12 Offbeat Places to Visit in Kerala, India

Kerala has been aptly named as “God’s Own Country.” This magnificent land is eminent for its backwaters, which are a reservoir of pure bliss, for its tea and spice, the aromas and taste of which play with the taste buds, its numerous beaches, and, the Arabian Sea coast – which stretches to almost 600km. The sight of large swathes of palm trees swaying merrily, even as the breeze emits a rhythmic melody, seems to bring life to a complete standstill. Besides, this state also boasts an exotic variety of wildlife, exciting festivals and of course, the practice of Ayurveda.

Apart from the renowned destinations and tourist spots in Kerala, there are many lesser-known places too, which remain to be explored. This blog brings to you 12 0ffbeat places to visit In Kerala, which should find a mention in your next travel itinerary. On your next holiday, move away from the mainstream and embark on a journey into the offbeat:

1. Chembra Peak

Chembra Peak stands proudly at 6900ft above sea level, in the southern part of Wayanad, and provides perfect opportunities for hiking. One of the major attractions here is a heart shaped lake which is believed to have never dried up. However, before planning any trekking expedition, it is necessary to obtain permission from the Forest Department. One can trek individually or with groups up to ten people, accompanied by a guide.  Wayanad also considered one of the most beautiful places for honeymoon in Kerala though out the year.

What to do?

  • Go trekking
  • Visit the heart shaped lake
  • Visit the Lakkidi viewpoint

Best time to visit?

  • September to February

How to reach?

Wayanad is accessible through buses operated by KSRTC, which connects it to the nearby cities of Thiruvananthapuram, Mangalore, and Kochi. The nearest railway stations are Nilambur and Koyilandy.

2. Silent Valley National park

One of the best off-beat National Parks in Kerala, Silent Valley National Park, covering an area of 237. 52sq. km, lies in the northeastern corner of Palakkad district. Silent Valley, with its enormous collection of various species of orchids, mammals, birds, insects etc., represents the rich biodiversity which is found in the Western Ghats. River Kunthi, which descends from the Nilgiri Hills at an altitude of 6561ft, traverses the entire valley. Upon one’s arrival in the valley, one may sense a distinct drop in temperature, due to the higher rate of evapotranspiration emitted by the forests here.

What to do?

  • Explore the rich biodiversity of Silent Valley National Park
  • Watch River Kunthi descend graciously towards the gorge below
  • Discover the various trekking trails within the valley

Best time to visit?

  • December to April

How to reach?

Silent Valley National Park is accessible from the towns of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Coimbatore International Airport in Tamil Nadu is the nearest airport at 91km, and offers regular flights to Chennai, Kozhikode, Mumbai, and Madurai. The nearest railway station, Palaghat, lies about 80km away.  

3. Banasura Sagar Dam

Situated about 15km from Kalpetta, Banasura Sagar Dam holds the distinction of being the largest earthen dam in India and the second largest in Asia. Surrounded by hills on which the mist settles peacefully, a wildlife sanctuary which houses exotic wildlife and a park filled with flowering trees – this place really lends itself to charm. The reservoir, formed by the dam, is scattered with tiny islands clothed in thick foliage, and is a favorite with picnic lovers.

What to do?

  • Visit the Banasura Hill, which lies just 0.2km away from Banasura Dam
  • Go for a picnic on one of the many islands   
  • Visit the wildlife sanctuary

Best time to visit

  • October to May

How to reach?

Buses are available from Kalpetta bus station which lies 22km away.  The nearest railway station is Kozhikode, which lies 110km away. From there, jeeps and taxis are available for hire. The nearest airport is Calicut International Airport in Kozhikode, which is 61km from Wayanad.

4. Vazhachal Waterfalls

Vazhachal waterfalls, located about 10km from Athirappalli Waterfalls, originate from the upper reaches of the Western Ghats. This waterfall lies in close proximity to the dense green forests, which hosts many endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna. It’s a wonderful picnic spot and offers some beautiful moments for relaxing and unwinding while observing the gracious waterfall.  

What to do?

  • Visit the Athirappalli Waterfalls, which are within driving distance
  • Visit the Thumpurmuzhi Gardens, which is a perfect break point in the journey towards Athirappalli Waterfalls
  • Enjoy a day at Dream World and Silver Storm, two popular water themed parks
  • See the beauty of Malakapara Tea Gardens

Best time to visit

  • September to February

How to reach?

The nearest railway station is Chalakudy, which lies about 30km away from Thrissur. Buses operated by the KSRTC are also available. The nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport, which lies about 53km from Thrissur

5. Thattekkadu Bird Sanctuary

Thattekkadu Bird Sanctuary is marked by tropical evergreen and deciduous forests, with an occasional hint of grassland patches. Spread across 25sq. km, the sanctuary, lying between the tributaries of the River Periyar, takes the shape of a peninsula. This globally acclaimed sanctuary owes its eminence to Dr. Salim Ali, on whose initiative this area was converted into a bird sanctuary. One can spot an amazing variety of birds here, such as, Srilankan Frogmouth, Racket tailed Drongo, Bronzed Drongo, Whitebellied Treepie and others. Besides, extensive plantations of teak, rosewood and mahogany are also found here.

What to do?

  • Explore the enormous plantations in the sanctuary
  • Observe the various bird species
  • Visit the Bhoothathankettu Dam, which is located about 10km from Thattekkadu in Ernakulam district

Best time to visit

  • November to February

How to reach?

The nearest railway station to Thattekkadu is Aluva, located at a distance of around 48km. Buses are available from Kochi to Thattekkadu Bird Sanctuary. The nearest airport is Kochi.

6.  Cherai Beach

The Cherai Beach, located on the north-end of the Vypeen Island, in Kochi, is washed with the frothy waters of the mighty Arabian Sea. Dotted with paddy fields at regular intervals, this beach is a unique combination of the sea and backwaters. Seashells of various hues and shapes lie scattered around the beach, and one is sure to come across several of them here. One can occasionally catch a glimpse of dolphins from this beach. Besides, the presence of Chinese fishing nets is also quite prominent here. Dropping towards the waters, with their borders delineated against the crimson evening sky, they form a magnificent sight.

What to do?

  • Spend a day or two at the beach
  • Relax and rejuvenate at the Prakruthi Ayurveda Spa & Treatment Centre
  • Experience the healing properties of Ayurveda at the Cherai Ayurvedic Palace

Best time to visit

  • September to May

How to reach?

The nearest railway station is Ernakulam Junction, which lies above 1km from the main boat jetty. Buses to Cherai from the KSRTC Central Bus Station, which lies near the Ernakulam Junction railway station, are available. The nearest airport to Cherai is the Nedumbassery international airport in Kochi.

7. Ponmudi

Ponmudi, located within a short driving distance from Thiruvananthapuram, is a typical hill station in Kerala where time seems to come to a standstill. It’s like an ocean of serenity with its narrow winding pathways surrounded by dense forests on either side, fog covered mountain peaks and the cool soothing air. Indeed, the vast array of mountain flowers, colorful butterflies and happily flowing rivulets here throws one into a trance. The natural topography of this place also offers excellent opportunities for trekking.

What to do?

  • Visit the Golden Valley, settled on the banks of the Kallar River
  • Pay a trip to Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Visit the Mini Zoo, which is famous for its Barasinghas
  • Watch the Meenmutty Waterfalls

Best time to visit

  • November to March

How to reach?

The nearest railway station is Thiruvananthapuram, which is about 61km away. KSRTC buses to Ponmudi are available from are available from Thiruvananthapuram. The nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, which is about 67 km away.

8. Athirappalli Falls

Athirappalli Falls are located about 63km from Thrissur. Situated on the Chalakudy River, it’s the largest waterfall in Kerala. Descending from a height of 80ft, the deafening roar created by its waters reverberate in the atmosphere. This magnificent waterfall is located on the edge of the Sholayar forest, and contains an amazing variety of endangered and endemic species of both flora and fauna.

What to do?

  • Visit the Sholayar Dam located about 31km from Athirappalli
  • Discover the history and cultural heritage of Thrissur
  • Visit the hill station of Valparai

Best time to Visit

  • September to January

How to reach

The nearest railway station is Chalakudy, which lies about 30km away. Buses are also available till Chalakudy, from where one can hire private taxis to reach the place. The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, which lies about 53 km from Thrissur.

9. Ashtamudi Lake

Ashtamudi Lake, meaning “eight-coned” in Malayalam language, owes its name to its 8 arms or channels. Located in Kollam, this lake stretches to a distance of about 16km. It’s also known to be the gateway to the famous backwaters of Kerala. Several villages along the historic port city of Kollam are located on the right bank of the lake. This enormous lake is also home to Munroe Island, which is a cluster of eight tiny islands. Backwater cruises, operated between Kollam and Alappuzha, exposes one to the intrinsic beauty of this lake.    

What to do?

  • Visit the Munroe Island
  • Take a boat trip from Kollam to Alappuzha
  • Visit the ruins of Dutch and Portuguese forts in the seaside village of Thangasseri in Kollam town

Best time to visit

  • Throughout the year

How to reach?

The nearest railway station is Kollam Junction, which lies about 2km away. Kollam is the nearest city and is connected to other cities through bus services operated by KSRTC. The nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, which is about 70km away.

10. Pookode Lake

Pookode Lake, seated peacefully about 15km away from Kalpetta, is one of the most magnificent freshwater lakes in the Wayanad district of Kerala. The lake bears close resemblance to the map of India. Owing to its picturesque beauty, it’s frequented by a large number of tourists regularly. One can catch the sight of blue lotuses and freshwaters surfaces dancing on its surface. Boating services are also available on this lake.

What to do?

  • Visit the Lakkidi view point
  • Visit the Soochippara Falls (Sentinel Rock Waterfall)
  • Pay homage at the Puliyarmala Jain Temple
  • Visit the Kakkayam, a scenic dam site

Best time visit

  • December to May

How to reach?

Kozhikode railway station is the nearest railway station, at a distance of 106km. The nearest airport is Karipur airport, located at Mananthavady in the Wayanad district, at a distance of 129km.

11. Thenmala

Thenmala, also known as “Honey Hill” in Malayalam, holds the distinction for being India’s first planned eco-tourism destination. Situated about 72km from Thiruvananthapuram, this vibrating place is a favorite with the tourists with its unique vistas, bio-diversity and functioning. This project area is divided into three major zones – culture zone, leisure zone and adventure zone, all ably maintained by its excellent staff. In the culture zone, one gets a taste of Kerala’s art, culture and the like. The Saw Bridge and the Sculpture Garden are major draws for people, especially children. Adventure Zone offers a dash of adventure with its elevated walkways, mountain climbing and others.

What to do?

  • Go on a butterfly safari
  • Visit the Nakshatravanam garden, said to consist 27 trees linked with 27 birth stars.
  • Experiences the best of the three zones – Culture Zone, Leisure Zone, Adventure Zone
  • Visit the Thenmala Dam

Best time to visit

  • Throughout the year

How to reach?

Private and KSRTC buses run frequently from Thiruvananthapuram to Thenmala. Thenmala railway station, which falls on the Kollam- Shencottah railway line, is the nearest railway station.

12. Aruvikkuzhi waterfalls

Near to Kumarakom lies the Aruvikkuzhi waterfalls, which has served as the location for many movies, one of them being the mega-blockbuster “Bahubali.” It’s a privilege to witness the waterfall descend with a ferocity that is both terrifying and gracious. This place is also known as a photographer’s heaven for the amazing scenery enveloping it. Rubber plantations encircle the waterfall, while also providing ideal opportunities for trekking.   

What to do?

  • Visit the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
  • Explore the unexplored Pathiramanal Island
  • Visit the Vembanad Lake – the glory of Kumarakom

Best time to visit

  • September to March

How to reach?

Kottayam railway station, located about 19km, is the nearest railway station. The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, located about 88km away. Buses to Kottayam are available from Kottayam bus station, which is about 18km away.  

 

About the Author

I am Kalyan Jha, a curious traveler, and blogger. I have visited so many stunning places in India such as Kerala Backwater, Kashmir, Himachal, Ladakh and numerous off-beat places. I love to write and share my travel experience with travel enthusiasts to make their holiday in India a memorable one though my comprehensive blogs and articles.

You Might Also Like