Nestled in the luxuriant forests of the Western Ghats in Kerala are fourteen wildlife sanctuaries. And skirting these exotic destinations are some of the most delightful trekking trails in the country. All awash in the spice- scented air of endless acres of plantations ranging from cardamom, vanilla and pepper to tea and coffee. 

Neyyar Sanctuary: 
(30 km from Thiruvananthapuram) A haven for exotic flora and fauna, 12,000 hectares of natural vegetation is spread across an undulating terrain interspersed with rushing brooks, flat meadows and gentle slopes. An ideal trekking destination, the 1868 m Agasthyamala Peak is its highest point. Permitting Authority Ph: 0471-2360762, 2272182 

Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary: 
(50 km from Thiruvananthapuram) This sanctuary spread over 53 sq. km on the Western Ghats, has rich flora and fauna and is dotted with hillocks, forests and eucalyptus plantations. Permitting Authority Ph: 0472-2892344, 0471-2322217, 2360762 

Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary: 
(66 km from Kollam) Declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1984, the region is unique for its bio-diversity, remains of Stone Age culture and an important ecotourism resource, Thenmala. Permitting Authority Ph: 0475-2344600, 0471-2329770

ldukki Wildlife sanctuary:
(55 km from modupunha in udukku A charming canopy of dense tropical evergreen forests, tropical forests and moist deciduous forests fringe the scenic lake that surrounds this protected area on three sides, permitting Authority Ph: 04862-232271 

Periyar Tiger Reserve:
Snuggled in the western Ghats, one of the world's richest bio-diversity spots, is the cinating natural of the pratected with Reserve. There are two watch towers inside the forest teeming exotic wildlife. Perm Authority 04869 222027 

Eravikulam National Park:
 (15 km from Munnar in Idukki) The main 5 attractions of n are the and the flowers Strobilanthes kunthianus) that bloom just once 2 years. The highest peak in South India, Anamudi (2695 m is located in the southern region of the park, Permitting Authority Ph: 2531587 

Chinnar wildlife Sanctuary:
(60 km from Munnar Idukki) Situated on  the Tamil Nadu border, the Rajamala udumalpet Road (sH 17 winds right through it, enabling travellers to view wildlife including elephants, sambar gaur etc. Permitting Authority Ph: 04865-2531587 

Thuttekkad Bird Sanctuary: 
(20 km from Kothamangalam in Ernakulam) Also known as Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Thattekad, nestled in evergreen renowned ornithologist of India forests, discove and is named after him. Permitting Authority Ph: 0485-2588302 

Peechi Wildlife sanctuary
(20 km east of Thrissur) This is one of Kerala's oldest wildlife reserves. Formed around the win reservoirs of peechl and Vazhani, the sanctuary is a rich repository of bio-diversity with several endangered herbs, shrubs, rare medicinal plants d innumerable variety of orchids. Permitting Authority Ph: 0487-2699017 

Chimmini wildlife Sanctuary: 
(37 km from Thrissur) With its dense Forests, a variety of birds and butterflies and innumerable trekking trails, this is sanctuary that provides a heady experience for nature enthusiasts. The Forest Department organises trekking and bamboo rafting programmes in and around sanctuary. But the highlight of all excursions is the 'Moonlight which involves rafting on full moon nights. Sona Permitting Authority Ph: 04802-701340 

Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary 
(110 km from Palakkad) sprawled across 285 km, the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is home to rare wild animals. Boating/cruising facilities available at the Parambikulam Reservoir Permitting Authority Ph: 0491 2556393 

Silent Valley National Park
 (40 km northwest of Mannarkad in Palakkad.The 89.52 sq. km national park believed to be the sole surviving bit of The 89,52 evergreen forests the Sahya Ranges. The peculiarity of the Silent Valley Forest is that it is devoid even of chirping of cicadas. Permitting Authority Ph: 04924-222056 

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary 
(17 km east of Sulthan Bathery) Established in 1973, the Wayanad W e Sanctuary encompasses an area of 344.33 sq. km and is made up of two discontinuous pockets Muthang in the south and Tholpetty in the north. Muthanga is located 18 wes Sul than Bathery while Tholpetty lies 15 km from Mananthavady Permitting Authority Ph: 04936-220454 

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary 
(35 km Thalassery in Kannur) At this 55 sq. km sanctuary, nature walks, soft trekking, bamboo rafting, coracle stay at tree houses in Pariputhodu and Bhoothamkallu etc. are possible. Permitting Authority Ph: 0490-2413160
Kerala is an ideal place to shop. The State is renowned for its handlooms, gold ornaments, spices etc. The handicrafts of Kerala are known for their uniqueness of style, perfection of form and elegance of design. All of these are available at shops across the State.

Aranmula Kannadi:
       This metal mirror, the making of which was once a closely guarded secret, had its origin long before the modern mirror made its debut. Made of an alloy of copper and tin, it is oval in shape with a tail like handle.
Nettur Petti: 
        Richly embellished with a conical lid, this ethnic jewel box of Kerala was once the prized possession of the rich and famous. Made of rosewood, this handcrafted casket is collector's item. 
Kasavu Mundu: 
        The handloom sarees of Kerala are known for their elegant simplicity. Soft and light, and laced with gold kasavu, they are treasured items. 
        The high ranges of Kerala are home to endless stretches of spice plantations. The State produces twelve varieties of spices including pepper, cardamom, clove, cinnamon etc.
Traditional Gold Jewellery: 
         Kerala's traditional jewellery items like necklaces, chains, bangles, ear rings etc., are rich in variety and design. Natural motifs such as flowers, leaves, birds etc. used as embellishments set them apart.

Blessed as it is by nature and a vibrant people, Kerala also has repertoire of music, dance and a Most of these are unique to the land and reflect the love for life of its people. From the renowned Kathakali, considered to be the complete art form as it synthesizes all that is best in the fields of drama, music and dance to the folk dances which are reflections of the rhythmic impulses of a sensitive people. 

Classical Arts 
The tradition of classical arts has existed in Kerala for more than a thousand years. 
         The sanskrit theatre of kerala, It is believed to have originated two millennia ago. This art form was declared by UNESCO as one among the masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.
         The spectacular dance drama of Kerala, Kathakali integrates dance, music, poetry and histrionics. Referred to the first theatre imagination' in the world it combines both lasya (gentle, graceful dance) and thandava (powerful, energetic dance) elements.
           The gracefully elegant classical dance form, Mohiniyattom is the dance of the enchantress and has lasya as the predominant element.

Folk Arts 
           Kerala a vast repertoire of folk performing arts, folk songs and folk drama that showcase man's overpowering rapport with nature and his constant desire for communication with the unknown.
          One of the most outstanding folk arts of Kerala, Theyyam has its origins in the northern parts of the state. The oldest ritual art form, there are about 45 different types of Theyyams including the Agni Theyyam where the dancer walks on fire.
Thira, Mudiyettu, Kaduvakali, velakali, kakkarissinatakam, Chavittunatakam Margarnkali, Kolkali, Parichamuttukali, Bhadrakalipattu, Pulluvanpattu and Thiruvat hirakali are some of the other folk art forms of Kerala.

Martial Arts 
           The comprehensive system of martial arts of Kerala, Kataripayattu is regarded as one of the oldest and most scientific in the world. Even Kung fu is believed to have originated from it.

Golden beaches. Magical backwaters. Refreshing hill stations. Rejuvenating Ayurveda. Exotic art forms. Colourful festivals. Delightful cuisine... Kerala is renowned the world over for its diverse and unique attractions. Small wonder, the National Geographic Traveler chose the land as one of the ten paradises of the world. Asia's fastest growing hotspot, Kerala is today easily the most acclaimed destination of the millennium. Observing the prominence of Ayurveda and the dedication with which it is practised here, Germany's largest selling travel magazine Geo Saison lauded Kerala as "the Mecca of the oldest and holistic health system'. Relaxed cruises on the tranquil backwaters of Kerala were highlighted by the New York Times which described Kerala as the place "where India flows at a relaxed pace'. The delicious cuisine of this fertile land is world famous and had the Travel & Leisure acclaiming Kerala's as one of the best breakfasts of the world' And enthralled by the unmatched beauty of this green paradise, former Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney referred to the land as Truly God's own Country'

Location            :Southwestern tip of India
Area                   :38863 sq. km 
Population       :33,387,677 (Census 2011) 
Capital              :Thiruvananthapuram ( Trivandrum) 
Districts            : 14
Language          :Malayalam; English  
Religion            :Hinduism, Christianity, Islam 
Time                  :GMT +5:30 
Currency           :Indian Rupee 
Climate             :Tropical
                                 Summer February to May (24 - 34 degree celsius)  
                                 Monsoon June to September (20 - 30 degree celsius)
                                 Winter October to  January (18 - 28 degree celsius)
The forests of the Western Ghats are punctuated with larg and small waterfalls that roar, gurgle and splash down the mountain side. Almost all these scintillating cascades are the venues for picnics and excursions round the year. 

Palaruvi: (75 km from Kollam) Pataruvi which means stream of milk makes its way the rocks, from a height of 300 ft. The Palaruvi woods are a beautiful picnic spot.

Athirapally: (63 km from Thrissur) At the entrance to the Sholayar Ranges, this 80 ft high waterfall is a popular picnic spot. 

Vazhachal: (68 km from Thrissur) Athirapally, this picturesque waterfall dense, green forests and is a part of the Chalakudy River. Athirapally and Vazhachal are the most famous waterfalls of Kerala, attracting tourists in plenty. 

Attukad: (9 km from Munnar in Idukki) A land of waterfalls and inviting green hills, Attukad, located between Munnar and Pallivasal, is a feast for the eyes. The place is excellent for long treks.

Thommankuthu: (17 km from Thodupuzha in ldukki) Famous for its seven- step waterfall, Thommankuthu is an ideal place for adventure tourism, Pedal boating, forest trekking, night camping, bathing the waterfall etc. are some of the activities possible here. 

Thusharagiri: (50 km from Kozhikode) Waterfalls and streams abound in this hilly region with excellent trekking tracks, located near Vythiri in Wayanad. 

Meenmutty: (29 km from Kalpetta in Wayanad) An interesting 2 km jungle trek will lead to the largest and most spectacular waterfall in Wayanad. water drops from nearly 1000 ft over three stages, presenting a triple-decker effect. 

Chethalayam: (12 km east of Sulthan Bathery in Wayanad) A lovely place to visit, trekking enthusiasts are sure to enjoy the climb up the rocks to the waterfall. 

Sentinel Rock Waterfall: (22 km away from Kalpetta in Wayanad) Locally known as Soochipara or needle rock, the pool at the foot of the falls is ideal for a quick dip.
Kerala has an impressive array of historic and cultural monuments, in regions like Fort Kochi which was a trade centre for centuries, the architecture is a curious mix of typical Kerala, European, Chinese, Jewish and Arabic styles. But the most prevalent architectural style is the traditional Kerala style nalukettu or ettukettu (four or eight-sided structures with a central courtyard and verandah opening out to it). The low sloping roofs and brick walls were designed to match the climatic conditions and terrain of the land.

Padmanabha Swamy Temple:Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple is a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture. It is famous for its exquisite mural paintings and stone carvings.

Kuthira malika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum:
Built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma, the poet king, musician, social reformer and statesman, this palace is a rare specimen of workmanship in the traditional Travancore style. Featuring exquisite wood carvings, the palace is today a museum which displays priceless paintings and other articles. 
The Napier Museum:
         The Indo-saracenic structure dating back to the 19th century boasts a natural air-conditioning system. The museum houses rare collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. Located near the Napier Museum is the Sree Chithra Art Gallery that displays select paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich as well as exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art in India. The collection also includes paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali. (Open 1000 1700 hrs. Closed on Mondays & Wednesday forenoons) 

Padmanabhapuram Palace:
         The seat of the erstwhile rulers of Travancore, this splendid palace is situated at Thuckalai, on the way to Kanyakumari. This is a well-preserved wooden palace, a glorious testimony to the traditional Kerala school of architecture. The extraordinary murals, exquisite floral carvings and the black glossy granite floor have withstood the test of time.
(Closed on Mondays).

Krishnapuram Palace:
        The palace museum is known for its of antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes. The 18th century mural Gajendramoksham is the largest in Kerala. 

St. Francis Church:
        Built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan friars, this i India's oldest European church. Vasco da Gama's mortal remains were buried here in 1524 before they were removed to Lisbon.

Santa Cruz Basilica: 
         Dating back to 1558, this church has beautiful murals on the ceiling.

Mattancherry (Dutch) Palace: 
         Built in 1557, the palace has on display murals depicting scenes from the Indian epics and legends, Dutch maps periods furniture and royal collections.

Mattancherry Synagogue: 
        The oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth this was constructed in 1568. Hand-painted willow patterned Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs, scrolls from the old Testament, ancient scripts on copper plates etc. are the attractions here.

Bolgatty Palace:
         Built by the Dutch in 1744, this beautiful palace is today a hotel run by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. 

Hill Palace Museum, Thripunithura:
         The palace complex built in 1865 houses an ethno-archaeological museum and Kerala's first ever heritage museum.
Chinese Fishing Nets / vasco da Gama square: 
        These huge cantilevered fishing nets are the legacy of one of the first visitors to the Malabar Coast Erected here between 1350 and 1450 AD by traders from the court of Kublai Khan, these nets are built of teakwood and bamboo poles. The best place to watch the nets being lowered into the sea and catch being brought in is the Vasco da Gama Square, a narrow promenade that runs along the beach. The Square is an ideal place to idle, with stalls serving fresh delicious seafood, tender coconut etc. 

Palakkad Fort: 
        This fort was built by Hyder Ali of Mysore in 1766.

Thali Temple: 
        Dating back to the 14th century, the temple is a fine example of the total integration that can exist between wood and laterite.

St. Angelo Fort: 
        Built by the first Portuguese Viceroy, Don Fransiscan De Almeda in 1505, this fort became one of the fmportant military centres of the Dutch and later the British in Malabar. 

The Thalasseri Fort: 
        This fort was constructed in 1708 as the military centre of the British.

Thodeekulam Siva Temple: 
        Belleved to have been built about 2000 years ago, this temple is famous for its mural paintings.

Bekal Fort: 
        The 300-year-old fort is one of the largest and best preserved forts in Kerala, This imposing circular laterite structure rises 130 ft above sea level and stands on a 35-acre headland that runs into the Arabian sea.

Ananthapura Lake Temple: 
This 9th century monument is the only lake temple in Kerala.
The backwaters of Kerala sinuous inland natural lakes networked by canals stretch to over 900 km. Boat trips across these traditional Boats (known as kettuvallom - traditional country crafts over 60 ft. in length) have been converted into luxury houseboats for these cruises. 

Thiruvallam : (6 km from Thiruvananthapuram) This serene backwater stretch, en route to Kovalam, is famous for its 2000-year-old temple on the banks of the River Karamana, canoe rides, kayaking and cruises in traditional houseboats. 

Veli : (8 km from Thiruvananthapuram The backwaters of veli is a popular place for boating. Sandwiched between the Veli lagoon and the Arabian sea is the Veli Tourist Village. Facilities at the village include water sports and an 18-acre waterfront park with a floating bridge connecting the beach. Open 08.00 am to  06.00 pm.
Phone: 0471-2500785 

Akkulam : (10 km from Thiruvananthapuram) on the banks of the tranquil backwaters of Akkulam is a popular tourist village with various leisure options including boating, a children's park with a swimming pool and a musical dancing fountain. Open 1000 1700 hrs. Ph: 0471-2443043 

Kappil : (53 km from Thiruvananthapuram) A confluence of the sea, river and the backwater, this secluded, picturesque spot is worth the visit. The Priyadarshini Boat Club here offers boating facilities. Ph: 0470-2662323 

Kollam : (71 km to the north of Thiruvananthapuram) One of the oldest ports in the State, Kollam is where the magnificent network of waterways begins. From the famed Ashtamudi Lake, known as the gateway to the begins. backwaters, system of interlinked canals and lakes winds all the way to the north. The eight-hour trip from here to Alappuzha is the longest backwater cruise in Kerala. 

Alumkadavu : (23 km from Kollam Along the vast expanse of the Kayamkulam Lake is little village of Alumkadavu. This hamlet by the the picturesque backwaters is home to skilled artisans who craft the enormous kettuvalloms Alappuzha: Referred to as the Venice of the East, this backwater country with its vast network of lakes lagoons and freshwater rivers is immensely beautiful. Venue for the world-renowned snake boat races, Alappuzha is also famous for its marine products and coir industry 

Kuttanad : known as the Rice Bowl of Kerala because of its wealth of paddy crops, Kuttanad in Alappuzha, is the very heart of the backwaters. This is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level. 

Pathiramanal : (11/2 hours by motorboat/30 min. by speedboat from Alappuzha) The enchanting island of Pathiramanal (sands of midnight) on the backwaters is a favourite haunt of hundreds of rare migratory birds from different parts of the world. The island lies between Thaneermukkom and Kumarakom, and is accessible only by boat. 

Kumarakom : (10 km from Kottayam) Nestled among lush paddy fields, highlands and extensive rubber plantations popular and most beautiful backwater stretches of Kerala. An exotic picnic spot, Kumarakom provides boating, fishing and sightseeing experiences that are truly exhilarating. An exclusive attraction here is the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, which is an ornithologist's paradise. 

Kochi : A cluster of islands on the vast expanse of the Vembanad Lake, Kochi, one of the finest natural harbours in the world, is more popular as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. Half the fun of visiting Kochi is going about in the local ferries. A conducted cruise through the winding waterways will take you to several quaint spots including the picturesque islands of Bolgatty Vypeen, Gundu and Vallarpadam 

Kozhikode : Unexplored and unspoilt, the backwaters of Kozhikode offer delightful holiday options. Elathur, the Canoli Canal and the Kallai River are favourite places for boating. Kadalundi, with its beautiful bird sanctuary and Korapuzha, the venue of the Korapuzha Jalotsavam (water fiesta) are popular tourist destinations.

Valiyaparamba : (30 km from Bekal Fort.)This is perhaps the most scenic backwater stretch in Kerala. Fed by four rivers and dotted with numerous little islands, you can explore the backwaters in a houseboat from Kottappuram in Nileswaram to Kannur through Valiyaparamba Backwaters

Kottappuram : (5 km southwest of Nileswaram) One of the oldest coir factories in Malabar is situated amongst the placid backwaters Kottappuram. The longest walking bridge in Kerala is also in Kottappuram.