Monsoon! The time when nature lays a fresh green carpet all over – in Kerala, it’s more evident than elsewhere; hills, valleys, riverbanks, forests – all resplendent with verdant beauty. Breathe in the pristine aroma of virgin foliage, sip on comforting hot tea, and tuck into sinful delicacies straight out of the work. There’s no better time for a lazy, relaxing holiday than a monsoon! Here are 10 of the best places to head for during the monsoon in Kerala:
- Athirapally falls
- Nelliyampathy hills
Ashtamudi lake in Kollam is renowned for its banks dotted with gracefully swaying coconut trees. You can go on a leisurely cruise in a houseboat – either for the day, a few hours or overnight. You can even just lounge on the shore, watching the rain and listening to the pitter-patter of drops, and relishing the fresh catch by a campfire. Check into one of the many resorts or ayurvedic spas in the area to indulge in rejuvenating massages.
The Periyar tiger reserve is best enjoyed by a boat ride; the tropical greenery includes bamboo, mangroves, reeds, and deciduous forests. The flora receives a fresh lease of life during the monsoon – and the beauty of this natural treasure is enhanced manifold. With activities like floating downriver on bamboo rafts, trekking at night, and so on, it’s an opportunity for visitors to experience monsoon in a unique manner. There are nearly 2000 plant species in Thekkady, and this is the time that many flowers bloom and plants sprout afresh; walk through the spice plantations and breathe in the myriad aromas for a mesmerizing experience.
Situated in Thrissur, the Athirapally falls are the most stunning waterfalls of Kerala. Trek to the edge of the waterfalls and enjoy a relaxing picnic. The falls are at full flow in the monsoon, gushing down 80 feet, thunderously with all their might; it is recommended that you exercise caution when playing in its pools as the rocks are likely to be very slippery. Just gazing at the white curtain of water and listening to it rush downwards is an amazing experience in itself. You also get magnificent views of the Sholayar hills from this spot. Not very far from Athirapally, are the Vazhachal falls; they are often spoken of together, and most visitors go to both the falls, to get a thorough experience of the monsoon falls in Kerala. You can also check out Kerala tour packages from Delhi.
Known as the land of looms and lore for its rich heritage of handlooms and traditional performing folk arts, Kannur beckons you with this hidden treasure. Paithalmala is an enchanting hill station situated 65 km from town, at a height of 4500 feet above sea level, close to the state border with Karnataka. The hills are home to several exotic species of flora and are best enjoyed during the rains. The trek to the hilltop is breathtakingly picturesque – and the viewpoint at the top offers panoramic vistas that are sure to thrill nature lovers. For those who’re looking for extra adventure – take a dip in the chilly waters of the Ezhara Kundu waterfalls nearby.
The best backwater destination in Kerala, is even more beautiful in the monsoon! Glide through the intricate network of canals, lagoons, lakes, and rivers in a traditional ‘Kettuvallam’, as you listen to the sounds of monsoon all around you – croaking frogs, a splash of raindrops, gurgling water, and more. You can enjoy a private performance of traditional Kerala temple dances like Kathakali or Mohiniyattam onboard your floating hotel, and feast on the day’s fresh catch. Alleppey is also home to numerous luxury resorts where you can laze with a drink and a good book as you view the glory of the monsoon from your room. It’s also the season for snake boat races, which is a unique event you won’t be able to witness elsewhere. Scores of serpentine boats, rowed by robust villagers and encouraged by rhythmic singing and drumbeats, and fellow villagers cheering and shouting from the shores – it’s an experience you’ll remember for life! There can hardly be a better way to enjoy Kerala in the monsoon than on board a luxurious Alleppey houseboat that floats along on the placid backwaters of Alleppey.
Kerala is blessed with some beautiful hill station destinations for the honeymoon. The enchanting little hill station, Nelliyampathy hills is tucked away in the Palakkad district, nestled in the lap of the western ghats. En route to Nelliyampathy is the Pothundi reservoir, the Meenampara viewpoint, and so on, offering delightful views of the landscape. You can also enjoy a boat ride in the reservoir if the weather permits. If it is peace and quiet you want above all else, there could be no place better; you can enjoy an undisturbed holiday in this uncrowned holiday spot with its cloud-kissed peaks, simply soaking in the grandeur of nature. The magnificent Palakkad gap, a stunning geographical formation in the western ghats, is visible at this spot. There are several organic farms and orange orchards on the way to the hills, and you can take a close look at them.
You’re yearning for civilization after spending time in the wilderness, this is where you need to be. The vibrant promenade offers magnificent views of the backwaters and the harbor. You can also spend time exploring the quaint neighborhoods and shops in Fort Kochi – just a short distance from the marine drive. In fact, you can take the ferry, or also drive down. Fort Kochi also has some delightful cafes where you can simply chill and watch the rain as you sip on a hot cappuccino or latte and bite into scrumptious cakes or croissants. Visit jew town and take a walk down memory lane; visit the old synagogue, Jain temple, and other places of worship, each exuding its unique charm.
Part of Munnar, the Mattupetty dam and reservoir are especially alluring during the monsoon. Much less crowded than other spots in Munnar, Mattupetty is perfect for a serene picnic and enjoying nature in all her glory, as well as to drink in magnificent views of the verdant, mist-covered valley below. On the way to the reservoir, you can feast your eyes on the tea gardens that cover the undulating hills all around you. The echo point is also en route, as is the shooting point; do make brief stops at these spots to enjoy scenic views.
Nestled in the western ghats in the northern region of Kerala,Wayanad is a nature lover’s paradise and one of the best tourist places in Kerala. There are quite a few waterfalls in this hilly district, which come alive during the monsoon season – the most famous among them being Soochippara. However, the trek to the waterfall can be pretty treacherous in the rains, and we recommend that you be extra careful. The numerous tea gardens, coffee plantations and spice plantations all sport a fresh, verdant look in the monsoon, and is enough to fill a nature lover’s heart with joy and peace. Just lie back on your hotel bed and gaze out of the window, at the falling rain, and all is well with the world! Animal lovers may want to head for the Muthana wildlife reserve; if you’re lucky, you may catch sight of some pachyderms sedately walking along or a few prancing deer. If you’re extremely lucky, you may even get to see one of the big cats. The Banasura dam is another spot to enjoy the Kerala monsoon. You can trek up there, and enjoy spectacular views of the landscape and the reservoir below. The dam has a well-maintained garden, a few snack bars and play equipment for children. If you’re looking for a rustic experience, check out tree houses available in different parts of Wayanad.
In the northernmost part of Kerala, in Kasaragod district, lies Bekal, with its fort, its pristine coastline, sandy beaches, and tranquil hills. Explore the historic fort as the waves crash against its lower ramparts, and enjoy a serene picnic. Feast on the local cuisine – an eclectic combination of Kerala and Karnataka delicacies; go for walks along the beaches; visit the many ancient places of worship, each narrating its own unique story through its splendid architecture and carvings, and allow your mind to drift into another era. Bekal is much less crowded than some of the popular tourist spots, but this hidden treasure is sure to fill your heart and mind with bliss.
The monsoon in Kerala can be both delightful and worrisome, as it can rain heavily for days on end; however, armed with knowledge about the right places to visit, and finding good places to stay, it can be one of the most memorable experiences you ever have as a traveler.