsoon-fed rivers will turn into rivulets especially in the upper parts of Kerala.Kerala soothes a traveler with her, turquoise blue beaches. 

Kerala is an enchantingly beautiful, emerald green land, flanked by the Western Ghats on one side, the Arabian Sea on the other, and strewn with rivers, lagoons, backwaters and rich vegetation in between. 

For tourist, Kerala offers Nature on a platter. Sandy beaches of Kovalam, blue Lagoons at Veli, Hill stations at Ponmudi and Munnar, backwaters of Kollam and Alappuzha, greenland plantations in the highranges, wildlife, high mountain peaks, picturesque valleys, magnificent forts and intricately decorated temples - Whatever one can ask for. 

What's more, everyone of these charming destinations is only maximum a two-hour drive from the other. A singular advantage, which no other destination offers. 

Malayalam is the language of Kerala. Keralites are popularly called "Malayalees" for the language they speak. The people of Kerala form a well educated society. Kerala is the first state in Indian with 100% literacy. 

The people of Kerala enjoy a unique cosmopolitan outlook, which is reflected in there tolerance towards other races and religions. So it has been called Kerala as "God's Own Country" 

Kerala Beaches                        Kerela.. India - Tourism -

Kerala Beaches 

Kerela has a 600 km long shoreline dotted with some of the finest, most charming beaches of the world, coconut groves, natural harbors, lagoons and sheltered coves. All of it as peaceful as the rest of the land, washed by the pleasant tropical sun and as pristine as ever. 

Kovalam beach : 
This internationally renowned beach resort of Kerela has been a favorite haunt of tourists since the 1930s. Kovalam consists of three adjacent crescent beaches. The southernmost , known as the Lighthouse beach, is the most popular, Kovalam offers accommodation options to suit all the budgets. 

Poovar Beach : 
Poovar is an unspoilt and unexplored island, envoloped by the most serene backwaters, and opening out to the sea and a dream golden sand beach. 

Shanghumugham Beach : 
This is a favorite haunt of sunset viewers. The beach is adjacent to the Thiruvananthapuram ( Trivandrum ) airport and Veli Tourist Village. 

The Varkala Beach : 
Vakala is a seaside resort and spa, as well as an important Hindu centre of pilgrimage. High cliffs with rich mineral springs rise majestically from the coastline. The 2000 year old Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple and the Nature Care Centre are the two main attractions there 

Alappuzha Beach : 
This is one of the most popular picnic spots in alappuzha. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is about 140 years old. 

Cherai Beach : 
This lovely beach bordering Vypeen island is ideal for swimming. Dolphins are occassionally seen here. 

Fort Kochi Beach : 
The town was shaped by the Portuguese, the Dutch and later the British.. 

Kappad : 
This is the historic beach where Vasco da Gama landed on the 27th of May, 1498 with 170 men in three vessels. The rock studded beach is locally known as Kappakadavu. An interesting feature of the landscape is the sprawing rock that protrudes into the sea. The temple on the rock is believed to be 800 years old 

Kerala Hill Stations                        .. India - Tourism -

Kerala Hill Stations 

Kerala has a long chain of lush, mid-clad hill stations that are home to exotic wildlife. All the hill resorts in Kerela offer the most enchanting experience of nature in all its virgin beauty 

The major Hill resorts of Kerela are: Munnar, Ponmudi, Peerumade, Neliyampathy, , Peruvannamuzhi, Tusharagiri, Wayanad, Pythal Mala, Ezhimala, Ranipuram, Devikulam, Wagamon etc. 

Munnar Hills

Munnar(Click this link to see beautifull pics of munnar)
Munnar hills is situated in the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni & Kundala. Situated 1600 metre above sealevel, this hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. 

Rolling green hills and the fresh mountain air make Ramakalmedu and enchanting retreat. The hilltop also offers a panoramic view of the picturesque villages of Bodi and Cumbum on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats. Situated at a distance of 40 km from Thekkady and 75 km from Munnar 

Echo Point 
This scenic place gets its name from the natural echo phenomenon here. Echo Point is on the way to Top Station in Munnar 

Rajamala is the natural habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragas hylocres), the Eravikulam - Rajamala region is now home to half the world population – estimated at around 1300 - of this endangered mountain goat. But the Tahr is only one of the reasons to make a visit to Rajamala. 

One of the most beautiful places with a chain of three hills - the Thangal hill, the Murugan hill and the Kurisumala, important for Muslims, Hindus and Christians respectively. 

Velvet lawns and rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Pullumedu. The famous Sree Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Jyothi illuminations at the shrine are visible from here. The winding journey to this hill along the Periyar River, offers a stunning view of hills draped in lush greenery. 

This is one of the world's largest auction centres for cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantations of Vandanmedu is a heady experience. 

This sleepy little village with its breathtaking view of the plains and cascading waterfalls is a feast for the eyes. The village slopes down to the famous coconut groves of Cumbum in neighbouring Tamil Nadu. 

The River Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Agriculture Farm and Flower Garden have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthuria. 

Pattumala or Hill draped in silk in Peermede has charms like no other. The lofty peaks, the little streams and the green expanse of the tea plantations give the hills an ethereal beauty. 

Eravikulam National Park 
A sanctuary for the endangered mountain goat of South India, the Nilgiri Tahr ( Hemitragus hylocrious), the Eravikulam National Park stands out for the stark beauty of its rolling grasslands and sholas, spread over 97 sq km in the Rajamalai hills. An ideal place for trekking, facilities are provided here and tourists are allowed to go on foot up to Anamudi ( the highest peak south of Himalayas ) 

Monuments of Kerala                        .. India - Tourism -

Monuments of Kerala 

No other state in India has such a rich heritage as Kerala has. It's past is entwined with periods of tumult and tranquil. This green strip, several times, was soaked in blood when forces, domestic and alien, fought for supremacy. Religions, Christianity and Islam made their entry into Indian subcontinent via this coast. 
On the cultural front, the state had diligently designed several art forms for the country's cultural mosaic.
A root-conscious people of the state have preserved their past not only in the form of history books but also in the form of monuments and palaces. Places, palaces and institutions of historic value are being preserved conscientiously. 
A Kerala touring will leave you marvel at the exquisite architecture manifested in palatial mansions and monuments. Hanging around the ruins of dilapidated forts, temples would help you splash deep into the rich past of the state. 

Alwaye Palace 
On the banks of River Periyar stands imposing Alwaye( now Aluva) palace ruminating over a past, long and eventful. One of the finest palaces in the state with beautiful circular verandahs overlooking the river. Now being used as Alwaye Guest House. 
Location: Aluva. on N H 47, 15 kms away from Kochi. near Kochi International Airport. 

Bolghatty Palace 
Built by the Dutch in 1744, this palace is on an island, off Cochin in the Arabian Sea. Earlier Dutch and later British used the palace as Governor's residence. Today, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation has transformed the palace into a tourist hotel. A canopied garden is another tourist attraction on the island. 
Location: Kochi. Frequent boat services from High Court Jetty, Kochi 

Hill Palace Museum 
This museum showcases wealth and prosperity of erstwhile royal family of Cochin. including the king's throne and crown. Also on display are other trapping of royalty like majestic beds, paintings , carving and samples of epigraphy. Tripunithura is also known for the nearby Chottanikkara Temple and the Tripunithura Temple. 
Location: 13 kms from Kochi 

Kanakakkunnu Palace 
Situated on a hillock in the museum compound in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city. This imposing, fine-looking mansion of the Travancore Rajas is a stunning piece of architectural excellence of yore. 
At night, when the palace premise is lit up, the gabled, pagoda style red brick structure comes alive, bringing to mind the majesty and gallantry of kings Inside one can see large crystal chandeliers and exquisite pieces of royal furniture. 
Location : Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) 

Koyikkal Palace 
A 15th century palace. Situated between Ponmudi hill station and Kuttalam waterfalls. The manor was the official residence o Umayamma Rani of the Venad royal family. In the double-storeyed Nalukettu (Traditional house) Kerala Archeology Department has set up two museums of folklore and numismatics. 
Location: 18 kms away from Thiruvananthapuram 

Krishnapuram Palace, Alappuzha 
The 18th century Krishnapuram Palace was built during the reign of the Travancore Monarch, Marthanda Varma. A double storied structure which displays typical characteristics of Kerala's architecture-gabled roofs, dormer windows and narrow corridors. 
The 'Ganjendra Moksham' Mural, one of the largest mural paintings in Kerala, is a major attraction in the palace.. A museum with antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes is housed inside the building. The Palace is situated 47kms from Alleppey. 
Location: Kayamkulam. 47 kms from Alappuzha 

This palace was built by Tamil sculptures from Thanchavore. Pillars carved on single stone and exquisitely designed roofs enhances the beauty of the palace. A striking monument of 122 horses is attached to the palace. Hence derived the name Kuthiramalika ( kuthira means horse). 
Location: Thiruvananthapuram, East Fort 

Shakthan Thampuran Palace 
Also known as Thoppu palace, is spread over an area of 6 acres. Sakthan Thampuran, erstwhile ruler of Thrissur is buried in the palace compound. 
Location : Thrissur 

Mattancherry Palace 
Also known as Dutch Palace. Built by Portuguese and handed over to Cochin Raja in 1555 AD and the was renamed as Mattancheri Palace in 1663, when the Dutch spruced up the palace. However, neither did Portuguese nor Dutch stay in the palace. 
The centre of the building has a Coronation Hall where Cochin Rajas investitures were held. Today, it is a portrait gallery of the Rajas. Rooms adjacent display 17th century murals depicting scenes from the epic, the Ramayana. 
Location: Eranakulam. Open for visitors. 10 am to 5 pm Closed on Fridays, national holidays. 

Padmanabhapuram Palace 
Manor of erstwhile Venad kings, Padmanabhapuram palace is a 16 the century marvel on wood. It flaunts the dexterity of Kerala's master carpenters. 
Carved wooden ceilings, slatted shuttered windows, intricate interlocking beams, sculpted door panels and pagoda like tiled roofs stand testimony to the deftness of architectures.Intricate carvings, murals and exquisite wall paintings reflect the prolific talent of the sculptors and painters who enjoyed the patronage of Travancore kings. 
Location : 60 kms from Thiruvananthapuram 

Bekal Fort 
The largest and the best preserved coastal fort in Kerala, Bekal Fort, is 14 km off Kasargode, North Kerala. The pristine Bakel beach along with the fort is being groomed into an international tourist destination. The fort has historical as well as archeological significance. 
Location: Kasargod 
Nearest Airport: Bijayee, Mangalore (58 km) 

Cheruthuruthy (Kerala Kalamandalam) 
Kerala Kalamandalam at Cheruthuruthy, was founded by Malayalam Poet Vallathol in 1930. Main objective was to revive, preserve and develop ancient and traditional art form of Kerala, particularly Kathakali. 
Kalamandalam has been the nursery of Kerala's renowned kathakali artistes. Hundreds of boys and girls are undergoing training in various branches of performing arts such as Mohiniyattom, Koodiyattom and Ottan Thullal. Many foreigners captivated by the language of Kathakali and other art forms are joining the training sessions. Koothambalam attached to the Kalamandalam is a major attraction. 
The Samadhi (tomb) of the founder-poet is in the premises of the Kalamandalam on the banks of River Bharathapuzha. 
Location: Shornur (Thirssur district) Near Shornur railway station on Mangalore- Chennai route. 29 Km away from Thrissur, bus services from Thrissur Private bus stand. 

Edakkal Cave, Wayanad 
Atop Ambukutty Hills near Ambalavayal in Wayanad is Edakkal Caves. Two caves, formed by a split in a mammoth rock- one roofed over by other- make up the Edakkal caves. For decades the caves have been the haven of archeologists. Ancient carvings and pictorial wall inscriptions are supposed to be of pre-historic period. The stone walls also have pictures of human beings and instruments. Archaeologists consider this as one of the earliest centres of human habitation. 
A 1500-acre Reserve Forest also houses as many as 200 stone age monuments. Down town Ambalavayal has a heritage museum, first of its kind in the state. It has a rare collection of instruments and curios shedding light to life, centuries back. 
Location : Caves three km away from Ambalavayal, Wayanad. Ambalavayal buses from Kozhikode, Kalpetta and Sulthan Bathery. 

Jewish Synagogue,Mattancherry 
Built in A D 1568. Great scrolls of the Old Testament (Bible) and copper plates in which the grants of privilege to Jews from Cochin rulers were carved are preserved here. 
Chinese hand-painted tiles are another attraction. Finely-wrought gold and silver crowns gifted to the synagogue by various patrons are also displayed. This, the only Synagogue in India has a nostalgic past of a Jewish Diaspora. 
A few Jew families are still residing in Kochi and its suburbs reciprocating the love and affection of this land. Besides, preserving the Synagogue is also their mission. Years back, hundreds of families were here, but for them the call of roots were irresistible. 
Visitors permitted from 10 am to 12 am and from 3 pm to 5 pm. Closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays. 
Location : Mattancheri, 8km off Kochi. Bus , boat services( from High Court jetty ) available. 

A 10th century, black granite statute of Budha, founder of Buddhism. The statue is known as Karumadikkuttan is situated 3 km east of Ambalapuzha, Alappuzha. Legends are woven around this idol. 
Location : Ambalapuzha enroute NH 47 between Kollam and Alappuzha. 

Kaviyoor Stone Temple 
A temple of historical and archeological significance, Kaviyoor is on the banks of River Manimala. The stone figuress here are considered to be the earliest specimen of stone culture. 
Location : Kaviyoor in Mallappally taluk, Pathanamthitta district. 

This palace was built by Tamil sculptures from Thanchavore. Pillars carved on single stone and exquisitely designed roofs enhances the beauty of the palace. A striking monument of 122 horses is attached to the palace. Hence derived the name Kuthiramalika ( kuthira means horse). 
Location: Thiruvananthapuram, Eastfort 

Pazhassi Raja's Tomb, Mananthavady 
Pazhassi Kerala Varma Raja had a heroic death after fighting to the finish against British supremacy in the thick forests of Wayanad. he died on November 30,1805. His tomb at the Mananthavady, Wayanad had been a source of inspiration for many to fight the colonial forces. Archeology Department had taken over the Pazhassi tomb at Mananthavady town. 
Location: Mananthavady, 30 km from Kalpetta, Wayanad district head quarters.100 km from Kozhikode. Round the clock bus service from Kozhikode KSRTC stand. Accessible from Mysore and Bangalore via road. 

Napier Museum 
Gem of architectural exuberance, perfectly blending Chinese and Mughal styles with Kerala's traditional structural design. The ethereal beauty to the structure was added with the magical brush up of Chisholm, a 19th century architect. 
Strips of blue and pink alternating with yellow and red, scalloped arches of a banana yellow, elaborately carved balconies, red and white lattice work and mock friezes make an engrossing ensemble. 
Location : Thiruvananthapuram 

Tipu's Fort, Palghat 
The fort in the nerve centre of Palakkad, built by Haider Ali of Mysore, dates back to 1766 A.D. Today known after Haider Ali's son Tipu Sultan. The fort still echoes the ballyhoo of those troops which barged into it to fight pitched battles. The fort was supposed to have built the fort to facilitate communication between Coimbatore and Palakkad, two vantage points.. In 1784 after a 11-days siege, Lord Fullerton, the then British Colonel, conquered the fort. Later Zamorin's troops wrested control but the British occupied the fort in 1790. 
Location : Palakkad , 79km from Thrissur. Rail, road network with all centres in South India. 

Pallippuram Fort 
Another Portuguese legacy bequeathed to Kochi. Raised in 1503. Reckoned as one of the oldest European monuments in India. The Catholic Church here is an important pilgrim centre. 
Location : Ernakulam 

Pazhassirajah Museum & Art Gallery 
Put on view are ancient mural paintings, antique bronzes and old coins as well as models of temples, megalithic monuments like dolmonoid cysts and umbrella stones. Run by the State Archaeological Department. The Art Gallery near the museum contains paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. 
Location : Kozhikode ,East Hill 

Shri Chitra Art Gallery 
Masterpieces of Raja Ravi Varma, illustrious artist of Kerala are paraded in a different section. His works include a number of portraits of Maharajahs and members of royal family, distinguished British residents and prominent figures. A browsing of the pictures would give one a ballpark picture of who is who of Kerala history. 
Antiques and curios once owned by Travancore royal lineage are showed at Sree Chitra Art Gallery. Prized ones are Bengali paintings, Rajasthani, Mughal miniatures, Tanjavore paintings and selected works of Svetosku Roerich, a Russian artist. 
Location : Thiruvananthapuram. 

St. Francis Church, Kochi 
The first European Church in India. Churches elsewhere in the country were modeled after this Portuguese construction. A mute witness to the watershed events in this coastal town, for past five centuries. 
Vasco De Gama, the legendary navigator from Lisbon, died at Kochi during his second voyage to Kerala. he was laid to rest in the St. Francis Church on Christmas eve 1524. Years later, his mortal remains were taken back to Portugal. The sepulcher is still preserved in the church hall and is open for visitors. 
Location : Fort Kochi, Eranakulam. 

Thalassery Fort 
This coastal town as a whole is a historical monument. The centuries-old city is the cradle of Indian circus. Leading circus artistes and circus companies have roots in this city. Gymnastics was introduced in schools by German missionaries here. 
Thalassery Fort, stand testimony for the vantage position the city enjoyed in the battles between Britain and Tippu Sulthan. 

The first Malayalam daily, Rajyasamacharam, was published from Illikkunu, a sleepy hamlet near Thalassery. Herman Gundert, a German missionary was instrumental behind it. His another contribution for Malayalam language was the first Malayalam Dictionary. He also established a few educational institutions, churches in Thalassery. 
Location : 20km. south of Kannur. 

Town Hall and Archaeological Museum 
Also known as Kollengodu House, this majestic hall accommodates picture gallery with mural collections. 
Location : Thrissur. Open for visitors from 10 am to 5 pm except on holidays. 

Thrissur Art Museum 
Among art pieces and curios displayed in the museum include wood carvings, ancient jewellery pieces and figures depicting Kathakali, the majestic dance drama. Metal sculptures and traditional Kerala lamps are also shawcased. 
Location : Thrissur, 2 km from town


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