Welcome back to my article series on Exploring Kerala India, in the most recent post on we covered Kerala sightseeing adventures,today we will continue across locations ideal for amazing Kerala Holidays:
5. ATHIRAPPILLY WATERFALLS
80 kilometers from the hustle and bustle of city life are the Athirappilly and Vazhachal waterfalls located 3 kilometers from each other. The Athirappilly waterfalls are located in the midst of lush green forests. The falls begin in the high ranges and gain momentum until they plummet down gorges from a height of 80 feet, into the Chalakudy River below. A scenic picnic spot for tourists, the falls offer safe places for river bathing and swimming. Adventure treks and rafting are organized activities. The surrounding riparian forests are home to many species of flora and fauna. The best time to visit is after the heavy monsoons, between October- November.
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76 kilometers from Kochi, Kumarakom is situated on the longest and one of the largest Indian lakes called Vembanad Lake, which makes it a fishing town with many attractive resorts welcoming tourists. The town has a variety of houseboats to choose from with your personal chef and butler cooking and serving you the local delights on board! Sit back, relax and watch the tiny hamlets pass by as you gently cruise along the peaceful backwaters.
The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is home to many exotic migratory birds drawn here by the more than appetizing variety of freshwater fish! The snake boat races during Aug-Sept during the festival of Onam would definitely impress any visitor.
75 kilometers North East of Kochi lies Thrissur, the cultural and religious hub of Kerala. The city is built around a 65 acre hillock that seats the most prominent feature here, the Vadakkunnathan Temple dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. The city is full of lakes, rivers and canals but it is best known for the 200 year old summer festival of Thrissur Pooram. The UNESCO has adjudged this festival as the ‘most spectacular festive event on the planet’. This festival was orchestrated in 1798 by Raja Rama Varma, the ruler of Cochin, in an attempt to unify the ten temples located around.
The largest gathering of people and pachyderms celebrate this 36 hour long festival that begins at dawn and ends early the next day. It is characterized by the largest parade of temple elephants painted and decorated with bells and ornate headdresses, carrying colorful parasols and moving calmly through the crowds and the rhythmic sounds of wind and percussion instruments.
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Some 50 odd elephants carrying various images of deities gather at the largest temple square here belonging to the ancient Vadakkunnathan Temple that stands host to both man and beast in this spectacular and dazzling display of lights, color and sound. The festival ends the next morning at 3 am with a stunning firework display.
Thrissur also houses Asia’s highest church- the Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours and the underground shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, both being architectural masterpieces.
8. CHERAI BEACH
Cherai is a small coastal village, bordering the Vypeen Island and is located 30 kilometers from Ernakulum. It has a 10 kilometer long beach with shallow, calm waters that are ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Nearby restaurants serve mouth watering seafood to whet the appetites of the tourists. The beach has been beautified with a new walkway that adds to the charm. Cherai is one of the few places where one can see the lagoon and the sea, set apart by only a few hundred meters.
This bird sanctuary located 60 kilometers from Kochi, has been described as the richest bird habitat containing a wide variety and species of birds. The Indian Pitta visiting here during the winter months attract many bird lovers and ornithologists. Several picnic spots on the way provide a welcome break to visitors.
10. KUMBALANGI TOURIST VILLAGE
Situated on the outskirts of Kochi is a model fishing village that is the first eco-friendly tourist village of its kind in India. The project aims at exhibiting the simple, uncomplicated lives of the villagers, who prosper in their ecological surrounding by engaging in activities like, coir yarn and copra processing using the parts of the simple coconut, crab farming and clam meat processing, net making and weaving coconut leaves for roofs and fences, building country boats, Operating the hundreds of Chinese fishing nets on waters that have been made breeding grounds for prawns, shrimps, crabs, oysters and other small fish.
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Visitors can canoe, watch the fisherman exhibit their various fishing techniques, share a traditionally cooked meal with the village folk, visit the farms, go fishing, or just walk through the village’s 16 square kilometer area. There are about 30,000 people living in the village and they comprise of mainly fisherman, laborers, farmers, coir spinners and toddy tappers.