The enticement of backwaters, beaches, hill stations, wildlife sanctuaries, along with matchless experiences are what make Kerala truly ‘God’s own country’. However, post-pandemic as the state opens up for tourism, travellers will want to explore uncharted territory, away from crowds.
Here are 6 lesser-known destinations in Kerala that should be on your list:
The word ‘meesapuli’ literally translates to ‘tiger’s moustache’. The peak resembles a tiger’s face from above, thus giving it the name. One has to trek through green valleys, hundreds of blooming rhododendrons, charming tea estates, and gurgling brooks to reach the top. It is the second-highest peak in the Western Ghats at 2,640 m and is located 24 km away from Munnar. The trek however needs permission from the Kerala forest department. Fill your backpack with snacks and water if you don’t want to drink and eat off the trees on the trail!
Patches of forest spread between the multi-coloured slopes of vegetable fields make Vattavada look like something straight out of a painting. Located 45 km to the east of Munnar, it is home to some of the finest crop fields in Kerala.The trekking routes here mesmerises the hiker with lush greenery, and undulating slopes.
Not much of a walker? There’s always the option to indulge in mountain biking offered by local operators. Aluva at 160 km has the nearest railhead to Vattavada. The road network here is well connected to Munnar and all major cities in Kerala.
With stunning views of the landscape that stretches from the Idukki Reservoir to Ayyappancoil, and following a trek through the misty mountains, Calvary Mount is a destination with great charm. Be warned that the path from the viewpoint to the hilltop is steep and can get very windy at times. If you want to take a break, hit up the nearby Tea Factory for a fresh cup of tea and snacks. The reservoir belongs to the Idukki dam that’s famous for being the largest arch dam in Asia. The monsoon season is the best time to visit. The mount is located at 10 km from Idukki and 55 km from Munnar.
High altitude Ghat roads with a few hairpin bends, passing through coffee estates and tea plantations, that’s Nelliampathi. Take the 62 km drive from Palakkad and enjoy the scenic landscapes, trees with large honeycombs, and gurgling mountain streams. There are many interesting places to explore here, like Pothundy Dam and the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary.
The village is a hidden gem that lies deep inside the Ranni Forest Division. Gavi covers parts of the Periyar Tiger Reserve and Thekkady. A walk through the forest routes here mean you enter the home of more than 200 birds and over 35 mammal varieties. Blue-winged parakeet, Malabar whistling thrush, Indian elephant, and Nilgiri Tahr are common here. The nearest city is Pathanamthitta at 90 km. Check out the bird’s eye view of Gavi on Google Maps.
New Year’s eve at Varkala and breathtaking sundown at Fort Kochi should be a given on your travel bucketlst. Let us add another one to it. Kappil Beach lies 7 km away from Varkala and this lagoon-coconut-sand strip is a stunner. It remains a local beach, hence you do not get the crowds. The road leading to the beach is a long scenic stretch that has sea on one side and the backwaters on the other. The area receives heavy rainfall from June-August which can severely restrict your travel during this period.