Kerala is a popular tourist destination famous for its backwaters, Ayurvedic treatments  and tropical greenery. Kerala has a higher Human Development Index than all other states in India.
Edakkal Caves are two natural caves located 1,200 metres above sea level on Ambukutty Mala 25 km from Kalpetta in the Wayanad district of Kerala in India’s Western Ghats. They lie besides an ancient trade route connecting the high mountains of Mysore to the ports of Malabar coast. Inside the caves are pictorial writings believed to be dating to at least 5000 BC, from the Neolithic man, indicating the presence of a prehistoric civilization or settlement in this region. The Stone Age carvings of Edakkal are rare and are the only known examples from south India.
Ayurveda in Kerala
Ayurveda believes in the treatment of not just the affected part, but the individual as a whole. Making it the natural way to refresh you, eliminate all toxic imbalances from the body and thus regain resistance and good health.
Kerala’s equable climate, natural abundance of forests (with a wealth of herbs and medicinal plants), and the cool monsoon season (June to July and October to November) are best suited for Ayurveda’s curative and restorative packages. In fact, today, Kerala is the only State in India which practises this system of medicine with absolute dedication.
Traditional texts reveal that the monsoon is the best season for rejuvenation programmes. The atmosphere remains dust-free and cool, opening the pores of the body to the maximum, making it most receptive to herbal oils and therapy.
Cruising in a houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala is really a wonderful and unforgettable experience!
The houseboats have all the creature comforts of a good hotel including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. Parts of the curved roof of wood or plaited palm open out to provide shade and allow uninterrupted views. While most boats are poled by local oarsmen, some are powered by a 40 HP engine. Boat-trains – formed by joining two or more houseboats together are also used by large groups of sightseers.
It is one of the attractions that contributed to Kerala’s popularity as a travel destination among domestic and foreign travellers. Situated at the confluence of three mountain streams – Muthirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala, and perched about 1600 m above sea level, the hill station of Munnar once used to be the summer resort of the erstwhile British administration in south India. This hill station is marked by vast expanses of tea plantations, colonial bungalows, rivulets, waterfalls and cool weather. It is also an ideal destination for trekking and mountain biking.
Main Backwaters Destinations in Kerala
Kumarakom: Waterscapes, the backwater resort of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation has independent cottages built on stills, set amidst coconut groves and panoramic view of the backwaters. Holiday packages involving houseboats, traditional Kettuvalloms (rice barges) offer great experiences.
Getting there: Nearest railway station: Kottayam, about 16 km.
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 76 km from Kottayam town.
The Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom: (16 km from Kottayam town)Kottayam is a vast network of rivers and canals which empty into the great expanse of water called the Vembanad Lake. The lake, an enchanting picnic spot and a fast developing backwater tourism destination, provides boating, fishing and sightseeing experiences that are truly exhilarating. The Kumarakom Tourist Village offers houseboat cruises and holiday packages.
Q S T and R Block Kayal, Alappuzha: Kuttanad is the most beautiful backwaters region of Kerala. It is here that most of the snake boat races are conducted and a majority of the rice boat and houseboat cruises are scheduled. Keralas network of navigable backwaters stretches to over 900km. These serene waterways are fringed by palm grove and paddy fields and offer a striking spectacle of the rustic life.
Getting there : QST&R Block Kayals are accessible by boat from Alappuzha ( 1.30 hrs by motor boat and 30 minutes by speedboat.)
Picnic Village in Kollam: Location: (1 km from the city. Open 1000 – 1800 hrs) Located in the sprawling 200-year-old Guest House campus where Lord Munroe once stayed, this tourist village at Ashramam along the backwater front, is the main centre for recreational activities in Kollam. The place has a boat club, a children’s traffic park and Yatri Nivas in addition to an adventure park. The Paaramparya Museum in the same premises has on display paintings from different parts of the country including Warli, Kalamkari and Madhubani as well as Kerala mural art. Ph: 0474 – 2750322
Ponnumthuruthu Island: (20 km from Varkala) A delightful getaway surrounded by the Anjengo backwaters, this uninhabited isle is accessible by boat from the makeshift jetty at the nearby Nedunganda Village. A 100-year-old Siva-Parvathi Temple, rebuilt a decade back, is situated here and the entire island is temple property.
Fort Kochi: A few interesting sites in Kochi are the Chinese fishing nets along the Vasco Da Gama Square, Santa Cruz Basilica, St.Francis Church, VOC Gate, Bastion Bungalow etc. Apart from the many historic and cultural landmarks, Kochi also has an array of restaurants serving fresh seafood that are popular among tourists.
Getting there: Fort Kochi is accessible by bus or ferry. The bus ride from Ernakulam town, which is nearly 13 km away, takes about an hour and the ferry ride from Main boat jetty at Ernakulam about 20 minutes.
Nearest railway station: Ernakulam about 1 km from the main boat jetty.
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 20 km.