Thenmala in Kerala is the first planned ecotourism destination in India. Predominantly a forest area, Thenmala is a small village, located at the foothills of the Western Ghat Mountains. Thenmala is about 72 km from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, (God's Own Country), the southern most state of India. The name Thenmala is derived from two words - 'Then' & 'Mala", in local parlance "Then" means honey and "Mala" means hillock i.e. 'honey hills'. The honey collected from Thenmala forest area is of good quality and of high medicinal value because of the unique floristic composition of the forests. A natural habitat of diverse flora and fauna, this unique eco-tourism habitat lies 500 m above sea level. The rugged terrain of this land harbouring a fragile ecosystem packs plenty of adventure activities. Nature trails dotted with delightful waterfalls and enchanting picnic spots attract naturalists, conservationists and adventure seekers. With its forests, rubber estates and tea plantations, Thenmala provides the perfect background for leisure activities.
Thekkady in Idukki District captures the essence of all that is wild and wonderful. The most prestigious region on the high ranges of the Western Ghats, the Periyar Tiger Reserve is located on the Cardamom Hills of Thekkady. Sprawled majestically across 777 sq km, Periyar Sanctuary, declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978 under the Project Tiger Scheme, attracts travellers from all over. An environmental hotspot, Periyar Sanctuary is noted for its geomorphology, diverse wildlife and beautiful landscape. Encompassing a 26 sq km artificial lake, the rich jungles of Periyar is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves. The lake which serves as a watering hole for the animals during summer, harbours within itself a unique aquatic ecosystem. A cruise along it is perhaps the best way to watch the wildlife in the Reserve. Exciting trekking trails and other adventure activities like tracking the tiger, jungle patrolling etc. await the tourists at this enchanting Sanctuary.
The Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is a reservoir of tranquil greenery ensconced in a valley between the Annamalai ranges of Tamil Nadu and the Nelliampathy ranges of Kerala. The areas hilly and rocky, drained by several rivers, including the Parambikulam, the Sholayar and the Thekkedy. Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is the most protected ecological piece of Anamalai sub unit of Western Ghats, surrounded on all sides by protected areas and sanctuaries of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the sanctuary is endowed with a peninsular flora and fauna which are excellently conserved due to total protection and minimal human interferences.
Neyyar dam is situated at Kallikkad Panchayath of Neyyattinkara Taluk. The peak Agasthya kooodam is very near to Neyyar dam. The dam was built for irrigation purposes. One canal of Neyyar flows to western districts of Tamil Nadu. The main river Neyyar flows through Kallikkadu, Ottasekharamangalam, Aryancode, Kezaroor, Marayamuttom, Neyyattinkara and Poovar and ends at the Arabian Sea. The Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary is set up in 1958 is a colourful canvas of exotic flora and thriving fauna. Tropical evergreens, mixed deciduous and southern hill forests to sub-tropical savannahs and reed breaks make this Sanctuary an ideal gene pool preserve. Spread over 128 sq km of forest area in the Western Ghats, it forms the drainage basin for the Neyyar River and its tributaries - Mullayar and Kallar.
Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve, owes its name to the endemic species, Gluta Travancorica, locally known as 'Chenkurinji'. The cradle of one of the oldest river valley civilizations in India - older than the Indus Valley (4400 - 3700 BC) - this belt is acclaimed for its rich biodiversity. Lying on either side of the Shenduruny River, the reservoir of the Parappar Dam, constructed across Kallada River in 1986, occupies the heart of this Wildlife Sanctuary which is the only one in Kollam District.
- Trekking and Camping
Kerala has rich natural resources and provides big scope for Trekking and Camping.Tourist get a close ambience to get immersed with the nature. The forests are rich in bird life and arboreal animals like giant squirrel and Nilgiri langur. Animals like elephant, gaur and sambar are sighted keeping close to the edges of the lake. During these treks you will come face to face with the spectacular beauty of the wilderness here, the far flung villages with their own peculiar traditions and the magnificent wildlife that inhabit the forests of India.
- Bamboo Rafting
Kerala has a range of ecotourism projects that provide the discerning visitor a unique experience. Bamboo Rafting is one of such project. All ecotourism projects are designed to preserve the environment and to provide sustainable development with active participation of the local community. Bamboo Rafting is a dawn to dusk range hiking and rafting through some of the richest forest tracts of Periyar Tiger Reserve (Thekkady). Starting at 8 am from the boat landing, a mosaic of habitats will be traversed before the party gets into rafts made of bamboos.
Vagamon has been identified as the hotspot for paragliding by tourists and travelers all over. The hill station which lies nearly 6,000 ft above sea level and where the weather is known to be fickle, was till recently only an offbeat tourism destination for travellers from the State. But today, it has found a place in the international tourism map because of paragliding. A paragliding holiday in hill top destinations is a welcome activity for the adventure enthusiasts. The bravehearts and challengers among them can take part in the annual paragliding contest held atop the picturesque Vagamon hills in Kerala. The tourist adventure site of Vagamon is situated at the hills of Kolahalamedu, 4 kms from Vagamon, forming part of south India's second highest peak namely the Amruthamedu.
- Fort Kochi
Fort Cochin is located to the west of the district of Ernakulam. This part of the city is much calmer and tourist-friendly. It has an old world charm about it. There are many churches, museums and colonial bungalows in Fort Kochi. But the most famous landmark is the Chinese Fishing Net-lined beach. Kochi has a very diverse culture and outlook. From Anglo-Indians, Jews and Portuguese descendants, to North Indian settlers and Persian Muslims, the city is a canvas of colours, the food available here, too, is similar – colourful and varied.
Kannur is a fascinating destination to visit. Kannur is a seaside town and is a place which attracts travelers at different times of the year. Kannur has a rich historical past. The history of this seaside town dates back to the early seventeenth century. It was a major port in the country of India during this point in time. The monuments of Kannur are quite enchanting and constitute one of the main reasons as to why Kannur is such a popular destination among travelers in India. The monuments of Kannur are gigantic in their size. They are also characterized by the most intricate art work. One can come across scenes from the ancient Indian mythological stories engraved upon the monuments in Kannur.
Mysore stands out as the most significant city of Karnataka state which happens to be nestled 145 kilometers away from the capital city Bengaluru. The splendid cultural heritage contrary to the city majestically echoes in the fascinating tourist attractions, that consist of panoramic palaces to religious attractions, exceptional gardens, glorious festivals and also extremely colorful crafts. Mysore will unquestionably get hold of most of the hearts and minds of travelers and tourists through the beginning. Mysore is almost certainly among the captivating holiday destinations of South India. Mysore city is furthermore typically called the 'City of Palaces', the 'Garden City', the 'Ivory City', the 'City of Yoga' as well as the 'cultural capital of Karnataka'.
Spread across the beauty of Periyar Tiger Reserve, Gavi is a quiet, beautiful and pristine forest haven. It is at the eastern extreme of the Pathanamthitta District at 3400 ft above MSL. These evergreen forests are abundant with magnificent Wildlife including the tiger, elephants, leopards, bears, Indian gaur, sambar, barking & Mouse deers, lion tailed macaque, other varieties of monkeys, Nilgiri Marten and a lot more.
- Silent Valley
The Silent Valley National Park is a unique preserve of natural rainforests. Within an area of 237. 52 Sq.km, it houses a rich mosaic of varied habitats. Out of these springs the amazing variety of life forms some of them endemic to the Western Ghats. Perhaps, nowhere else can one find such a representative collection of Western Ghats biodiversity - more than 1000 species of flowering plants which include about 110 species of orchids, more than 34 species of mammals, about 200 species of butterflies, 400 species of moths, 128 species of beetles of which 10 are new to science, about 150 species of birds including almost all the 16 endemic birds of southern India.
Pakshipathalam is situated in the Brahmagiri hills at Thirunelli. It is 1740m above sea level. The location of Pakshipathalam Bird Sanctuary is about 32 kms from Manathavady town and 66 kms from Kalpetta. This place is the location for very rare species of birds and other wild animals. Trip to this tourist place will be an adventurous one. For tourists who love trekking this is an ideal place because of its steep hills and dense forest. The area of Pakshipathalam Bird Sanctuary location is also known as trekker's paradise as trekking is the only way to reach this tourist destination.
Agastyakoodam, a towering forested peak of 1868 metres, and adjoining forests in the tail end of Western Ghats, form the most diverse and unknown ecosystem in Peninsular India. These forests, harbors many endemic species of plants that are unique to peninsular India. The undulating hills of these area, especially those at lower elevations, are also known for their abundance of medicinal plants. A sizable proportion of around 2000 medicinal plants used in the traditional systems of medicine are found here.
Kovalam offers an excellent diversity with Kovalam beach to suit all desires and occasions. Three curve shaped beaches, alienated by stony outcroppings, from the major attraction of this coastal resort. Backed by precipitously mounting headlands and covered by fertile coconut palms, the beaches, especially the southern most part of lighthouse beach. It is also lined with a host of shops and shacks offering all kinds of services; creating an unmistakable resort atmosphere. Curio shops, hawkers of Kashmiri and Tibetan products, moneychangers and beachwear shops, between the surplus of restaurants and hotels, do brisk business during peak tourist season.
The Papanasham beach at Varkala is quiet, clean and secluded unlike the Kovalam international beach. The beach at Varkala grew into prominence and caught the attention of tourists only recently. A long sandy beach, towering red laterite cliffs and soothing mineral springs put Varkala in the not-to-miss category. Varkala is less crowded with less number of shops, beach sellers and still lesser amount of commercialization. The development we see today in Varkala happened only in a period less than two years. The raw and unused stretch of beach is a loner's delight where one could swim, play cricket or volley ball and even manage to practise yoga. If you are lucky, you also get sight of a naughty dolphin.
Cherai Beach, is one of the Best beaches of Kerala, is just 30 kms from Kochi, the business capital of Kerala . It is on the northern end of Vypin Island. The 10 kms of long golden Beach is very clean, shallow and pacific and evokes irresistible temptation for swimming and sunbathing. Dolphins are occasionally seen here. It has the calm serene Backwaters on the other side and the land is filled with coconut trees which make this a very unique and precious gift of the Mother Nature. It is rightly called the "Princess of the Arabian Sea". The scenic beauty and the traditional outlook recall the visitors for enchanting holidays. What makes Cherai Beach distinct from other beach hideaways is its unique ambience – its very air spells harmony and balance.
Surrounded by Majestic Hills and the plains bordered by colourful sea-shores, fringed with coconut trees and paddy fields, here and there are few elevated patches of red cliffs with undulating valleys and plains between the mountainous terrain and the sea - coast, so closely interwoven with Temples and Churches and other edifices lies the district, 'Kanyakumari'.One of the most exotic places to go in India is the city of Kanyakumari, also known as Cape Comorin, which is filled with many and interesting tourist attractions. Perhaps what makes it so interesting is the fact that it is located at the southernmost part of India, hence it is somewhat of a well of culture ready to be explored by tourists.
Alleppey is one of the most important tourist centers in the state, with a large network of inland canals earning it the sobriquet "Venice of the east". These large network of canals provide Alleppey its lifeline. Alleppey was one of the busiest centers of trade in the past with one of the best known ports along the malabar coast. Even today it retains its charm as the centre for Coir carpet industries and prawn farming. Alleppey the ideal headquarters for backwater tourism as well as for visits to the lovely church filled town of Kottayam, and the town of Aranmula, famous for its historic Aranmula Snake Boat Race .
Kumarakom is a serenely beautiful and scenic backwater destination, a charming peninsula jutting into the ever-effervescent Vembanad Lake that is dotted with plenty of traditional rice boats and canoes, leaving a scene that is immensely pleasing to the eye. When nature is all you need to recuperate, Kumarakom is undoubtedly one of the most invigorating and fascinating places to unwind in Kerala. The slender coconut palms standing here, there and everywhere, its never ending paddy fields, meandering lagoons and backwaters and mangroves with nestling birds of a hundred varieties will all serve to calm and inspire your mind.
Kochi (colonial name Cochin) is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, hailed as 'God's Own Country'. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala. From time immemorial, the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have left indelible marks on the history and development of Cochin. Over the years, Cochin has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala and is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India (after Mumbai/Bombay). Cochin is proud of its world class port and international airport that link it to many major cities worldwide.
Munnar - breathtakingly beautiful - a haven of peace and tranquility - the idyllic tourist destination in God's own country.Set at an altitude of 6000 ft in Idukki district, Munnar was the favored summer resort of the erstwhile British rulers in the colonial days. Unending expanse of tea plantations - pristine valleys and mountains- exotic species of flora and fauna in its wild sanctuaries and forests - aroma of spice scented cool air - yes! Munnar has all these and more. It's the place you would love to visit - it's the place you would wish never to leave.
A bio-diverse region spread across 2,132 square kilometers on the lofty Western Ghats, Wayanad is one of the few districts in Kerala that has been able to retain its pristine nature. Hidden away in the hills of this land are some of the oldest tribes, as yet untouched by civilization. And the very first prehistoric engravings in Kerala discovered in the foothills of Edakkal and around Ambukuthimala bear testimony to a pre-historic culture dating back to the Mesolithic Age. Strikingly scenic, it is known for its sub-tropical savannahs, picturesque hill stations, sprawling spice plantations, luxuriant forests and rich cultural traditions.
Coorg, which is known for its verdant hills and equable climate, has many popular trekking routes that are popular among the weekend crowd from neighbouring cities. The intrepid trekker can explore the less frequented routes for a memorable weekend escapade. Coorg is Karnataka’s south western district with Madikeri being the district headquarters .This district is in the Western Ghats, and it receives higher than average rainfall and has a dense forest cover. Coorg is famous for its coffee estates, orange groves, spice plantations, and its salubrious climate.
Thekkady in Kerala State , India 's largest wildlife sanctuary is a dream destination for any tourist visiting India . The 120 years old 'Surki' dam built across Peryiar, Poorna in Vedic parlance, is a major tourist attraction. This sanctuary is spread over an area of 777 Sq.Kms, surrounded by an artificial lake over an area of 25 Sq.Kms. The Country's sole Tiger reserve, Thekkady, with its bountiful treasures of tropical flora and fauna is the ultimate reservoir of many an endangered species and a rich tribal culture. Thekkady is a pleasant heaven on earth for those who love nature in its wild manifestations.