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Most beautiful places in Kerala

Discussion in 'Kerala' started by YanaM1, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. YanaM1

    YanaM1 New Member

    I will in Kerala, and having a keen interest in photography it is a great opportunity for me to take some scenic pictures while staying there.

    All of Kerala is beautiful but sometimes there are some special places which are different from the rest, and these are the places I want to go to. I would appreciate it if someone could give me a list of the most beautiful places in Kerala, where I can test my photography skills and capture the beauty of Kerala.
     


  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, welcome to the forum!

    Kerala.
    (Images from Avinash, Rameshng, Sasi, Nikolas and Bernard)

    Overview

    Kerala is no doubt one of the most beautiful states in India, enveloped in lush greenery and known for its backwaters. This state is also known for its rich heritage and being home to a huge number of Hindu temples. Located on the western coast of India, it also has a number of beaches that are worth lazing in. Of course, you also can't miss the breath-taking hill stations that Kerala has, the true epitome of it being called God's Own Country. In this guide, we would highlight the most beautiful places to visit when in Kerala, those that provide for picture-perfect backgrounds for the budding photographers.

    Most Beautiful Places in Kerala (Photography Lovers Havens)

    As romantic as the backwaters...

    1. Alleppey - A trip to Kerala just won't be complete without a houseboat tour of its backwaters. Alleppey is perhaps the most popular destination for that with tourists all over the world reaching this city to see the famed backwaters of Kerala. The Alleppey Backwaters is known as the largest chain of water canals in the state, which is why it is favored by tourists. So what can you see during a backwater tour? Well, aside from the beautiful water canals resembling that of Venice's, you can also enjoy viewing how the locals live alongside the unique backwater. You would plenty of photo opportunities whilst touring the backwaters here. If you're on a budget, you can still see the backwater via the local government ferries that are usually used by the locals to transfer from one place to the other in the city. Alleppey is not just all about the backwaters though because it has some other attractions that you can't miss. The Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple has a typical Keralan style of architecture with its sloping roofing and water reservoir outside. The temple has murals depicting scenes from the life of Lord Krishna, who is known here as Unni Krishna, or the infant Krishna. The Mannarasala Sri Nagaraja Temple is set amidst the forests which is believed to be home to a number of snakes as well. The temple is dedicated to the snake deity, Nagaraja, along with other deities such as Nagayakshi and Sarpayakshi. The very colorful Sri Subramanya Swami Temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan and uniquely, the temple is located on this hillock from where it was carved out of a single boulder, including the stone idol. If you still have time, do visit the St. Mary's Forane Church, one of the oldest Catholic churches in India, established in the 4th century, and the Alappuzha Beach, a long shore beach with powdery sands perfect for strolling.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Alleppey Backwaters, Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple, Mannarasala Sri Nagaraja Temple, Sri Subramanya Swami Temple, St. Mary's Forane Church and Alappuzha Beach
    2. Kavvayi - Onto a more offbeat backwater destination, we have Kavvayi, about four kilometers away from Payyanur. As mentioned above, most tourists reach Alleppey for a more commercialized albeit scenic houseboat tour. But if you want to go the unconventional way, do opt for Kavvayi and enjoy a scenic canoe ride amidst its backwaters. The Kavvayi Backwaters is considered as the largest of its kind in North Kerala. Since the water canals here are narrower, the only way of navigating through them is via boats or canoes. Dotted with small islands, the backwaters all the more becomes picturesque. The Kavvayi Island is just small but filled with lush greenery enough to entice the onlooker. The Edayilakkad Island is another unique attraction, a mangrove area filled with diverse flora, that is only three to four meters deep in water. The sandy shores double as an idyllic beach destination as well, lined with coconut trees and only the locals to be your company. Other islands that you can explore here are Ayitty Island and Valiyaparamba Island. A less commercialized side of Kerala's backwaters, that's what Kavvayi is all about and surely your camera's lenses won't be disappointed with all the picture-perfect moments you can capture here.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Kavvayi Backwaters, Kavvayi Island, Edayilakkad Island, Ayitty Island and Valiyaparamba Island
    Kavvayi 2.
    Kavvayi Flower (Image from Vinayaraj)

    Never ending beauty of nature...

    3. Thrissur - Nature never disappoints the photographers because they provide for good backdrops or even main stars in pictures. One such nature-laden place in Kerala is Thrissur, which is best known for its Thrissur Pooram, held annually during the summer months. But beyond this festive and filled with festival, Thrissur has a number of natural attractions worth exploring. The Athirappilly Waterfalls is at a height of about 120 meters and is considered as one of the largest waterfalls of Kerala. It is often nicknamed as the Niagara of India and requires a bit of trekking to reach. The trek isn't that difficult, especially on the first part, but the second part leading to the base of the waterfalls can be more challenging. About five kilometers from the first attraction is the Vazhachal Waterfalls, which is a smaller waterfall in comparison. The water falls at a smaller height, almost like a stream amidst rocks, but the inviting clearness would entice you. Also about 20 kilometers away from Thrissur is the Ilanjippara Waterfalls which requires a more challenging trek to reach, around an hour, more or less. The trek would take you to the dense forests of the region and you would even be passing by a small waterfall en route. There are also various paths you can take, one would lead you to the base of the waterfall, another would take you to the top of the waterfall and another one would take you to a view point for the waterfall. Last but not the least is the Chimmony Dam & Wildlife Sanctuary, which is around 30 kilometers from Thrissur proper. While this sanctuary doesn't have as much wildlife, it does boats of a serene landscape perfect for trekking enthusiasts.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Athirappilly Waterfalls, Vazhachal Waterfalls, Ilanjippara Waterfalls and Chimmony Dam & Wildlife Sanctuary
    4. Ranipuram - Are you a fan of trekking amidst the laps of nature? Then Ranipuram should be at the top of your itinerary, a little known trekking destination in Kerala. It is situated in the Kasaragod district of the state, near its border with Karnataka. Filled with dense shola forests and open grasslands, the landscapes and vistas here are outstanding. There's one caveat though, the trek though not difficult can be infested with leeches especially during monsoon season. Encounters with wild boars, leopards, elephants and other wildlife are not impossible as well. The trek can last around an hour for the one-way journey, so two hours in total for a return journey. Trekking trails usually open early in the morning and close during early evening time. Keep in mind that Ranipuram is not yet a commercialized destination hence tourist infrastructures and facilities are very limited. You can reach Mani, the grass-covered hilltop, where you can enjoy the misty views of the distant mountains. Designated as the Ooty of Kerala, you won't run out of capture-worthy shots in Ranipuram.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Mani (Grass-Covered Hilltop)
    Ranipuram 2.
    Ranipuram (Image from Vaikoovery)

    For that cooling effect...

    5. Munnar - Next we have Munnar, one of the top-rated hill station destinations in India. With gorgeous tea plantations and natural attractions, a visit to Munnar can be as rejuvenating as it is idyllic. While it can be a bit on the touristy side, it is almost a sin not to visit Munnar if you have a trip to Kerala. Just look around the internet and you'll find beautiful photographs taken in this hill station, which you can replicate or get inspirations from. Replete with view points such as Top Station, Photo Point, Lock Heart Gap and Pothamedu View Point, click your time away whilst in Munnar. With these view points, you can enjoy the surrounding greenery along with misty mountain views. Mattupetty Dam, with its serene water and surrounding water, is another photo-worthy attraction. But if you want something more serene, then reach Kundala Dam instead, indulge in a boat ride and don't forget to capture the best photos that you can take. Try your luck and see if you can spot the endangered Nilgiri tahr in the Rajamalai National Park. If not, the landscapes here are not as bad as well, especially with the interspersing shola forests and grasslands. Of course, you can't miss capturing the true attraction of the hill station, the numerous Tea Plantations that give color to it.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Top Station, Photo Point, Lock Heart Gap, Pothamedu View Point, Mattupetty Dam, Kundala Dam, Rajamalai National Park and Tea Plantations
    6. Nelliyampathy - Want to stray away from the usual hill stations? Opt for Nelliyampathy, a hidden gem of the state of Kerala. Be prepared though as this hill station isn't developed yet and at some places, roads are bad so you need to drive carefully or at least hire a four-wheeler vehicle. But if you're looking for a new landscape to shoot, a place that you can boast of not as known too many, then this is the place to be. It has the same scenic vistas of tea plantations, coffee plantations and misty mountain. Prior to entering the loop roads of the hill station, you can take a short visit to the Pothundy Reservoir, located at its base. This is considered as one of the oldest dams in the country, built in a traditional way using lime and jaggery. You can reach the top of the dam by walking around a hundred steps but boating facilities are not available here. You can visit the Seethargund View Point, just eight kilometers from the centre of the town. From this view point, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding valleys. The Meenampara View Point is yet another must-visit attraction, where aside from the valley views, you can photograph a lone waterfall located in a distance. For the adventurous ones, do try a thrilling jeep safari into the Manpara Hills, which would take you through rocky terrains of the hill station.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Pothundy Reservoir, Seethargund View Point, Meenampara View Point and Manpara Hills
    Nelliyampathy.
    Nelliyampathy (Image from Rajeesh)

    Beaches to love...

    7. Varkala - Sunsets in beaches provide for good backdrops for photographers as well. The most popular beach here is the Varkala Beach, which has golden sand shores and a cliff side filled with lots of restaurants and resorts. You can enjoy capturing the scenic view of the sea from the cliffside. Or you can walk down for panoramic views of the waves crashing unto the sandy shores. Swimming in the beach is permitted but the rough waves and uneven seabed can be dangerous. There are a few water sports available but not so much that they disturb the serenity of the beach. The Papasnanam Beach is located at the far south end of the first beach. It has dark sands and is interestingly used by Hindus for final rites for their deceased loved ones. Make sure you visit in the afternoon if you want to avoid the Hindu rites that occur here. Last is the Kappil Beach, which is around six kilometers from the centre of Varkala. This is a scenic beach wherein the sea confluences with the backwaters, a mesmerizing view that you can't help but capture in your lenses. It is mildly developed and has an assortment of water sports such as water scootering, boating and banana boat riding.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Varkala Beach, Papasnanam Beach and Kappil Beach
    8. Kannur - Kannur is another beach destination in Kerala though a bit underrated as compared to the former. Its most popular beach is the Muzhappilangad Beach, which is the only drive-in beach of the country. With its golden hard sands, you can drive within the shores without any issues. Take photos of the surroundings or maybe your fellow drivers who go all this way for the scenic sunset views. The main beach of the city is Payyambalam Beach, which has creamy sands and calm water. Children can especially enjoy here since the water recedes and is very shallow even up to a kilometer length. This beach can get crowded though but you can enjoy the assortment of food stalls and restaurants located close to it. For a more serene beach, about eight kilometers away from the centre of the city is the Thottada Beach. This is largely a fishing beach so frequented only by locals. It has golden sands, calm water and shallow enough to be enjoyed by the little ones. Do bring your own picnic basket as dining options here are very limited. Close to the city centre is the Dharmadam Beach which is surrounded by the river on its three sides and the sea on the other. During low tide, you can walk to the small island around a hundred meters from the beach. There are many more beaches that one can explore in Kannur like the Ezhara Beach, Meenkunnu Beach and Ettikulam Beach.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Muzhappilangad Beach, Payyambalam Beach, Thottada Beach, Dharmadam Beach, Ezhara Beach, Meenkunnu Beach and Ettikulam Beach
    Muzhappilangad.
    Muzhappilangad Beach (Image from Sebasteen)

    Wildlife spotting...

    9. Periyar National Park - With the combination of its dense forests and numerous wildlife, the Periyar National Park isn't only beautiful, it's also very active. The Periyar River, the largest river in the state, has its origin from the forests of the national park as well. Filled with deciduous and moist forests interspersed amidst grasslands, you're bound to find photographic moments even without the animals here. But of course, the national park boasts of a healthy population Indian elephants. The main stars are always the royal Bengal tigers which are around 20 in number in the national park. Other animals residing in the national park are sloth bears, wild boars, sambars, gaurs, Nilgiri tahrs and langurs. You also can't miss the boat safari that the management offers for tourists. While the possibility of seeing animals with this safari is less, you can have higher chances of spotting various bird species. Alternatively, you can opt for a more adventurous trek amidst the jungles which is around four hours in duration. Even more thrilling is the night safari as you never know which nocturnal animals might show up during this time.
    • Must Spot Animals - Indian Elephants, Royal Bengal Tigers, Sloth Bears, Wild Boars, Sambars, Gaurs, Nilgiri Tahrs and Langurs
    10. Silent Valley National Park - Last on this guide is the Silent Valley National Park, located in the Palakkad district of Kerala. A biodiversity hotspot, Silent Valley National Park is an ethereal wildlife destination. It is mind-boggling how in this urban world there exists a place still not plagued by effects of modernity such as this. Literally, it's a silent valley, where you won't hear noises from the outside world, just you and the nature around you, possibly wildlife if you're lucky. The national park has the usual assortment of animals such as tigers, panthers, jungle cats, sloth bears, wild boars and sambars. But it is also home to endangered species of animals like the lion-tailed macaques, an endemic species of monkeys in India. Last 2016, a new species of frogs found first in the national park was named after it, the silent valley bush frog. You can indulge in a jeep safari in the park or even opt for the package which involves a short trek inside the permitted area of the national park.
    • Must Spot Animals - Tigers, Panthers, Jungle Cats, Sloth Bears, Wild Boars, Sambars, Lion-Tailed Macaques and Silent Valley Bush Frogs
    Silent Valley.
    Flower in Silent Valley National Park (Image from Vinayaraj)

    Conclusion

    Truly a magnificent state in India, Kerala stands out because of the diversity in the types of destinations it has. The guide above highlights the most beautiful places to visit in the state, categorized accordingly. As you might have noticed, each category highlights a popular destination and an offbeat destination. This way, you can plan your trip more properly, as you have the option of going the touristy way or even the unusual way. Whatever you choose, Kerala is sure to enthrall you, leaving you wanting more, because it's truly a place that warrants a second visit, a third visit, a fourth visit and so on. Good luck and I hope this helps you!

    :)