This trip along with my family was made during the early part of this year 2012 (April) ; my son had just completed his 10th Standard board exams; my wife and myself could manage to steal a 20-day vacation from our busy schedule ! It was well planned through a professionally managed tour company and we started the vacation with a visit to the Guruvayur temple followed by a quick 2-day stay with my wife’s cousin and his family at Kochi. Here, we engaged a tourist car with a driver; both would be at our disposal throughout our trip in Kerala.
The trip was organised so as to start at Kochi with 4 days stay at a resort on the Munnar Hill station. Kochi (Cochin) is Kerala’s most visited tourist destination that offers you a glimpse of the traditional Kerala culture, be it the Chinese fishing nets, the tranquil churches, the synagogue, or the remnants of the Colonial settlements. Since we had a tourist car from Kochi to travel around Kerala – we stayed intermittently at Munnar, Thekkady and Thiruvananthapuram at our convenience. As it was planned through a tour company, hotel rooms were booked and arranged well before our reaching these locations.
Munnar is a hill station on the Western Ghats, a range of mountains situated in the Idukki district of Kerala. The name Munnar is believed to mean “three rivers”, referring to the town’s strategic location at the meeting of the Madhurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly rivers. This green hill station is surrounded by the country’s highest tea gardens. Layers and layers of tea gardens /estates, mountain mist, waterfalls and wildlife sanctuaries make Munnar almost unrealistically beautiful. The lofty mountain ranges with misty peaks, sprawling tea estates and serene climate provides a quite and peaceful resort to a otherwise busy and stressed entrepreneur.
Thekkady (located again in the Idukki district) is the location of the Periyar National Park, which is an important tourist attraction in Kerala. The Periyar National Park is spread over an area of about 750 sq.km and comprises a thick evergreen forest with exotic wild life. At the national park, it is the tourists who are caged in a vehicle that moves around and the wild animals are set free to roam around the park in natural surrounding. The greatest attraction of Periyar Park are the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in Thiruvananthapuram, India. The shrine is currently run by a trust headed by the royal family of Travancore. In order to visit the sacrosanct place inside the temple, the men should be bare chested and women be simply dressed without any ornaments on self. The massive structure is an architectural wonder and a magnificent temple. The structure has a staggering 100 feet high “Gopuram” or the main temple tower. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, one of the Gods of the Hinduism trinity of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. The massive idol of the deity measures 18 feet in length and is covered with gold and other precious stones. It is the richest temple in India.
The Athirappilly Falls is situated on the Chalakudy river, which originates in the upper reaches of the Western Ghats. Many endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna are found in the forests of the Athirapilly-Vazhachal waterfalls area.
The Kerala backwaters are a chain of lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (known as the Malabar Coast) of Kerala. The network includes five large lakes linked by canals, both man-made and natural, fed by 38 rivers, and extending virtually half the length of Kerala state. The backwaters were formed by the action of waves and shore currents creating low barrier islands across the mouths of the many rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats range. We engaged a Houseboat ( called as Kettuvallam in Kerala) to laze around on the Kerala backwaters, at the end of our tourism visit/ stay in Kerala.
Kerala trip is a very memorable one and the 20-day vacation was completed by visiting the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, our family deity God. As we returned to Mumbai straight from Tirupati, we were tired as well as energized ! Good vacation that was well spent enjoying every moment !