Ecotourism in Kerala

Kerala is a state on the Malabar Coast of India with 600km of shoreline facing the Arabian Sea. God was definitely in a good mood when he was making Kerala as this beautiful state is famous for its natural beauty and exquisite landscaping. It’s known for its palm-lined beaches, its networks of canals and lakes and the Western Ghats whose lush green slopes are covered with plantations.

All these natural endowments make Kerala one of the finest eco-tourism destinations. It’s very easy to confuse eco-tourism with nature-loving tourism. Eco-tourism is about enjoying nature, but with a little twist; here the tourist gets to behave responsibly towards the conservation and protection of the environment, while enjoying nature’s bounty. Numerous sanctuaries and National Parks exist such as the Eravikulam, Periyar and Silent Valley that are home to elephants, deer, langurs and tigers.

With a land area of 38,863 square kilometers and an abundance of mountains, valleys, jungles, National Parks and hill stations, Kerala has some of the finest eco-tourism spots in India. A visit to these destinations is not only relaxing, but also refreshing; here’s a look at some of the major hotspots.

Thenmala is the country’s first planned eco-tourism destination. It’s located in the foothills of the Western Ghats, about 72km from the capital Trivandrum city. The word Thenmala means ‘honey hill’ in the local language and refers to the high quality pure honey found here. The place owes its natural beauty to the adjacent Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary and is great for parents travelling with kids. There is also a dam where you can stroll as you drink in the mesmerizing landscaping of this natural splendor. Nearby you can find the Palaruvi waterfalls, a deer park and a vast children’s park set in a jungle setting to make it an unforgettable visit.

Nelliampathy is located in the hills of Palakkad near the Western Ghats and is home to exotic spice plantations as well as tea, coffee, oranges and some other fruits. The surrounding forests are full of ever-green trees that create a canopy of paradise for the onlooker. Aside from being an ecotourism hotspot, it’s also an attraction for honeymooners looking for a bit of privacy in a scenic background. There are many out looking viewpoints like Kesavan Para, Seethar Gunu, Mampara, etc, that invite you to admire the natural surrounding beauty without interfering with it. There are specific areas allotted for hiking, trekking and rock-climbing for the adventurous ones to try out.

Kuruvadweeep as the name suggests is an island; it stretches for about 950 acres and is covered with emerald evergreen forests amidst the Kabani River. Its isolation makes it an exciting spot to sight exotic birds and rare orchids as well as medicinal herbs; a visit during winter rewards you with sightings of migratory birds also. This place is a bubbling eco-tourism area with its exotic flora and fauna. The adventurous ones can indulge in hiking, trekking, rock climbing as well as some water-based activities. A look-out viewpoint 700m above sea level called the Thamarassey point affords you breathtaking views of the surrounding green and blue magnificence. This area is also called the gateway to Wayanad and should be a must on your list of places to visit!