Kerala is popularly known as God’s own country, owing to pristine beauty, lush green forests, tea plantations, cascading waterfalls, white-sand beaches, backwaters, Ayurvedic massages. The beauty of the state cannot be measured in words, yet few gems to visit are listed below.
Nestled in the Western Ghats mountain range in Kerala, Munnar, also known as the ‘Kashmir of South India’ is a small hill-station which used to serve as a summer getaway for the British. Now-a-days it is frequented by tourist and honeymooners from world over. Major tourist attractions in Munnar are tea plantations, Eravikulam National Park, Mattupetty Dam, Tea Museum among many others. Although not many tourists like to come during monsoon season, but it is the best time to see Munnar at its lush, green. pristine best.
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Spectacular backwater destination and a birdwatcher’s paradise, Kumarakum is located near Kottayam. It houses the Vembanand Lake, largest lake in Kerala and the longest lake in India. Kumarakum also serves as a getaway for mind and soul owing to its rich tradition of Ayurvedic massages. One can indulge in backwater cruises and can get their feet sandy at Kumarakum beach. If you are the kind to dwell into your religious side, Juma Masjid is the place for you. Among other attractions there is Bay Island Drift Museum, Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls to name a few.
It is a small coastal town near Thiruvananthapuram which is popular for beaches and more specifically for the Lighthouse Beach with its striped lighthouse. Other popular beaches here are Hawa and Samudra beach respectively. One can also visit the Sagarika Marine Research Aquarium to see how the pearl production takes place.
Thekkady, situated in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is another place of interest in Kerala. It is famous for its flora and fauna as it houses evergreen, semi-evergreen, deciduous forests and elephants, tigers, Nilgir langurs, long-tailed macaws. The sanctuary has been declared as a tiger reserve by the Government of India. It also has a large reserve of natural spices such as cardamoms, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger etc.
Karnataka as a state is a wonderful mix of cosmopolitan lifestyle and heritage. On one side there is Bengaluru which houses avantgarde cafes and restaurants, on the other side there is Hampi, a small village which stands within the ruins of city of Vijayanagara, capital city of Vijayanagara Empire, takes you back in time. Then there is Mysore with its regal palaces and exquisite silk and sandalwood. Treks and wonderful trains and waterfalls in Kodago can satisfy the nature buff in you.
Formerly known as Bangalore, it is a cosmopolitan, one of the most progressive cities in the country and also the capital of the state of Karnataka. Besides wonderful parks and Victorian-era inspired architecture, the city gives immense option for food and drinks. The city also has the head-quarter of the IT giants like Wipro and Infosys besides various other institution of notable national consequence. Bengaluru’s Chinnaswamy Stadium is a haven for cricket fans.
Officially called Mysuru, is located at the foothills of Chamundi Hills. It is one of the most heritage-rich cities in Karnataka. It is popular for its Mysore Palace and the Dussehra celebrations here. Among other things, Mysore Paintings, Mysore Silk, sandalwood and its products and Mysore Pak (sweet dish) is very famous.
Kodago (formerly known as Coorg) is a town in Karnataka state, although it was a separate state till 1956. The place is inundated with mountain peaks, forests, waterfalls, orange groves and three wildlife sanctuaries. It is the highest producer of coffee in the country. Due to its location in the Western Ghats, Kodago also gives wonderful options of trekking.
Banks of Tungabhadra river are marked by the presence of an ancient village called Hampi, which houses temple ruins belonging to the Vijayanagara Empire. It has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. To celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the place, Government of Karnataka organises a 3-day festival every year in the month of November. It is one of the most popular tourist sites in Karnataka. Hubli is the nearest city.
Bandipur National Park
Once a private hunting ground of Maharaja of Mysore, Bandipur National Park is a reserved forest which houses a small population of tigers. It also boasts of the population of elephants, spotted deer, antelopes and various other native species. Established in 1974, the park has two seasons – summer from March to June and winter, starting in October, although the best time to visit is March.