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Thursday, 29 December 2011

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Thursday, 1 December 2011

Thirivananthapuram

Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple:

Thiruvananthapuram's most interesting temple i open to Hindus only, and even they must wear wear a 'dhoti' or 'sari'. Still , it's worth visiting -even if you are just passing through town-to see the temple's seven story carved gopuram  reflected in the nearby sacred tank.Constructed in the Dravidian style by a maharaja  of Travancore in 1733,  the temple is dedicated to Vishnu, who reclines on the sacred  serpent, Anantha, which gives Thiruvanathapuram its name.



Kovalam Beach

Kovalam is just 16 kms away from Trivandrum. This unique internationally renowned wonderful beach will get pride of place amongst the loveliest beaches in the world  has been a favourite haunt of tourists since the 1930s. Today Kovalam has become one of the most popular beach hangouts in India. Kovalam means a grove of coconut trees and truly the coconut trees along the beaches gives it a ravishing look.

The palm-fringed bays in secluded coconut groves, promise a relaxed stay. The boundless blue waters of the Arabian Sea and miles of white sands washed away by the surf at the feet of the stalwart palms and the rocky promontories, makes this beach paradise. This marvellous beach is a tourist's dream come true.

A sheltered natural bay with cool soothing palms and gentle waves. Where when you are tired of aquatics, swimming or sunbathing, you can explore the handicrafts, jewellery and cloth shops spread along the waterfront. Not to speak of the delightful sea-food fare including lobsters available at the beachside restaurants.


Palace Museum:

The recently opened Puthen Maliga Palace Museum, adjacent to the temple ,is housed in several wings of the palace of the maharajahs of Travancore.

It's open from 8.30 am to 12.30pm and from 3 to 5.30 pm; entry is Rs.5.



Museums, Gallery & Zoo:

The zoo and a collection of museums are in a park i the north of the city . The museums are in a park in the north of the city. The museums are open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 4.45pm, but not until 1pm on Wednesday. A single Rs.5 entry ticket covers all the museums and is obtainable from the Natural History of Museum.

Housed in a whimsical, decaying, Keralan style  building dating from 1880, the Napier Museum displays an electric  assortment of bronzes , historical and contemporary ornaments , temple carts , ivory carvings and life size figures of Kathakali dancers in full costume.

The Natural History Museum has a rudimentary  ethnographic collection as well as an interesting replica of a Nayar wooden house built in the Keralan style.

The Sri  Chitra Art Gallery has paintings of the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools, together with works from China, Tibet, Japan and Bali. There are also many modern Indian paintings , including works by ravi Varma, Svetoslav and Nicholas Roerich.

The Zoological Gardens are among the best designed in Asia -set among woodland , lakes and well -maintained  lawns - but some of the animal enclosures  (and their inhabitants) are misreble. The zoo is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 5.15pm. Entry is rs.4 and there is an additional Rs.5 charge for a camera or Rs.250 for a video camera.

The Science & Technology Museum and Planetarium , about 100m west of the Mascot Hotel, cater mostly to high school  students . The Museum is open from 10am to 5pm daily and entry is Rs.2. The Planetarium has 40 minute shows in English at noon daily (Rs.10).It's closed on Monday.



Padmanabhapuram Palace:

Padmanabhapuram Palace was once the seat of the rulers of Travancore, a princely state for more than 400 years which included a large part of present day Kerala and the Western coast of Tamil Nadu.

Padmanabhapuram is just inside Tamilnadu , 65km south-east of Thiruvananthapuram. To get there , you can either catch a local bus from Thiruvananthapuram or Kovalam beach or take one of the Kanyakumari tours organised by the KTDC. The palace is closed on Monday.



Veli Tourist Village:

Boardered by Veli lagoon and the Arabian Sea, the village includes water sports , waterfront park, floating bridge, children's park, restaurant, garden etc. it is 8km. away from the city. Visiting hours: 10am. to 8.30pm.



Akkulam Boat Club:

A popular picnic spot with boating facility.


Shangumugham Beach:

It's a pleasant place to walk or watch the fishermen securing their catch. A large sculpture of a mermaid graces the roadside, an example of the work of the local artist Canai Kunuram. At dusk, during temple festivals, the beach is the site of the ritual bathing of the temple idols.


Kerala Legislattive assembly:



Churches:

There are many churches in Thiruvananthapuram.



CVN Kalari Sangam:

The CVN Kalari sangam in East Fort, near the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, is a small but remarkable bulding-part training centre, part temple and part hospital.

Ganapathy Temple:

Also in East fort is the Ganapathy Temple, dedicated to Ganesh.



Organised Tours:

The KTDC operates a variety of tours in the city and further afield. They all depart from the Tourist  Reception Centre opposite the Railway station



Neyyar Dam

Neyyar dam, lying against the southern low hills of the western ghats, 32 kms away from the Thiruvananthapuram city is a popular picnic spot with a lake and a picturesque dam site. Neyyar dam affords a panoramic view of the the mountains and the lake. The lion safari is a star attraction.

The reservoir also offers boating facilities in addition to a crocodile farm. The project offers facilities for boating and mountaineering. A miniature wild life sanctuary, a lake garden and a swimming pool are the major attractions.



Ponmudi

Ponmudi hill resort is cool and quiet. As the hills come awake you can begin a pleasurable exploration of the wooded paths. Trekking is a passion with visitors to Ponmudi. Ponmudi has other surprises too for you.

Orchids, for instance, grow in abundance here. A charming deer park is only 3kms. from Ponmudi. Picnic hampers that the staff at the guest house would be happy to arrange, which you could take down the hill to a picturesque ruined dam site or golden valley which is another pretty scenic spot. Other attractions are Bird watching, Deer park and long, enjoyable walks.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Kollam

Beaches in Kollam

Thirumullavaram beach resort is the famous beach resort in Kollam. It situates 5kms west from Kollam. The sea here is ideal for swimming and bathing. Mahatma Gandhi Beach & Park and Kochupilamoodu, Paravur beach are the other important beaches. Mahatma Gandhi beach lies just 2kms from the town. It is a fascinating place for an evening. Paravur situates 13 kms south of Kollam and is connected with Kollam town by road and rail.


Kollam Town

Kollam Town is the head quarters of Kollam district  and Kollam taluk, has a hoary past. It was an international emporium of trade and even now it is a prosperous commercial centre. It is situated about 71 kms north of Thiruvananthapuram and is linked by rail, road and backwater transport. The town edges with the famous Ashtamudi Lake. It is said that the present town of Kollam was built by the Syrian merchant ,Sapir Iso in the 9th century  A.D.  Kollam is also the head quarters of Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation.



Ashramam Picnic Village

Ashramam picnic village is located in the 48acre Guest House complex. The children's traffic and entertainment park, designed by NATPAC is also located  in this village. It is the largest traffic park in Kerala. The adventure park located in the village along the shores of the Ashtamudi back waters , is a novel experiment in the country. Different types of  boats, including luxury cruise boats, power boats and motor boats are available on hire from the boat jetty near to the adventure  Park. A budget hotel for tourists, Yathrinivas, run by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, is also located in this village. The Govt. Guest House here is 200 years old . It stands alone  Ashtamudi Lake and is a major attraction for its elegance and architectural beauty. Tourists can stay here at economical rates. The village is just 2kms away from the town.


Sasthamcottah

Sasthamcottah is an attractive village situated about 19kms from Kollam town. It is a beauty spot , a health resort and a centre of pilgrimage. The extensive fresh water lake here is said to be the biggest of its kin d in Kerala. Water supply to the Kollam town is met by purifying the water from this lake. Sasthamkottah lake is called the queen of lakes.



Thangassery

Thangassery is a place of historical importance a situated 5kms away from the Kollam town. The churches here are pretty old, having been established in the 18th century. The chief attraction of the place is light house, built in 1902. The 144ft high light house stands as a sentinel, warning seamen of the treacherous reefs of Thangassery.



Thazhava

Thazhava in Oachria block is an important centre of screw-pine mat industry. An image of the Buddha, discovered from the tank known as Pallikkulam near Maruthookulangara is one of the interesting archaeological relics.


Thenmala

Thenmala is the meeting point of Kollam- Shencottah road and Thiruvananthapuram-Shencottah road, surrounded by dense forests, 66kms east of Kollam. There are a large number of rubber and tea plantations in Thenmala. Thenmala dam site is open for tourists.



Jatayu  Para

Jatayu  Para, a huge rock is another attraction in Kollam district. This huge rock is in the Chadayamangalam village on the M.C. Road. The name comes from the epic , Ramayana. It is believed that Jatayu, the giant bird in the epic fell here after falling in its attempt to stop Ravana from taking Sita away. The rock is ideal for trekking by the lovers of adventure.


Courtalam Waterfalls

Though the famous waterfall at Courtalam is situated in Tamil Nadu, it shares the boundary of Kollam also. Season to visit the place is from June to January.

The District Tourism Promotion Council offers tourists information and assistance. The office of the council is situated at Ashramam Government Guest House complex. There are tourist information centre at the Railway station, Kollam and Kerala State Road Transport Corporation central bus station, Kollam.



Around Kollam

Krishnapuram Palace Museum

The Krishnapuram Palace is fully restored in March 1999, is a fine example of Keralan Architecture. The palace is well worth a visit . The palace is open 10am to 5pm  every day except Monday.



Alumkadavu

Just near the Krishnapuram palace , Alumkadavu has long been a boat building centre. The traditional kettuvalams are still constructed here- no longer for rice transportation, but as luxury houseboats for tourists.


Mannarsala

15 kms north of Krishnapuram Palace, and 32 km before Alappuzha, Mannarsala , on National Highway 47, is the site of the Nagaraja  (serpent king) Temple, and the most  significant site for snake worship in Kerala. According to the Mahabharatha, snakes fled from the fire started by Arjuna in the Khandava forest (believed to be an area near Alappuzha). They prayed for protection and the area around Mannarsala cooled down providing them a refuge.

Local legend relates that subsequently a Namboodiri woman developed sacred groves for the  snakes and dedicated the land to the snake dieties , Nagaraja and Sarpayakshi. Today the tradition continues and the oldest female member (known as valiama) of the illam (women's section of the Namboodiri house hold), has the role of priestess and conducts rituals at the temple. On accepting the role she relinquishes her earthly marital status  and assumes a spiritual one- that of wife of the serpent king deity. She lives alone in premises  within the temple complex.

The temple is in typical Keralan architectural style, with the larger central shrine surrounded by many smaller ones . Infinite number of cobra  idols encompass the complex, it's said that many of their earthly cousins are there as well. The two main idols are those of the serpent king and queen.

The annual festival is in the month of Thulam (October/ November) . At this time the main idols are taken in procession by the priestess and offerings of milk, turmeric and rice are made.

As with Keralan temples generally, this is a peaceful place, apart from vedis (Explosive devotional sounds). Visitors who respect the rituals and the serenity of the temple are welcome. Men must remove their shirts, women must wear saris  or similar clothing.

Pathanamthitta

Some of the major attractions of Pathanamthitta are as under:

Sabarimala
It is one of the pilgrimage centres of Pathanamthitta situated on the rugged hills of the Western Ghats dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.

Anandapalli Maramadi
This is an ox race carnival festival commonly held during the harvest season in the small village of Pathanamthitta.

Chandanakudam Festival
This festival of Pathanamthitta is famous for the devotees of Muslim community which is held during the month of February.

Charalkunnu
The picturesque hill station attracted the tourists for providing the panoramic view of the low-lying areas where camp house is the most preferential activity of the tourists.

Cherukolpuzha
This festival is held during the month of February at Cherukole on the riverbed of Pampa.

Kakki
This tourist destination of Pathanamthitta is famous for its reservoir surrounded by the forests that provides an opportunity to see other animals like tigers, elephants, deer and monkey.
Konni (Agricultural Region) : 11 kms from Pathanamthitta, an agricultural region, Konni is rich in cash crops like rubber, pepper, coffee, ginger etc. IT is also used as a centre for training elephants.

Mannadi (folk Art Centre) : This is where Veluthampi Dalawa, the renowned freedom fighter of Travancore, spent his last days. The ancient Bhagavathy Temple here contains some interesting stone sculptures. Mannadi is also the venue of the Kerala Institute of Folklore and Folk Arts.

Muloor Smarakam (Memorial) : The memorial to Muloor, a renowned reformer and poet, is located at Elavumthitta.

Omallur (Cattle fair) : The Rakthakanta Swamy Temple and the annual cattle fair held in the Malayalam month of 'Meenam' are the main attractions of Omallur. People from all around Kerala and also many other states participate in the fair.

Charalkunnu Hill station : The picturesque hill station offers a panoramic view of the nearby valleys. A camp house on the hill provides comfortable lodging.

Perumthenaruvi : Perumthenaruvi is a famous waterfall on the banks of the River Pamba. Here, the water flows down a rocky bed into a ravine 60 to 100 feet deep. The place is a favourite picnic spot for both domestic and foreign tourists.

Vijana Kala Vedi Cultural Centre : Louba Schild, a French scholar under the Indo-French Cultural Exchange Programme, who started this centre with UNESCO support, founded this famous cultural centre.The centre offers residential training courses, in Kerala's traditional arts & crafts like Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam, Kalaripayattu, Music, wood carving etc

Kakki Reservoir : Tigers, elephants and monkeys can be sighted in the forest surrounding the reservoir.

River Pamba : This is the main halting point on the way to Sabarimala, the famous pilgrim centre. It is also known as 'Thriveni Sangamam', the meeting point of three rivers.

Other Destinations and Excursion

Some other famous tourist destinations of Pathanamthitta are Kalloppara, Kaviyoor, Malayalappuzha, Manjinikkara, Neendakara, Niranam, Omallur, Thenmala etc. The tour to Pathanamthitta offers the excursions from Pathanamthitta like Kadammanitta Patayani Which 8 Km., Kadammanitta is located at a distance of 8 Kms, Krishnapuram Palace is located at a distance of 47Km., Kodumon Chilanthiyambalam is located at a distance of 15Km., Chilanthiyambalam is 15 Kms. from Pathanamthitta, and Konni is 11Km. etc.
 Rivers :

Three important rivers flow through this district. They are Pampa, Achankovil and Manimala rivers.

Alappuzha

Boatraces

Alappuzha district is proud of being the cradle of boat races. All the important boat races, namely the Nehru Trophy boat Race at Punnamada, the Payippad near Haripad, the Thiruvandoor, Neerettupuram, Karuvatta and Thaikkoottam boat races are held at different parts of the district during August-September . Thousands of people from all parts of the world come and witness these races.



Krishnapuram Palace

Located at a distance of 47 km from Alappuzha on the way to Kollam, this palace was built in the 18th century during the reign of Marthanda Varma. This palace is noted for its typical Kerala architecture, with gabled roof, dormer windows and narrow corridors. Here you will find the famous mural kept in the western end of the ground floor, called ‘Gajendra Moksham’ which is the largest mural in Kerala. There is also a museum of antique sculptures, paintings and bronze articles in the palace.

kuttanad

 The region is known as the 'Rice Bowl of Kerala'. It is perhaps the only region in the world where farming is done below sea level. The boat trip to Changanacherry passes through this beautiful and fertile region.

Mullakkal Rajeswari Temple

It is dedicated to the Goddess Rajarajeswari. The nine day 'Navarathri' festival is celebrated twice a year and is of special significance to the people of Alappuzha. Another important festival of the temple is 'Thaipooyakavadi'.
Pathiramanal

This is a small captivating island in the Vembanad Lake. Situated between Thaneermukkom and Kumarakom, this island is the favourite spot for hundreds of rare migratory birds from different parts of the world.
Ambalapuzha Temple

Constructed in the typical Kerala architectural style, this temple is famous all over India, and is renowned for the Palpayasam, the daily offering of sweet milk porridge. This temple witnesses the performance of Pallipana by Velans (sorcerers) once every twelve years. Paintings of the Dasavatharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) are displayed on the inner walls of the temple. The ‘ Ottanthullal’, a satiric art form based on social themes was the brain child of the poet Kunchan Nambiar who performed it for the first time in the premises of this temple.
Arthunkal Church

This christian Pilgrim centre near Sherthalai is 22 km. north of alappuzha. The St. Andrews Church here was built by Portuguese missionaries. The annual feast of St. Sebastian is held here in the month of January.
Champakulam Church

The St. Mary's Church is one of the oldest church in Kerala. It is said to be one of the seven churches established by St.Thomas. Tha annual feast is held on the 3rd Sunday of October. The feast of St. Joseph is celebrated on March 19th.
Chavara Bhavan

The ancestral home of the blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara, lies 6 km. from Alappuzha. Thousands of devotees gather at this shrine. It can be reached only by boat from Alappuzha.
Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple, Mavelikkara

The shrine is known for the Kettukazhcha festival, which attracts a large number of devotees. The festival is held in Feb./Mar. and colourful procession is taken out.
Edathua Church

This church, dedicated to St. George is of special significance as it is believed that prayers and offerings here help in healing all kinds of mental disorders and other ailments. The annual feast is held from 5th - 7th May and attracts devotees from all parts of south India. The Church is just 24 kms. from Alappuzha.
Karumadikuttan

The small village near Ambalapuzha is known for the black granite idol of Lord Buddha known as Karumadikuttan. The idol dates back to 9th or 10th century.
FOR MORE http://touristplaces-kerala.blogspot.com/p/alappey.html

Idukki

Thekkady - 114 kms off Kottayam and 65 km from Idukki


One of the best wildlife sanctuaries of the nation, Thekkady is complete with exotic flora, fauna, and evergreen forest. The vast area of 777 sq kms of forest has an exquisite sanctuary in it, and is the largest in India . It has earned a special place as one of the hotspots on any tourists agenda.

The 360sq kms of dense forest in the The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary provides home to a wide variety of remarkable birds like Malabar Grey Hornbill, Grey Jungle Fowl, Heron, Egret, Jungle Myna, Wood Pecker, Rose Winged and Blue Winged Parakeet, Ceylon Frog-Mouth and Rose Billed Roller. This fascinating spot where visitors can often spot many kinds of wild animals is also a noted Tiger reserve. The guided tours arranged by the sanctuary provide opportunities to watch these animals at close quarters. Walks through the acres of plantations and up the mountainous area provide excellent trekking opportunities. A large portion of the sanctuary is surrounded by the Periyar River . Apart from the many varieties of fish here, the river is also noted for the long lovely boat rides that are arranged by the sanctuary. These rides are another excellent way to discover the myriad wildlife that thrives in and around the water. Rowing along the splendidly constructed Mullaperiyar dam, one can always manage to spot herds of wild elephants frolicking in the river water.

Kumily- Located 4 kms from Thekkady


This is a noted town, close to the Periyar sanctuary. Acres of lush plantations constitute most of the town. Plantation town is situated on the outskirts of the Periyar sanctuary. Kumily is also one of the best places to shop for spices.

Murikkady- 5 km from Thekkady


Murikkady is a beautiful location that is known for its well looked after coffee plantations. Cardamom and pepper are also extensively grown here. The place is a significant supplier to the many spice shops at Kumily.

Pandikuzhi- 5 kms from Kumily


The beautiful location of Pandikuzhi is situated at the outskirts of the state. It is now growing to be a popular tourist destination and an enchanting picnic spot. Pandikuzhi is noted for the many species of bird and animal life and rare plants and herbs that thrive there. The landscape of the place makes it an appealing holiday venue for trekkers and adventure travelers as well.

Mangala Devi Temple- 15 kms from Thekkady


This is a famous temple in Idukki. The temple is a classic example of temple architecture of ancient Kerala. The well preserved relics of this ancient Devi temple is situated upon a hillock that stands about 1337 m above sea level. The long way through the dense forest and up the dilapidated steps leading to the temple makes the trip a lovely trek.

Chellarkovil- 15 kms from Kumily


This is a beautiful village that shares its borders with Tamil Nadu. The place presents visitors with a fantastic opportunity to observe the typical life of simple people settled in the villages at high ranges. The scenic extravaganza including acres of luxuriant fields, plains and gurgling waterfalls make it a much sought out tourist destination.

Vandiperiyar- 18 kms from Thekkady


With many tea processing sites and factories, Vandiperiyar stands out as a major trade and commercial center of the district and the state. There are many beautiful nurseries here. It is also the chosen location for the operations and research by the Government Agriculture Farm and Flower Garden.

Munnar - 70 kms from Idukki



Munnar, was the most popular summer resorts during the British reign and is still a very well known hill station. Located at an altitude of 1800m above sea level, this 'Kashmir of the East' is the first hill resort in the State.

The chilly climate here is ideal for cultivating tea. It is home to one of the biggest tea plantations in the world- the Kannan Devan Tea Plantations. The sight of mist topped tea plantations spread across acres of Munnar, is indeed soothing to the eye.


The most splendid sight would definitely be that of thousands of the exotic blue flower- Neelakurinji, that inundate the hills every 12 years (the next bloom will be in the year 2006). There are many lovely spots that are ideal for rock climbing and trekking as well. The noisy waterfalls, gurgling streams and rows of tiny cottages add more life and colour to the vivid picturesque location that Munnar already is.

Pothamedu - 6 kms from Munnar


This is a popular location with trekkers and adventure tourists. The magnificently beautiful mountainous place has many hills making it a perfect spot to set out on challenging treks and mountain walks. Pothamedu is also known for the beautiful tea and coffee plantations and also the lush cardamom plantations.

Devikulam - 7 kms from Munnar


The chill climate, fresh air exclusive to high ranges, acres of green lawns, exotic wildlife, and the marvelous Sita Devi Lake, all attract tourists from all over the globe. Sita Devi Lake that is known for its mineral water also provides boating and fishing facilities.

Chithirapuram - 10 kms from Munnar


Picturesque Chithirapuram is the site for the Pallyvasal Hydel Power Project. Long arrays of beautiful cottages, bungalows, shopping areas, playgrounds and courts, all designed in an old town's style, gives one the feeling of being part of an exquisite painting. Many lovely tea plantations make the place even more exotic.

Mattupetty - 13 kms from Munnar


Mattupetty, situated at a height of 1700 m, is specially known for its highly specialised dairy farm - the Indo Swiss Livestock Project. Over a 100 varieties of high yielding cattle are reared here.

The Mattupetty also has a lake and dam, just a short distance from the farm. These are beautiful picnic spots and the boat cruises (Speed launch, slow speedboat and motorboats) along the dam are quite popular. The sprawling Kundala tea plantations and the Kundala Lake are other attractions in the vicinity. 

Lock Heart Gap


This is a location in Mattupetty. The place is ideal for adventure tourism and trekking. The fresh mountain air, the mist-clad hills and panoramic view make it worthy of a visit. 


Echo Point - 15 kms from Munnar


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

Iravikkulam National Park


The 97sq kms area of Iravikkulam National Park embraces an exotic landscape complete with green meadows, dense forests, tall rock and mountains. The myriad species of animals and birds here include many rare ones as well. Many unusual plants can also be found in the park.

Anamudy


This is the highest mountain peak in the state. The colossal mountain that stands as tall as 2694metres is situated on the southern boarder of the Iravikulam national park. It provides excellent opportunities for trekking.

Other Attractions


The Hydro Electric Project at Pallivasal (8 km from Munnar) and breathtaking waterfalls at Attukal (9 km from Munnar) and Nyayamakad (10 km from Munnar) are other attractions.

The lovely tea plantations at Peerumed, the Wildlife Sanctuary at Chinnar (60kms away from Devikulam) and the magnificent falls at Thommankuthu (21 kms from Thodupuzha) are also much sought after tourist destinations.

Meenuliyarmudi, Keezharkuthu and Irukallumud near Thommankuthu are also famous small tourist centers. Kuttikkanam and Vagaman are wonderful hill stations and are known as Kerala's Kodaikanal.

Transport Facility


Air: Nearest airports are Kochi : (60 kms from Idukki), Madurai : (72 kms from Idukki), Coimbatore : (97kms from Idukki). It can also be reached from airports at Kozhikode : (217 kms from Idukki), Thiruvananthapuram: (232 kms from Idukki) 

Rail: No railway track in Idukki.

Road: Idukki is well connected by roads.

Kottayam

Vennimala - The hill of victory
Vennimala, a stone's thrown away from the bustling Kottayam Town is the serene and beautiful hill top destination, Vennimala is located nearly 15 km from the Kottayam town and can be assessed easily through the Kottayam- Kumili road.

The major attractions at Vennimala are its age old Lord Sreerama and Lekshmana temple. It is believed that Lord Rama as well as Lakshmana came to this spot during their exile. Cheraman Perumal illustrated emperor of ancient Kerala consecrated this temple and stayed in this place. The temple celebrates twenty Eight days of annual festival every year. The place also was the residence of Tekkumkoor dynasty.

Vennimala is covered by lush green vegetation and rubber plantations.
There were numerous big and small fresh water ponds this hill.  Even today there are nearly a dozen well preserved ponds scattered in the area that have sparkling fresh water even in the hottest summer. Another major attraction here is a huge cave on one side of the hill, half a km from the temple. It is believed that this cave, runs for over a kilometer to the temple premises, though it has been closed by fallen rocks.


Matrumala
Matrumala is located in Kooropada village and is about 8 km from Vennimala. The place can be accessed from Kottayam through Pampadi. Matrumala is a hill top that offers stunning views of the entire surroundings.

The place got its name as it has a small temple on its top dedicated to Goddess. The temple is believed to have been built by Parasurama, the legendary creator of Kerala who installed idols of the seven Goddesses (Saptamathas) here. A muddy winding road leads to the hill top that can be approached by either vehicle or on foot.


Kallara
This quaint little village is located about 20 km northwest of Kottayam town. The place can be easily accessed from Kottayam by road as well as rail.Kallara and the neighboring villages of Kaduthuruthy and  Thalayolaparambu has unending stretches of lush green paddy fields crisscrossed by numerous canals that drain into the backwaters of Ezhumanturuth and fall into the mighty Vembanad lake. In ancient days, large barge like country boats transported goods from Alapuzha to Thalayolaparambu and Kaduthuruthy through these intricate networks of waterways. The waterways also connect Kallara with Vaikom in  the north and to Kumarakom in the south.

Scenic stretches in the village include Ayamkudi, Kapikkad, Mundar,Pulithuruth, Erunthuruth, Pazhampetti, Ponnurukkumparaand Karikkal. There are ancient temples and churches scattered in the village. The backwaters of Ezhumanthuruth have many attractive small islands in them.

The unique attraction here is the concentration of screw pine product making in this little village. Locally called 'tazha'  the screw pine plants grow in abundance on the side of canals and waterways. The shaft of this plant is plucked, cut and seasoned. These are later woven into an array of beautiful and colorful products. Screw pine Products range from table mats, purse, file holders, mirrors, chapels, waste box, cushions, hats, kitchen pouches, decoration items etc. Kallara also produces bamboo products, rubber wood items and wood products.
Very soon Kallara will be a model tourism village, where the tourists can experience the art and process of screw pine product development and other such rural products enjoying scenic vistas stay units in this village.


Alapra - Tradition and Tranquility
A little known hamlet, tucked away in the south east corner of district. Alapra is surrounded by lush forests. Alapra is located 45 km from Kottayam. It is located 5 km from Manimala Junction and 10 km from the well known pilgrim destination of Erumeli. The serene forest, pretty cascades, small streams, rocks offering stunning views add symphony to this village. The unique feature of Alapra is the small temple in the forest. The Thacharickal Bhagavathi temple is the only place in Kottayam district where the folk art of Padayani is performed.

Attractions:
a) Padayani Festival at Alapra: Alapra is the only place in Kottayam district where padayani is performed. Padayani festival at Alapra is performed in Thacharickal Bhagavathi temple. Another  unique features here is that the temple is located in serene surroundings and is in the middle of forest. The annual padayani performance in Alapra falls in the month of March / April.

b) Ponthanpuzha Forest: Alapra is scenic place with forests all around. There is 2500 acre forest called Ponthanpuzha Kutti vanam in the vicinity. This forest spreads over the districts of Kottayam and Pathanamthitta. The forest harbors deer,  wild boar, fox, pythons, other small creatures and a variety of avifauna.  There are nearly twenty small streams in the forest.



c) Waterfalls: The forest has innumerable small and pretty cascades which are in full flow, during monsoon. The Sankhupatalam waterfalls nearly 4km from Alapra is the biggest of them. There is also another major watertfalls called Kalluvapuzha  inside the forest.

d) OottuparaView Point: The forest also has ancient Oottupara, a big rock inside the forest. The rock can be reached by trekking from the temple for three km. it is believed that Lord Rama visited this place and conducted a feast for saints at this place during his exile. The rock top offers stunning views for miles round. Behind this oottupara, there is a similar rock face also.

e) Caves and Muniyaras: The forest has many small caves, muniyaras and kallaras. There are three kallaras (burial place of pre historic men) near Poochapara and caves at Kanjirampara in the vicinity.

f) Manimala River: River Manimala is an important water way of Central Travancore. Rising in the hills of Kottayam- Idukki ranges, the river flows through the midland plains and joins with Pampa and Manimala Junction. The river offers a beautiful view at this spot and flows swiftly striking against the many rocks in the river.


Ramapuram
Ramapuram, a beautiful and quite village is located 15km from Pala town on the main road to Koothattukulam. Ramapuram has carved its own niche in the cultural history of Kerala. This small village was the birth place of Ramapurathu Warrier, the profounder of Vanchipattu. It was here where Lalithambika Anthrajanam the renowned Malayalam novelist lived.  Ramapuram also is blessed with its old church and its famous missionaries-paramekkal Thoma Kathanar and Daivadasan Thevarparambil Kunjachan.

Temples: The word 'Ramapuram' means 'the abode of Lord Rama'. True to its name the village has its Chief deity Lord Sreerama. Ramapuram is unique in the sense that it houses the temples of Rama as well as his three brothers in its vicinity in a radius of just three kms- Lord Bharata at Amanakara, Lakshmana at Kedapuiam and Sathrughna at Methiri.


Natural Splendors
Kurinji Koomban- Located 5 km from Ramapuram is this circular hill which has abundant caves. Nearby this hill is the Vellamneekipara waterfalls. There is motorable road to foot hills and is an adventurer’s paradise.
Kuruvankunnu- Located 5km from Ramapuram it is situated to the east of Kurinji koomban. The place has water available even in summers. The place is prone to avalanches.
Mayiladumpara- Located in Nedumala there are two huge rocks at this site spread over 4-5 acres.
Parunthanmala- It is the highest point in the region called Kozhimala located 4km west of Ramapuram through rubber estates.
Fathimagiri-This is lesser in height but is a serene place and is an excellent picnic spot.


Kudamaloor -  Heritage Heartland
If you want to experience the true typical Kerala rural ambience come to Kudamaloor. This ancient village just a stone’s throw away from Kottayam town as well as Kumarakom was the citadel ancient Kerala culture. Located on the banks of river Meenachil, Kudamaloor was the headquarters of the Chembakasseri Kings and was one among the sixty four villages of Kerala.

The Valiyamadom Nalukettu stands in the locality where the old palace of the kings once stood. This residence is today inhabited by the royal family. The village has a number of old nalukettus and mansions that survive even to this day. A part of the remains of the fort of the kings still stands near Eraveeswaram Temple in the village. The holes where canons were fixed in the wall and the raised platforms can be seen even today in this fort wall. The Kings had a fleet of naval vessels - the chundan valloms which were anchored at Kottakadavu near the palace.


Kudamaloor was a cradle of traditional Kerala art and architecture. The village has given birth to great Kathakali artists like Kudamaloor Karunakaran Nair. This hamlet still houses a number of artists well versed in Kerrida art forms and folklore. The village has performers of sopanasangeetham, Kalamezhuthu and pattu, mudiyattom, kalaripayattu etc. Devivilasam  Kathakali yogam and Sopanam Kalavedi and research centre are two centers that promote Kathakali and other art forms. Moreover, Kudamaloor lies in Aymanam panchayath that was the theme village of Arundhathi Roy's 'God of Small Things'.

The village is a land of temples - over ten in number. The Vasudevapuram Temple here has numerous mural paintings. Temples here are known for unique performances like tiyattu, Garudan parava and thookam.  The religious harmony of this village is personified by the 800 year old St. Mary's church that was built by the Hindu King. The ritual offering here is a traditional water bag and rope used to draw water from the well.


Ithipuzha
As you travel form Vaikom to Ernakulam by road you pass three bridges in succession. As you look out, you are greeted by lush green scenery on either side. It is the river Muvattupuzha and its numerous branches that drain into the Vembanad Lake at this spot creating picture post card scenery all round. And this village is called Ithipuzha.

Here there is little tourism. There are few houseboats, no resorts and hence charming and serene waterways all round the village. The various distributaries of the river create numerous beautiful islands in its course. Here there are endless stretches of coconut palms and vast green paddy fields. You can relax yourself on a country canoe ride - floating on the gentle ripples of the rivers and watching the fishermen carrying their catch in small canoes. lthipuzha can easily be accessed from Kochi.


Pallam Backwaters
Pallam is located 5km to the south of Kottayam town and is accessible via the Main Central Road. The setting is typical Kerala rural with quiet villages escorted by scenic backwaters and vivid green all along. Migratory birds come seeking this verdant landscape every summer and frolic in the natural splendors till the end of the season. A boat ride in this river Kodoorar to Kumarakom via Pallom backwaters is a great way to relax and enjoy nature's bounties.

Another unique feature hem is the old light house put up at this site in 1813 A.D. by the British resident of Travancore, Col. Munroe. Considered as a wonder of architecture, the light house still stands intact facing the placid backwaters providing an excellent view of the lush green paddy fields and swaying coconut palm.


Aruvikuzhy Waterfalls
Located amidst shady rubber plantations, streams tinkle as they make their way through the rugged landscape and roars down cascading from a height of hundred feet. This beautiful picnic spot is located at Pallickathodu 25 km from Kottayam town and hence easily accessible.


Aruvikachal
This is one of the highest waterfalls in Kerala gushing down from a height of 235 feet. Aruvikachal is located in Poonjar Thekkekara village and can be accessed from Erattupetta. The waterfalls can be approached by walking a couple of kilometers from Patampuzha junction. Adivaram, Ummikunnu, Puliyallu, Muttanallu, Parayambalam etc. are some of the scenic spots scattered around Aruvikachal. The 3500 ft high Mutukoramala offers spectacular views. The Poonjar Palace is also noteworthy.


Marmala
This scenic stream and its breathtaking waterfalls are together referred to as the enchantress of the jungle. Sliding down numerous hillocks from a height of 200 ft, the gushing water has etched out over the years a twelve metre deep pond in the rocks and joins the Teekoy river way down. And right under the waterfalls is a natural bridge.

Marmala waterfalls lie a few kilometers away from Erattupetta and it is exactly seven km from Teekoy rubber estate. From here a private vehicle can take you further two km after which the road is not motorable. To reach the falls one has to trek through the estate over the rocky path.



Elaveezhapoonchira - Walk in the rain clouds
Skirting the Kottayam district are beautiful valleys of Elaveezhalpoonchira, spread over thousands of acres in Melukavu village. The pristine beauty of nature is preserved almost intact here in the imposing mountain ranges with rocky cliffs. The verdant landscape is punctuated by five gigantic hills viz. Vindhyan medu, Hidumbanmedu Mankallumudi, Kolanimudi and Mukalanthumudi each rising to around 3200 ft. Elaveezhapoonchira means valley where leaves don't fall and is named so because the place has no trees. Perhaps this may be the only spot in Kerala from where one can see the beautiful phenomenon of sunrise and sunset in the same spot. The vast horizon gives a panoramic view of the surrounding five districts. During the monsoons when the valley fills up to form a scenic lake, this place unveils another beautiful slice of nature. The panoramic view of the Malankara dam just below the hill is an exquisite site for the visitors.


Attractions in Poonchira: The different elevations of the mountain ranges with contrasting shapes give this hill station a dramatic and distinctive outline of great scenic splendor. Just below the hill, there is a small perennial pond like water body called Elaveezhapoonchira. Three tribal settlements and four natural caves provide significance to this mystic land. The great Pandavas were said to have lived incognito in this land during their exile and hence these caves are called "Pandavart Guha!'. Another peculiar feature is the presence of two Muniyanas nearby the pond. Lusitrourt growth of medicinal plants gives another added attraction to this area. Another exotic feature is the Nilayara which is a cave located in Mukalanthanmudi, one kilometer from the Poonchira. The cave itself is a wonder as far as a tourist is concerned. About 20 people can stand at a time inside the cave. A small perennial stream is flowing from the inner mouth of the cave.

Kannadipara: As the name suggests, the valley of this rocky mountain reflects the morning sun with a mirror like perfection. This is also the highest point in Elaveezhapoonchira. Three km from here is the Pazhakakanam Plateau nourished by the Kadapuzha River. Bamboo groves, meadows and wild flowers make this place exotic. An added attraction here is the Kazhukankulimali Waterfalls that playfully cascade down the mountain and greet the river below with a magnificent splash. On the eastern side of Kannadipara is a natural fort set admidst steep rocks.

Mankallu Mudikal: The three hills in this region lie close to each other, their flat hilltops covered with lush grasslands. An aerial view of these resembles a traditional clay oven. With no trees around, the hilltops give you the feeling that you are walking in the clouds.

Kalani Mudi: This peak in the Elaveezhapoonchira mountain range also, has a cave.


Illickal Mala
Numerous mountain streams in this Peak, 6000 ft. above sea level, flow down to form the serene Meenachil River. The solitude, the tranquility, the gentle breeze and the star spangled sky here are all enchanting beyond words. Tourists have to trek up three km to reach the top of the hill. And if you so wish, you could even spend the night on the heights.

Illickal Kallu: Three hills, each rising to 4000 ft. and above, together form this huge hill. Each of the hills has a peculiar shape. One of them resemble a mushroom owing to which it gets its name Kuda Kallu (umbrella shaped rock). It is said that the medicinal herb Neela Koduveli, which bathes the hillsides in blue, grows here. This flower is also believed to possess supernatural powers which could increase wealth and ensure a rich harvest.

The second hill has a small hunch on the sides and is therefore referred to as Koonu Kallu (hunch back rock) which is located 4000ft above sealevel. Across this rock is a 1/2 ft. wide bridge called Narakapalam (bridge to hell). From the hilltops, the Arabian Sea can be seen in the distant horizon as a thin blue line. The sunset on a full moon day is sensational, when the moon can be seen rising up like another sun, as the orange sun goes down.


Kayyoor - Nadukani
It is an enchanting landscape formed by a chain of green hills at the Bharananganam panchayat on way to Erattupetta and Ayyampara. A shrine dedicated to the Pandava brothers of the epic Mahabharatha is found here in six acres. There is also a temple of Lord Sankara Narayana. As in the famous temple at Sabarimala, only ghee is used to light the lamps here. Women are not permitted inside the temple. Kayyur hill and Tevaka. hill was the wandering place of legendary ‘Kulapurathu Bhiman'.

Another major picnic spot in the region is Nadukani. The hill has a vast rocky terrain with grasslands. As the name signifies one can see the entire surroundings from this hilltop.


Kottathavalam
The winding road from Teekoy to Vagamon offers mind boggling scenic vistas. Vagamon located on the fringes of Kottayam District is an upcoming hill station. On the way to Vagamon is the beautiful spot called Kottathavalam.The Pandya king of Madurai and his family camped at this location on his way to Poonjar. The place was surrounded by hills on three sides like a fort and hence this place got its name Kottathavalam. Kottathavalam has huge caves which remains still unexplored as well as a ten acre reserve forest without wild beasts.The rocks carved in the cave like chairs and couches and figures of Gods sculpted on them are all worth exploring. The Kurathikallu, Karantakakallu and Kattil para nearby are other major attractions. Nearby Kottathavalam are Vazhikkadvau and the famous Kurishumala Asram.

Vazhikkadavu: On the outskirts of the district is Vazhikkadavu, a land of rocky terrains sought after for its pristine nature. On one side of the main rock are extremely tall and steep rocks and on the other is a valley of fearful depth. Bordering this crude landscape like a silver lace is the Meenachil River.

Kurisumala: Three km from Vazhikkadavu is this renowned Christian pilgrim centre where hundreds of devotees from far and near converge during the holy week and after, to climb the hill in faith, carrying small wooden crosses. The peaceful Monastery at the top of the hill, the silence of the hills, the cool mountain air and the lush green landscape are all soothing to the soul. On the eastern side of the hill is Muruganmala housing a rock cut temple dedicated to Murugan (son of Lord Shiva). The mausoleum of Sheikh Fariduddin at Thangalppara makes this place a famous Muslim pilgrim centre also.



Kootickal
This quaint hamlet situated in the Western Ghats is located 5km north of Mundakkayam in Kottayam District. The majesty of the mountain ranges combined with the beauty of the forest and the artificial lake created by the check-dam of the Manimala River makes the spot linger in your mind. Amruthameda, famous for medicinal plants is nearby. Kootickal is located only 12km from the pilgrim centre of Erumeli.

Waterfalls at Melaruvi: The waterfall at Vadakkemala near Kootickal is another attraction. The natural reservoirs and waterfalls at Melaruvithodu near Kanjirappalli is yet another charming picnic spot in the vicinity.

Karimbukayam - Meloram: This quaint spot on the Manimala River that flows between the Kanjirapally and Erumeli panchayaths is much sought after for its natural splendor.

Maniyamkunnu: It is located near Ponkunnam in Elikulam Panchayath. The majestic mountains here that slope down to meet the beautiful valleys below are truly spellbinding.


Panchalimdu
Situated seven km from the Mundakkayam - Kuttikanam stretch on the K.K. Road lies Panchalimedu, at an altitude of 2500 ft above sea level. A three hour trek from Valliankavu which is connected by bus from Kottayam takes you to the spot. Valliankavu, a tiny village 10km East of Mundakkayam itself is worth a visit for it is the site of the famous temple of Mala Araya community. According to the legends, the Pandavas stayed here and the pond beside a small temple is where Panchali is said to have bathed........