Better known as papanasam beach,Varkala beach is the only one of its type in southern Kerala that has rocky cliffs jutting right into the sea, which makes it dramatically beautiful. The bright hued sand and the ancient Janardanaswamy temple nearby adds up to the charm of this quiet and isolated sandy beach .
The online travel meta search engine of Trivago says that Varkala is one among the five affordable Indian tourist destinations and is in the 28th position in the world list of tourist destinations that can visited on a budget. Munnar is the other destination in Kerala that occupies the 60th position in the chart. The other Indian destinations include Nashik at the 21st position, Jaisalmer in Rajasthan at 41st and Alibaug in Maharashtra at the 56th position.
The ‘Best Value Index’ is calculated based on various factors including the yearly average overnight price of a standard double room and overall hotel reputation from over 82 million traveller reviews. The spots thus chosen will be world’s best in terms of delivering the best value for your money.
Nashik, which tops the list of affordable Indian destinations this year offers a night’s stay at Rs 5,665.
Morocco’s Ait Benhaddou was voted as the first among the top 100 ‘Best Value Index’ destinations in the world where an overnight stay in a standard double room in the city can cost a visitor an average Rs 3,551.
The price-comparison website of Trivago has a monthly user base of 18 million people over its 30 international platforms. The index has been compiled according to the reviews and preferences of the users of the search engine.
Varkala beach, located between Alappuzha and Kovalam in a photographer’s delight as it offers the most spectacular sunsets at the backtrop of the towering rocky cliffs and swaying palm trees.
So in case you are planning a memorable holiday experience that wont leave a hole in your wallet, then head straight to Varkala. Apart from a beach holiday it will also offer you the best of ayurveda and spiritual experience.
The union Government of India has accepted the proposal to start a seaplane service in Kerala in principle. In the beginning, seaplane services will connect various tourist destinations like Kumarakom, Munnar, Ashtamudi, Punnamada, Bekal and Bolgatty from the airports of Trivandrum, Kochi and Kozhikode. At present Andaman and Nicobar island administration is successfully operating sea plane services.
Seaplane services will be a boon for tourists who are hard pressed for time as they can make the most of their available time by utilizing the faster transportation option of seaplanes. Apart from boosting tourism, sea plane services would also help a lot in opening up the lesser known tourist spots in Kerala for those who look for an off the beat sight seeing experience.
Welcome to the windswept corridor of nature at Ramakalmedu, the best place on earth to experience the mood changes of nature. Pamper yourselves with the soothing touch of the faint breeze at one moment and get ready to get swept off by the strong winds the next. Ramkalmedu is unpredictable and diverse, which makes it an intriguing holiday spot. One of the recently discovered hill stations of Kerala, Ramakkalmedu is conveniently close to many famous tourist attractions such as Periyar Tiger Reserve of Thekkady, Munnar hill station, Kuttikanam and Parunthumpara and many more wild life attractions and spice gardens.
The gusty winds, which are the fastest recorded in Asia makes Ramakkalmedu a unique destination. The winds that sweep at a speed of about 25 km/hour, would pamper you with its refreshing touch. However, many a time you need to scurry for cover from the winds when you feel you are about to fly with the winds! The strong windy conditions make it a popular spot for paragliding. Located at a height of 3500 feet above sea level, Ramakalmedu will make you feel right on top of the world literally.
Ramakalmedu is a spectacular hill station, dotted with rolling valleys and grass lands interspersed with bamboo forests and mighty mountains. The rocky cliffs with smooth and intriguing designs left by the strong winds give it a dramatic beauty. Located 15 km from Nedumkandom on the Munnar-Thekkady route, it offers a panoramic view of the villages and towns of the nearby state of Tamil Nadu. Ramaklmedu is the proposed site of the largest wind energy farm in Kerala for power generation.
The Ramakkalmedu View point offers spectacular views of the Deccan Plateau. Tourists can make a steep ascent to the 300 meter high rocky cliff to enjoy the stunning spectacles around. However during misty days, it could prove risky as it will be difficult to make out the cliff edge and the risk of straying to the deep trench is quite high. The spectacular landscape, mountains and ravines make it ethereal. Some of the must see spots include the Kuravan and Kurathi mountains, natural cave formations,and biofarms among others. The scenic beauty of Ramakkalmedu has left its magical spell on scores of nature enthusiasts including the Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio, who called it as a paradise on earth! So, in case you fancy to be on the top of the world, just plan a trip to Ramakalmedu and heed to the call of the wind and the wild !
Kerala is famous worldwide with tourists who are looking for a serene beautiful place to enjoy their holidays. But now Kerala is eying ‘Movie-spot tourism‘.
With the recent release of the multilingual movie ‘Ravan‘ in Hindi,Tamil(Ravanan) and Telugu(‘Villain’) by the famous film director Mani Ratnam casting Abhishek Bachan, Aiswarya Rai Bachan and Vikram, the location have caught the attention of movie loving audience throughout India. And, almost all are taken up by the well done cinematography and the backdrop of the entire movie. People who know little about Kerala and haven’t visited the state before, have started to ask where was the movie shot from? Even Malayalees won’t believe that the movie was shot near Athirappally and Vazhachal waterfalls and from the forest here.
Kerala Tourism department has now stuck on the idea to make a campaign with the film ‘Ravana’. There are many films from other languages that have shot from Kerala’s different scenic locations. Hollywood movie ‘Nishabdh‘ casting Amitabh Bachan and Jiya Khan was partially shot from Munnar, since then Munnar is famous among all the Hindiwallahs. So are the movies ‘Bombay’(Song-Uyire ..uyire from Bakel Fort-Kasargod),’Dilse‘ from Alappuzha, Vinnei Thandi Varuvaya (partially from Kuttanad-Alappuzha) and many more movies that I forget.
Anyway, Kerala Tourism Department is thinking for various ways to improve its tourism and the inflow of tourists to the state. The countries like Switzerland, New Zealand and Malaysia have started the trend called ‘movie spot tourism’ long back. Movie Spot Tourism is enlisting some major locations as shooting locations where the shooting set will get all the facilities without any difficulties. It will in turn make those locations famous and in a way tourism campaign through the movie.
In Kerala, it needs to cross many barriers and face restrictions if anyone needs to shoot in forests or in other protected areas. So, Kerala Tourism is also planning to start up such a trend called ‘Movie Spot Tourism’, where they will make a list of major locations that needs attention and then the movie sets are allowed entry by paying a certain amount as fee.
The Eco Toursim Project launched at Gavi by Kerala Forest Department, is an added advantage to the Kerala‘s tourism sector. The project is sure to draw more tourists, especially from European countries. It is mainly intended at nature lovers and adventure tourists. Gavi Eco Tourism package include elephant safaris and trekking in the deep jungles of Gavi near Munnar, which is otherwise not open to the public.
Gavi, recently have had a gradual increase in the tourists inflow since ‘Alistair International’, the world acclaimed tourism major listed it among the leading eco-tourism centres and one of the must-see places in India. The Gavi Eco project highlight the involvement of the local folk in activities as guides, gardeners and cooks. This will provide a livelihood for them and as well, help to create awareness on conservation of nature.
The nature loving visitors can enjoy trekking, wildlife watching and outdoor camping in specially built tents and go on night safaris. Whilst wildlife watching, you might luckily spot certain rare species of animals like Nilgiri Tahr and Lion-tailed Macaque, and if you are a bird watcher, the great pied Hornbill, Woodpecker, Kingfishers etc. If you are healthy and have keen interest to go on a trekking, take a short trek along the hill to the Sabarimala Ayyappan Temple. Make sure that you don’t miss Paradise Cove at Ninnumulli. The placid waters of Gavi and Kochupamba lakes can engage you in boating and canoeing. The road leading to Gavi is picture perfect with tea plantations, and En route to Gavi are the places of interest like Mundakkayam, Kuttikkanam, Peermedu and Vandiperiyar.
Gavi is surely a place that should not be missed in one’s lifetime. Gavi is pristine, and it belongs to the wild. Every visitor should keep in mind that they are responsible for their intentions and actions, which will have a bearing on the upkeep of Gavi for a long time to come.
Ever thought this haven of peace and tranquility, Munnar would be rated as the second best holiday destination in Asia after Tokyo by the Massachusetts-based research website and travel guide TripAdvisor. Located between three mountains; Nallathanni, Kundala and Muthipuzza, this beautiful hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India.
Named after Kannan Devan the land lord in the Anchanad Valley, Munnar was earlier known as Kannan Devan hills. The main cultivation crops as coffee and tea. The tourist hotspot involved in controversies in recent times for the large scale razing of illegal structures, this was a surprise for many.
Winners were determined on the TripAdvisor by a combination of real travelers favorite places, comments and the overall destination popularity. With eight other Indian destinations chosen among the top 25 Asian destination choice list, India’s tourism is bound to reach greater heights.
Kerala Tourism Secretary, Venu V, is thrilled and humbled to know that with millions of travelers relying on TripAdvisor for their travel inspiration, Munnar was honoured as one among the best travel destinations by the travelers this year.
To ensure sustainable development, Kerala has recently announced a master plan for Munnar following a massive demolition drive that had scared away half of the tourists from the place.
With the annual revenue crossing over Rs130bn and attracting more than 7.8mn domestic and 550,000 foreign tourists with its beaches, hill stations and backwaters, Kerala with its new achievement is bid to rise in the tourism industry and may one day become the most sought after tourist destination in the world. Who knows!
It is heartening to note that tourism in Kerala, registering a steady growth in the last decade has emerged to be one of the main sources of revenue. This tiny southern state of Kerala has become one of the most sought after destinations in India, ahead of Rajasthan and even the Taj Mahal of Agra, which is a matter of pride for all. At present Kerala tourism revenue is pegged at Rs.13000 Crore and has created many direct and indirect employment opportunities for the local populace. The annual tourists footfall of Kerala is around 83.5 lakhs out of which 5.5 lakh tourists are from foreign countries.
Gone are the days when Kerala tourism just revolved around Kovalam , Munnar, Thekkadi and Fort Kochi. These days many new interesting leisure options including house boat cruises and adventure tourism are on the offer in Kerala, much to the delight of the tourists. There are convenient packages that bring out the quintessential charm of Kerala and that suit every budget. The sheer multitude of leisure activities ranging from beach fun, adventure, backwater leisure activities and nature trails and wild life is what makes Kerala, a highly popular destination among tourists.
With the focus being shifted to the less explored spots like Malabar, Wayanad and Palakkad, tourism in Kerala is well poised for a big leap in the coming years. With many prestigious international hotel chains including US-based MGM Mirage Hospitality and Amari from Thailand among others are starting their operations soon in Kerala, the discerning travelers can expect a really high notch experience in Kerala.
Now the other side of Kerala economy: It is baffling to note that the other major source of revenue for Kerala comes through the sales of liquor, which is something not very commendable! It is paradoxical that Kerala also tops the list of the highest per capita liquor consumption in India where the state-owned Kerala State Beverages Corporation Ltd, serves as the sole distributor of IMFL ( Indian Made Foreign Liquor). The tippler sales records an all time high during Onam, Christmas and New Year. Even on ordinary days you can see winding queues in front of the beverages corporation outlets. Kerala, indeed is a land of paradoxes, which excites , baffles and exhilarates you at the same time! Make the most of it
As the nippy winter season in Europe is at its peak, tourists are looking for tropical and balmy destinations to enjoy a well deserved sun tan and to escape the gloom of the gray weather back home. Irish times.com has included Kerala along with the Caribbeans, Hawaii, Canary Islands, Egypt, Tunisia, Dubai, Thailand, Morocco and Dubai as the top 10 winter holiday spots this year .
With many Governments mulling over the issue of making winter holidays tax free, Kerala is likely to see a surge in winter holiday makers. From December to April is one of the best seasons to visit Kerala as the rains have just finished and the tropical sun is not at its peak. A guided tour is the best possible way to explore Kerala as most of the must see spots are tucked away in the remote hinterlands and high ranges.
Cochin is the right spot to kick off your Kerala tour as the international airport here is connected to various destinations around the world. The heritage zone of Fort kochi which is famous for the Portuguese remnants and period architectural styled edifices, Chinese fishing nets and the beaches will help you rid off the jet lag. A house boat cruise in Kumarakom, the quaint beach resorts of Aleppey and a flop along the vast coastline of Kerala with many beaches including the palm-fringed beaches of Kovalam would serve as a great starter. After the sun and the fun of the beaches it is time for you to move up into the hill stations to take a peek into the tropical forests, tea plantations, spice gardens, tiger reserves and more.
The wild life enthusiasts are ensured of an exciting fare. You can spot freely roaming wild life herds at Gavi at Munnar or indulge in birdwatching at the world famous wetland of Ramsar site, home to many rare migratory birds during winter. A burst of sunshine in the darkest days of the year in the other side of the globe might do you good!
Kochi, June 12
If you have a penchant for driving and are planning to make the most of the monsoon season then geared up for a smooth drive to the sparkling hill station, Munnar. Now driving to Munnar will never be an uphill task for you, thanks for the well maintained roads which drive to Munnar from Kochi. This driver’s delight route is a bliss of nature, full of natural sceneries and pleasant sights.
The drive through the ghat road heading towards Munnar from Kochi is a great way to move out of the fast lane of town into a serene place without any sound or air pollution. Driving downhill will be a great experience for you with roads cutting through the canopy provided by trees and shrubs on either side.
The twisty road climbing up the hill station is smooth till your nears the town, when you could encounter few potholes and patches. Meanwhile you could enjoy a picturesque and smooth drive to nearby attractions of the high-ranges of Pothamedu, Eravikulam National Park and other nearby locations.
With such an easy going the hill station has caught the attention of many city goers, who are flocking to this splendid town resting in the lap of nature for their weekends or short breaks. The good condition of roads has made driving to Munnar a real fun experience and moreover a relaxing trip for many. So folks if you are planning out for a weekend break then Munnar is all set to embrace you with its charm.
Kochi: Today, women have started taking up many responsibilities that were once monopolized by men. Take for instance the case of “Vasanta Sena” or the Green Army comprising of only women. Started six years back, this exclusive women forest patrolling team is dedicated to protect the Periyar Tiger Reserve and its Sandalwood forests. The Periyar Tiger Reserve near Thekkady is a safe haven for 63 different species of mammals apart from countless birds, reptiles and butterflies.
These women who live in the periphery of the reserve have done a commendable job in freeing this area from poachers and loggers. Many women who have never ventured out of their homes are now active members of the team, bagging laurels from all over.
These women are provided with uniforms, caps and daggers for self defence. The principal objective of the patrolling is to safe guard its rich wild life and the precious Sandalwood trees, as wide spread logging was once rampant in this area. On an average 10-12 trees used to get stolen every day but once this patrolling was put in place it has reduced considerably. However, poaching and logging continues unabated during night times when the team retreats after the day’s work.
The patrolling starts at 11:00 in the morning and would go on till 5:00 in the evening and they have constituted teams of five members each to scan the whole area. Apart from keeping an eye on poaching and tree felling, patrolling has also helped to reduce forest fires, which are common during summer months, which destroys the fodder of animals. Forest fires are often started by lighted cigarette stubs, thrown carelessly by people and patrolling has helped to prevent large scale loss of green cover due to forest fires.
These daring women often encounter wild animals like elephants and pigs apart from the most deadly of all –the poachers. However, they have developed confidence and composure over the years to deal with these trying situations with élan.
The team has also won the Amrit Devi Bishnoi Award, the highest award in India for wildlife protection in the year 2006, in appreciation of their commendable services. Originally started as a World Bank aided Eco Development project in 1996 it has now evolved to be a model programme in the conservation of ecology.