An unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with white lilies. Situated on the Vembanad Lake, in this small water world you'll come across plenty of traditional country crafts, boats and canoes which will take you into the heart of the scenic lake. The resorts nearby offer comfortable accomodation and exclusive leisure options like an Ayurvedic massage, yoga, meditation, boating, fishing, angling and swimming.
The Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom (16 km from Kottayam town):
Kottayam is a vast network of rivers and canals which empty into the great expanse of water called the Vembanad Lake. The lake, an enchanting picnic spot and a fast developing backwater tourism destination, provides boating, fishing and sightseeing experiences that are truly exhilarating. The Kumarakom Tourist Village offers houseboat cruises and holiday packages. The serene lake comes alive during Onam with a spectacular water regatta - the snake boat races. It is indeed amazing to watch oarsmen, at least a hundred in one boat, slice their way through the waters to the fast rhythm of their own full throated singing.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary (16 km from Kottayam town):
Located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, an ornithologist's paradise, is a favourite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal. Other common varieties like the woodpecker, skylark, crane, water hen and parrots can also be spotted here. A cruise along the Vembanad Lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary. Pathiramanal, an enchanting island on the lake, can be accessed by boat from here. A cruise along the Vembanad lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary.
Pathiramanal (sands of midnight):
This 10 acre island on the backwaters is home to many rare varieties of migratory birds from different parts of the world. According to mythology a young brahmin dived into the Vembanad Lake to perform his evening ablutions and the water made way for land to rise from below. The island can be accessed only by boat.
Nattakom and Panachikad:
Adding to the charm of these quiet villages are their scenic reservoirs escorted by vivid green all along. Migratory birds come seeking this verdant landscape every summer and frolic in the natural splendours till the end of the season. A boat ride from Kodoorar in Panachikad to Kumarakom is a great way to relax and enjoy nature's bounties. Facilities here cater to the recreational needs of tourists, from soothing Ayurvedic massages to boating, fishing and swimming.
Tourist Land, Vaikom:
This is a quaint picnic spot ideal for a languorous break. Tourists can avail of recreation options at this place too. Boat cruises are available on the Vaikom Lake.
Mannanam Tourist Home:
This was set up by the DTPC to provide quality accommodation to the holidaying crowd. An intricate network of shimmering waterways embroider the richly green landscape, making the land charming in every detail. Boat cruise packages are being thoughtfully designed to give tourists the most memorable experience. The enchanting journey will take you through the Pennar Canal to the picturesque backwater districts of Alappuzha and Ernakulam.
A picturesque location at the top of a hill with endless stretches of meadows girded by huge rocks. A bird's eye view of the low lying places can be enjoyed from here.
Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls ( 18 km from Kottayam town): Aruvikkuzhi is a beautiful picnic spot where streams tinkle as they make their way through the landscape and water roars as they cascade down the mountains from a height of 100 ft. Tourists can also enjoy the shade of the rubber plantations here.
Karimbukayam - Meloram:
This quaint spot on the Manimala River that flows between the Kanjirapally (a plantation town) and Erumeli panchayats is much sought-after for its natural splendours. However what makes the place really popular are the occasional exotic water fiestas on the reservoirs organised by the enthusiastic people.
The natural reservoirs and waterfalls at Melaruvithodu on the Ernakulam - Thekkady road is in no way inferior to the other picturesque regions of Kottayam.
Erumeli (60 km north-east of Kottayam town):
Nestled in the lush green Western Ghats is this nature-rich village. This is also the entrance point to South India’s most prominent pilgrim centre - the Sabarimala Temple. At Kanakapalam nearby, teak plantations dot the landscape.
The majestic mountains here that slope down to meet the beautiful valleys below are truly spellbinding.
Skirting the Kottayam district are beautiful valleys of Ilaveezhapoonchira, spread over thousands of acres. The verdant landscape punctuated by four gigantic hills, each rising to around 3200 ft., is an ideal place to unwind. During the monsoons when the valley fills up to form a scenic lake, this place unveils yet another beautiful slice of nature. Ilaveezhapoonchira means valley where leaves don't fall and is named so because the place has no trees. This is also one of the best places in Kerala to enjoy both the sunrise and sunset. A DTPC rest house nearby offers comfortable accommodation.
As the name suggests, the valley of this rocky mountain reflects the morning sun with a mirror like perfection. This is also the highest point in Ilaveezhapoonchira. 3 km from here is the Pazhakakanam Plateau nourished by the Kadapuzha River. Bamboo groves, meadows and wild flowers make this place exotic. An added attraction here is the Kazhukankulimali Waterfalls that playfully cascade down the mountain and greet the river below with a magnificent splash. On the eastern side of Kannadipara is a natural fort set amidst steep rocks.
The three hills in this region lie close to each other, their flat hilltops covered with lush grasslands. An aerial view of these resemble a traditional clay oven. With no trees around, the hilltops give you the feeling that you are walking in the clouds.
Numerous mountain streams in this peak, 6000 ft. above sea level, flow down to form the serene Meenachil River. The solitude, the tranquillity, the gentle breeze and the star spangled sky here are all enchanting beyond words. Tourists have to trek up 3 km to reach the top of the hill. And if you so wish, you could even spend the night on the heights.
Three hills, each rising to 4000 ft. and above, together form this huge hill. Each of the hills has a peculiar shape. One of them, resemble a mushroom owing to which it gets its name Kuda Kallu (umbrella shaped rock). It is said that the medicinal herb Neela Koduveli, which bathes the hillsides in blue, grows here. This flower is also believed to possess supernatural powers, which could increase wealth and ensure a rich harvest. The second hill, has a small hunch on the sides and is therefore referred to as Koonu Kallu (hunch back rock). Across this rock is a 1/2 ft. wide bridge called Narakapalam (bridge to hell). From the hilltops, the Arabian Sea can be seen in the distant horizon as a thin blue line. The sunset on a full moon day is sensational, when the moon can be seen rising up like another sun, as the orange sun goes down.
Yet another peak in the Ilaveezhapoonchira mountain range, which also has a cave.
This scenic stream and its breathtaking waterfalls are together referred to as the enchantress of the jungle. Sliding down numerous hillocks from a height of 200 ft., the gushing water has etched out over the years a deep pond in the rocks. Right under the waterfalls is a natural bridge.
On the outskirts of the district is this hill station of rocky terrains sought-after for its pristine nature. On one side of the main rock are extremely tall and steep rocks and on the other is a valley of fearful depth. Bordering this crude landscape like a silver lace is the Meenachil River. During the months of December/January the landscape comes alive in a riot of colours with orchids and wild flowers.
Near Murugan hills at Kurisumala, a flight of steps cut in the rocks takes one to this magnificent cave. Legends say that the royal family from Madurai rested here on their way to Poonjar. The rocks within the cave, carved like chairs and couches and the figures of Madurai Meenakshi, Ayyappa, Murugan, Kannaki and weapons sculpted on them, are all worth exploring.
This enchanting hill station on the Idukki - Kottayam border, dotted with tea gardens and meadows, will soon be one of India's foremost ecotourism projects. The breeding centre of the Kerala Livestock Board is located here.
Pala and Kanjirapally:
Nourished by the Meenachil and Manimala rivers respectively, these two towns are centres of rubber plantations.
Vayaskara and Chirattamon:
These places are well known for their Ayurvedic rejuvenation centres.