Strewn between rivers and meandering backwaters, Kerala offers nature on a platter.
The beaches of Kovalam, the blue Lagoons at Vembanad lake, the hill stations of Ponmudi and Munnar, the backwaters of Alleppey, the simple yet hippie city life at Kochi, the greenland plantations, the exotic wildlife, the spices, the high mountain peaks, the valleys, the magnificent forts and intricately adorned temples, all of this adds up to make Kerala an absolute hotspot of a destination!
According to Hindu mythology, Kerala was created by Lord Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, by throwing his axe across the sea to create new land for his devotees to live on peacefully.
So, Kerala is God’s own creation, hence it is called God’s own country – and we wonder whether even Lord Parasurama knew just how wondrous his creation truly became!
The Flora and Fauna of Kerala
Apart from the scenic beauty, the prosperous state is also known for its ever flourishing flora and fauna!
The forests play host to major fauna such as Asian Elephants, Bengal Tigers, Leopards and Nilgiri Tahr, and Grizzled Giant Squirrels. Reptiles like King Cobra, Python, Turtles, and Crocodiles are also found in Kerala.
Kerala’s landscape is a treat for the bird-watchers too. The destination is home to the Sri Lankan Frogmouth, Oriental Bay Owl, large frugivores like the Great Hornbill amongst the many more
Wildlife Destinations and Things To-Do in Kerala
Some of the things that top the list are visiting the various tea plantations in the state, learning about the famous and naturally flavoured spices at different farms, and boat cruising in the backwaters to experience the biodiversity of the state – which is abundant in every measure!
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Periyar, located in Thekkady is one of the most renowned national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India. Set in the Western Ghats, Periyar offers you a diversified range of its flora and fauna.
Periyar is home to animal species like the bison, sambar, elephants, and tigers, along with 266 species of birds, including migratory birds as well!
Meanwhile, the sanctuary is also home to tree species like teak, mangoes, rosewood, jamun, tamarind, sandalwood, and many others. Many medicinal plants are found in this region too.
If you want to dig deeper and learn more about Periyar, then taking a trek led by local villagers or the Thekkady tourism department is a great idea, because the sheer diversity of the landscape makes for a rewarding visit.
Another way of enjoying the scenic beauty of Periyar is to take a boat cruise across the Periyar Lake. And who knows? If you’re lucky, you might just catch a quick glimpse of a herd of elephants drinking water.
You can also set off on a memorable tour into the spice gardens and walk through the cardamom, coffee, cinnamon, pepper and tea plantations and spend some time with the tribal settlements in the area.
Vembanad Lake is recognized as the longest lake in India and largest water reservoir in Kerala. Moreover, the lake is also at the heart of Kerala’s backwaters.
Life at Vembanad is simple and slow, and exploring this area is best undertaken through canoes and houseboats. These rides offer a glimpse into the surrounding villages, the lifestyle of the people living there, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, the traditional ways of fishing that the locals use and overall, an exhilarating experience.
Bird-Watching at Kumarakom
Kerala is well endowed with avifauna as nearly 500 species of resident and migratory birds abound in this area. Lush green tropical forests, numerous freshwater and brackish lakes and waterlogged paddy fields form the major birding habitats of this region.
Waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron and the water duck are some of the endemic species seen here. Parrots, teal, larks, flycatchers, wood beetle, and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons.
Quite another shade of green characterizes the famous Kerala backwaters near the coast and one of the most delightful experiences at Alleppey is a houseboat stay.
These houseboats come equipped with all the comforts of a good hotel room including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen, and even a balcony for angling!
It’s the perfect ‘house at the water’ dream come true, where you’re privy to an uninterrupted view of nature in the backwaters.
Apart from the backwater sojourns, Alleppey also invites you to experience its rich heritage, from temples to churches, the old bustling markets, the beaches, and even the oldest lighthouse of the country.
It’ll be an understatement to say that one has not travelled well if they haven’t spent a few days in this naturally ornamented state of India.
Give yourself the time to experience Kerala’s echoing mountains, moonlit waterfalls, poetic forests, breathtaking sunsets, and the charming people always ready to welcome you with open arms!