Munroe Island

Munroe Island is an island located at the union of Ashtamudi Lake and the Kallada River. It is located in South India and is almost 25 kilometers from Kollam. It is also called as Mundrothuruthu. This place is accessible by road, rail, and through water. This is a small area of land of about 13.4 square kilometers. This place is named as an honor to Colonel John Munro who was the Divan or the prime minister of the former Princely State of Travancore. This place is one of them which brags the scenic beauty that the nature provides. This place is one of the best examples which symbolizes that Kerala is God’s own country.

This island is a cluster of eight tiny islands and is bounded by the two water bodies, Ashtamudi Lake and the Kallada River which are also known for the scenic beauty and rich growth of palm trees. Munroe Island can be said as a perfect place the tourists. Tourism is one of the main activities in the Munroe Island as the surrounding Ashtamudi Lake is one of the well-known tourist spots in Kollam district.

This Island village is the tourist destination where one will be able to watch the coir retting and weaving process. Apart from this Island also promotes migratory bird watch and prawns feeding. Narrow waterways, canals, lagoons, and the islands of Pathupara are the other attractions of the Munroe Island. The coconut farms on the either side of the lake shore also add to the scenic beauty of this place.

How to reach here

The island is about 25 kilometers from Kollam, we can reach here via road and rail, the nearest airport is the Trivandrum international airport.

 

 


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Ashtamudi Lake

Kerala,  Gods own country is land of lakes and rivers. Ashtamudi Lake located in the Kollam District, is known to be the second largest wetland eco-system. This lake is having multiple branches that makes the name “Ashtamudi”, which is  deeply associated with the lake’s topography. The lake is well known for its scenic beauty. The coconut and palm trees grow along both the banks of the lake. Ashtamudi Lake has been the inspiration for many poets and artists. The lake facilitates the livelihood for the people living near it. Luxurious house boats are available for enjoying the mesmerizing scenic beauty of the lake. If you are visiting the place don’t miss the boat journey as it will be a memorable one for sure. Kallada river is the major river which discharges into the Ashtamudi Lake. The Lake is a home for different varieties of tropical fishes. Thus the lake provides earnings for the people around the place. The fishermen use Chinese fishing nets and is a common sight along the waterway. Ashtamudi Lake proves to be a best tourist spot.

Best time to visit

The climate will be hot and humid during April–May season while cool during December–January. So it will be better to visit this time. House boats are available in the lake so it is better to book one prior to your arrival in Quilon.

How to get here

It is 71 Km far from Thiruvananthapuram international airport. If you are coming by road, National highway passes near this lake Most easy to get is by train as it is just 2 to 3 km from Quilon railway station.

How to get here

It is 71 Km far from Thiruvananthapuram international airport. If you are coming by road, National highway passes near this lake Most easy to get is by train as it is just 2 to 3 km from Quilon railway station.

 

 

 


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Ezhimala Hills

Ezhimala is considered the former capital of Mushika kingdom and is located in Kunnur district in Kerala. It is 55kms away from Kunnur. The hill reaches to a height of 286 meters above sea level and is also considered to be an historical site. It is also a flourishing seaport and some also believe that Lord Buddha visited this place to spread his message of Dharma and Ahimsa. The hills are also home to rare medicinal herbs. The burial chambers, caves, platforms are indication that humans have been living in here from a very long time. There is also an ancient mosque atop the hill. One can enjoy watching dolphins at the Ettikulam bay. One can also feel the sea breeze in their faces which will make them forget about all their worries. The Indian naval academy is located here and has developed the biggest naval academy at an estimated cost of 500 crores and is said to be the largest of its kind in the whole of Asia.

Best time to visit

January is the best time to visit as the temperature levels are apt.

How to reach there

Nearest airport is at Karipur, Kozhikode which is 150 km
Nearest railway station is at Payyanur which is 8 km
Nearest town is Ramanthali which is about 2 km.

Places to visit

Hanuman temple

It is believe that Ezhimala was formed when Lord Hanuman was carrying the herb ‘Mrithasanjeevani’ to Sri Lanka when a part of the hill broke and fell down a the current place. The temple is believed to be built by the Mooshika dynasty in the 8th century.

Mount Deli Lighthouse

This is maintained by the navy and is a restricted area hence permission is required is one wants to visit.

Ezhimala Beach

It is a clean and isolated beach ideal for families. Truly serene and one can have ayurvedic massages by the beach side done by trained professionals.

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Dharmadam Island

Located four kms from Thalassery Dharmadam Island is a 2 hectare privately owned island. It lies hundred meters from the mainland at Dharmadam. Tall coconut palms and dense bushes cover this island making it an ideal spot for tourists. One can walk along the virgin beach when the tides are low. Buddhism was followed a lot hence the name is given as Dharmadam. Tourists have to take necessary permission from the owners before entering this island.

Best time to visit

From October to May

How to reach this place

By air: Karipur International airport in Kozhikode whoch is 93kms away
By rail: Kannur railway station which is 15km

Nearby places to visit

Andalur Kavu

This temple is dedicated to Shri Rama but Padmashiva is also worshipped here.

Muzhappilangad beach

This is situated around two hundred meters to the north of Dharmadam. One can drive through this place which runs alongside coconut groves leading to a lovely beach. One can just sunbathe, swim or laze around in these beaches.

Thalassery fort

Thalassery fort is located five kilometer from Dharmadam and is a famous historical monument.

Dharmadam Island
Dharmadam Island

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary

Aralam is a village in Thalasserry. Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Northern most protected area of God’s own country, Kerala. It is situated in South east Kannur District surrounded with huge Evergreen trees covering about 55sq km.

The highest peak here is Katti Betta which rises to a majestic 1145 m above sea level. Rivers here are still crystal clear and unpolluted. The sanctuary was constituted in the year 1984 and is home to a vast variety of flora and fauna common to the Western Ghats. With 215 Bird species and 172 different types of butterflies, Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is a hot favorite and must visit place for wildlife tourism lovers as there are ample opportunities for trekking and camping on the sides of the Aralam wildlife sanctuary. Aralam is also home to more than 23 species of mammals like Wild boar, Barking Deer, Malabar giant squirrel, Leopards, Mouse Deer, Gaur, Sambar Deer, and even Tigers. It is also a nesting place to more than 20 species of Amphibians and 22 species of reptiles including the King Cobra. Some of the animals that can be spotted here are Hanuman langur, Nilgiri langur, spotted deer, Elephant, gaur, barking deer, Malabar giant squirrel, etc. Nilgiris wood pigeon, Malabar grey hornbill and the blue win
ged parakeet are some of bird species from the 215 types reported get sanctuary here.

Climate:

The temperature at the foothills varies from 21° C to 40°C and at higher altitudes varies from 8°C to 25°C. The wettest part of the year is from June to August receiving a rainfall of about 3000 mm.

Getting there:

By road: From Thalasseri (45 kms) and Kannur (45kms).
Nearest railway station: Thalasserry, about 35 km.
Nearest airport: Karipur International Airport, Kozhikode about 71 km from Thalasserry town.

Best time to visit:

The period from October to June is suitable for visiting the area. Although, to see 172 different types of butterflies one must plan their trip during November and December
Timings: 8 am to 4 pm.

Fees:

Adult Rs.15/-, Foreigners Rs.150/-, Children (Below 12 years) -Rs.7/-, Guide Rs.150/-, Video / Movie Rs.150/-, Ordinary Camera Rs.25/-, Vehicle (Light) Rs.75/-, Vehicle (Others) Rs.20/-, Vehicle (Heavy) Rs.150/-,

Other Attractions:

Central State farm – Producing crossbred coconut seeds, a 3060 hectare farm started in 1971 by the Government of India. This is one of the main production centres of hybrid coconut seeds in the country.

Famous Kerala beaches accessible from Kannur:

Payyambalam beach is situated barely 2km from the city heart and easily accessible, even by walking to beach. Famous for relaxed evenings and ayurvedic massages.
Valapattanam beach is about 7 km from Kannur town. This has the largest wood-based industry in South East Asia and a beautiful fishing harbour.

Meenmutty Falls

With an impressive height of 300meteres, this waterfall has three separate tiers. It takes a strenuous hike of 2kms to get to the falls but is one of the most unspoiled waterfalls in all of India.

Arakkal Palace

The Arakkal Palace is located in Kannur district and is owned by the only royal Muslim family in Kerala known as the Arakkal family and the Arakkal museum is dedicated to this family. The museum is only a section of the palace which holds the durbar hall. Even though the museum has been renovated by the government at a whopping cost of rupees 9,000,000 the Arakkalkettu is still owned by the Muslim family. The Arakkal family trust does not fall under the control of any of the government department primarily the archaeology department. It is located three kilometres from Kannur town. The Arakkal kingdom once ruled Lakshadweep islands and the coastal areas of Malabar. The Arakkal family trust is close to two hundred years old. The palace was renovated and converted into a museum only recently in 2005.

The architecture is interesting exhibiting local flavours such as using materials like wood and laterite and there is a large open ground to offer the daily Muslim prayers which is done for five times called “Namaz”. “Kettu” is the palace complex which interconnects the Namaz area. There are four mosques around the palace. One of these blocks has a cot, seating chair and a lamp is always lit as this place is considered sacred. It looks like business was booming at this time as there were trade houses and warehouse facilities. The family followed a matrilineal system of descent and there was no discrimination done based on gender. The male rulers were known as Arakkal Raja and the female rulers were known as Arakkal Beewis.

How to reach Arakkal Palace:

By Air: Karipur International airport
By Train: Kannur railway station
By bus: Kannur bus stand

Best time to visit:

August to March

Nearby places to visit

Madayi mosque

This ancient mosque was built in 1124 A.D. by a Muslim preacher named Malic Iben Dinar. The material used is white marble and is believed to be brought from Mecca.

Dharmadam Island

This private island is located hundred meters offshore surrounded by river and sea. One can take tranquil walks along the island when the tide is low. Permission should be taken by the owners of the island.

Moppila Bay Harbour

A natural harbour located in Kannur town, Kerala. On one side is the Arakkal palace and on the other side is fort St. Angelo built in the 15th century.

Fort St. Angelo

The first Portuguese viceroy of India, Don Francisco D. Almeida built this fort in 1505 AD. The fort was owned by the Dutch, the Arakkal family and finally to the British. The cannons, barracks and ruins of the chapel are beautiful to watch.

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St.Francis Church Fort Cochin

St. francis church is situated at 2 kilometers west of Mattancherry Palace. It is the first and oldest european church built in India (Christanity was in India centuries before europeans came, so were churches). The church was built by the Portuguese in the year 1506 with the permission from Raja of Cochin. After the attack of the Dutch on Cochin, the church came under their control. Later the Dutch were defeated by the British who were later given the ownership of the church.

Vasco Da Gama, the first european to land on India, was originally buried in this church in 1524, but the remains of his body were removed to Lisbon after fourteen years.On the Southern side of the church the grave stone of Vasco Da Gama can still be seen. The church also has a cemetery of other portuguese people at that time.

Today this church at Fort Cochin is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India but its ownership still remains under the North Kerala Dioces of Church of South India. The church is still operational and has services on sundays and other important days.

Timing:

The church is open to visitors on weekdays form 10 am to 5 pm.

How to reach St.Francis Church Fort Cochin:

The church is located 2 kilometers west of Mattancherry Palace. The full address is St. Francis Chuch, Parade Road, Mattancherry, Fort Cochin.

You can reach Mattancherry from ernakulam city via boat, bus or taxi. To know how to Reach Ernakulam city see this.

Other places you should visit along with St. Francis Church:

Mattancherry Palace : It is only 2 kilometers from the church.
Mattancherry Synagogue: It is very near to the Mattancherry Palace.
Chinese Fishing nets: It is very near to the church. Ask any by-passer and he will give you directions.

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Cherai Beach Ernakulam

Cherai Beach is one of the most natural beach tourism attractions of Kerala. The beach is almost 15 kilometres in length and is ideal for swimming and sunbathing for all age groups. Because of the clean beach water and the serene winds, this long beach has rightfully earned the name “The Princess of the Arabian sea”. It is one of the few beaches which give an awe of sea and the lagoon, which is artfully separated by a narrow ground that is landscaped by coconut palms. The backwaters over here are a combination of lakes, lagoons, canals and estuaries.

Cherai Beach is situated in Vypin, a village with paddy fields and coconut groves.  One of the rarest features of this place is the formation of a phenomenon called “Poyil”. It is actually the formation of a narrow sandbar between the calm backwaters and the strong ocean.  There is also boat ride available for tourists across the backwaters. Since the water is calm and quiet, it will surely be a refreshing experience for you. There are entertainments for small children as well. There are water scooters and speed boats which will surely give you an awesome experience.  Besides all these attractions, there is also a small park built alongside the beach.  You can also find fishermen using their techniques to catch fishes using Chinese fishing nets on the end of the beach.

The most famous food served in this region is the sea food along with toddy.

The beach has now been modified with a walkway path and night lamps, which make people, enjoy the beach even at night.

Since Cherai Beach is one of the main tourist attractions of Kerala, there are many beach side resorts where you can see the sunrise as well as sunset even from your bedroom.

How to Reach Cherai Beach

You can reach Ernakulam city via Road, Train or Plane. (See here for more info)

The beach is almost 25 kilometres from Ernakulam City. The only way to reach the spot is by road. The beach is only 33 kilometers away from the airport. The nearby towns are North Paravur and Kodungallur. North Paravur is 6 kilometres away and Kodungallur is 10 kilometres away from Cherai Beach. The address is Cherai Beach, Vypin Island, Kochi, India. If you are coming by train, you must get down at Aluva as it is only 20 kilometres away.

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Hill Palace, Tripunithura

Hill Palace, the largest archaeological museum in Kerala, is located in Tripunithura, a small place near Ernakulam City. The palace was built in 1865 by the Erstwhile Maharajas of Cochin. It was handed over to the Government of Kerala in 1980 and is now under the Department of Archaeology. They converted it into a museum and opened it to the public in 1986.
Hill Palace is spread over 52 acres of land which houses a deer park, herbal plants and various buildings built in traditional kerala style as well as western style of architecture existed at the time.
The museum exhibits 14 categories of exhibits including murals, oil paintings by the Rajas, carvings, weapons made of iron and rock, porcelin vases, materials made of ivory and wooden carvings. You can see the weapons and other military equipments used in ancient Kerala. It also exhibits the old chariots, imported from the west, used by the Maharaja.
The museum also houses plaster models of objects used at the times of Indus Valley civilization. The portrait gallery of the palace displays oil portraits of the Cochin Maharajas’ and their kingdom, and paintings in Thanjavur tradition.
The Numismatic gallery of the palace exhibits different coins of Romans and the British. The palace also contains exhibits of daily utensils and instruments used by the Royal family, a gold crown with precious stones, royal beddings, ornaments etc.

How to Reach Hill palace Museum Tripunithura:

The palace is only 10 kilometers from Ernakulam city and is on the Kochi-Chottanikkara Route. The only way to reach the palace is by road. You can either take a taxi or bus from Ernakulam city to here. The address is Hill Palace, Tripunithura, Ernakulam, Kerala.
You can reach Ernakulam city via Road, Train or Plane. (See here for more info)

Timings:

9.00 to 12.30 hrs and 14.00 to 16.30 hrs on all days except Mondays.

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Mattancherry Synagogue

Mattancherry Synagogue, also known as ‘Paradesi Synagogue‘ and ‘Dutch Synagogue‘, is the oldest existing synagogue among common wealth nations. It is located in Fort Cochin, Ernakulam District of Kerala state, India.

The synagogue is situated near the Dutch Palace, known also as Mattancherry palace. It is so close to the palace that both share a single wall. It was built by the people of Cochin Jewish community in the year 1568 on the land gifted by the Raja Rama Varma, then ruler of Cochin. It was later destroyed by the Portuguese and was later rebuilt by the Dutch and hence it got the name ‘Paradesi Synagogue'(In most Indian languages the word ‘paradesi’ means ‘foreigner’).

While visiting the synagogue make sure you see its flooring which is done by 18th century porcelin tiles which were hand painted. You can also see golden crowns, copper plates, an oriental rug gifted by the last emperor of Ethopia, a brass railed pulpit(a place where the speaker stands while giving speeches) and 18th century glass chandeliers.

How to reach mattancherry Synagogue:

The Synagogue is located near the Mattancherry palace. It is almost 10 kilometers from Ernakulam city. The exact address is Mattancherry Synagogue, Palace Road, mattancherry, Fort Cochin, Ernakulam, Kerala.

There are frequent bus and boat services connecting Mattancherry and Ernakulam city. You can reach Ernakulam city via Road, Train or Plane. (See here for more info)

Timings:

10 am to 5 pm. It is closed on fridays.

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