Nestled on the Malabar Coast lies a tropical paradise of magical backwaters, lush greenery, abundant wildlife, and serene beaches, encompassing all that is Kerala. Aptly titled ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala’s beguiling beauty is best witnessed through your own eyes. And if you’re wondering where you should vacation next, let us convince you why Kerala should be your next wellness vacation.
21 Destinations That Make Kerala The Ultimate Wellness Vacation
Immerse Yourself In History And Culture
An art exhibition showcases contemporary art from around the world, exploring a range of art styles that Biennale Fort Kochi brings home for the country to witness. It also offers a platform for great artists and countless aesthetes to meet, filling the event with excitement and zest. Apart from the Biennale which happens from December to April every year, the event also presents the opportunity to explore Kochi, the laid-back town that still encompasses the colonial charm merged with the traditional touch of the South. Witness the state’s traditional art form Kathak at the Kerala Kathakali Centre, visit Fort Kochi for a taste of history and culture, or satisfy your South Indian food cravings with the best cafes in town.
Visiting Edakkal Caves is like stepping back in time. The caves are not actually caves, even though the name suggests otherwise. They are actually part of a prehistoric rock shelter that formed naturally after a large boulder got wedged between two larger boulders. Edakkal is the only heritage site in India where Stone Age carvings have been found, making it a one-of-a-kind site to experience carvings from the Neolithic and Mesolithic periods. In addition to these carvings, one can also witness Tamil and Brahmi script in the Edakkal caves as well as artwork collections, one of which has a suspected connection to the Indus Valley Civilisation.
The Kerala Arts & Crafts Village in Kerala, Sargaalaya is an initiative by the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala. A craft cluster conceptualised by the tourism board, this cultural destination puts Kerala’s traditional handicrafts on the map and focuses on showcasing the works of local artisans. Situated in a small village of Iringal near Vadakara town, this craft village offers exhibitions, sales, and training in craft making for those who are keen on learning.
Kerala Kalamandalam Thrissur
For decades, the Kerala Kalamandalam has been regarded as the most prestigious Kathakali school in the entire world. Located in Cheruthuruthy, this legendary school of art was first established by the famous poet of Malayalam, Vallathol Narayana Menon. Seeing the subtle decrease in interest in Kathakali and other traditional art forms, he decided to begin the school. Today, it is one of the country’s most prominent performing arts schools, showcasing traditional art forms like Mohiniyattam, Kutiyattam, Thullal, and Nangiarkoothu.
Thalaserry Fort, also known as, Tellicherry Fort, was built in the 17th century in Thalaserry town of Kannur District of Kerala. Built out of laterite blocks, the walls of the fort are high and strong, boasting secret tunnels to the sea behind. A small lighthouse resides inside the fort, standing on the western side with a winding staircase leading to the top. It is believed that the coins of the British East India Company were minted here at the fort.
Bekal Fort, Kasaragod
About 68 km from Mangalore and 15 km from Kasaragod, the Bekal Fort lies at the confluence of land and sea. Its massive keyhole-shaped structure of laterite makes it one of the largest and best-preserved forts in Kerala. Sitting atop a steep hill with views of the Bekal Fort Beach and the Arabian Sea, the architecture of the fort is renowned, making it a must-see heritage structure of Kerala.
Bathe In The Eternal Beauty Of Nature
Cruising on a quaint houseboat on the backwaters of Alleppey is the best way to enjoy the beauty of this mesmerising town. Gifted with a crisscrossing network of canals that run through the town, the houseboats can easily navigate through the area, giving you a first-hand view of the gorgeous paddy fields, coconut trees, interconnected lakes, and lagoons. In the past, these backwaters were used for business as a mode of transportation, fishing, and agriculture so don’t be surprised if you see boats parked outside homes in place of cars. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to witness the adorable school boat that students take to get to school in Allepey.
Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom
As the lake spans several districts in Kerala, it is known by different names across different regions, like Punnamada Lake in Kuttanad, and Kochi Lake in Kochi, being the longest lake in India. Famous for its backwaters, this picturesque and tranquil lake spans approximately 14 km and hosts the famous Nehru Trophy Boat Race during the Onam season. People from different regions participate in this iconic race, making it one of the most revered events of the year.
Often referred to as the Vrindavan of Kerala, Malampuzha Garden is a wonderful oasis of water features, tended gardens and lawns, an aquarian, a rock garden, and an amusement park. The entire area is adorned with magnificent sculptures and structures, housing the famous Yakshi Statue sculpted by the renowned sculptor Kanai Kanhiraman.
Kolukkumalai Tea Plantation, Idukki
Sitting 7,130 ft above sea level, the Kolukkumalai Tea Estate is the highest tea estate in the world. Known for its tea leaves, the aroma of the tea grown in this Munnar plantation is distinct from others around the state. The lush tea garden is an expansive vision of emerald fields, hidden in a mist of clouds, offering a tranquil escape where you can become one with nature. Enjoying a warm and cosy cup of tea there is almost therapeutic and a must-try.
Unlike most tourist beaches in Kerala, Marari Beach is a destination for those who seek peace and serenity to unwind and relax. Being an endless vista of sand and surf, the beach is perfect for those wanting to explore the backwaters of Kerala while enjoying some beach time as well. Marari is the shortened form of Mararikulum, a small and sleepy fisherman’s village, and you’ll find an authentic peek into the world of traditional fishing villages in Kerala.
While Alleppey is famously known as the Venice of Kerala, God’s Own Country has another hidden gem which is Monroe Island in Kollam District. Made of a group of eight small islands, the destination is named after Resident Colonel John Munroe who abolished slavery and rooted out corruption in the state. Also known as Mondrothuruthu, the island stretches over a distance of 14-kilometer square and is located at the confluence of Kollada River and Ashtamudi Lake, in Kollam. If you visit during Onam, you can witness the famous Kallada Boat Race that happens through the narrow waterways and canal cruises.
Clean and golden sands spread along the expansive shore of Poovar Beach as travellers from around the country and the world visit to experience the rejuvenating view and the exotic wildlife. One of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, a Kerala trip is incomplete without a visit to Poovar Beach where you can witness the Neyyar River flow to meet the mighty Arabian Sea. The mesmerising beauty comes from the fact that a beach, lake, sea, and river amalgamate with each other.
Periyar National Park
A land of royal Bengal tigers, Indian elephants, and many other fascinating creatures, Periyar National Park flourishes with nature’s bounty and welcomes travellers into its beauty with open arms. One of the best national parks in India, Periyar National Park covers an area of 925 km square and houses several endangered and endemic species of not only flora and fauna but also mammals, reptiles, fishes, amphibians, and birds.
Eravikulam National Park, Munnar
Located at a drive of 45 minutes from the City Centre of Munnar, Eravikulam National Park sits atop a summit of the Western Ghats and stretches 97 km. Also known as Rajamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, the massive blend of wildlife here features around 132 different species of birds, 19 amphibian species, 26 mammalian species, 101 species of butterflies, and 20 different orchid species. You’ll have the opportunity to come face-to-face with Nilgiri langur, Atlas moth, Nilgiri marten, small-clawed otter, Lion-tailed macaque, and a rare variety of the leopard and lions.
Silent Valley National Park
Unbeatably dense and wild jungles encompass the iconic Silent Valley National Park which resides deep in the Western Ghats, being one of Kerala’s crown jewels when it comes to exploring nature’s bounty. The beauty of the park is that it changes with the seasons. What you experience during the Summer will be monumentally different from the picturesque monsoons and chilly winters. As you explore the majestic peaks, stunning views, and flowing rivers, keep an eye out for tigers, elephants, gaurs, panthers, wild pigs, sambars, and the macaque.
Connect With The Divine Wisdom Of Ancient Temples
One of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in Kerala, the Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple sits in Guruvayoor town. As one of the most revered temples in South India, the temple worships Lord Vishnu in the Balkrishna Avtar. The idol is adorned with four hands each carrying a conch, a mace, a discus, and a lotus, and is also known as Unnikrishnan. According to legend, the temple was built by the preceptors of the Gods, Guru, and Gods of winds, Vayu. The idol is made with a rare mixture called Padala Anjanam and the simplicity of the temple makes it a sanctuary for worshippers from around the globe.
Dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, the Sabarimala Temple is not only one of the most revered religious pilgrims in India but also one of the most frequented temples in the country. Located within the 18 hills of the Western Ghat ranges of Pathanamthitta District, Sabarimala temple is the second-largest pilgrimage site in the world following the Pilgrimage of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The temple is amongst the 5 Shasta temples founded by Lord Parasuram, an avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
One of the most famous places to visit in Trivandrum City, Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The name of the temple is derived from the word Padmanabha, which means one emerging from the lotus. The temple has been declared the richest Hindu Temple in the world and as the wealthiest religious institution in the world. The main idol in the temple is made of 12,008 Shaligramam stones, which are the aniconic form of Lord Vishnu, taken from the banks of the Gandaki River that flows through India and Nepal. The Lord reclines on Adi Shesha Naga with his right hand atop the Linga of Lord Shiva. Lord Brahma can be seen in the navel of Lord Vishnu on a Lotus.
Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple
Considered to be the oldest Hindu temple in Kerala, the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is an important stopover for the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple pilgrims. The architectural marvel of the temple is evident with the artistically built copper roof and wooden sculptures peppered around the temple along with the prominent statues of two bulls. The site also houses Dakshinamurthy, Ganapathi, and Sastha temple.
Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple
Located near Harippad in the Alappuzha or Alleppey district in Kerala, the Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is an internationally renowned temple where the serpent god Nagaraja is worshipped. Nestled in a dense green forest grove, the temple sits in a tranquil and eco-friendly ambience and has a divine aura around it. Unlike other temples in the country, Mannarasala Temple is headed by a priestess whom the devotees fondly call Mannarasala Amma.
From a houseboat cruise on the backwaters and serene beaches that invoke a sense of romance to an exciting wildlife safari that keeps the little ones occupied and the exploration of traditional South Indian forms of art like Kalaripayattu, Kathakali, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, and more, there’s something in Kerala for every kind of traveller. All you have to do is ask your heart what it wishes to witness.