One of the most beautiful regions in the country, Kerala is located on the southwestern coast of India. A predominantly agricultural region, Kerala is a major producer of goods such as rubber, pepper and coffee as well as a significant fishery hotspot. The region has become increasingly popular amongst tourists for its natural beauty. Kerala is known for its lush tropical forests, beaches and backwaters. Due to the Western Ghats Mountains passing through the state, Kerala is also known for its immense biodiversity.
One of Kerala’s most historically rich regions, Fort Kochi is known for its significance amongst various colonial powers. The area is particularly well-known for its importance to Portuguese and Dutch colonists prior to British domination of India. The area is now home to the Indo-Portuguese Museum, which shines a light on a lesser-known chapter of colonial history in India. There are a number of additional Christian churches in the area including the Santa Cruz Basilica and St. Francis Church as well as a famous synagogue-the Paradesi Synagogue, which, built in 1567 is the Commonwealth’s oldest Jewish place of worship.
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
One of Kerala’s largest wildlife sanctuaries, this is one of the region’s many bastions of biodiversity. A major part of the Western Ghats, the sanctuary is one of the most beautiful places in Kerala. The lush forestry and incredible biodiversity makes it one of the most unique ecosystems in the country. The sanctuary is known particularly for its diverse range of birdlife, in addition to a number of other
Periyar National Park
Another of Kerala’s most spectacular natural areas, Periyar National Park is best known for its efforts in the preservation of endangered species. The park is home to both a tiger reserve and an elephant reserve. In addition to this, there are a plethora of species, which call the park home. The National Park is located near Thekkady, and covers an area of over 350 Square Miles.
Despite its Portuguese origins, this 16th Century structure is often nicknamed the Dutch Palace. Built by the Portuguese as a gift to the Rajas of Kochi in 1555, the palace was extensively renovated a century later by the Dutch. In addition to being one of the most significant historical sites of Portuguese and Dutch colonial presence in India, the Palace is also well-known for its extensive collection of intricately designed murals.
Kerala is well-known for its backwaters, a vast chain of lagoons known for their tranquil atmosphere and unique ecosystem consisting of creatures such as mudskippers, otters and turtles, amongst other things. Traversing these backwaters is an essential experience for visitors to the region and this is best accomplished by kettuvallams, a unique and colourful variety of houseboat.
main image: courtesy of Sarath Kuchi, Flickr Creative Commons