Witness the finest of Kerala with this package! From misty tea gardens in Munnar to dense forests and wildlife in Thekkady, you can also spend a night floating on the calm backwaters of Alleppey and swimming in the waters around Kumarakom. Every facet of this coastal state is full of surprises, enough to enthral visitors each time they visit 'God's Own Country'. For the love of travel, a quick excursion to the southern end of peninsular India - Kanyakumari is also included in this trip.
1. Thekkady: Thekkady is home to one of India' s finest wildlife sanctuaries, known for its large elephant population. It is located at an altitude of 900 m in Kerala' s Idukki district, on the border with Tamil Nadu. The area is also known for its rich cardamom plantations, along with those of vanilla, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, tea, pepper and coffee. Vandanmedu, one of the world' s largest auction centers for cardamom is located less than 20 km away.
2. Munnar: One of the most popular hill stations in south India, Munnar is located at an elevation of 1600 meters in the higher reaches of the Western Ghats in Idukki district of south eastern Kerala. Based at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala, the town started life as a British hill station, but by late 19th century had become one of India' s biggest centers for tea plantations. It is now essentially a tea town with over 50 active plantations. Besides tea and pleasant climate, visitors to Munnar can expect to see narrow winding lanes roads with quaint British-era bungalows. Before the land was cleared for tea plantations, the area was a thick jungle that is part of the Western Ghats. There are nearly half a dozen national parks and protected forests around Munnar. These include the Kurinjimala Sanctuary to the east, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Manjampatti Valley and the Amaravati reserve forest of Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary to the north east, the Eravikulam National Park and Anamudi Shola National Park to the north, the Pampadum Shola National Park to the south and the proposed Palani Hills National Park to the east.
3.Alleppey: Now known as Alappuzha, Alleppey is one of the most important tourist destinations in the country. Located 60 kilometers south of Kochi, it was once described as the Venice of the East because of its vast and picturesque network of canals, lagoons, lakes, rivers and backwaters made famous by the houseboat cruises which most visitors associate Kerala with. Alleppey, due to its proximity to Kochi, is a good starting point to explore the state' s vast backwaters. In fact visitors with time on their hands should try the eight hour Alleppey to Kollam cruise, the longest houseboat ride in Kerala. And on the second Saturday of August every year it is also a good place to start the journey to the nearby Punnamada Lake which hosts the annual Nehru Trophy Boat race, the most popular of the Snake Boat races in Kerala. For the religious minded Alleppey has much to offer in the form of temples and churches. The more famous of these temples include Mullakkal Temple, Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, Mannarasala Temple, Chettikulangara Devi Temple and Haripad Subrahmanya Swamy Temple.
4. Kovalam: The beach town of Kovalam in Kerala is located 16 km from its capital Thiruvananthapuram. The three main beaches here - Lighthouse Beach, Hawah Beach (Eve' s Beach) and Samudra Beach - jointly form the famous crescent of Kovalam beach. There are plenty of leisure options here including sunbathing, swimming, herbal body massages, special cultural program and catamaran cruising. Dotting the beaches are Ayurvedic health resorts, convention facilities, shopping zones, swimming pools and Yoga centers. The credit for putting Kovalam on Kerala' s tourist map goes to the erstwhile Travancore royal family. Towards the end of the 1920s, Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, who reigned from 1924 to 1931, constructed a private beach resort here called Halcyon Castle. The place was brought to the public eye by her nephew, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, who inherited the throne in 1931. The European guests of the then Travancore kingdom discovered the potential of Kovalam beach as a tourist destination in the 1930s. But the beach town shot into the limelight in the early seventies with the arrival of masses of hippies on their way to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). This exodus started the transformation of an unknown fishing village of Kerala into one of the most important tourist destinations in India Besides the beautiful beaches, there is not much to see in Kovalam.
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