The two week long road journey called “Kerala Blog Express” for selected bloggers from around the world to begin on March 1. The road journey will start from south to the north of Kerala on a branded luxury bus that carries 25 bloggers selected through an online voting created by Kerala Tourism.
Kerala Blog Express will travel through destinations like Alappuzha, Kovalam, Varkala, Kumarakom, Thekkady, Munnar, Wayanad, Kochi and Bekal during the two-week journey. The selected bloggers will also be able to participate in activities like boating in the backwaters, experience Ayurvedic treatment, and watch Kathakali performances, besides giving bath to the state’s famous captive elephants.
Entries from as many as 80 countries, including US, UK, Poland, Spain, Germany, Canada and Indonesia had been received. Some of the contestants participating in the race for the 25 seats have already featured in National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveller and Lonely Planet. The participants who have their own blogs like travel writers, photographers and bloggers are eligible to enter the selection. The registration for ‘Kerala Blog Express’ journey had ended on January 10. Profiles of participants are available on Kerala Blog Express website for voting by the general public.
While then, the Kerala Tourism website has won the national tourism award for the 6th time for ‘most innovative use of information technology’ for 2012-13. The website was rated best among travel websites from India.
The UNESCO has listed a total of 39 heritage spots all along the Western Ghats, of which Kerala takes credit to as many as 20 UNESCO heritage destinations, making Kerala an important eco sensitive destination. The decision to include the Western Ghats among the world heritage sites was taken in the World heritage meeting that was held on Jul 1st in St Petersburg.
Some of the destinations featured in this important heritage list include the forests that are spread along Chinnar, Thekkady, Chinnar, Eravikulam, Silent Valley, Attapadi, Pulmedu, Manavan chola, Pushpagiri and Kaalikavu. The report underscores the preservation of these eco sensitive spots.
Not many of us know that the Western Ghats that extends over 1600 Km is more ancient and bio diverse than the Himalayas. It is home to 5000 types of rare plants and over 140 mammals, 16 of which are seen only in this part in the whole world including the lion tailed macaques and the Nilgiri Tahr. Of the 179 types of reptiles seen here, 138 varieties are exclusive to the Western Ghats. There is a diverse avian population too in this region, many of which are facing the danger of extinction. Pollution, commercial activities , mining and deforestation are some of the reasons for the degradation of these fragile eco zones.
The heritage enlistment of the Western Ghats, will help in preventing the mining activities , which are now rampant in many places within the Western Ghats in Goa and Karnataka. It is our duty to protect these ancient natural wonders as we have only borrowed it from our forefathers to hand it over the future generations. Let us do our bit for the safe keep of these pristine spots , which are god given gifts for Kerala, the God’s own country’, which will go a long way in boosting the tourism potential too.
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 :)!
Welcome to Parunthumpara, a virtually unexplored trekker’s haven, near Peerumade where you can chill out , indulge in a spell of adventure sports or soak up the breath taking views of the endless grass lands and valleys beneath. A perfect choice for family holidays and fun seekers alike, Parunthumpara is a hill station of considerable tourism potential .
Though Parunthumpara is only six km from Peerumade on National Highway 220, it has remained obscure and away from the mass tourism trails for long. Now it has evolved to be a favorite stopover for tourists who are on their way to Thekkady, who stop by to enjoy the spectacular views and to have some fun and adventure. On a clear day, the visitors can see a panoramic view of the Sabarimala forests from Parunthumpara and this makes it quite popular among the Sabarimala pilgrims who congregate here to witness the makarajyothi.
Easily accessible through the narrow ghat road from Kallar Junction, this hill station stands out for its sprawling grasslands where the families can enjoy a few quiet moments, away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. A perfect choice for those who wish to have a holiday off the beaten track and to explore the unseen and the unexplored beauty of the pristine forests around, Parunthumpara has been attracting a large number of domestic tourists during weekends.
Though the place is yet to leave its imprints in the tourism map of the district, this beautiful hill station of
Parunthumpara holds great promise for adventure sports.The District Tourism Promotion Council has chalked out plans to develop Parunthumpara as a hill station and a handy stopover destination for tourists who come from Kumarakom to Thekkady. If some basic facilities can be provided, Parunthumpara can be developed to be one of the most popular tourist spots in Kerala in the days to come.
Interestingly , the new leaflets and brochures of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, “Discover Kerala” is in a way an invitation for the native community to explore the unseen and the unexplored Kerala and are not targeted for national or international travelers.
Discover Kerala has a series of budget packages that includes some of the best sights of Kerala.
The word, Utharayanam literally means the Northward journey of sun, and aptly, this budget tour package includes two circuits of 7 nights/8 day trip of North Kerala. The tour starts from Kannur and ends at Kochi, through some of the most popular tourist attractions and must see destinations like Parassinikkadavu, Tholpetty, Silent Valley and Malayatoor. The other circuit from Kochi to Kannur moves through Athirappally , Cheruthuruthy, Edakkal Caves , Payyambalam and Kappil.
This package has two circuits that covers the Southern parts of Kerala spanning 6 nights/ 7 nights . The first one starts from the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram and ends in Kochi, covering places like Kanyakumari, Kovalam, Konni, Ramakkalmedu and Thattekad. The other circuit moves in the opposite direction covers places like Eravikulam, Thekkady, Ashtamudi and Padmanabhapuram Palace
For those who wish to see the best of Kerala, should pick up this package that spans 11 nights/12 days, which comes at an unbeatable price of just Rs.13750 for two people including room rent, breakfast and taxes. Covering the whole of Kerala right from Kanyakumari to Kappil, these packages are customised and the travelers can join the tour from any spot they wish or use personal or hired vehicles for travel. Guided tours and assistance at arrival and departure points make these packages really value added. KTDC has an added advantage of having some of the best accommodation options and economy hotels under its fold all over the State.
‘Discover Kerala’ will add further impetus to domestic tourism and will create better awareness on the tourism potential of the State among the local community. Enjoy a cheap yet fulfilling holiday right at the backyard and explore the unexplored facade of God’ own country.
Thiruvananthapuram: The fabled beach resort of Kovalam is all set to join the celebrity bandwagon of a few elite destinations in Kerala that have already introduced Responsible Tourism. Kumarakom was the pioneer in taking up this ground breaking decision followed by Thekkady and Wayanad, which have already launched this system on a trial basis.
The committee set up is trying to develop the all important link between the tourism industry and local entrepreneurship. A survey was conducted to monitor the consumption patterns of over 100 hotels that are located near the beach resort and a part of their requirements will be sourced from the local community. Home grown products such as vegetables and diary products shall be delivered to the hotels and Kudumbasree units would be playing a larger than life role in this initiative.
An agreement has already been inked to supply the local farm produce to some of the hotels in Kovalam to meet their needs. Apart from these, self help groups would also supply eco-friendly baskets and paper bags, thereby reducing the distressing impacts on the environment and social set up. It is aimed at improving the living standards of the host communities.
It also focuses on improving working conditions apart from involving the local populace in the decision-making process that affects their lives. The best part is that this initiative would involve the local community including the tour operators and nearby educational institutions in the promotion of eco friendly tourism.
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has set up a role model yet again when it became the first state in the country, where the tribal farmers would directly export organic pepper to Germany. As per the innovative scheme, patronized by the state government, the three tribal communities at Vanchivayil village nestled deep in the Thekkady forests will export their first consignment of over four tones of organic pepper on April 12.
It was only after relentless persuasion of over eighteen months that the tribals could be coaxed to become exporters. The tribals get the full returns for their effort as this system operates sans middlemen.
Periyar Foundation, an apex body of 76 eco-development committees, the Forests Department and the state government has jointly organized the pilot project.
There were a lot of formalities involved in getting the organic certification ready from Lacon International, a company based in Germany apart from the Spices Board of India. At the outset, the German firm operated by the farmers’ society of ”Ecoland Herbs and Spices”, would be the main buyer to procure organic pepper. The best part is that the tribals would be getting over 33 per cent more than what they used to get before for their products as no middlemen are involved in the deal.