Saturday, January 29, 2011

Few Places to visit in God’s own Country

Thiruvananthapuram (known as Trivandrum) the capital of Kerala. Located at the South Western tip of India, is bounded by the Arabian sea on the West and Tamil Nadu on the East. The wooded highlands on the Western Ghats in the Eastern and North Eastern borders give some of the most enchanting picnic spots, a long shorline, with internationally renowned beaches, historic monuments, backwater stretches and a rich cultural heritage make this district a much sought after tourist destination.

An appealing beach, Kovalam lies about 12Km south of Trivandrum. It consists of two palm-fringed beaches
separated by rocky headlands. There are numerous bars and cafes lined up on the shore side and you can enjoy a variety of fresh seafood or continental cuisine. A must see is the Padmanabapuram Palace (40 km south) built fully out of wood.

This small town in Kerala is well-known because of the Janardhana Swamy temple, which holds its legend for over 2000 years. To honour the ancestors the residents of this town celebrate Arattu every year in March/April. The sun, sea and the calm beach under the red cliff attracts western visitors to this delightful place.

Kollam [Quilon]
Quilon or Kollam is located 155 km south of Cochin with old timber buildings and red clay tile roofings, which is a mark of typical Kerala architecture. For most tourist Kollam is either a starting point or the last stop of their backwater trip. The much cherished ashram of Mata Amritanandamayi is in the proximity of Kollam.

This pleasant easy-going market town, criss-crossed by canals and surrounded by coconut plantations, is also known as the Venice of the east and is one of the starting points for backwater trips. The famous Snake Boat race, which takes place each year in the second week of August, is a spectacular event not to be missed.

Kumarakom is an island in the Vembanad lake, on the backwaters of Kerala. It is an ideal starting point for a
backwater trip. The various rivers, lagoons, channels and lakes here form a unique scenic network of water routes.
The romantic houseboats converted from former rice boats, can be used for a comfortable stay overnight.

Thekkady is tucked amidst lush green tea gardens. It is one of the best places to visit tea, coffee and spice gardens and have a taste of delicious Cardamom tea. Adjacent to it is the Periyar wild Life Sanctuary with its unsullied grasslands and "Blue Mountains". A boat ride in the lake running through the sanctuary provides an opportunity to watch wild animals like elephants, deer and scores of water birds. A guided walk through the serene forest with beautiful birds and scent of the woods can be quite invigorating.

A scenic four-hour drive from Cochin takes you to Munnar, a nature lover's paradise. This place with its hillside rivulets and streams running along the roads, extensive tea plantations, and breathtaking views also has a sizable population of wildlife. A stroll through Eravikulam National park will bring you 'face to face' with a good population of Ibex. Mudapetty Dam is an ideal picnic spot on the route to the 'Top station', from where you can enjoy the views of the valley.

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