Hidden Gems of Kerala: Offbeat Destinations

Kerala, renowned for its lush landscapes, vibrant culture, and tranquil backwaters, is a paradise that often has its most magical spots overlooked. While popular destinations like Alleppey, Munnar, and Fort Kochi capture the attention of most travelers, numerous hidden gems throughout the state offer unique experiences away from the usual tourist trails. Kerala tour packages for couples uncovers some of Kerala’s most offbeat destinations that promise enchanting, lesser-known adventures.

1. Ponmudi – The Golden Peak

Located about 55 kilometers northeast of Trivandrum, Ponmudi is an idyllic hill station in the Western Ghats. It is known for its mist-laden valleys and winding streams, surrounded by lush tropical forests. Ponmudi offers a serene escape with its picturesque trekking trails, vibrant butterfly species, and rare flora and fauna. The drive to Ponmudi is as scenic as the destination itself, with 22 hairpin turns and panoramic views of the tropical forest. Once there, visitors can trek to the nearby Golden Valley for a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters of the river bordered by dreamy cottages and dense woods.

2. Thenmala – India’s First Planned Ecotourism Site

Situated in the foothills of the Western Ghats, Thenmala is an ecotourism destination that has successfully integrated the well-being of the local community with the preservation of nature. Thenmala is divided into culture, leisure, and adventure zones, each offering distinct experiences from boating and rock climbing to mountain biking. The nearby Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary, an untouched green paradise, offers excellent hiking opportunities through thick forests where elephants and leopards roam freely. A visit to Thenmala is incomplete without experiencing the musical dancing fountain at the eco-park, particularly mesmerizing under the night sky.

3. Gavi – A Haven for Wildlife Enthusiasts

Deep inside the Ranni reserve forest, part of the Periyar Tiger Reserve, lies Gavi, enveloped by tea plantations and mist-covered hills. The journey to Gavi itself is an adventure, passing through dense forests where elephants and other wildlife are often spotted. Eco-tourism activities in Gavi include trekking, wildlife watching, and camping under the stars. The serene lake in Gavi is perfect for canoeing, a peaceful way to enjoy the surrounding natural beauty. For the most immersive experience, opt to stay at the eco-lodges or tree houses, where the sounds of the forest come to life at night.

4. Kakkathuruthu – Island of Crows

Nestled in the backwaters of Alappuzha, Kakkathuruthu gained fame when it was listed in National Geographic’s ‘Around the World in 24 Hours,’ a testament to its breathtaking beauty at dusk. This tiny island is best explored through a traditional canoe ride during sunset when the skies turn a deep orange and the waters reflect the vivid hues. The local life on the island is vibrant yet tranquil, with fishermen casting their nets and women weaving coir. Kakkathuruthu is an exemplar of untouched beauty, offering a slice of life in Kerala without any embellishments.

5. Marari – A Serene Beach Destination

While most tourists flock to the more famous beaches of Kerala, Marari remains a peaceful alternative. Located in the Alappuzha district, this beach is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of busy tourist spots. The name ‘Marari’ originates from ‘Mararikulam’, a local fishing village on the Arabian Sea coast. Visitors to Marari can experience the slow pace of village life alongside the soothing sounds of the waves. The beach is also an excellent spot for spotting dolphins if you are lucky. Stay in a traditional homestay or a luxury resort, depending on your preference, and enjoy the local cuisine, especially the seafood.

6. Nelliampathi – From Tea Gardens to Orange Farms

Referred to as the ‘Poor man’s Ooty,’ Nelliampathi is an enchanting hill station with breathtaking views, tea gardens, and bio-farms. Located near Palakkad, it’s a place less traveled but offers magnificent views of the surrounding landscape and a cooler climate ideal for a summer retreat. Visitors can explore the numerous trekking trails, visit the Pothundi Dam, or simply relish the quiet moments amidst nature. Nelliampathi is particularly beautiful during the monsoon when the fresh greenery envelops everything in a vibrant blanket.

Conclusion

Kerala’s lesser-known destinations provide a perfect mix of beauty, tranquility, and adventure. These places are ideal for those who seek to go beyond the usual tourist experience and delve deeper into what the real Kerala has to offer. From hill stations to backwater islands, these hidden gems invite you to explore their untouched and unique landscapes. Each of these destinations on Kerala travel packages holds the promise of an experience that is both soothing and invigorating, ensuring that the spirit of Kerala stays with you long after your visit.