Kerala, often referred to as “God’s Own Country,” is a well-known tourist destination in India. With its pristine beaches, lush green hills, and serene backwaters, it’s no wonder that millions of travelers visit the state every year. However, amidst the popular tourist attractions, Kerala hides a treasure trove of lesser-known gems that are equally breathtaking and culturally rich. In this article, we will take you beyond the tourist trail and introduce you to ten Kerala hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
1. Kumbalangi – The Model Tourism Village
Tucked away just a short drive from Kochi, Kumbalangi is a model tourism village that offers a glimpse into traditional Kerala life. The village, surrounded by serene backwaters and paddy fields, is a hub for sustainable tourism. You can stay in eco-friendly homestays, experience traditional fishing practices, and enjoy farm-to-table dining. Kumbalangi is a testament to the harmonious coexistence of nature and human life.
2. Vagamon – The Serene Hill Station
Vagamon is often overshadowed by more popular hill stations like Munnar, but its pristine beauty is nothing short of spectacular. The undulating meadows, pine forests, and cool climate make it an ideal destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Paragliding, trekking, and exploring the enchanting Pine Valley are some of the highlights of this Kerala hidden gem.
3. Varkala – The Lesser-Known Beach Town
While Kovalam gets most of the attention when it comes to beach towns in Kerala, Varkala offers a more relaxed and peaceful atmosphere. Perched on the cliffs overlooking the Arabian Sea, Varkala is a paradise for sunsets, yoga enthusiasts, and beachcombers. The Varkala Beach, also known as Papanasham Beach, is believed to have medicinal properties and is perfect for a rejuvenating dip.
4. Munroe Island – The Hidden Backwater Paradise
Kerala is famous for its backwaters, but few know about Munroe Island. Situated in the Kollam district, this hidden gem is a serene paradise of interconnected canals, rivers, and lakes. You can explore the backwaters on canoe rides, witness the age-old coir-making industry, and enjoy authentic Kerala cuisine prepared by locals.
5. Thenmala – India’s First Planned Eco-Tourism Destination
Thenmala, meaning “Honey Hill,” is a well-kept secret nestled in the dense forests of Western Ghats. It is India’s first planned eco-tourism destination, designed to provide a harmonious blend of adventure and nature conservation. The Thenmala Adventure Zone offers activities like rock climbing, river crossing, and trekking, while the Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary invites you to explore the lush greenery and diverse wildlife.
6. Mararikulam – A Secluded Beach Haven
Mararikulam, a hidden coastal village in Alappuzha district, is a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of more popular beaches in Kerala. With its tranquil backwaters, fishing villages, and unspoiled beaches, it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind. The traditional fishing nets and the swaying palms add to the picturesque charm of this coastal Kerala hidden gem.
7. Idukki – The Land of Dams
Idukki is often overlooked by tourists in favor of more well-known destinations. Yet, it is home to numerous dams, including the Idukki Arch Dam, one of the world’s highest arch dams. The region is characterized by lush forests, sprawling tea plantations, and several wildlife sanctuaries. Trekkers will appreciate the trails through the Western Ghats, where you can spot unique flora and fauna.
8. Nelliyampathy – The Hidden Paradise in Palakkad
Tucked away in Palakkad district, Nelliyampathy is a hill station that is yet to be discovered by the masses. The misty hills, dense forests, and numerous viewpoints offer breathtaking panoramas. You can trek to Seethargundu Viewpoint or explore the Pothundi Dam, which is surrounded by lush greenery and is an ideal picnic spot.
9. Kasaragod – The Northern Coastal Beauty
Kasaragod, in the northernmost part of Kerala, is a hidden gem with unspoiled beaches, historic forts, and a rich cultural heritage. Bekal Fort, perched on the seashore, is a remarkable attraction. The serene beaches like Bekal Beach and Kappil Beach offer solitude and tranquility. The region is also known for its unique Theyyam rituals, a fascinating blend of dance, music, and devotion.
10. Anchuruli Tunnel – The Enigmatic Underground World
Anchuruli Tunnel, near Kattappana in Idukki district, is an offbeat destination that showcases the marvel of engineering and nature’s beauty. It’s an underground tunnel that connects Idukki Reservoir with the Erattayar Dam. The tranquil surroundings and the enigmatic tunnel create a surreal experience that is unlike any other.
Kerala, with its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty, has much more to offer than meets the eye. These Kerala hidden gems allow you to experience the essence of Kerala away from the bustling tourist hotspots. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, adventure seeker, or a cultural explorer, Kerala’s lesser-known destinations have something special to offer. So, when you plan your next trip to God’s Own Country, make sure to venture beyond the tourist trail and discover the hidden treasures that Kerala hidden gems have in store for you.