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Kerala Travel Guide

Kerala, a state in India is known as the tropical paradise of waving palms and wide sandy beaches. It is a narrow strip of coastal territory in Southern India that slopes down the Western Ghats in a cascade of lush green vegetation, and reaches up to the Arabian sea. Kerala borders the states of Tamil Nadu to the east and Karnataka to the north. It is also known for its backwaters, mountains, coconuts, spices and art forms like Kathakali and Mohini Attam. The most literate state in India, it is also a land of great religiosity, where you can find Hindu temples, mosques, churches and even synagogues. The tourism department of Kerala boasts that the state is God's Own Country.

Kerala was named as one of the "ten paradises of the world" and "50 places of a lifetime" by the National Geographic Traveler magazine.

Once you visit, you will realize that this is not false advertising. The state really is blessed with great natural beauty. Abundant rainfall means that you can find lush greenery pretty much throughout the year. A vacation here is an opportunity for rejuvenation. You can get an Ayurvedic oil massage, spend a day or two on a houseboat with nothing to do but watch palm trees pass by, or just laze around on Kovalam or Varkala beaches.


  • Malabar — comprising the districts of Kasaragod and Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram
  • Kochi — comprising the districts of Ernakulam and Thrissur
  • Northern Travancore — comprising the district of Idukki
  • Central Travancore — comprising the districts of Kottayam, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta
  • Southern Travancore — comprising the districts of Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram



  • Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) - the capital city of Kerala and the largest city in Kerala.
  • Alapuzha (Allepy) - A network of canals criss-cross the city, leading to it being called 'the Venice of the East'. The biggest boat race (the Nehru Trophy Boat Race) in India happens here every August
  • Kochi (Cochin) - divided into Ft. Cochin and Ernakulam, the principal financial hub of Kerala and the port city.
  • Kannur
  • Kasargod
  • Kollam (Quilon) - The backwaters, and the former Portugese settlement at Tangasseri close by make Kollam an interesting place to visit
  • Kottayam - The city that has the last word in rubber in India. Most interestingly, it is the centre of Kerala's Syrian Christian community
  • Kozhikode (Calicut) - where Vasco da Gamma landed for the first time in India. Third Largest City of Kerala
  • Thrissur (Trichur) - known as the cultural capital of Kerala, also famous for jewellery shops.

Map View


Major Tourist destinations


  • Kerala backwaters - stretching across central Kerala, a must-try experience
  • Kovalam Beach - a popular beach near Trivandrum
  • Kumarakom - bird sanctuary near Kottayam
  • Munnar - One Of the most untouched hill stations in India
  • Varkala Papanasam Beach - near Trivandrum, with a 2000-year-old temple
  • Silent Valley National Park - rain forest
  • Thekkady - Periyar Tiger Reserve
  • Wayanad - Caves, waterfalls and pristine forests
  • Bekal Fort - Fort in North Kerala(Kasargod), On the sea shore

Alapuzha - Backwater, kuttanadu, alapuzha beach,Marrari beach,Pathiramanal(midnight island),Thannermukkom ,Nehru trophy snake boat race(Augest 9th Saturday)House boat cruice Ayurveda.




Kerala has three distinct seasons. The Summer, Monsoon and Winter. March to late May is summer. Late May to mid October is the Monsoon or Rainy Season. Mid October to late February counts as Kerala's rather mild winter.



The traditional costumes of Kerala are ‘mundu’ and ‘neriyathu’, for both men and women. Saree and blouse also form the traditional costume of Kerala women. The traditional ‘kasavu’ mundu and sarees is a rich cultural specimen whose simple yet glamorous look has coveted the hearts of many. Today modern costumes are in vogue but traditional dress codes in festivities and functions enliven the Kerala costume.



The people of Kerala speak Malayalam (a palindrome when written in English). However, most educated people speak English and Hindi as well. As Malayalam is similar to Tamil, locals may understand spoken Tamil with some difficulty. Almost all bus routes and other important signs including name boards are written in Malayalam and some in English. Railways and other central government establishments also carry signs in English & Hindi.

Get in


By Plane

There are three airports in Kerala, with flights to domestic and international destinations. The airports are at Kozhikode, Kochi(Nedumbasseri) and Thiruvananthapuram. The airports have several carriers operating international flights around the world. Most carriers offer connection flights to one of the airports in Kerala. Domestic destinations accessible by direct flights from these airports include Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Agatti, Hyderabad,Mangalore,Goa and Delhi.

By Train

Indian Railways operates several trains to and from (and within) Kerala. Trains into Kerala start from all the neighbouring states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, etc. Long-haul direct train services from cities like Delhi and Mumbai are also available.

Be aware that trains are the most popular method of transport and almost all trains in Kerala originate or terminate in Thiruvananthapuram or Ernakulam and are usually heavily booked. Buy your tickets as early as possible.

By Bus

Inter-state private and government buses operates between neighboring states. Usually the journey is performed in the night so that you can escape the heat of the day.

It is recommended that you consider booking long distance bus tickets on "Air Conditioned Volvo buses" operated by all operators as the quality of the other buses vary significantly.

Get Around


Trains, buses and taxis provide the easiest way to get around Kerala. Trains are good for long distance travel, say from the north to the south.

Taxis are good but expensive way to get around for short distances. Do negotiate the price before you get into the taxi.

Buses are good for very short travel. Both government and private buses travel between and within cities. Buses within cities are very crowded and if you travel on them, please take care of your belongings (wallet, passport) as pickpockets are not rare.

Auto-rickshaws (also called auto) are another convenient mode of transport for very short travel - not too expensive and fast. Most of the larger railway stations and all the airports have "pre-paid" auto-rickshaw and/or taxi stands. Just tell them where you want to go and you will get a slip of paper with the destination and amount written on it.


  • Among the 10 must see destinations of the world identified by the National geographic magazine "traveler", Kerala is known for its glorious sights and surprising sounds. Mesmerizing greenery, enchanting backwaters, verdant forests, vibrant wildlife, sun-kissed beaches, cascading waterfalls, scintillating valleys with abundant coconut and areca nut palm groves, unending rice fields and mist-capped mountains make Kerala a land of nonstop magic. A land like no other.Populated with the most advanced society in India, Kerala has a 100% literacy rate. Its physical quality of life index is the highest in the country and the culture of hospitality is well known.
  • Kerala is wedged between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats Mountain range. The sun, the sand, the back water lagoons, the mountains and the culture is a unique combination that you won't find anywhere else, when planning for a holiday.
  • Due to its unique geography, Kerala gets rain for at least 8 months of the year and the forests are classified as 'rain forests' just like those in the Amazon. You'll be spoiled by the number of opportunities to trek, camp and see wildlife.
  • There are many back-water lakes along the coast making it an ideal location for water sports. Time your arrival for the 'Vallam kali', annual boat race.
  • Take a trip in the Water Routes of Alappuzha, the Venice of the East





Kerala cuisine is distinctly different from food elsewhere in India. Rice is a staple here, unlike the wheat-eating north of India. Seafood is also a big part of the diet. Quite a large number of traditional dishes will have coconut paste in it. The oil used for cooking is also often coconut oil. Unlike much of India, beef is also popular in Kerala. Food in Kerala tends to include a variety of spices and there are a few fiery dishes.

One of the favourite for any connoisseur of food would be the sadhya served especially during festive occasion on a plaintain leaf. It generally has up to 24 items served in it. The snap shown is just a sample sadhya. It usually includes olan(a dish of pumpkin), avial(an assorted mix of all vegetable) , injipulee (a ginger & tamarind flavoring), kaalan (made of yam and yogurt), thoran (deep fried vegetables sprinkled with grated coconut) etc. It includes payasam, a sweet dish made of jaggery or sugar along with rice, cereals, fruits etc.

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